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BS: The Pope's Survey

Joe Offer 16 Nov 13 - 07:18 PM
Rapparee 16 Nov 13 - 09:04 PM
Joe Offer 16 Nov 13 - 09:47 PM
Rapparee 16 Nov 13 - 10:14 PM
GUEST,Musket evolving slowly 17 Nov 13 - 02:14 AM
Joe Offer 17 Nov 13 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Musket evolving slowly 17 Nov 13 - 05:05 AM
DMcG 17 Nov 13 - 05:18 AM
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selby 17 Nov 13 - 05:53 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Nov 13 - 06:56 AM
Joe Offer 17 Nov 13 - 09:53 AM
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Joe Offer 17 Nov 13 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,Musket curious 18 Nov 13 - 01:22 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Nov 13 - 08:11 AM
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akenaton 18 Nov 13 - 06:43 PM
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Steve Shaw 18 Nov 13 - 07:32 PM
Joe Offer 19 Nov 13 - 01:57 AM
GUEST,Musket evolving slowly 19 Nov 13 - 03:42 AM
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DMcG 19 Nov 13 - 06:04 PM
Joe Offer 19 Nov 13 - 06:16 PM
mg 19 Nov 13 - 07:18 PM
Joe Offer 19 Nov 13 - 07:35 PM
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Joe Offer 19 Nov 13 - 10:57 PM
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Stu 20 Nov 13 - 09:10 AM
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Joe Offer 21 Nov 13 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,Musket curious 21 Nov 13 - 02:21 AM
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Joe Offer 28 Nov 13 - 06:49 PM
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Joe Offer 30 Nov 13 - 12:38 AM
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GUEST,musket giggling 30 Nov 13 - 05:19 AM
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akenaton 03 Dec 13 - 04:54 AM
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akenaton 05 Dec 13 - 07:07 PM
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GUEST,musket asking the point 06 Dec 13 - 03:02 AM
Joe Offer 06 Dec 13 - 03:31 AM
Keith A of Hertford 06 Dec 13 - 04:32 AM
akenaton 06 Dec 13 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,musket again 06 Dec 13 - 04:59 AM
Keith A of Hertford 06 Dec 13 - 05:29 AM
Keith A of Hertford 06 Dec 13 - 06:01 AM
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Joe Offer 06 Dec 13 - 04:39 PM
akenaton 06 Dec 13 - 06:33 PM
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Joe Offer 07 Dec 13 - 12:45 AM
GUEST,musket again 07 Dec 13 - 03:45 AM
Keith A of Hertford 07 Dec 13 - 04:17 AM
akenaton 07 Dec 13 - 05:36 AM
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Keith A of Hertford 07 Dec 13 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Musket 07 Dec 13 - 07:23 AM
akenaton 07 Dec 13 - 08:26 AM
Keith A of Hertford 07 Dec 13 - 08:33 AM
akenaton 07 Dec 13 - 08:59 AM
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Keith A of Hertford 07 Dec 13 - 03:32 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 13 - 05:02 PM
Don Firth 07 Dec 13 - 05:42 PM
Joe Offer 07 Dec 13 - 08:27 PM
Don Firth 07 Dec 13 - 10:37 PM
akenaton 08 Dec 13 - 06:28 AM
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GUEST,Grishka 09 Dec 13 - 06:54 AM
Joe Offer 09 Dec 13 - 06:24 PM
Greg F. 09 Dec 13 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,musket giggling 11 Dec 13 - 01:26 AM
Joe Offer 11 Dec 13 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Grishka 11 Dec 13 - 04:17 AM
akenaton 11 Dec 13 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Musket 11 Dec 13 - 04:30 AM
akenaton 11 Dec 13 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Musket 11 Dec 13 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,musket again 11 Dec 13 - 03:33 PM
akenaton 12 Dec 13 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Musket 12 Dec 13 - 12:03 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Dec 13 - 08:45 PM
Joe Offer 13 Dec 13 - 02:15 AM
GUEST,Grishka 13 Dec 13 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Musket 13 Dec 13 - 05:08 AM
akenaton 13 Dec 13 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Musket 14 Dec 13 - 03:38 AM

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Subject: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 07:18 PM

Somebody asked me about the Pope's survey in a personal message. I realize that there are people at Mudcat that seek to prevent rational discussion of religious issues because they are certain that all religion is bad and all religious people are stupid, but nonetheless I think that this is a good thing to talk about.

I won't reveal the name of the person who sent me the personal message, but this is what he said:
    I assume you have heard about the survey described here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24951677

    That the survey is taking place at all is fantastic, but I find the questions asked in the UK version troublesome in their obscurity and slant (see link within the article). However that's me: If it hasn't happened already I presume there will be a US version, and I'd be grateful if you could send me a link to that when it is available.

Here's a link to the UK survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FamilySynod2014

Here's how I responded:
The majority of current Catholic bishops were appointed by John Paul II, who was phenomenally popular but very much the Slavic conservative. The long reign of John Paul II did much to dismantle the advances of the Second Vatican Council, much to my dismay. I liked Benedict/Ratzinger, but his intellectual approach didn't set many people on fire. The new pope, Francis, is just my kinda guy. I hope he holds the seat long enough to bring things around to a more compassionate, positive perspective.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 09:04 PM

I have twenty-one (21) semester hours as taught in a post-Vatican II environment. This includes such courses as "Marriage and the Family", "Sacramental Theology", "The Documents of Vatican II", and "Social Theology" (before it ended up on the Vatican's 'naughty' list).

I have a further twenty-four (24) semester hours of philosophy, taught I feel in a neutral manner, from that same Catholic college. This includes courses in ethics, existentialism, classical Greek philosophy, and logic.

I have 12 years of pre-Vatican II Catholic religious teaching, and two years of Latin.

I have no idea of the contents of "Gaudium et spes" or "Familiaris consortio", even after 40 years of marriage. I have a low regard for "Humanae vitae." And I wish that neither survey would use the phrase "cohabitation ad experimentum" as it is a technical, rather than commonly understood, term.

After reviewing the UK version of the survey I agree with Joe. More, I feel that it is slanted and can only produce skewed data (yes, I studied Statistics in that Catholic college as well as other places). As an essay-type survey it will be extremely difficult to use and interpret and as a result it will end up meaning whatever the researchers think it means. The US (non-bishop) survey is far superior, using as it does Ligert scales and other statistically valid techniques.

I hope that enough Catholics participate that a statistically viable sample is achieved...assuming that the "official" survey can be understood at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 09:47 PM

It's interesting how much "spin" you can put into a translation. It's clear that the UK and (laity-prepared) US surveys come from the same source, but there's an entirely different tone to the two of them. I would suppose if todays US bishops were to publish their translation of the survey, it would look very much like the UK translation. Despite the "spin" put on these surveys, I hope that somebody hears the truth. If the Catholic Church is to survive, it must take on the robe of charity. It's not the teaching that much change, it's the attitudes - the Catholic Church must really believe the Law that requires Christians to "love one another" - and that means loving people no matter what their sexual orientation or marital "irregularity" or attitude about abortion might be.

-Joe-
So, here are my answers to the unofficial American survey. This is a shorter one prepared by an organization called Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, http://papalsurvey.com/. I think I like the longer one better, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SynodOnFamilyUS.

The Church and Family Life
How well is the Church's teaching on marriage and family life communicated in your parish community? How does your local Church support married couples in their journey, especially those who struggle with marital difficulties?
I think my parish does this quite well, and so does my diocese. There are solid marriage preparation programs, Marriage Encounter and Retrovaille, The topic is often addressed in homilies, and in a realistic way.
In addition, my parish has a very good parish school, and many social and religious activities for families that are very popular.
I think that the measures taken to prevent child molestation are quite good. All employees and priests, and all volunteers who work with children, are fingerprinted and checked for criminal records, and all are given annual training on how to detect and report suspicious conduct with children. Instances of suspected child abuse must be reported to law enforcement authorities and to the diocese immediately. Children are given instruction about child molestation.
Outreach to Divorced and Separated Persons
How does your parish community welcome divorced and separated persons? How are they included in the life of the parish? Are they given sufficient space to be full and active members of the Church?
Divorced and separated people are welcomed, and there are programs to help people get over the pain of divorce. However, there are no accommodations for them it they get married again, even if the marriage takes place years after the divorce. They generally aren't actively rejected from their parish if they marry again, but they know that they are no longer welcome to participate fully in the Church and receive communion. Some ignore the restriction and receive communion anyway, but most just quietly fall away.
Outreach to Same-Sex Couples and Gay Persons
How does your parish community welcome same-sex couples and gay persons? How are they included in the life of the parish? Are they given sufficient space to be full and active members of the Church?
My parish generally ignores that fact that gay people exist, although they are not actively excluded from parish activities. My own parish does not actively support campaigns against gay marriage, but neither is there any discussion about gay marriage in my parish. My bishop actively opposes legislation that allows gay marriage, and he withdrew funding from a homeless service program that hired an executive director who spoke in favor of gay marriage.
Being A Church of Mercy and of Welcome
Pope Francis has declared his desire that the Church be a place of mercy and of welcome. As he and other bishops come together to discuss family life in 2014, what can the Church do to achieve this vision more fully? Please speak on the basis of personal experience.
I think that in general, the Catholic Church does this quite well, particularly in welcoming immigrants and in serving the poor and homeless. Most of the social services in my area, have Catholic roots and are now open to volunteers and client no matter what their religious beliefs may be.
Of course, the Catholic Church fails to welcome people who are gay, or who are divorced and remarried.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 10:14 PM

Matthew 23:1-34.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket evolving slowly
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 02:14 AM

I don't think Joe should be so concerned about mudcat.org debate on religion. The threads he worries over tend to start with people who have religious faith referring to those without it as being a single entity with similar views. That gets the fun started. .....

I too have concerns over the UK angle and coincidentally a Catholic friend mentioned this at a party last week. Perhaps a paraphrasing (the best I can do thanks to "taking a little wine for thy body's sake) of his take may be useful to the thread.

"This Pope seems very progressive and has corruption in his sights. Examples in the news all the time of dealing with long term issues both financially and morally.   

However. This survey sums the problems he faces up for me. The idea of asking your people then acting on their wishes makes him the servant to the cause. Traditionally, the Pope has been the leader of the cause. Some people have issues with his approach. Mainly due to their own existing power base.

The UK survey questions being an example. If the status quo is reflected in this survey, then the Vatican doesn't know much about your average Catholic in communities wheretthey form a small minority. Other than a couple of large cities, that describes your average member. The impression you are left with is that we are a happy home for clergy who live in the previous century and we will brush aside the celibacy in order to welcome Anglican vicars who refuse to brush aside male dominance. "

I don't have a dog in this race but thought his take, if I have reflected it accurately, to be interesting. I have concerns but they are of the more fundamental "if you live in a country with clear equality laws, debating whether to respect them is ultimately futile. "


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 03:07 AM

Well, Musket, I'm hoping that this thread will be rational and constructive.
I like the survey I posted above, although it does not allow space for me to address a number of issues, like child molestation, women priests, and the overemphasis on abortion to the disadvantage of programs for those in need.
I've decided to take that last issue seriously. Last year, I wrote to my bishop and asked for my contribution back when he dropped funding for a homeless services organization that hired an executive director who supported gay marriage and had spoken favorably of the women's health services provided by Planned Parenthood (which also does abortions). To his credit, my bishop responded in less than a week, and refunded my donation.

This week, a priest who was a seminary classmate of mine asked me to donate to Catholic Relief Services [CRS] to help people in the Philippines after the typhoon. I've always thought highly of CRS, and it does seem to give aid generously and wisely - but I wondered if CRS had also been forced into playing games because of the abortion issue. My friend forwarded my letter to CRS, and I got this reply from "K," a Catholic Relief Services representative.
    Good morning Mr. Offer,
    We are grateful that you took the time to share your concerns with us. I wanted to address your concerns by providing you with some background information that supports CRS' position regarding the false accusations recently lodged by several websites.
    In communion with the Church, CRS strictly upholds Catholic moral teaching. As a part of the Universal Church, Catholic institutions are our partners of preference. To reach all those who need our help, CRS also participates in humanitarian initiatives undertaken by a wide range of groups, such as governments, other faith communities and secular institutions. Although some positions and practices of these institutions are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching, CRS' association with them is always and only focused on activities that are fully consistent with Catholic teaching. Furthermore, CRS neither facilitates, endorses nor enables any violation of those teachings. CRS has a process for vetting our relationships with partners to ensure we are in full compliance with Church teaching. I invite you to visit our website at www.crs.org to review all current updates.
    I hope this information provides you with the clarification and reassurances you need regarding Catholic Relief Services.
    K, CRS Donor Services


Here's how I responded:

    Hello, K,
    Thank you for your reply. My concern is that Catholic Relief Services might be following many bishops in going overboard in enforcing their view of "Catholic Teaching" - opposing abortion at any cost, to the disadvantage of the poor. I'm on the board of a nonprofit that receives significant funding from the Campaign for Human Development. One project of our nonprofit was establishing a "211" social services information telephone line in our county, but CCHD demanded that we disassociate ourselves from 211 because somebody might call 211 for abortion services. That would give us an opportunity to also provide information about alternatives to abortion, but CCHD didn't consider that.
    And our bishop in Sacramento withdrew funding from a homeless services organization that had roots in a Catholic parish, because the organization hired a Methodist minister as executive director, and the minister had spoken in favor of gay marriage and had said nice things about Planned Parenthood (while still opposing abortion).
    On top of that, I'm a Mercy Associate, and one of our sisters in Phoenix was excommunicated by the local bishop because she was part of a hospital ethics committee who voted to allow an abortion for a woman whose life was endangered by the pregnancy. The hospital is no longer recognized as a Catholic hospital, and the nun had to go through a humiliating "repentance" procedure to get the excommunication lifted.
    I'm a Catholic and I do think abortion is wrong, but I'm sick of this sort of grandstanding by the bishops. If CRS kowtows to this nonsense, then I don't want to donate to it anymore. I notice that your letter says you "ensure we are in full compliance with Church teaching." I guess that means you play those same games, and I don't want any part of that. I want my money to go to serve those in need, with no political strings attached. If you check, you'll see that I have made significant donations to CRS in the past. If you can't assure me that you won't put such rigid strings on the money I donate, then I see no reason to donate to CRS or to any Catholic charity. I certainly don't want to promote abortion, but I don't want to put roadblocks in the way of good charities that have only ancillary connection to the possibility of abortion.
    Sincerely,
    -Joe Offer-

    So, we'll see how they respond to that.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket evolving slowly
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 05:05 AM

Thanks Joe.

It does raise the question, pertinent to this thread, of what describes faith? The survey seems to be asking it!

You have mentioned many times your personal misgivings of some of your church's doctrine and the Catholic faith, far more than any other mainstream Christian faith expects adherence to the prescribed position. Hence my friend noting that asking members for guidance is a novel concept where infallibility is in the doctrine.

I and others on these threads have questioned how you reconcile Joe Offer with Catholic doctrine. None of our business of course! But you offer the opinion I suppose so exploring it with you is to be expected?

When your church has a stance on same sex or circumstances for abortion or role of women within the church. .. And it doesn't accord with yours, at which point would it be proper to ask who doesn't get Catholicism? They feel you don't and you feel they don't. To an outsider, it makes it easier to dismiss the overall message of your church.

Whilst not wishing to pry on your reasoning, which is your own, I did notice your line "I am s Catholic and I think abortion is wrong. " If you are not careful, you can end up with shallow idiots like me pondering whether your views on abortion happen to coincide with Catholic teaching or whether you feel your opinion is influenced by being a Catholic?

For what it is worth, I was involved with a nationwide inspection of all termination of pregnancy services across England carried out in the same week unannounced when the government thought the prevailing law was being abused by unscrupulous clinics.

My view hitherto had been, frankly, nothing to do with me and hadn't thought of it.   After carrying out a dozen inspections personally that week and reviewing the national findings, my view has progressed to each situation is different and must be decided jointly by the lady and those charged with her care, taking circumstances into account with no political, judicial or religious pressure.   Aborting a viable feutus for conveniencesake iis fundamentally wrong in my opinion yet I am minded of reading and discussing individual circumstances surrounding such cases. Cases where the clinical risks of not intervening are strong are not, in my opinion, the concern of anyone except the clinical team and the patient in a best interest decision.

I would be concerned if after this survey, members of the Catholic faith in The UK were told to adopt a stance that differed to what anyone in The UK has the right to expect in any sense. (Note I said UK. Normally that is shorthand for The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. On abortion, the Stormont Assembly has laws nearer to their neighbours to the south. A recent death of a pregnant lady highlights the problem with that approach and indeed where religion seems to overtake the needs of people not signed up to that particular faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 05:18 AM

I did complete the survey, though in order to do so adequately it has taken something like three days. There are a lot of problems with the phrasing of the questions and as Rapparee said, I think most people's understand of documents like "Gaudium et spes" and "Familiaris consortio" is a few slogans, with no clear idea of which slogan is associated with which document.

What is perhaps as worrying is that I heard of the document via a BBC report, and between announcement of the online survey and its closing date is about two weeks. I haven't heard anything via the Church. In fact, if I wanted to design a questionnaire that got a low response in order to show I'd tried, but the laity were not really interested, this comes remarkably close. Having said that, I don't think it is necessarily deliberate. The uses of terms like 'natural law' for example are well understood amongst the bishops but they have not appreciated how obscure and poorly understand that term is for the average person. So I think there is a certain lack of thoughtfulness, rather than deliberate obscurity.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 05:34 AM

I should say, perhaps, that since the final question was did we have any other comments on the survey my response was to say how much I welcomed Pope Francis's idea of the survey, but that the bishops response to it was very poor for various listed reasons, ending up with 'In short: Not good enough. Not good enough at all'.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: selby
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 05:53 AM

Not religious in any sense, the present Pope seems to want to achieve something for the people. I suspect he won the case to get a survey, but then couldn't write it himself,then others muddied the water. I believe he is a reformer for the right reasons, my hope is that he will live long enough to make a difference.
Keith


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 06:56 AM

I realize that there are people at Mudcat that seek to prevent rational discussion of religious issues because they are certain that all religion is bad and all religious people are stupid

Er, you post this, then, down the thread, express the hope for a rational debate. Perhaps you'd care to take this opportunity, as I do not take offence (as I have no right to not be offended) to say who these miscreants are. I for one would feel very cross indeed if I saw anyone here post that all religion is bad and that all religious people are stupid.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 09:53 AM

You know, Musket, I'm not sure if there's anything in Catholic doctrine (official teaching of what is to be believed) that I disagree with - unless you count the refusal to ordain women as doctrine, which I don't.

There are practices of the Catholic Church that I disagree with, some very strongly - but the belief system of the Catholic Church is what I believe. More on that later.

Like Francis, I think the Catholic Church has got the tone and balance wrong.

But I'm off to sing at Sunday Mass. I'll have to explain later.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 05:09 PM

Musket: Trying to answer you question for Joe as if it was addressed to me, I think my biggest single problem is that their approach to the concept of Natural Law is firmly stuck in 1274 with the publication of Summa Theologica. Wiki is hardly authoritative, yet I understand this quotation from the Christian concept of natural law is more or less accurate: "The natural law was inherently teleological and deontological in that although it is aimed at goodness, it is entirely focused on the ethicalness of actions, rather than the consequence."

And that really does not fit either later ideas of natural law, or most peoples understanding of what any sort of human natural law would be. Everyone I have discussed this with outside the context of the questionnaire regards the (anticipated) consequences as being of greater significance that the act itself, whatever that might be.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 06:58 PM

Musket says: the Catholic faith, far more than any other mainstream Christian faith expects adherence to the prescribed position..

I'm not sure I believe that's true, Musket. There are some who may claim that to be the case with the Catholic Church, because the conservatives have a very loud and well-funded voice among English-speaking Catholics. But you'll get a different story from the well-established Catholic universities and religious orders.

For the most part, the "prescribed position" is the Nicene Creed of 325, which is held by a good number of Christian denominations. Almost all subsequent Catholic doctrine is built on the Creed and the Bible. And although the basic doctrines are set, they can be seen through a wide variety of philosophical and theological perspectives.

Ultra-conservative Catholics tend to have the same literalist and legalistic perspective that you'll find among fundamentalist Christians and other fundamentalist groups. A primary aspect of fundamentalism, seems to be passing judgment on others. But you won't find that kind of perspective among what I would call "mainstream" Catholics, and especially not in the long-established religious orders. I think that most Catholics tend to ponder the questions and mysteries that religious faith deals with, rather than holding tight to what they consider to be the "facts."

I don't think this is well-known, but the writings of Pope Benedict/Joseph Ratzinger tend to have this kind of approach, of pondering the questions from various perspectives and never coming to a definitive answer. Benedict is far less rigid than people think him to be. Francis has that same pondering nature, but he has a personality that conveys that openness far more clearly. After all, Francis is a Jesuit, and Jesuits are known to be good thinkers and good communicators.

I had lunch with one of my favorite Jesuits today, and he was speculating about the future of the Catholic Church under Francis. He likes the direction Francis is taking, but thinks that turning the Catholic Church is like steering the Queen Mary. My friend figures Francis will reign for ten years, if we're lucky. At the end of his reign, there will still be many bishops who were appointed by John Paul II.

Somebody asked my Jesuit friend how a bishop can be removed from office. My friend said Rome can ask the bishop to resign, but bishops cannot be removed from office unless they are found guilty of an offense that is punishable under church law. In other words, it's almost impossible to remove a bishop - except, perhaps, by creating the illusion of a promotion (to a job that is actually a sinecure), as was done with Cardinal Law of Boston.

I suppose Francis could do what Roosevelt did with the Supreme Court and increase the number of bishops, but he won't have much luck removing sitting bishops. And many bishops seem prepared to ignore the changes Francis wants to make. Sometimes, it seems to me that the US bishops compete with each other to see who can be the most obnoxiously repressive bishop in the country. I suppose there's always been a conflict in the Catholic Church between the saints and the bishops. The conflict between St. Francis and the Powers That Be, was legendary.

But I think Pope Francis is doing his best to turn things around, and his efforts have been very popular. Francis is not all that innovative - his ideas have been widely held for a long, long time, even before Vatican II.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket curious
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 01:22 AM

Thanks Joe and thanks DMcG.

I find it fascinating this side of the pond that this week's synod vote on women Bishops for the Anglican Church of England has lobby groups both sides of the fence and the "traditional" lobby group which opposes women is a joint Anglican and Catholic group. In the meantime, The Church of Ireland has just appointed a woman as a bishop.

To an outsider, such debates just increase the irrelevance of the church, regardless of flavour. I looked at the questions UK Catholics are being asked and my thoughts were that the questions have been phrased to get the answers conservative forces want. "This is what you asked for. ..."

Yet I cannot and frankly will not understand how in this day and age any membership organisation can openly refute equality of women, can debate a position on gay people and indeed divorced people and promote nothing to the unwanted baby or overpopulation debate other than abstinence. Then polarise the moral debate on abortion.

To ask their members to follow their rules is one thing but both our governments have those who wish to impose religious restrictions on the rest of us. It doesn't help. ..


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 08:11 AM

Yet I cannot and frankly will not understand how in this day and age any membership organisation can openly refute equality of women, can debate a position on gay people and indeed divorced people and promote nothing to the unwanted baby or overpopulation debate other than abstinence. Then polarise the moral debate on abortion.

The almost explosive population growth in the Philippines, largely engendered by the Catholic Church's opposition to contraception in a country which is 80% Catholic, is nothing short of scandalous. When you consider that most of that burgeoning population, in a country with a drastic gulf between a rich tiny minority and a poor massive majority, are obliged to live in flimsy, vulnerable houses, I wonder whether any Catholic bigwigs are shifting rather uncomfortably from buttock to buttock at the thought that the Church's policies are a massive contributory factor to the terrible destruction and misery we've just witnessed.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 09:54 AM

I have no idea how many Catholics can understand the questions at all, notably "Gaudium et spes" (Pleasure and Hope?) etc., but if my political instinct does not betray me, the questions are mainly aimed at conservative Catholics, in order to estimate the amount of conservative resistance to the Pope's own reform plans. Liberalizing the use of condoms seems to be on the agenda, following most other religious communities.

Gender equality will take longer, as it did/does in other churches. As for same-sex marriage, the discussion is still hot even in non-religious contexts such as the Socialist Party of France.

In fact churches face more serious problems than sexual ethics. Once this door is open, the Catholic clergy will be confronted with the same fresh wind as their heretic brethren have been before. I even have the strong feeling that most clergy of higher ranks have erroneous ideas about their own churches' faith altogether. A questionnaire for that purpose must look quite differently - social scientists already have a clue, notably including some theologians.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 06:43 PM

Hmm perhaps you're right Grishka, but the really big social dilemmas are still ahead as medical science moves onwards.
Will it be in the interests of humanity to control what sort of child is born...designer babies etc?....abortion on the basis of gender, or simply in the interests of convenience?

Most religions encourage the value of life as a sacred gift from god, do we not run the risk of losing our humanity to science?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 07:09 PM

akenaton, you certainly have a gift of misunderstanding me. Science should care for science, religion for religion, and ethics for ethics. Words like "God's gift" sound as solemn as they should, but do not explain much about ethics. Neither does science.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 07:32 PM

Science is humanity. Religion is a mere bolt-on. We have lost a good deal of humanity to religion. Science cannot do bad things. Only people can do those, sometimes by misusing science, sometimes by assuming outrageous and unsupportable authority in deliberately propagating delusions to other people in order to control and exploit them. The latter we call "organised religion".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 01:57 AM

Grishka says: Science should care for science, religion for religion, and ethics for ethics

I dunno, Grishka, I think the three would be better off if they were to consult with one another and learn from each other.




Musket says: Yet I cannot and frankly will not understand how in this day and age any membership organisation can openly refute equality of women, can debate a position on gay people and indeed divorced people and promote nothing to the unwanted baby or overpopulation debate other than abstinence. Then polarise the moral debate on abortion.

Well, Musket, I think I would tend to agree with you on all those issues, although my thinking on abortion is more nuanced. But I look on the Catholic Church as my church, and recognize the fact that it has a conservative majority. While the dominant ideology may be conservative, I do not see my church as essentially an ideological entity. I go to church to encounter God, not to be indoctrinated in a particular ideology. And in the process, I find many people who think as I do - like my Jesuit friend that I had lunch with yesterday.

Less than fifty years ago, Western society generally espoused the views currently held by the Catholic Church majority on birth control, homosexuals, women, divorce, and abortion. And Western society changed. So, I figure that sort of thing will change in the Catholic Church sooner or later - and I see it as my duty to push for that change.

As for abortion, I think that it's never a good thing. Several years ago, I interviewed the medical director of our local Planned Parenthood chapter, and he himself said that an abortion is never a cause for rejoicing. To my mind, it is the taking of a life. You can argue with me on that and I will agree with you - and I will still say that from my perspective it is the taking of a life, and that I mourn that loss of life. Nonetheless, for many women, abortion is the best of the bad choices available to them. Although I might regret or question their decision or suggest alternatives if asked, I think the choice is ultimately up to the woman that is pregnant.

I think that taking a life for any reason, even self-defense, is never a good thing. It is always a decision that must be made seriously, and with a good deal of regret - and taking life must be avoided whenever possible. But there are times when it just isn't possible to avoid taking a life.

I suppose that many people won't understand this, maybe because they place a higher value on ideology than I do, or they feel a greater need to keep away from people who don't share their ideology. But I go to Mass on Sunday to worship God and to celebrate life. I don't go because of ideology, and ideology really isn't discussed much in my parish.

As for Catholic teaching against birth control engendering the population explosion in the Philippines and elsewhere, how do you explain the low birth rate among Catholics in the U.S. and Western Europe? For the most part, the Catholic teaching against artificial birth control, is rarely mentioned within the Catholic Church. Most of these things (other than abortion), are just not as big a deal in the Catholic Church, as people seem to think they are. I suppose there are priests here and there that are obsessed with one thing or another - but most don't dwell on these subjects because they are not central teachings of the Catholic Church. Sure, they're official teaching, but they're buried in subsection 32 of Appendix L, paragraph 16, line 936a (c) - or thereabouts. Service to the poor and justice for immigrants get top billing - but you'll have a hard time finding anything official written by the Catholic Church on birth control or homosexuality.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket evolving slowly
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 03:42 AM

Hey Joe!

Thanks for a well thought out answer. I guess on the subject of abortion I have no theological position on where a biological growth becomes a tenable life. We could talk about cell replication without aid of the host but that would therefore include malignant tumours. .....

So with regard to abortion, I still maintain I cannot come to a personal stance I would defend, but experience of regulating terminations from a clinical quality and safety aspect does lead to one stance. Where it is permitted, each case is an individual circumstance assessed and duly consented. Here, The Abortion Act 1968 may be a little creaky and some aspects have been amended by more general health acts, but the consent of the patient (to include best interest decisions under The Mental Capacity Act 2005) and the clinical and ethical consent of two doctors independently has served the process for a long time. Politicians move the number of weeks around and they do rely on religious considerations in their deliberations. A good example of my usual cry for using such influence responsibly in the moral interest of all rather than the dogma of the few.

Good luck with your aim to reform from within. As we can see from the rise of fundamentalism in general, old ideas have a heavy kick, and they don't think the kick to be death throes. .....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 07:19 AM

Joe,
Grishka says: Science should care for science, religion for religion, and ethics for ethics

I dunno, Grishka, I think the three would be better off if they were to consult with one another and learn from each other.
First of all, they should not be confused with each other, and should not interfere with each other. There are connections, of course, but they are more subtle than traditional language tends to suggest. I could mention art as a fourth such entity. I think we agree that religion and science have their separate realms, but I do not agree with you that religions are based on the Golden Rule. Theologians and philosophers should have sufficient knowledge of sciences, religion, and ethics, to avoid undue interference and to find out the connections.

Religion - in an abstract sense - can make us sensitive for ethical questions, but it cannot possibly answer them. A sentence like "Human life is a gift of God" is more or less a flowery variant of "We attribute maximal ethical value to human life". The specific problem of traditionally-minded Christian clergy is that they wish to retain their historic predecessors' monopoly on all kind of intellectual work, notably including ethics, whereas in fact they have strong competition by other intellectuals. Congregations want their clergy to generally enforce a moral point of view, notably besides their originary role in proper religion, but many do not accept such a monopoly.

Rapparee tells us
I have 12 years of pre-Vatican II Catholic religious teaching, and two years of Latin.

I have no idea of the contents of "Gaudium et spes" or "Familiaris consortio"
which I judge as yet one more indication that being instructed about subtleties of ethics is not what believers primarily seek from their clerics.

Also, like other propagandists of ethics, part of the clergy have always abused their power for unethical activities. This does not necessarily make their ethics wrong in itself, but lessens the authority of their institutions. A more modest public appearance of the clergy, comparable to democratic politicians, would enhance their acceptance. The present pope may be about to do a step in that direction - a long way lies ahead. Some other denominations are much more advanced - which does not mean that they are any laxer in their ethics, just less dogmatic.

Generally, we should not confuse "organized religion" (i.e. religious congregations) and their clergy and theology.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 09:29 AM

I don't know anyone, in spite of knowing a number of ardent pro-choicers like myself, who would say that abortion is ever a good thing (yeah, men-patronising-women red alert...). I've made the following point so many times: if abortion is never a good thing, which we seem to agree about, then why does the Catholic Church fail to promote those practices that would reduce abortion? Why is it not in the vanguard of promoting effective, open, neutral, moralising-free and interference-free education for sex and relationships? Why does it not promote much better access to contraception and family planning advice? Why does it actually brief against these things? Why does it continue to promote its misogyny? You simply can't have this both ways. In effect, if you preach against these steps you are promoting high abortion numbers. If you belong to any organisation that preaches these things, you should be fighting against it vehemently from within. If you are a Catholic you belong to an organisation that will very likely have Mother Teresa, corrupt champion of poverty, ignorance and high abortion rates, sainted in the near future! Where will be the outrage? This fight from within seems to be taking a very long time to me. It certainly ain't happening in my dad's parish. Catholics and many non-Catholics alike are kidding themselves that this new Pope is some kind of breath of fresh air. Well he isn't and he can't be. Men (just men) of marble. Same old, just with a smile on its face, innit.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 09:34 AM

Also, like other ^ propagandists of ethics, part of the clergy have always abused their power for unethical activities.

Agreed, but you left out "self-appointed..."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 11:53 AM

The last sentence of my post of 19 Nov 13 - 07:19 AM should of course read
Generally, we should not confuse "organized religion" (i.e. religious congregations) with their clergy and theology.
Propagandists can be self-appointed, appointed by institutions, or even by the recipients of the propaganda themselves; my point remains valid. Example by an elected propagandist, Catholic only by coincidence: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 06:04 PM

Quite a few points have been raised above that we have addressed many times on many threads, but I think we can tie some of Steve Shaw's comments back to the survey, or at least try. You remember I said that one of the biggest problems I see with the Catholic faith as implied by the survey is the way this is tied back to an interpretation of natural law that is directed at actions and does its best to separate these acts from consequences? Now, I agree with many of the points Steve makes, and it is why I think that separation of act and consequence when considering ethics is seriously and fundamentally wrong: many of the things he lists (eg "Mother Teresa, corrupt champion of poverty, ignorance and high abortion rates") are consequences of the lack of things like contraceptive choices, and so excluded by a way of thinking that keeps actions and consequences. Hyperbole aside, she did not promote poverty: it was (partially) a direct consequence of other things she did promote, which is, unwisely in my opinion, a different thing.

However, it is important to remember that it is not just the Churches that focus on actions and ignore consequences: almost all laws do that - they have to or else you end up in an incomprehensible soup. "Killing is against the law". Nice and clear, focus on action, don't involve consequences. "Killing is against the law, but might be acceptable if you are a revolutionary and threatening Hitler but not if you are a revolutionary threating Archduke Ferdinand" - too messy: laws that involve consequences are pretty well unworkable, beyond pleas for mitigation, typically after the verdict.

But in my world, and I think Joe's, Churches, even Catholicism, are not about laws. True, there is a Church ruling on an awful lot of things, but that is always just the starting point. Many of us strive (however unsuccessfully), to treat people and cases as unique experiences, not as something to be assessed against a checklist. As do the best non-believers and those of other faiths - I claim nothing special here. All I do ask is that people recognise that we are not all driven by some fixed and unquestionable rulebook.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 06:16 PM

Grishka, if I understand you correctly, you push for a separation between science, religion, and ethics; and I can't figure out why. It seems to me that all three affect humans, and humans should have concern and a voice regarding all three. It seems to me that interaction among all disciplines, is essential.
Or am I misunderstanding you?




Steve Shaw, I think you don't understand the Catholic Church because you see it as an authority imposing an ideology, which it is not. It is a very loose union of vastly different people who seek to express a shared faith in God. The expression of faith is what is central to a church, not the ideology/doctrine, and not the ethics. Those who do not acknowledge the importance of faith, cannot understand the essence of religion.

It may well be that Mother Teresa had distorted ideas about abortion, and perhaps she also had unacceptable thinking about other things. But having correct ideology, is not the essence of life. Despite their sometimes-antiquated ways, she and her nuns devoted their lives to serving the poor. That, to my mind, is far more important than correct ideology.

Steve says: if abortion is never a good thing, which we seem to agree about, then why does the Catholic Church fail to promote those practices that would reduce abortion?

Agreed but as I have stated above, I think you have an inflated view of the importance of birth control and other sex-related stuff in the Catholic Church. Believe it or not, sexual matters are not central to worship, which is the main function of a church. The last significant thing said about contraception in the Catholic Church was said by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in 1965, and that was just a paragraph or two within a lengthy document on the value of human life and love.

And if the Catholic Church were to shift gears and promote birth control, how much of an effect would that actually have? To my mind, family size is a function of culture, not of religion. Of course, religion is very much a reflection of culture - which is why there is such diversity within the Catholic Church.

You claim the Catholic Church promotes misogyny - I really don't think that's the case in the Catholic Church in in the US or in Western Europe, but the Catholic Church has huge populations in areas where people cannot conceive of women being in positions of leadership. Women priests simply wouldn't work in Africa, for example. And in places like Africa, the Catholic Church is in the forefront of movements to promote the rights and welfare of women.

You see the Catholic Church as dictating ideology. I see the Catholic Church as balancing many conflicting ideologies within a union that is not essentially ideological - and I admit that I'm not always happy with the balance. But faith is beyond words and beyond ideology - it rests far deeper within the human spirit.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: mg
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 07:18 PM

If the Catholic Church were to officially promote or at least begrudgingly permit birth control, as Pope John Paul I was supposedly on the verge of doing...it would have huge enormous impact on all sorts of people. It is cruel to people who think you are smarter and more close to God than them to say officially one thing and then unofficially permit what is forbidden...Just be honest men and women and say you are dead wrong and apologize for the horrible effects overpopulation has had on families and on the world. Look at the storm in the Phillipines..as many have pointed out, this is a clearcut issue of overpopulation. They are very faithful Catholics and the church burdens them tremendously with this still official rule.

Most families want to plan their families and reduce the number of children..what man wants to cut sugar cane all day to support 8 children barely when he could perhaps educate and feed 2? What woman wants to see her children sickly and malnourished?

It all just makes me sick. And yes, I feel the church does dictate ideology ... it tries to anyway. But I am a bad Catholic..barely hanging in..the one thing that brings me hope is not the new pope, although he seems fine..but the very welcome news that there is a new president of the bishops..last one constantly repulsed and horrified me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 07:35 PM

So, mg, when was the last time you heard birth control mentioned in a Catholic church?

"Huge impact"? I doubt it. Large families are a cultural thing, not an impact of the dictates of religion.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 09:18 PM

Thank you, DMcG, for your thoughtful post. I must say that many people would regard my utter and vehement condemnation of Mother Teresa with horror: how could it possibly be so...? But I'm afraid she did champion poverty perfectly explicitly and she preached to the poor that they should rejoice in their lot and not fight against it. Have you ever looked up what she said to the people of Bhopal? As for all the good work she did for the poor, well she raised millions of dollars and used a large amount of it to set up hundreds of convents in which her proteges lived rather comfortably, and when she herself was ill she sought relief in expensive clinics in the US. Her own institutions for the poor and sick were places of shameful, criminal neglect, disease and needless deaths (well-documented, I'm afraid, weasel-words alert notwithstanding), and her staff were generally unqualified, badly treated and untrained in how to deal expertly, let alone sympathetically, with vulnerable people. She took money from Papa Doc, in return for which she publicly praised his regime. Don't even get me started on some of her egregiously illiberal and bigoted sayings, material alone for a thesis in themselves. She was the archetypal Christian fundamentalist par excellence. It pays to view the world with your eyes open and see things for what they really are rather than for what you'd fondly like them to be.

It's way past my bedtime and I'll be back at you, Joe, tomorrow, chores permitting. Bet you can't wait. Just remember that, officially, I'm still a Catholic!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 10:57 PM

Well, Steve, I have to say that I've never been a big fan of Mother Teresa. Part of that is the hysteria connected with her, plus the fact that there was no joy in her message. There are Christians for whom it seems that the proper spiritual life consists of wallowing in suffering so they can be happy in heaven - and I think Mother Teresa and her nuns fall into that category.

Still, I think the Hitchens excoriation of her, which you echo, is grossly unfair. I've encountered a number of her nuns in the U.S. and Europe, and they certainly don't seem to live a lavish lifestyle. But I'm used to nuns being funny, and passionate, and exciting, and generally brilliant. Her nuns seem to prefer to make suffering the mark of their lives.

But the Hitchens condemnation of Mother Teresa sounds like some sort of conspiracy theory. I just don't believe it.

And in all honesty, I have to admit that there are a few Catholic women in every parish for whom "wallowing in suffering" seems to be their chosen lot in life. They look horribly sad and are continually pregnant, and all their many children whine constantly and have runny noses. I can't imagine these women enjoying sex, and I never see their husbands around; so I suppose their drunken husbands show up on occasion to rape them and keep them pregnant (and to be honest, some of those husbands aren't drunks and seem to be loving fathers, but conservative). But I can't really think that's normal.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 03:21 AM

Here Mother Theresa can be seen doing a stand-up routine about denying pain killers to her victims - telling them that their suffering is Jesus kissing them. Hilarious!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkIyQyrfQS4


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 03:40 AM

Well, OK, I'm glad you can understand what she's saying on that video, Jack...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 03:58 AM

She's talking about accepting pain & suffering as a gift from God then illustrates this with infamous & oft cited Jesus Kiss anecdote about withholding pain-killers, for which she is rewarded with a mighty guffaw from her cretinous congregation.

Grim stuff!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 05:16 AM

Well, Jack, I gotta admit that I don't accept the "wallowing in suffering" gig. The nuns I know (and love) are feisty, not likely to promote suffering as something to seek as a blessing. Still, if you're suffering, you have to do something with it. If you can make it into something meaningful, more power to you.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 06:06 AM

If I'm suffering, I take painkillers; if I see pain (being an empathic sort o' guy) I wouldn't withhold medication on the grounds that their suffering is God's gift, or Jesus kissing them, or evidence of anything other than nastiness. Pain isn't God's gift : painkillers are - think of it as Holy Communion with the infinite & the eternal, the sacred mystery of nature which inspired humanity to come up with the notion of God in the first place. Nice concept in terms of myth and metaphor; not so good in terms of the political realities of religion.   

Getting back to pills - my life is currently dependent on four different types of medication (it's official! I'm no longer immortal! Gah!). But this is the holy inconvertible law of Nature and Science - these things have been won by long years of learning & research, and without them I'd be dead. Now obviously that's a good thing to a psychopathic evil old hag like Mother Theresa - whose grasp on spirituality & reality was tenuous at best - but I rather like being alive.

LIFE is an end in itself rather than a mere plain of judgement to see what class of eternity I'm fit for in some vain glorious hereafter. The universe is my spiritual eternity & divine unity with the sacred pattern of nature that reveals itself in pain-killers, our daily bread and VCS3 Putneys. Religion was invented to get in the way of such wonders, as Ma Theresa makes abundantly clear.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Musket
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 07:26 AM

I guess a good comparison regarding religious takes on suffering is the Jehova's Witness approach to blood transfusion. Lots of advanced directives and living wills around respecting their wish not to have a blood transfusion. Also lots of instances of when push comes to shove, having them anyway. A cousin of mine is still here today because my Aunty and Uncle relented and convinced her to have it. Interestingly, had she been 6 months younger, the hospital would have been able to ignore their wishes and work in the interest of the child, as this was an emergency.

Mother Teresa was a nun, but I doubt all nuns are or were in her image. The survey asks what the catholic image should be?

Well?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 08:42 AM

Grishka, if I understand you correctly, you push for a separation between science, religion, and ethics; and I can't figure out why. It seems to me that all three affect humans, and humans should have concern and a voice regarding all three.
Humans should of course; how could I deny that, doing it myself all the time? However, when a particular point is being discussed, we should try to identify the frame within which we are discussing. For example, when the late pope John Paul II welcomed the Big Bang theory as very compatible with Genesis, he was not only in error (as an Italian Jesuit physicist pointed out in an interview), but in fact arguing "crossover", which should be taboo altogether in modern philosophy.

Similarly, some (secular) ethicists demand that scientific results about the brain should not be published, in order to protect the axiom of autonomous personality. This cannot be accepted; ethicists should make better use of their own brains. Of course, ethics does have a strong say about possibly unethical methods of research, and the use that is made of the results.

The connection between religion and ethics - the topic of this thread - is slightly closer, but much more complicated than commonly verbalized. The Catholic tradition, like some Islamic traditions, feels obliged to root all ethics in theology. Since neither the Bible nor the Quran provide a framework anywhere close to completeness, theologians, following Thomas Aquinas, have created constructions of "natural law", ingenious in their times, but lacking the kind of consistency required by modern thinking.

Protestant theology, starting with Luther, has step by step come to realize that this kind of foundation is neither required nor reasonable. The main primary source of ethics is simply what humans feel to be ethical (in one word: conscience); the job of ethicists is to get that into a consistent shape - religion will not be of any help there. Good religious faith will result in (or comprise, if you will,) a sensitive conscience, that is all.

Well, Luther was not a perfect follower of his own theology; he frequently invoked God for ethical judgments that stretched the scriptures considerably.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stu
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 09:10 AM

Science is a process, not an answer. What happens with the knowledge discovered by science is the responsibility of society as a whole, although as we know not all voices are equal.

This doesn't mean science operates without ethics; these are a vital part of good science and all scientists work within an ethical framework and of course these ethics are influenced by the prevailing ethical trends of the time. To a large degree they are self-imposed but scientists who operate outside of the wide ethical framework of their discipline would very quickly be seen as pariahs and become quite isolated.


"It seems to me that interaction among all disciplines, is essential."

Taking ethics out of the equation (see above), I think the real issue here is the presence of fundamentalist elements within science and the various religions, especially the monotheistic ones. There are many scientists with deeply held religious convictions, but how they reconcile the two I don't know. I have my own feelings on the matter but I'm not sure they are relevant here.

One of the good things about science is it doesn't matter what your creed or nationality is, scientists tend to be rather enthusiastic about the work they're doing and openness and co-operation is key to this work, so in many cases subject such as politics and religion are rarely raised between colleagues. To my mind this is a very good thing as religion especially is a divisive subject and promotes conflict in many ways, as the world views of adherents tend to be inviolate to themselves and some views are unchallengeable - the total opposite of a scientist who actively seeks to challenge their views.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 09:22 AM

Hmm. If you think Hitchens was unfair to Mother Teresa, I invite you to enlarge on the ways you consider he misrepresented her.

My first teaching job was at a Catholic school in the east end of London, in Poplar. I taught there, including doing a bit of religious education, for seven years, and I led the whole school in prayerful assemblies on several occasions. We were married in the church across the road by Fr Burke (a man I admire to this day). I had a battle with the Bishop of Stepney, Victor Guazzelli, over whether my non-Catholic wife-to-be and I would have to bring up our future children as Catholics. He relented and we had special dispensation (maybe they needed the marriage fee - times were hard...). Many of the teaching staff were nuns. Yes, they were fun and they were witty - but, to a woman, that surface joviality concealed an unbending, stern and judgemental core. They were capable of being perfectly horrible to the east-end kids who already suffered a load of disadvantages. Perhaps you had to work with 'em up close to see it. In fact, I'm sure you did. A nun's habit has the power to excuse its wearer from a whole layer of casual scrutiny.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Jim McLean
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 11:47 AM

I'm afraid I cannot understand why anyone can believe in a God. In Northern Ireland we have Catholics and Protestants killing each other, elsewhere there are Sunnis and Shiites slaughtering each other, Israelis and Palestinians engaged in murdering each other, suicide bombers blowing themselves and innocent bystanders to bits; there are tsunamis, floods, earthquakes .. thousands of innocent, God fearing people dying. How can anyone justify the existence of a God? Arguments about abortion are purely academic in the face of this.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Musket
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 12:28 PM

Perhaps not as much as you think Jim.

I doubt the God concept is the root of conflict, just a convenient way of a) finding something different about others to make killing them easier, and b) something to get your foot soldiers to believe in. After all, who would follow a leader who said "Do it so I can have their goods and land and be very rich as a result!"

A bit like the "Christian persecution" thread where some people are convinced that whilst persecution of all types goes on, Christian persecution alone is based on religious reasons...

The tsunami, floods and earthquakes aren't anything to do with religion either, despite the masses being put in their place by those who say its because the Gods are angry.....

This thread, if Joe has his way, is about the specific questionnaire concept that Catholics are being asked to complete. Consideration of whether religion has anything to do with the existence of a God is for another day. Mind you, so long as I can swear and be irresponsible, I'd love to participate in the next thread of that ilk.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Jim McLean
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 01:06 PM

Sorry about my typo, I should, of course, written Catholics.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 01:22 PM

I'm quite thankful that we are a secular country in which The Law as decided by Parliament pertains. Thus, no matter what religious ethics are heavily promoted by whatever misguided, prejudiced or strange sects, one can have recourse to The Law for a much saner ruling. For example, gay people cannot be persecuted and can marry if they wish, people can have access to contraception, blood transfusions, divorce, and so on. Imagine living under Shariah Law, or being subject to various religious strictures maintained forcibly. It only remains for each adherent here to examine their conscience and voluntarily decide to obey the rules of their religion, nobody is forcing them. As a practising C of E member I am still the one to decide whether I agree or not with some of the 'rules'. (For instance, some of the ritualisation in our services)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 02:05 PM

It only remains for each adherent here to examine their conscience and voluntarily decide to obey the rules of their religion, nobody is forcing them.

Tiny babies are forcibly christened and, as they grow, are force-fed religion by the million in schools and herded to church services, so perhaps this utopia of free choice isn't as clear cut as you're making it out to be. The horrid Christingle is almost upon us!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket curious
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 03:46 PM

Fair enough Eliza. I must do something weird for me though and slightly defend the ethos behind sharia. You mention your husband is a Muslim so hopefully you see my point as in an ideal world rather than the one we wade through.

My understanding via many friends is that sharia is based on agreeing to arbitration by elders. That their sanctions are based on medieval interpretations of what constitutes fair is an issue but in a secular way, arbitration by agreement to the process is possibly one of the more useful aspects of living by religious ideals.

We can talk of pressure to agree and we can talk of awful sanctions by more extreme penalty but arbitration by agreement is not a bad idea.

I fully agree with some of your points. Personal freedom is far more important than following something imposed on you. Hence my general disdain of the tenets of organised religion. My dismissal is based on having never having to abide by Scripture but I can fully understand the thoughts of those scarred by it. You are speaking from within being a regular church goer so my respect for your input is rather high.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 04:32 PM

You're right, Musket, (and I'm touched by your respectful post) Sharia is based on arbitration by elders, and is usually biased in favour of the status quo, and can be dismissive of women's needs and rights. But my husband is a Sunni Muslim from Ivory Coast and has never had recourse to Sharia there. However, in, say, Saudi Arabia, Muslim tenets are I believe very strictly enforced. Women aren't even allowed to drive. Even non-Muslims must tow the line. A female friend accompanied her husband on a business trip to Riyadh and wore what she thought was a full-length dress, only to have the religious police whip her legs with a huge cane as she walked along the street. She caught the next flight home, and her hubby had to go it alone! I can see Steve's point of view regarding indoctrination. It can amount to brainwashing and makes it very difficult for an individual to break away and follow their private conscience (as with, say, strictly-controlled Amish people) I believe many Catholics in the West (to get back to the thread) practise contraception, have single-sex relationships etc and try to come to terms with their consciences as best they can. It isn't good to treat ones religion as a pick-and-mix menu, but all life is a compromise and that goes for religion too. I personally feel that God is much greater than all this and has compassion for our doubts and needs. I also feel the present Pope is a man of humility and understanding, ao maybe he will be able to change some things to bring them in line with modern times.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 05:29 PM

You know, Steve, they use a little bit of water and a tiny dab of oil in christening, and they say a few words. I doubt that baptism does any permanent harm to those tiny babies, nor does teaching them religious traditions and taking them to church instead of leaving them home.

Your description of a religious upbringing has the same, dramatic tabloid "spin" that Hitchens used in his "expose" of Mother Teresa. In both cases, the reality is far less dramatic and far more mundane.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 05:54 PM

Authoritarian education can inflict real damage - Steve is a living example. However, dispensing with ethics and leadership altogether is no solution either, and would not be possible anyway. Any remedy must be preceded by precise analysis, "venom" (to quote Liz) is of little help.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 06:57 PM

I believe many Catholics in the West (to get back to the thread) practise contraception, have single-sex relationships etc and try to come to terms with their consciences as best they can.

So do many Muslims in the west.

It isn't good to treat ones religion as a pick-and-mix menu

Well I wouldn't know, but I can't help responding to this by musing that that is exactly what Joe seems to be espousing, a pick-and-mix version of Catholicism. The trouble with coming to this accommodation is that it is far more available to people in the free-thinking west than it is to the people in sub-Saharan Africa or the Philippines or in Central America, who suffer severely at the hands of the Catholic Church's authoritarianism (I gave the example of the ridiculously-high birth rate in the 80%-Catholic Philippines, the undeniable fruit of Catholic policy).

I doubt that baptism does any permanent harm to those tiny babies, nor does teaching them religious traditions and taking them to church instead of leaving them home.

Well, to me this reads like the thoughts of a man in denial. The symbolism, even if not contained in the lack of gravity of the ceremony, is massive. You are now in a club, at the age of a month or two, that you will not be able to escape from without, in many cases, a ton of agonising and family confrontation, let alone lingering guilt - and all because the club was fearful of letting you go. Joe, as a rational chap you should be fighting tooth and nail to stop children being baptised until they are old enough to realise the consequences. 16, 18, mebbe, or even older. Choice is a beautiful word that instils mortal fear into the Catholic hierarchy. I have no quarrel with teaching children religious traditions, in fact I'd say that a good education could not be complete without it, but that is not really what we are talking about here, is it? We're talking about telling children that myth is truth, about making them bow their heads in parroted prayers and about herding them to church. By their fruits: how come every kid can parrot the Lord's Prayer, yet hardly a one could recite the similar-length Sonnet 18, far more beautiful by any measure?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 07:04 PM

Authoritarian education can inflict real damage - Steve is a living example.

This is bitter, uninformed, patronising, prejudiced shite which demonstrates once and for all that you're not a person who deserves even the gift of snot from one's nose.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 07:51 PM

I gave the example of the ridiculously-high birth rate in the 80%-Catholic Philippines, the undeniable fruit of Catholic policy.

So, Steve, if it is true that religion (not culture) is the cause of population excesses, is the birth rate among non-Catholics in the Philippines and Africa significantly lower?

To my mind, Steve, you are obsessed with ideology. If people don't live up to your standards of right-thinking, you see them as evil.

I don't buy it.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 08:07 PM

That is just denial again, Joe. Four people in five in the Philippines are Roman Catholic. The birth rate stats relate to the whole population. But I wouldn't have selected a nation that was, say, only 50% Catholic to illustrate my point, would I? Now if you have stats to show that non-Catholics in the Philippines have a significantly lower birth rate, or whatever, well let's have 'em. 80% Catholic is a pretty good demographic to work on, I reckon.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 08:16 PM

To my mind, Steve, you are obsessed with ideology. If people don't live up to your standards of right-thinking, you see them as evil

You really are struggling here, Joe. I doubt everything I ever say and, apart from recognising the truth of evolution, :-) I have no "ideologies", nor do I have standards of right-thinking that I expect anyone else to live up to, and you bloody know it! Joe, I speak as I find and I always stay cool (gosh, how annoying is that!). I recommend the approach!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 12:28 AM

I didn't find a religion-based study, but here's an interesting article on the birth rate in the Philippines:
http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2010/philippines.aspx

The article says that "Data from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) show total fertility rate falling from 6.0 lifetime births per woman in 1970 to 3.3 children per woman in 2006." and "The use of family planning increased from 17 percent in 1973 to 51 percent in 2008." However "The DHS results also show that the mortality rate for children under age 5 decreased from 58 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 34 deaths per 1,000 in 2008."

The article says that the birth rate decreases in inverse proportion to the income level of women, so richer women have lower birth rates.

The government of the Philippines has had programs promoting population growth control since 1970, and it appears that the programs (and, I would think, the change in society in general) have had a significant effect.

The article says "Average fertility for Southeast Asia in 2010 is about 2.4. With its moderately high fertility, the Philippines population of 94 million is growing by 1.8 percent annually."

That being said, I agree with Steve that the Catholic Church should drop its opposition to birth control - but I still don't think its position has a significant effect on population growth. Religion is only one of a wide variety of factors that affect birth rate.

It seems clear to me that nations that have had a traditionally low life expectancy, have higher birth rates. I would think that when life expectancy gets longer, the birth rate might drop, but at a rate less than the rate of increase in life expectancy - which would result in an increase in population. That seems to be the case in the Philippines.

-Joe-

P.S. Sorry, Steve Shaw, but I find you to be myopic, rigid, and overly dramatic - not to mention insulting. It's no fun discussing anything with you, because you don't play fair.
And I quote:
    Tiny babies are forcibly christened and, as they grow, are force-fed religion by the million in schools and herded to church services, so perhaps this utopia of free choice isn't as clear cut as you're making it out to be. The horrid Christingle is almost upon us!
Bullshit!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket curious
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 02:21 AM

Is practicing safe sex with a hard wired sense of guilt a reasonable outcome?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 05:42 AM

Bullshit? Well I might have couched it more diplomatically (I try to find different ways of not having to turn the record over), but that is indeed what happens. I haven't seen any baby managing to opt out of its christening nor have I seen any faith school making its religious instruction lessons voluntary.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 07:07 AM

Steve,
        Authoritarian education can inflict real damage - Steve is a living example.

This is bitter, uninformed, patronising, prejudiced shite which demonstrates once and for all that you're not a person who deserves even the gift of snot from one's nose.
In this world of uncertainties, one thing is certain: if someone tells you to jump, you'll jump. You may recognize the slight (!) irony in my statement, but it is just a reflection of your self-contradictory argumentation, which you do not seem to notice. Others, including Musket, do. You claim science but deliberately refuse to act to its minimal standards, in this thread and in others.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stu
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 08:30 AM

This thread is rapidly becoming an excellent example of why religion and the secular administration of society should remain apart.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 09:09 AM

I'm afraid that Grishka seems not to know what "irony" means. The rest of the post is gibberish.

I could just remind anyone still here that the original post in this thread started with I realize that there are people at Mudcat that seek to prevent rational discussion of religious issues because they are certain that all religion is bad and all religious people are stupid... Perhaps the throwers of brickbats here might care to reflect on that unforced piece of defensive nonsense before moaning about rational debate not being possible, etc... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 10:14 AM

Don't think you can have "reasonable debate" about "faith".

It is a belief, a belief in the triumph of goodness over evil. That does not make it bad or wrong, though it is obviously "unreasonable"

Ian and some others here have a belief in equality for all under a system that encourages us to compete in the most cut throat way with our brothers and sisters, and makes money its "god". They are entitled to their belief, though it is surely as unreasonable as religious faith?

Seems to me the band of "messiahs" who ridiculed believers so harshly on the other thread are falling apart.
Only Steve is left to fight his corner.....Steve, you must learn from Ian, who to suck up to, and who to abuse.
Don't abuse Grishka....He/she is too smart, and will take you to pieces in short order.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 10:31 AM

That's an amusing take on things there all right, demonstrating that you are a serial miscontruer of events. Incidentally, I don't fight corners. I don't start religion threads either. And, as for Grishka tearing me to pieces, well he or she's going to have to do better than recent, rather incoherent efforts. I suppose we all have our off-days, but I still don't find meself quaking in me boots.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 10:48 AM

Incidentally again, I don't think what we do here is really debating faith per se. Your faith is entirely your business, just like your masturbation techniques or whether you secretly pick your nose and eat it when no-one's looking. Such matters are entirely your affair and of no concern to anyone else. That is, until you decide to go large with them and pretend that you are the owner of the truth, so much so that you attempt to disseminate it to other people (especially to children). If you, as organised religion does, tell people that there is one true God, instead of telling them that you think there is one true God but that their MMV, you are a liar! The words "in my opinion" do not occur in The Lord's Prayer, and I never heard those words said about all the "religious knowledge" I was taught at school. I know many perfectly sane and sensible people who go to Sunday Mass or to the synagogue or mosque. Some of them are good scientists, perfectly happy in their own skins. A piece of you bearing a delusion does not disqualify you from being a good human being. In fact, imperfection is what being a good human being is all about. I happen to know that Liverpool FC are the world's greatest team but I'm still OK, more or less. And I intend to continue to tell the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 11:11 AM

I used to think Rangers were the worlds greatest football team, then they went to Berwick and got cuffed so I realised they were just another team.

Anyway if you have enough money you can BUY the worlds greatest team of footballers.....isn't equality wonderful?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 11:45 AM

"Somebody asked me about the Pope's survey in a personal message. I realize that there are people at Mudcat that seek to prevent rational discussion of religious issues because they are certain that all religion is bad and all religious people are stupid, but nonetheless I think that this is a good thing to talk about."

Joe, this is a form of proselytizing. No rational discussion of religion can be realized if you are certain that there are people on Mudcat who are in turn certain that religious people are stupid. This is a form of intimidation. Religion has a history of intimidating non-believers by using erstwhile public media for their own agenda.

The Pope may be a nice guy but he represents an institution that enslaves women, prohibits birth control and contraception, and the institution chastises non-believers and ostracizes those who don't espouse their beliefs. The theory of "just wars" is a Catholic precept and establishes a rationale for war which is unjustified particularly when the Church has committed it historically.

"To my mind, Steve, you are obsessed with ideology. If people don't live up to your standards of right-thinking, you see them as evil."

Joe, you appear to be obsessed with Catholic ideology otherwise you wouldn't have offered this post.

I am a non-believer who has never said that religious people are stupid. I have kept my remarks to the institution of religion itself, not the people who believe in it. If you profess to "hate the sin and not the sinner", then I have every right to dislike the institution rather than the people who believe in it. That's only fair.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket. Just that.
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 12:09 PM

Steve was doing alright till he got to the bit about Liverpoool. Then his blind faith crept to the surface.... Of course, were he brought up a proddy, he would say the same about Everton. Had he been brought up in a rational manner, his affiliation would of course be the other side of The Pennines in S6. Up the Owls!

Anyone wish to guess what the nonsense above from Akenhateon concerning equality is all about?

I bet you can't guess.

Being on a "What makes a good catholic" thread, it for once has relevance, even if just to show that you don't have to be religious to justify blind bigotry.....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 04:02 PM

Come now, Frank, do you really think this is the Catholic Church? -
    The Pope may be a nice guy but he represents an institution that enslaves women, prohibits birth control and contraception, and the institution chastises non-believers and ostracizes those who don't espouse their beliefs. The theory of "just wars" is a Catholic precept and establishes a rationale for war which is unjustified particularly when the Church has committed it historically.

  • Enslaves women? - who? where? when?
  • Chastises non-believers and ostracizes those who don't espouse their beliefs? Again - when? What century are you speaking about? That certainly hasn't happened from Rome on an official basis since Vatican II ended in 1965, although there are a few yahoo bishops who haven't caught on to ecumenism yet.
  • Just war theory? - well, yes, that Catholic Church does teach that there are some circumstances when fighting a war is justified, but only in self-defense. The church has moved closer and closer toward pure pacifism in the last fifty years. Paragraph 2308 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that "all citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war." 2309 says, "The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy..." Here's a link to the entire section titled Safeguarding Peace
    Do you have any idea how many times the Pope spoke out against the US wars in Iraq? It was over fifty times for the first Iraq war - and no pope ever spoke in favor of either war.
    And do you know what the Catholic position is on capital punishment? They think it's immoral.
  • Birth control? Well, I don't agree with the decision that was made on birth control, it it's not a decision that was carved in stone. I don't agree with the U.S. decision not to include single payer insurance in Obamacare, either. But churches and organizations and governments are in a state of constant flux, and it's up to members to work to change the things they think need changing. And Catholics all over the world widely ignore the birth control prohibition, and the Catholic Church has no power to coerce them. In fact, that church has always taught that individual conscience overrules church law. In 1978, my conscience told me that three kids was enough, so I got a vasectomy.

The basic doctrine of the Catholic Church is fairly simple, the Nicene Creed that was defined in 325 AD. That's not going to change, although it is under constant study and redefinition, and there are differing theological views of almost every article of the Creed. Every organization has basic, foundational documents that remain part of that organization's history and tradition - but most foundational documents are constantly redefined and re-understood to adapt to a changing environment.

Frank, you paint a very narrow, unrealistic picture of the Catholic Church, and it's hard for me to understand why you don't know better. Take a look at the Jesuit America Magazine to see the reality of the Catholic Church, and the diversity of culture and opinion that exists there. Remember that the church elected a Jesuit as Pope the last time around, so there must be some legitimacy to the diversity of opinion expressed in this Jesuit magazine. Blind obedience to the Pope, if it ever existed, went out of style in about 1950 - it was something that Pius IX tried to impose after the Catholic Church lost the Papal States in the 1870s, and the Pope became a self-sentenced "prisoner of the Vatican."
No, the Catholic Church isn't perfect - it is an ever-changing organism that exists in real life and consists of real people. It is not the rigid, intolerant monolith you describe. Churches, for the most part, are not some sort of mind-control mechanism. They're for exploring and marking and celebrating the events and the mysteries of life.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 08:27 PM

Birth control? Well, I don't agree with the decision that was made on birth control, it it's not a decision that was carved in stone. I don't agree with the U.S. decision not to include single payer insurance in Obamacare, either. But churches and organizations and governments are in a state of constant flux, and it's up to members to work to change the things they think need changing. And Catholics all over the world widely ignore the birth control prohibition, and the Catholic Church has no power to coerce them. In fact, that church has always taught that individual conscience overrules church law.

But you and I live in democracies which occasionally openly challenge organised religion's more egregious stupidities such as bans on contraception, blatant sexism and homophobia and illiberal abortion laws. It's not healthy enough but it's a damn sight healthier than in some countries in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia (such as the Philippines). Why, you might fear for your life there if you're gay, women are condemned to a life of servile poverty and sexual abuse, and contraception and sex education are next to impossible to obtain - with the connivance of the Church. Mother Teresa was a big help, of course, and there are a good few Mother Teresa types around. We also know that other religions hold similar sway in many non-Christian countries. Incidentally, it is inaccurate to state that the Church has always taught that conscience may overrule Church law. I mixed it big-time with Catholicism until I was around thirty years old and I never heard that any resort to contraception bar the rhythm method was other than mortal sin, or that sex could ever be intended for any purpose other than conception. I got those messages as a child and grown-up in liberated, non-Catholic England, so I'll be blowed if those same messages aren't forced over ten times more vehemently in those other countries I mentioned, in many of which religion is little more than a blunt instrument of the state. Try overriding your laws by conscience to get an abortion in Ireland, even if without one you may die.   

   
In 1978, my conscience told me that three kids was enough, so I got a vasectomy.

I had mine in 1981, but in my case only after protracted agonising over it with my missus.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 01:48 AM

Well, you have a point, Steve. The mainstream of the Catholic Church is a good 30 years behind the U.S. and Western European thinking on contraception, sexism, homophobia, and abortion.

Part of the problem is that to change policy in a church, you have to satisfy everybody, not just a majority. In other words, the process for policy change is different from what you would like to impose.

And Steve, the primacy of conscience has always been taught in the Catholic Church - even conservative EWTN will tell you that. The fact that you didn't learn it, means maybe you didn't read enough, or didn't pay attention, or were blinded by preconceived notions that would not allow you to understand. Or maybe the only Catholics you knew were the ultra-conservative ones. The policy really makes the conservatives squirm, but it's policy - people are morally obliged to do what they truly believe is right.

You claim to know a lot about the Catholic Church, but you seem to have no concept of the thinking that goes on what happens in the church. All you see is authority, and a requirement to obey authority. That, sir, is a distorted view of the reality of the Catholic Church.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket arbitrating
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 05:07 AM

It may be so Joe, in more enlightened areas of the world.

But not only does strict adherence to the pulpit exist in many countries to a huge degree, including due South of you... Also, The Vatican is of the opinion that Catholics fall into two categories; those who follow instruction faithfully and those who should.

It seems to an outsider, or at least an outsider with the unfortunate honour of sharing my mindset, that the Catholic Church, especially in terms of this survey, consists of progressive enlightened people trying to make their faith relevant to today's challenges and those who feel society should adapt to them instead.

I reckon the latter are the ones with the keys to the executive toilet.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 05:47 AM

But not only does strict adherence to the pulpit exist in many countries to a huge degree, including due South of you... Also, The Vatican is of the opinion that Catholics fall into two categories; those who follow instruction faithfully and those who should.

Got data to prove that, Musket?


I've had contact with Catholics from a huge number of Third World countries. The Catholics from the poorer countries tend to be more conservative and quite pious, but I've seen no particular evidence that there's significant authority exerted over them by church authorities. And I've also seen no evidence that the issues spoken of above (contraception, sexism, homophobia, and abortion) are frequently discussed from the pulpit in poor countries. Priests are required to speak on the scripture readings at Mass, and the readings are the same worldwide on any given day.

That being said, it does seem that most third world countries may be what you would consider homophobic - but is that their religion, or their culture? Same with sexism, and with population control issues.

I read the official documents. They're not as authoritarian as you might think. But yeah, there are a good many autocrats scattered among the Catholic bishops of the world. And for most matters, the buck stops at the local bishop's office, not in Rome.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 07:34 AM

Thanks, Joe, for pointing us to that EWTN text, seeming to be a concise summary of official Catholic doctrine on ethics. The main problem is that popes and bishops are assigned a superior expertise by the mere fact of succession. ("Self-appointed", in Steve's words.) Similarly to absolute monarchy, the concept had some practical advantages in former eras, but lacks systematic justification.

Theologians and clergy should study ethics, but their authority in these matters must only be derived from their reasoning. Thus they compete with other ethicists on an equal footing. This is what most people feel in modern times, including many Catholics, including many Catholic theologians when discussing inside their academic institutions - I know some in person. It is the Catholic hierarchy system that still has to go a long way, the pope now being at the first step.

In congregations and classrooms, the problem is not so much official theology, but individual power. Even in "liberal" protestant churches, clergy are tempted to abuse their authority. So are other teachers, politicians, policemen, etc.

It is important to emphasize that this has little to do with religion in the narrower sense, which deals with the identity of a community through history. Existing holy scriptures contain some details about ethics, derived from the moral frameworks of the times and societies in which they were written, but fortunately not lending themselves to application in modern societies. Trying to extract their essence usually leaves us with the "Golden Rule", i.e. back to zero, amounting to "A human got to do what a human got to do!" (The gold content lies in its observance.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 09:44 AM

That being said, it does seem that most third world countries may be what you would consider homophobic - but is that their religion, or their culture? Same with sexism, and with population control issues.

Bit of the ol' Pontius Pilatism here, Joe. You can't so easily separate religion from culture, not even in secular western countries. The Church connives in these things. If you think not, show me evidence of any mainstream Church organisations that actively oppose them. Standing quietly by while these things go on, when you could have a strong protest voice, does not absolve one from all guilt.

And Steve, the primacy of conscience has always been taught in the Catholic Church - even conservative EWTN will tell you that. The fact that you didn't learn it, means maybe you didn't read enough, or didn't pay attention...

Well it was never clearly articulated so that we could be sure where we could or could not apply our consciences (and, er, we were impressionable teenagers, of course). Oh yes, I remember lessons in which the many kinds of conscience were analysed, and it was made perfectly clear to us that the correct kind of conscience that would permit our breaching of the Church's laws was too high a barrier for almost everyone. The conscience getout was very much on paper only.

As for not reading enough or not paying attention, I did rather well at school as it happens, thanks. Largely by reading and paying attention. Stop guessing.   

or were blinded by preconceived notions that would not allow you to understand.

Shame you have to spoil the discussion by resorting to the lame old, patronising "bitter ex-Catholic" ploy, Joe. I really can't be bothered to keep on refuting it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 09:51 AM

In congregations and classrooms, the problem is not so much official theology, but individual power. Even in "liberal" protestant churches, clergy are tempted to abuse their authority.

Point well made. I'm just thinking how well it applied to me and the other impressionable teenagers in those "conscience" lessons I mentioned. The cassock and the fact that we had to call the bloke "Father" might have bolstered that power just a little as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 10:51 AM

Your life was so different to mine Steve. We called our RE teacher "Larry Gooseneck."

He once told us there was more evidence that Jesus existed than Hitler. When a lad questioned this, he hit him across the back of the head and told him to get the dictionary and look up "blasphemy" then read it out to the class.

God is love and all that......




Sorry Joe, I don't have data to show that the Vatican expects people to be good Catholics and live by their rules. I assume you may have such evidence though if you look.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 12:15 PM

We had one called "Jug". But the guys who forced the message most ardently were often not our regular teachers, who were uninspiring to say the least, but the outside guys brought in to take the not-infrequent "retreats", which involved shelving the whole curriculum for several days in order to concentrate on our God-fearing moral side. One of these drafted-in priests told a big bunch of us fifth-form lads that we must not be tempted whilst in the bath washing our privates, which we shouldn't even look at. Instead, we were to avert our gaze upwards and think of the Virgin Mary. I did try hard, but it was always Betty Swollox's fit sister who infested me mind instead...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 02:06 PM

I never could and still can't understand the ingrained horror of sex as an untold evil and enormous sin which is a tenet of most of the world's great religions. Violence, theft, lying, cruelty are self-evidently wicked, but why sex for goodness sake? It's perfectly natural, pleasurable and does no harm as far as I can see. I'm not including rape of course, but consensual sex is a great joy. Is it due to the self-inflicted celibacy of the teachers, monks and nuns, priests and wizened old spinsters who unfortunately have powers over the young folk in their charge? Sinister! I had a colleague who was at a boarding school run my the Sisters of Mercy. She told me they were completely Merciless, and ordered the girls never to wear shiny shoes, as 'boys might see their knickers reflected there'!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 02:44 PM

Very easy to answer, Eliza, and it has nothing to do with religion: Most societies want to profit from fathers who are by nature highly motivated to foster their genetic offspring. Therefore they go / went at great length to discourage the other strategy of fathers, to maximize their offspring in number without further investment, leaving the raising to the mothers, cuckolds, and to society in general.

The masturbation obsession seems to have started only in 18th century, when the "enlightened" medical profession discovered that inmates of lunatic asylums masturbated frequently - they had no reputation to lose - and astutely concluded that masturbating causes mental illness. Ethicists quickly adopted the notion. Most dropped it again in the 20th century, but Catholics had the idea that whatever they once pronounce as God's will must remain true forever.

Similar considerations apply to homosexuality, which many people seriously believed to be caused by seduction.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 02:52 PM

The sad bit being, many priests enjoy sex as much as the next person, but perhaps more than the person they are abusing.....

A religion based on enjoying yourself being a sin is ultimately a controlling religion. As much as I respect where Joe is coming from, at the end of the day that is the fundamental elephant in the room.



Err.. Sorry Steve. Betty doesn't have a sister... Her brother was a stunt stand in for Danny La Rue if memory serves me well.......


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 02:57 PM

Musket at 5:07 AM: The Vatican is of the opinion that Catholics fall into two categories; those who follow instruction faithfully and those who should.

Joe at 5:57 AM: Got data to prove that, Musket?

Musket at 10:51 AM: Sorry Joe, I don't have data to show that the Vatican expects people to be good Catholics and live by their rules.

Musket, I can come up with data to prove your latter statement, but not the former.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 03:28 PM

Her brother was a stunt stand in for Danny La Rue if memory serves me well.

Bugger...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 04:18 PM

Eliza speaks of the ingrained horror of sex as an untold evil and enormous sin which is a tenet of most of the world's great religions.

Oh, there have been times when this has been true, Eliza - but is it true now? I can answer that - yes, it is true among some people. All of the horror stories told above are true, but are they anecdotal incidents or are they a true, complete view of religion?

I think they're anecdotal. Churches have lots of members and leaders who are assholes, as do all other segments of society. I've spent my life opposing assholes in the Catholic Church. I currently have a pastor who can be a real asshole, and I take wicked delight in devising devious ways to thwart him - with some success.

But my overall experience of the Catholic Church is good. I find there a good place for rich discussion, for building deep friendships, for working for social justice for the homeless and immigrants, and for expressing my faith in worship.

I could wish that the management structure of the Catholic Church were otherwise, but it has its good points. The Second Vatican Council set forth "collegiality" as the basic principle of management for the Catholic Church. Decisions are supposed to be made by consultation and consensus, not by the individual fiats of autocrats or the tyranny of majority rule. Individual parishes and dioceses are supposed to have consultative councils, and the Pope himself is supposed to make decisions in consultation with all the bishops. This doesn't always work, but it does work very well in many situations in the Catholic Church. Most religious orders in the United States and Western Europe take collegiality very seriously, and they've made it word (don't know about orders in other parts of the world, but I get the impression this success is worldwide-with exceptions). I'm an associate member of the Sisters of Mercy. Our region has 700 sisters and 700 associates. We elect a regional president and a five-member governing body every three years. All the members of the region are invited to "consultation network" meetings twice a year. The sisters find their own employment and pool their resources. We associates don't take vow of poverty or chastity, so we don't participate in the pooling of resources; but we do participate in almost all other activities of the religious community.

I've worked very closely with nuns from four different religious orders, and also with four different orders of priests. Most seem to be very happy, stable people who enjoy their lives very much and do excellent work - especially in serving the poor and immigrants. I think there tends to be more unhappiness among diocesan priests who live on their own, but the community life of religious orders seems to be quite healthy and fulfilling nowadays. I also know of some religious orders that are rigidly conservative and still in the "obedience" mode, and it upsets me that these neoconservative orders are the ones that are growing and recruiting large numbers of young, backward-thinking members. The older orders are relying on lay associates like me as their future.

There are lots of things about the Catholic Church that upset me, and I have worked all my life to make those things better. But on the whole, I would say that I've found a way to live happily and prosper within a flawed church.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 06:12 PM

I too have known, and made retreats with many nuns (both Protestant and Catholic) who seemed very pleasant and well-balanced. But many anecdotes are still heard about a quite different side to some priests and religious. It has to be admitted that there is a great deal of preoccupation with sex and sexual feelings as being somehow 'base' and not holy. But I did say in my last post that this occurs in most of the world's great religions, Muslims and Jews for example, and I think Grishka's point about genetic control by men is a valid one. It just seems to me that of all the 'sins' one could commit, consensual sex for mutual pleasure would be the most innocuous!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 06:46 PM

I dunno, Eliza -

I think most of us have "a great deal of preoccupation with sex and sexual feelings," and most of us occasionally have a hard time figuring out what to do about it. I'm happily married, but I've been bothered by "crushes" off and on over the years.

In the last fifty years, the Catholic Church has published reams of official documents about the sacredness and beauty and joy of sex between married persons. I think other religious groups have done the same, and I've even seen some writings in a religious context about the sacredness of sex between lovers whether married or not, whether heterosexual or homosexual - if there is fidelity between the two.

I don't expect churches to approve sex outside of marriage (that's pushing the issue just a bit too far), but I think you'll find that very few churches have published much recently to condemn it. That kind of stuff is from another age, and only from conservative extremists in the current day.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: mg
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 07:09 PM

I wonder how many bishops will ask their parishioners to complete or respond to a survey. Also, I glanced at it but is there anything at all about the abuse situation? The criminal abuse situation? And all the US bishops met recently...was that on the agenda? Not on the public agenda for sure..does anyone know if it was on the private one?

I urge everyone, whether their desire is to reform the church, defend it, explain it away, to begin their day as I do ..reading the bishop accountability abuse tracker. Read today's

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AbuseTracker/

The same sort of stuff with a new cast of characters is repeated every single day. Read about Australia. If this has gone on in first world countries ..and some is decades old but still...what is it going to be like when the spotlight is turned on Thailand? On India? Mexico? Poland?

And the same system that created these unfortunately monstrous priests (and some are beyond belief in what they did) created some of us. And the idiotic beyond comprehension bishops and cardinals..at least one of the cardinals seems malevolent to me. Others just seem stupid. They are not fit to run a carwash, much less human lives.

It is past time to wonder how they (we?) got this way. It is part and parcel of how we were raised...perhaps the best ones..the ones trying the hardest to be holy..are the ones who got so perveted. I am sympathetic to them...to have compulsions that are, as it has been recently pointed out to us, are or were hanging offenses in Australia.

And this is not on the forsaken survey? Well I am glad there is a survey. Watch some of the US bishops skittle around and try to get out of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 13 - 07:27 PM

No, mg, there is no direct mention of child molestation on the UK version of the survey, the only official one I've seen. There's plenty of room for people to make comments on the matter if it's pertinent, however.
In the United States, this matter was studied extensively in the late 1990s, and reforms were put in place in 2002. The matter is on the agenda of every U.S. bishops' meeting, but usually only for updates on the progress of the reforms. Similar reforms have more recently been put in place in the rest of the world.
I think if you look at the dates of the offenses on the bishop-accountability.org Website, you'll see that very few offenses were committed after the year 2000 - and those were dealt with swiftly and severely by church authorities. The Catholic priest child molestation scandal is more-or-less behind us, although the consequences will linger for a long time to come. Note, by the way, that bishop-accountability.org is a lay organization established to confront Catholic bishops with the reality and scope of the scandal they were responsible for. For the most part, the bishops finally got the message and took action.

But I just looked through the list of Wisconsin priests who were accused. I knew a lot of them when I was in the seminary in the 1960s, and some of them were people I liked very much. That's very troubling to me.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 05:14 AM

"I don't expect churches to approve sex outside of marriage (that's pushing the issue just a bit too far),"

What you don't seem to realise Joe is that the people you debate with here, in the main, want to see the end of all forms of religion and worship science and technology instead.

The boundaries will be pushed until your faith is marginalised and to propagate such ideas will be viewed as extreme "bigotry"

Regarding child abuse, I have always said that the Celibacy rule" is outdated and must be removed.
Priests should understand real life, the family and the problems of bringing up children in an increasingly "godless" society.

Married priests...preferably with children should be the norm.
The battle between religion and secularism on these pages is basically political...so keep your chin up.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 05:45 AM

Maybe so, ake, since that's where the thread is drifting, but the motivation was a discussion between Joe and another Catholic about how well the survey explores or helps the Bishop's in the declared objective of preparing for a conference. That seems to be a valid discussion. And by its nature it will take place between bishops and their congregations who are all (more of less!) practising Catholics. It may be true most people here want to see the end of all forms of religion, but that is not going to be something the bishops discuss as a goal, I would think!

Now, since the conference is about the relationship of the church and the family, the question of sex outside marriage is distinctly relevant. And it comes in a wide variety of forms, some of which are distinctly less socially acceptable than others and are likely to remain so. For example, a married couple where one of them repeatedly has affairs outside the marriage is likely to remain less acceptable than long term relationships without either being interested in the formality of marriage.

Whilst this is distinctly off-thread, I think the emphasis on sex outside marriage is ultimately social, not religious. A few other, small, societies have a different structure to ours, but in the main there are a host of implications for society - inheritance, lines of authority and legal responsibility, how costs are shared between society and individuals, and so forth - that are directly influenced by such things as whether a relationship is permanent or temporary, or who the parent of a child is. It is a source of constant concern to me that so few people who choose to live together rather than marry "because the don't believe in it" are unaware of the legal ramifications if one should die without clearly sorting out things like inheritance and pension rights.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,DMcG
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 05:46 AM

That was me, DMcG, above.   The Cookie Monster has struck again


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 05:56 AM

And re-reading what I said, I should have stuck to either 'so few are .. aware' or 'so many are .. unaware'. What I actually said - 'so few are .. unaware' - is naturally enough the exact opposite of what I meant. (hits forehead and shouts 'Doh!')


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 06:05 AM

What you don't seem to realise Joe is that the people you debate with here, in the main, want to see the end of all forms of religion and worship science and technology instead.

Wild broad-brush inaccuracy aside, I need to mull over this. "I want to see the end of all forms of religion..." Really? I don't think so. The world might well be a better place without organised religion (though we'll never see it), but individuals' private beliefs are nothing to do with me. As for "worshipping science and technology", well there you go yet again with that lame old false equivalence. False because atheism is predicated on the almost certain non-existence of God. Nothing else. The worship of science and technology ("worship"??) is equally and fairly distributed among believers and atheists alike, old chap.   


The boundaries will be pushed until your faith is marginalised and to propagate such ideas will be viewed as extreme "bigotry"

Pushed by who?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket being sick
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 08:55 AM

By me apparently.

Too bloody true if your "faith" is stigmatising people on the basis of their situation.

I think we are about two posts away from society's problems being the fault of "liberals" and people being forced into a gay agenda.

As I have stopped letting myself be disgusted by him, I am capable of enjoying reading his outbursts. Snag is, what if you were reading Akenhateon for the first time? Not a nice prospect for unsuspecting decent people.

The issues for any religious body go far deeper than trying to adapt to the times though. I suppose this Pope is trying to save his church in the western world by moving the emphasis towards being servant of his flock not master.

The issue of sex outside of marriage is always going to be a thorny issue. After all, any perceived taboo element just makes the prospect more exciting for most people. In addition, opposing sex outside of marriage and not wanting gay people to be married is a bit of a double whammy. If the many gay Catholics feel they belong, the theologians need to reconcile the catch 22 which at present puts such people in a position only bigoted beasts would welcome.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 09:32 AM

I think we are about two posts away from society's problems being the fault of "liberals"

Yeah, woolly-minded, Guardian-reading, pinko, beardie-weirdie, CAMRA-supporting, sandal-wearing, guilt-ridden liberal apologists...

Shit. I fit every single one of those criteria. But socks with sandals is a bridge too far. In fact, I've banned it from the new religion as of immediatement. Gotta toughen ourselves up. Where's me pipe and slippers...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket being sick
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 10:25 AM

Your pipe and slippers are stored next to my Jesus sandals and bong.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 11:35 AM

Musket says: I think we are about two posts away from society's problems being the fault of "liberals" and people being forced into a gay agenda.

I do know (and despise) one priest who blames everything he disagrees with, on a "homosexual agenda."

...but then, he is almost universally despised in the diocese.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 11:44 AM

Whereas (being happily married) I personally would never indulge in extra-marital affairs, I don't think anyone has the right to insist on celibacy and abstinence for young people until the moment they marry. It seems to me natural that they should want to experiment with sex, and that they should not be made to feel guilty or sinful if they do so. Apparently (and Joe may perhaps put me right on this) if a young married Catholic's spouse should leave them and obtain a divorce, he/she must remain celibate for the rest of their days, as in the eyes of the Church they are still married. As long as he/she stays 'chaste' they can receive the sacraments, but they can never again have sex or remarry. This is terribly cruel and to me unacceptable. The only other way (apparently) is for the marriage to be annulled, involving a long and involved investigation and many personal, intrusive questions. I had a very nice friend at Uni, a Catholic lass aged twenty, who came to me distraught because the priest had told her she was committing a sin by kissing 'passionately' her fiance. The pleasure they both gained was condemned and she was instructed merely to hold his hand and no more until after the wedding nearly a year ahead. I was first amused and incredulous, then angry and disgusted. I found this priest's attitude to be repressed and a bit sinister to be honest. Surely this is one of the things that the Pope should address. No-one has the right to condemn safe sex between normal healthy young folk and in modern times things need to be seen in a different light.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 11:54 AM

The Pope represents the church who preaches misogyny, in that women are
not allowed to the priesthood. It also enables the shielding of predatory pedophile priests forced into celibacy warping their view of sex. This is aside from the issue of anti-choice,
and the edict against contraception.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:03 PM

Until the Pope speaks out on these issues, his credibility will remain in question by
rational people.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:07 PM

Joe... I'm a bit surprised by your last post, "homosexual agenda"? who said anything about that

I agree completely with your stance on abortion, I wish I was strong enough to practice a "faith", I don't share your views on gay "marriage", but no not "despise" you for holding them.

As I said, and as can be seen from these pages, the war is wholly about politics, most here, and on the "liberal" left, see the "church" as the last bastion of conservatism and will never stop ridiculing and abusing people of faith till they get what they want, a completely secular society.

You appear to know the good that can be done by the church for society, yet you seem to have fallen for the "homosexual agenda" cliche to describe folks who only want to offer constructive criticism ?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:27 PM

I agree with a lot of that Frank, but the crimes in the main, were not paedophilia.
Adult men sexually assaulting teenage boys, can hardly be descried as paedophilia.

The Celibacy rule has damaged the Catholic church, it should be removed....women should be allowed into the priesthood, and contraception should be no business of the church


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:32 PM

I said two posts.

It was one.

My apologies.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:59 PM

will never stop ridiculing and abusing people of faith till they get what they want, a completely secular society.

Well we atheists get ridiculed by people of faith (as well as by you) all the time. If we're not bitter ex-Catholics who didn't listen at school or read enough, we're practising a new religion called militant atheism. The truth is, Achy Tony, this is an internet forum, not real life. A place where a scurvy few of us say exactly what we think, sticking our heads above the parapet (sorry, I can't think of any cliches today to save my life). Earlier you said that we scurrilous militant atheists wanted to see the end of all religion, which is tosh and deserving of ridicule. Now you're saying we want a completely secular society. Well now, you've hit the nail right on the head! That's exactly what I would like to see. No faith schools. The teaching of comparative religion in schools, not religious instruction liberally laced with prayers under crucifixes. No archbishops in the Lords as of right (as of merit, maybe). No faiths having a say on what they regard as "moral issues" that they would wish to apply to everyone, not just their followers. Yeah, sounds good and healthy to me. Everyone doing their own thing, no pressure on anyone else to do the same as them. Their private beliefs are none of my business, and my alternative convictions are none of theirs. Great!

And I'll tell you summat else: if I went around in real life routinely ridiculing all my Christian family and friends, not only would I alienate them but I'd also alienate all my other mates as well for being a total prick. But that's cos I have a real life and can make the distinction. Have you?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 10:04 PM

Musket, I share your disdain for the term "Homosexual Agenda."

Here's the Wikipedia definition of the term:
    a term introduced by some conservative Christians in the United States, often used disparagingly to describe the advocacy of cultural acceptance and normalization of non-heterosexual orientations and relationships. The term refers to efforts to change government policies and laws on LGBT rights related issues. The term has also been used by some social conservatives and others to describe alleged goals of LGBT rights activists, such as 'recruiting' heterosexuals into what they term a 'homosexual lifestyle'.


I've heard it used to describe just about anything the right-wing speaker disagrees with, I suppose because the speaker thinks all wrong must come from homosexuals.




Stringsinger, I agree that women should be ordained to the priesthood, and I think that particular policy change would be very beneficial to the entire church. However, the Catholic Church has many members in places of the world that are simply not ready to accept women as leaders, so I can understand the difficulties involved. Pope John Paul II made a statement that the Catholic Church does not have the authority to ordain women. Cardinal Ratzinger then inquired if this was an infallible statement and JPII said yes - but I don't think the procedure would hold up in court. So, my interpretation is that the church did not have the authority at the time and therefore did not exercise that authority. However, who's to say whether the church might get the authority at a later time? I don't think Rome agrees with me on that, because they've excommunicated a couple of priests who promoted ordination of women. But I'm convinced I'll win out in the long run.




Eliza, I think you offered some very good insights. I have to confess that I make it a rule never to go to a Catholic priest for advice on sex, although I've known a very few wise priests who are exceptions to that rule. Instead, I give them advice, for the most part - whether they want it or not.

I work with teenagers in church, and it's very hard to figure out what to tell them about sex. I usually let the other youth leaders say what they have to say on the matter, and then I gently try to make what they say a bit more realistic. I believe that sex is sacred and should be limited to people who truly love one another - although I did have one relationship where the sex was so wonderful that I didn't realize that there really wasn't love there. I also believe in the sacredness of lifelong marriage, and I think that churches should work to preserve loving sex and lifelong marriage as ideals.

But the reality is that a lot of wonderful people have sex without being married. I have trouble with 16-year-olds having sex because there are a lot of complications they cannot foresee; but I have a real problem telling 40-year-olds that they shouldn't have sex with another lover after a divorce - especially if they've remarried, but even if they haven't gotten married to the new love. Still, I can see the value of the ideal of saving sex for marriage, or at the very least taking time to make a serious decision about whether or not you really want to have sex with this person.

I'm OK with churches holding lifelong marriage and no sex outside marriage as the ideal, but I think they need to balance the ideal with reality - and I think the Catholic Church fails horribly on this.

Eliza states the Roman Catholic policy on divorce correctly. If people are validly married, they cannot remarry - and if they remarry, they are considered to be in a "state of sin" and are not allowed to receive communion (which means they are not in full communion with their Catholic Church). There is an exception - if they can prove that there was something present at the time of their first marriage that was an impediment to having a truly "sacramental" marriage, that first marriage can be annulled (and, rarely, a second or subsequent marriage might be annulled). After 21 years of marriage, my ex-wife kicked me out of the house and got a divorce and filed for a church annulment based on the grounds of "psychological unpreparedness" at the time we got married in the first place. And I suppose it was true - we were not prepared for the fact that she would be troubled by anxiety and depression all the years we were married. So the annulment was granted, although I suspect the cause was helped by the fact that two of the three priests on the annulment tribunal were friends of mine.

So my ex got married again, before the annulment was effective, and that marriage lasted six months. And then since the second marriage wasn't "really" valid, she got married a third time and that marriage lasted for a while.

I was single for ten years, and I just couldn't in good conscience accept the idea that lifelong celibacy after a divorce was a good idea. I had three wonderful relationships over that ten years, and I really wish a fourth one had worked out.

And then I ended up marrying a longtime friend in 2002, in a church marriage; and we're still happily married.

But even though I'm glad I got an annulment and was remarried according to church law, I think it's wrong that the Catholic Church requires that people obtain an annulment before remarriage. I was married for 21 years, and my ex and I did everything I could to preserve that marriage - but it still failed. But don't tell me that wasn't a marriage - that's duplicitous. But the Catholic Church says my first marriage wasn't valid. I agree with the conservatives that the Catholic Church has granted far too many annulments - but they would disagree with my thinking that there has to be another way to recognize second marriages while preserving the ideal of lifelong marriage.

Pope Benedict made inquiries about the situation of remarried Catholics, and it looked to me like maybe he was considering recognizing divorce and remarriage as an actuality. It didn't happen, but I think it will become a reality with Pope Francis.




As for sex outside of marriage, maybe it is sinful, but I have never thought of consensual sex as more than a minor sin - and I think of minor sins as "opportunities for learning" that don't quite fit the ideal we ought to live up to.

Now, I suppose that none of this will make sense to anyone who thinks in absolutes, who believes that all laws must be either obeyed or abolished if the law cannot be obeyed. But churches are expected to present the ideal for living, not the "minimum requirements." And if the ideal is unrealistic, maybe it's still something to strive for - and not really a horrible thing if we don't always achieve the ideal.

I got less than 100% on a lot of examinations I took over my increasingly lengthy lifetime, and I don't feel particularly guilty about not always achieving perfection. But I still strive to make myself a better person, and I think that's all that can be expected of me.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Ian Mather
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 02:07 AM

Joe.

Thank you for opening up about what makes Joe Offer. It isn't often that people say so many personal things about themselves on an Internet forum so I really hope your considered post wasn't borne of exasperation through those of us who don't share your view of your church.

Steve hits the nail with the hammer when he notes that the people posting on the forum may be stating their case in ways they wouldn't in person. That described for me the opportunity to let the safety valve blow from time to time. When posting as Musket, despite many people knowing its Ian Mather typing, I tend to polarise to push a point or mock to expose agendas that I am appalled by. Obviously, I am no moral compass and have no right to be holier than thou. But I don't let that get in the way. ...

Just to say I see many parallels in your past and mine. I didn't have and don't have a faith to set my decisions against and would find it rather odd to subject myself to the judgement of an annulment panel. Especially one made from celibate men with no experience of marriage! However, your background is very different to mine in that respect and conversely you may find it odd to go through life without that spiritual support?

We will always disagree on faith matters and occasionally I shall post comments designed to polarise opinion, but in the final analysis, it's what floats your boat.

Happy sailing.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:43 AM

Your post illustrates your personal views very well Joe, but the Church is an institution and is in much graver danger from the "liberal" agenda which we see here, than from homosexuals or even "non militant" atheists like myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:51 AM

I'm not sure what exactly you mean, ake. As I read it, both Joe and I are on the liberal wing of the Catholic church. Are you saying you think we are the threat to the Church?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 05:10 AM

Sorry DMcG.....No offence intended to either You, or Joe, but I think allowing society to lead the Church,will finally lead to its own destruction.

The media is a strong propaganda machine, the Church cannot compete, especially in the "developed" West, where the cult of "self" is now well and truly bedded in.

Perhaps it can survive in other areas and even achieve a "rebirth" here, as our social and economic disintegrates and people become once again dependant on and caring of, one another.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 05:17 AM

Oh, I'm much harder to offend than that, Ake!

No, it was a straight question. In many ways, my position and Joe's are driven by attempts to relate the Church to the rest of the world. It is certainly an arguable case - not one I'd agree with, but still logically reasonable - to say that to behave in that way is damaging to the Church. In some ways, it's like the question-that-must-not-be-asked (What is f.m.?) Some want a pristine and highly admirable thing, even if it effectively a museum piece, others see its continual evolution as proof of its ultimate health.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 07:07 AM

As for sex outside of marriage, maybe it is sinful, but I have never thought of consensual sex as more than a minor sin - and I think of minor sins as "opportunities for learning" that don't quite fit the ideal we ought to live up to.

I'm just wondering how this somewhat Christian-centric view of "consensual sex as [no] more than a minor sin" outside marriage sits with all those people who don't care for marriage and those societies in which there is a more flexible attitude to monogamy. Marriage is a purely human invention. The organs providing sexual pleasure developed via natural selection. It should be clear to all that natural selection did not specify that sexual pleasure was turned on like a switch by a ceremony. You're making "outside marriage" the pivot point when it should be the word "consensual".

Don't you think it's high time we stopped seeing "sex 'n' morals" as irrevocably joined at the hip?

Incidentally, I see "consensual" as meaning quite a bit more than "not rape". I see it as free from exploitation and ignorance (and a bit more still).


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 07:30 AM

IMO consensual sex between people of any sexual persuasion who are not in a committed relationship does no-one any harm. If folk do not wish to marry, why should they? Even 'promiscuous' sex is only 'wrong' in the eyes of the morally pious. My definition of what constitutes a 'sin' is an action that does harm. Sex is perfectly natural and pleasurable. It isn't a 'minor sin', it isn't a 'sin' at all! I do find it a bit strange, the Church's over-preoccupation with what folk do with their genitals! Surely there are far more hurtful, harmful and evil actions that could be addressed by religious 'rules'?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 08:12 AM

The word "liberalism" is ambiguous. If it is used in the sense of lowering moral standards, obviously everybody is morally obligated to counteract. On the other hand, liberating ethics from the grip of religious (or other) elites can and should result in more adequate moral standards, which are easier to implement and thus result in higher levels of morality.

Religious leaders should insist on the highest realistic standards of morality, but leave it to the experts to find out what these are. This must not be confused with genuinely religious practices such as food taboos - each religious community must find out which of these are really essential. Catholic doctrine seem to have become fairly "liberal" in that respect quite a while ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 08:59 AM

Eliza, sex can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways. Ethicists have a hard time when trying to make sense of it, even when they are only working for the comparatively clear-cut purposes of secular jurisdiction. A major obstacle is the fact that the human brain has various layers of notions about sex, some very deeply rooted.

In such cases, it is a reasonable strategy to do as our ancestors did, unless we have compelling reasons to do otherwise. Since religion is in itself concerned with history, religious ethicists tend to be more conservative than the average of their societies, or even declare ethics to be as invariable as their religion. This is fallacious in many ways, e.g. because of new technologies such as DNA tests.

The measurement of harm itself is constantly changing in history. Thrashing children is nowadays considered harmful, also by most Christian ethicists, although in the 1950 it was completely accepted worldwide as a means of education.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 09:29 AM

Just using a rough arsed guess, I'd reckon that most of the psychological distress that can come from sex is the link to the ingrained sense of what religious organisations feel it is all about. As we are talking Catholicism, the sense of mea culpa that goes beyond people who believe in such things and into mainstream society.

Hence my comment above that if adultery wasn't frowned upon by those we are taught to put on a pedestal, it wouldn't be as much fun for those who indulge....

Assault is assault is assault, but consensual sex, if it leaves a scar, there has to be a proportion of blame attached to those who try to write rules on who with and when....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 09:37 AM

Joe, I have great respect for you for your opening up the avenues of dialogue here on Mudcat. Although I disagree abour Catholicism and am critical of it, I don't want you to think that I don't respect you personally

We who don't believe have been silenced, sometimes brutally, by religionists who have evangelical fervor under the delusion that their persuasions will have some positive effect.
When I hear a particular religious defense, I feel impelled to take it to task because I honestly don't think that a defense of religion has a positive effect on the welfare of society.

I don't ask those who adhere to their beliefs to give them up in hopes that some day they might examine them more closely and reach a different conclusion but I don't want to force my views down anyone's throat.

I do think, however, that ex-Catholics should consider carefully why they left the Church and not be amenable to any evangelical attempt to woo them back.

I hope we can amiably agree to disagree.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 09:44 AM

As we are talking Catholicism, the sense of mea culpa that goes beyond people who believe in such things and into mainstream society.

Hence my comment above that if adultery wasn't frowned upon by those we are taught to put on a pedestal, it wouldn't be as much fun for those who indulge....
Christianity was definitely not the inventor of strict rules and harsh sanctions against adultery. They must be as old as human settlements. (A small number of small tribes are known who have not limitations of sex other than direct incest. They must be small enough to have a tight collective sense of responsibility for the offspring. Presumably, they gave up their original stricter rules when they found controlling their observance infeasible.)

Again, Musket, you prove that you have very little knowledge about human nature. Does Ian have any more, and if so, why does he not share it with you and us?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 10:05 AM

Quoting from the appendix to Steven Pinker's 'The Blank Slate': This list [by Donald E Brown] was compiled in 1989 and published in 1991, consists of primarily "surface" universals of behaviour and overt language noted by ethanographers .. It omits near universals ...

And, there it is: sexual regulation

(and incest is listed as a separate universal, so this is regulation apart from incest)

Yep, some form is known in all societies we have encountered or studied.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 01:31 PM

Don't bring the tone down Grishka. Everybody is aware that religions use sex as a control on their members. To say that it predates Christianity is rather silly. It might, but my point still holds. Priests didn't invent paedophilia but that doesn't make the guilty ones less culpable.

My knowledge of human nature is indeed little. Perhaps you would wish to enlighten us oh wise one?

Only make it simple. I have problems understanding your posts generally, and to date dismiss your withering contributions as rambling bollocks...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 02:12 PM

As we are talking Catholicism, the sense of mea culpa that goes beyond people who believe in such things and into mainstream society.
... seems to mean: that sense went from Catholicism into society - does it not?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 02:23 PM

And as for bringing the tone of this thread down - I could not, even if I tried hard. Well, it is not quite as bad as in some other threads, but not very far, with largely the same protagonists. The special problem I have with you, Musket, is that I sometimes fail to recognize which one of your personae is speaking. Could you perhaps announce more consistently, as you sometimes do, when you want to be taken seriously? By default, I assume not, and it is my own fault if I respond.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 02:29 PM

No. Funnily enough, I put what I meant.

The SENSE of mea culpa goes beyond Catholicism. Most organised religions, not just Christian ones have a method or three of demanding obedience and having the masses wanting to show the people who run the religions that they are deserving of membership is a fairly common feature.

Sex of course being something that people can control others by, as every preacher, prostitute and pimp know only too well.

Look, I am a pedant too at times, but your picking out semantics and irrelevance is not to my mind a useful contribution to the debate. Your views on the many subjects this thread has thrown up would be nice, but this is silly.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:42 PM

Eliza, sex can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Oh great, let's accentuate the negative! Ahem:

Drinking water can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Eating food can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Sitting down can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Standing up can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Walking down a city street can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Driving a car can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Riding a pushbike through London can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Sitting at a computer keyboard for too long can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Listening to Beethoven at loud volume (yay!) can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Not getting your nose out of your book when the missus is trying to talk to you can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Supporting Sheffield Wednesday can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

Being obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways.

So what precisely is your bloody point?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:14 PM

Musket (24 Nov 13 - 02:29 PM), my remarks were not about semantics. We agree that clergy and other persons of authority are tempted to abuse their power; I wrote that a number of times. This however does not allow the conclusion that the ethical problem is inexistent and a mere invention of the clergy, as you seem to suggest. Commercials on TV are usually biased, but this does not imply that everything they advertise is crap.

I also wrote that I disapprove of the text of specific Catholic doctrine mentioned by Joe - and I would do so even if abuse were impossible.

Steve, my point is what I stated, in response to Eliza's (and apparently Musket's) idea that there is no real ethical problem about sex, all made up by the clergy. Ethics, like sex, also has a strong positive side, but that was not Eliza's question.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:55 PM

A completely off-thread comment: I really don't understand what people intend when they say something "is not a matter of semantics", because semantics is the study of meaning. if the meaning isn't important, how can there be a considered argument?

Ok, the term is in common use to mean "the exact words chosen aren't important", but it still grates on me!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 05:08 PM

Steve, my point is what I stated, in response to Eliza's (and apparently Musket's) idea that there is no real ethical problem about sex, all made up by the clergy. Ethics, like sex, also has a strong positive side, but that was not Eliza's question.

Clear as mud. :-(

You see, the thing is, when you say Eliza, sex can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways it does sound like you're singling out sex from all the other things that "can do a lot of harm in many distinct ways", thereby appending a moralising undercurrent. Sex is what people do. I had my first wank when I was nine. Eating and drinking and dancing and breathing and singing and telling lies and crying and laughing and having fun and hurting and dying are what people do too. You've been hoodwinked, along with Joe and his Catholic brethren. Focusing on sex as "doing harm" or "being a slight sin" is exactly what religion has brought upon us all. Strictures regarding sex are the numero uno blunt instrument of control exercised by religion. The powers that be delight in pontificating to us about our sexual habits, usually telling us how impure we are. Yes you can have sex badly. You can eat badly too. Or not get enough exercise badly. You can do everything that human beings do, badly. But religion doesn't give a shit how many burgers you eat or how long you spend in front of the telly. Nah, none of that crops up much in "theology". Sex is the big thing. I'd like to say that that's ironic in the face of Catholic clergy supposedly abstaining from sex, but I'm not so sure. Anyway, thing is that sex has so much potential for Catholic authoritarians. You can't half make people feel guilty about sex if they are (a) having it outside marriage (b) having it without the sole intention of getting preggers (c) having it with someone else's spoken-for (d) having it with a rubber on yer willy (e) having it with someone of your own gender or (f) having it without simultaneously praying to Our Lady (I made that one up). Sex is what people do. All people. Put it into that context and stop worrying about it any more than you worry about anything else. Which doesn't mean don't worry at all. But sex is no more a moral issue than me eating one ham and pickle butty too many. It's what people do (have I said that already?)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:23 PM

DMcG, in the given context the word "semantics" was correct. Musket stated that I had misinterpreted the meaning of his sentence, and were to argue about semantics. I denied that.

Steve, once more you misunderstood me completely. Eliza wrote that since sex cannot do any harm, there is no moral issue involved. She, you, and others suggest that those who declare such issues just invented them for their personal or collective benefit (sadism etc.). I generally agree that if there is no harm (as presumably in all cases dear Eliza is thinking of), there is no ethical question. If however there is any harm, for example cuckolds being angry and feeling betrayed, ethicists have the difficult task to identify the harm and weigh possible justifications.

Historically, unaccounted pregnancies were considered the main harm. Measures to minimize these are as old as civilization, and probably hard-coded in our genome. (Some species of birds, where the male invests a lot of work in its offspring, have corresponding hard-coded patterns of behaviour. For example, the insistence on virginity must be seen in that context.) It definitely predates any formal religion.

Obviously the invention of contraception, DNA tests, but also the low birth rate in industrialized societies constitute an entirely different objective situation. Ethicists should adopt their reasoning to that, but must also take account of the existing mindset.

In the past, there were no other ethicists than clergy, so it was tempting to say or write "it is God's will" - saves a lot of explaining. The dilemma they are facing now, particularly the Catholic tradition, is that ethics must change, whereas God's will must not. There is only one solution, favoured by most non-Catholic clergy: give up the claim for a monopoly on ethics, leave it to the experts in free discussion.

Since Joe and I disagree on that matter, I cannot have been "hoodwinked, along with Joe and his Catholic brethren". My only family connection to Catholicism is a grandmother who was a non-practicing Catholic, so I have little insight into Catholic affairs. But I know those vile teachers or preachers who take any excuse for their sadistic pleasure.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:27 PM

You couldn't handle supporting Sheffield Wednesday.... Your allegiance to a set of scousers demonstrates your lack of understanding of the beautiful game....

Grishka. I don't have split personality.. Neither of us understands you, if it helps.

The sex diversion reminds me of a Spike Milligan sketch, used in a novel or two by him where a prisoner is being led down after being found guilty of shagging in a shop doorway. "You can fine and lock up all you like!" He shouted at the bench "But you'll never stop fucking in Catford!"

He was a failed catholic out of interest.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:56 PM

I have quite a bit of contact with most of the churches in town, except for the "born again" religions. You people talk about churches and how they do all this horrible stuff stifling sex and all - but I rarely hear sex mentioned in church. I hear an awful lot about feeding the hungry and finding housing for the homeless. Especially in the Catholic Church, I hear about fair treatment of immigrants. I went to a rally Friday night that was sponsored by the Catholic Bishop of Sacramento, challenging our two extremist Republican congressmen to meet with the bishop and at least sit down to talk about immigration reform. The meeting had a very positive, celebratory tone. The bishop spoke in both English and Spanish, and led the audience in singing a couple of rousing songs.

In his sermon this morning, our deacon (father of five) spoke about dealing with death and grief, talking about the deaths of his son and of a good friend - both of whom were known to many in the congregation. Last week, there was a lot of talk about the typhoon in the Philippines, and how we needed to have compassion for the victims.

I guess that's the "liberal" stuff that Akenaton is so worried about.
But obsession with sex? No, I really don't think that's common any more.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 07:41 PM

Musket writes:
Grishka. I don't have split personality.. Neither of us understands you, if it helps.
Well, the Musket persona refuses to read posts that do not fit his clichés, so he cannot possibly understand them. He also finds that we bigots do not deserve exact reasoning, and that it serves us darned right if he makes a fool of himself (NB this is not my vague analysis, but essentially Musket's own declaration). The Ian persona, in contrast, rarely posts, but obviously sometimes slips through Musket's censorship.

Anybody can ask me for an explanation when I have not expressed myself clearly enough. Is my post of 24 Nov 13 - 06:23 PM still incomprehensible? —

Joe has a point that sex is not necessarily what the clergy like most to talk about, but what they are most likely to be asked about, since it poses the most visible conflicts with the mainstream ethics in industrial societies. Manifest restrictions are still in force, such as sacking Church employees for their sex life. Particularly in the question of remarriage, the favourite strategy of overlooking does not work.

Joe, you characterized that EWTN paper as conservative. Does the following passage still describe mainstream Catholic doctrine?
It is to the pope and the bishops that this teaching authority is entrusted. As the Second Vatican Council put it: "in matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful, for their part, are obliged to accept their bishops' teaching with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 08:04 PM

But obsession with sex? No, I really don't think that's common any more.

Well that's all very well, and I'm sure that other things come to the fore just as much. But you simply can't get away with this. The damage is done. The Catholic Church during my time with it, and since, has laid down the laws about sex, when to have it, when not, what it's for, who can have it with whom, that it must be without contraception, how you must not abort (cf. Mother Teresa, not at all an embarrassment but actually lionised and soon to be sainted), what lasciviousness you are not allowed to have running through your mind (backed up, of course, by the very words of Jesus), and so on. Laced, of course, with a nice layer of misogyny. All under pain of mortal sin. Your "not any more" defence, which you frequently resort to, is actually not much of a defence at all when you consider that the message of old, or not so old, is long-ingrained into tens of millions of Catholics' minds, and your church, disingenuously, does nothing whatsoever to dispel that message. Your quiet fight from within, a concept I heartily endorse, is laudable. But too bloody quiet by miles. You sound far more like an apologist to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 12:31 AM

Well, Steve - a couple of years ago, I attended a morality class for catechists, taught by a young priest with a brand-new master's degree in moral theology from Rome. I didn't like what he was saying, so I let him have it. In front of the class accused him of "trivializing sin" by focusing on sex and tai chi and yoga and ouija boards, instead of spending his time denouncing real sin like child abuse and racism. He was almost in tears. Later he reported me to the diocese. I got a call from the diocese, asking me to be a little kinder to the guy....

Grishka -
The paper on moral decisions on the EWTN Website is a fairly accurate reflection of mainstream Catholic teaching about the balance between conscience and church teaching. Note that right after the part you quoted, the paper says, "Thus for a Catholic to disagree with what the Church teaches on abortion, he or she would need to have very clear reasons and convictions."

The paper is more balanced than many I've seen on EWTN, which is generally quite conservative.

So, the general principle is that you can do things that contradict church teaching with no guilt, if you have seriously considered the matter and truly believe that what you are doing is the right thing.

No, if you do this thing publicly, the church might take some action against you, particularly if you are a volunteer teacher or an employee of the church. You and your conscience are between you and God; but the Church might have something to say if it gets wind of it. The Catholic Church doesn't have much power over people anymore, unless they're employees.

When I'm teaching in the Catholic Church, I think that I should be teaching what is official church teaching, so there are certain areas I will not address in a teaching situation - birth control being probably the most significant of them. I can teach about abortion because I agree with church teaching that abortion is wrong - but I think that the matter should be approached with the utmost compassion and I savor the opportunity to express my opposition to the harshness of the anti-abortionists. And when I teach about abortion, I also explain about the primacy of conscience in such matters. I will teach general concepts about the sacredness of sex and marriage, but that's an area that gets really "iffy" if I get too deep into it, so I generally stay away unless the situation is just right.

Again, it's important to see the balance of these things. The Catholic Church, believe it or not, doesn't put a whole lot of effort into teaching about the morality of sexual matters. And believe it or not, my reading of church documents over its entire history, makes me believe that at least on an official level, sex has not been a discussion topic of primary importance at any time in church history - still, it's the topic that most people pay most attention to.

The Catholic Church puts primary emphasis on a number of teachings that are not readily acceptable to conservative Catholics: opposition to warfare and capital punishment, our obligation to provide for the needs of the poor and homeless and imprisoned, and the rights of immigrants and workers. In fact, most of the primary teachings are things I support wholeheartedly. I think the U.S. Catholic bishops do a particularly good job on immigration. Abortion is also a primary issue, but it's one that makes me uneasy because I have a lot of sympathy for the need for women to make their own decision about their own pregnancies.

Here's a video clip of the immigration rally we held Friday. I'm really proud of how it worked out. http://univisionsacramento.univision.com/videos/video/2013-11-23/abogan-por-la-reforma-migratoria

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 02:48 AM

Joe.
I rarely hear sex mentioned in church. I hear an awful lot about feeding the hungry and finding housing for the homeless. Especially in the Catholic Church, I hear about fair treatment of immigrants.

That is my experience of churches here too.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket sans Ian
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 03:17 AM

No. Still somewhat confused. Must be me who's thick. Look on the bright side, at least I tried. Some of Grishka's contributions on other threads, my eyes begin to glaze over after the first sentence.

I am sure that services in the Catholic churches aren't obsessed with sex if those of you in the know say they aren't. But in the context of this thread, the church is asking its members questions to, amongst other things, work on its image.

Ask many non Catholics about the image and you will find it is about opposing contraception, telling young boys not to be tempted to masturbate and accommodating Anglican clergy whose misogyny precludes them to work for a woman.

The reality of the day to day work of a local church gets drowned in the message. And to be honest, as Joe keeps pointing out, the centre is far more conservative than the Joe Offers of this world.




Sorry for contributing whilst the grown ups are around Grishka. I am sure you will find plenty of schoolboy errors in that which you can point out for the amusement of. Err.. The teachers warn you not to amuse yourself. .....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 03:29 AM

Musket says: And to be honest, as Joe keeps pointing out, the centre is far more conservative than the Joe Offers of this world.

True, but it gives the Joe Offers an opportunity to reach all those good people on a deep level; and Joe has seen great progress in some, maybe many. I was so impressed to see Leticia, an undocumented alien, act as a leader at the immigration rally Friday night. When I met her five years ago, she was shy and scared. Not no more. She really shone on Friday.

And I don't know that I'd call myself a "liberal." I call myself a "radical moderate." I think my own thoughts and don't satisfy anybody, but I try to bridge the gaps between people. As for what's the center of the Catholic Church, that's a good question. Most of the priests and nuns I know, are on the progressive side. Bishops tend to be more conservative, with streaks of brilliance in areas like immigration. Lay Catholics are quite a mixture, from far left to far right, with huge middle that's quite open-minded.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 06:35 AM

Joe,
So, the general principle is that you can do things that contradict church teaching with no guilt, if you have seriously considered the matter and truly believe that what you are doing is the right thing.
Not exactly what the paper is saying, if you are honest, since on top of serious consideration, it demands complete knowledge of and priority to the hierarchy's teachings in details. It is this priority that is being questioned, even by many Catholics, more so than strictness and sanctions. The pope's survey may be a first step to adjust the official Catholic position fundamentally (rather than just "liberalizing" the criteria), following other religious communities.

BTW: if my writing is incomprehensible, anyone should feel free to ask for explanations. It may well be my fault, for which I apologize.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 06:45 AM

Joe,
"So, the general principle is that you can do things that contradict church teaching with no guilt, if you have seriously considered the matter and truly believe that what you are doing is the right thing."

Not exactly what the paper is saying, if you are honest, since on top of serious consideration, it demands complete knowledge of and priority to the hierarchy's teachings in details.


Precisely. To put it less kindly, the Church provides a getout clause that sets the bar way too high for almost everyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 06:53 AM

I am sure that services in the Catholic churches aren't obsessed with sex if those of you in the know say they aren't. But in the context of this thread, the church is asking its members questions to, amongst other things, work on its image.

Ask many non Catholics about the image and you will find it is about opposing contraception, telling young boys not to be tempted to masturbate and accommodating Anglican clergy whose misogyny precludes them to work for a woman.

The reality of the day to day work of a local church gets drowned in the message.


Exactly. Whatever the message honest Catholics want to put across, the Church, from where I'm sittin', retains its control-over-sex image - and does very little to counteract that image, which speaks volumes to non-Catholics who think about it. As for church services not being obsessed with sex, well that has a disingenuous ring about it. Church services are attended by children, and I suppose an awful lot of Catholics would object to sexual matters being aired from the pulpit in front of them. Not only that, a celibate fellow wearing a frock is hardly going to command much respect from an audience of mostly married people if he starts issuing advice about their sex lives.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 03:20 AM

Grishka, I think you're reading a bit into that EWTN document, although it is a bit conservative. There's a difference between objective morality (the act itself) and subjective morality (the guilt of the person making the moral decision).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a section on conscience that you might find surprisingly reasonable. Here's an excerpt:
    1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

    1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

    1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.

      Note that phrase, guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church. It does not seem to me that a person is coerced to follow the teaching - it's guidance, not a requirement of obedience.

      -Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket noting
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 04:24 AM

From my heathen place of observing, the use of the word reason in the same sentence as creator doesn't bear scrutiny outside the church.

Which is fine.

But it does make for difficult reconciling of the church's position in society at large.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 06:03 AM

Joe (26 Nov 13 - 03:20 AM), I assume that you find the text reasonable, whereas most non-Catholic religious people will find it problematic. In principle, nobody doubts that
Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened.
I can accept "willed by the wisdom of the Creator" as somewhat metaphorical, but the problem starts with
... human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.
The word "authoritative" implies an accepted authority; if it is rejected, the word "authoritarian" is adequate - insisting on one's authority.

In contrast, my notion is that sinners either have an erroneous own judgment of morality or do not bother about it sufficiently. If the own judgment is correct, any opposing teachings must necessarily be incorrect and thus not deserving authority.

In other words: society as a whole, including clergy and teachers, must foster the wish to do the right thing. Ethicists must find out what the right thing is in a given context, taking their reasons from observations and logic, analogous to science. Ethics, like science, must be subject to transparent public discussion. Authority is gained by convincing arguments, not by succession and consecration. Nevertheless, clerics are required to be good ethicists; so are teachers, journalists, and other people of influence.

The situation becomes complicated when genuinely religious axioms potentially conflict with ethics. Fortunately, such objective conflicts are rare. Unfortunately, many religious people falsely regard their old customs or old teachings as religious axioms, or declare them thus for selfish reasons. There are cases in between, for example circumcision - not easy to decide.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 06:32 AM

Well, what Musket said, and also I think that "guided by authoritative teaching" has a dark, almost Maoist ring about it. Hard cases have a habit of saying things softly. The rest of your post does little to counter my point that the conscience bar is set so high that it is almost impossible to jump. The invitation to do so is certainly not there. Yes, I'm a heathen looking at it from the outside too, but I still vividly remember those conscience lessons we had in our retreats...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 06:35 AM

Authority is gained by convincing arguments, not by succession and consecration.

Excellent. I must say, you're rock-solid on this stuff.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 12:36 PM

The Pope had these recent words of wisdom. "Capitalism is a form of tyranny."
It's too bad that in order for this realization to be accepted for its value, it had to come
out of the mouth of a pontiff and not just anyone, since it encourages the lockstep thinking of his adherents. That conclusion should have been drawn years ago.

The selfless and considered approach to society is one which advocates that we and all animal life deserve an equal break in our attempt to make democracy work. I'll go a step further and attest that "Libertarianism (as it's defined today) is a form of tyranny and psychopathy. I hope we don't have to wait for a Pope to come to terms with this.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 12:47 PM

Well said, Frank....most people here haven't a clue about ethics, with the exception of Grishka of course.
Though I wont pretend to understand everything he/she says, I am willing to take a "leap of faith" with him/her.

Capitalism makes "ethics" redundant.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 01:29 PM

Sorry Joe, you asked that this thread doesn't descend into anything bad but there is a whiff of bigotry that I am not laying at the feet of the church's attitude to women or gay people.

Those of us with "no clue about ethics" recognise the ethical position of treating people as second class citizens and persecuting them for their lifestyle choice. String singer also spoke of an ethical approach to democracy, which of course is anathema to the worm above.

He sees the word "libertarianism" in a negative context and gets excited, not that he knows why.

Back in your hole worm. Decent people posting here and they don't want to read your awful views on equal members of society. Some of is are about to eat.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 05:41 PM

Is it ethical to allow people to die and become ill needlessly, to serve any agenda?

If you had any ethics Ian, you would not be such a strong supporter of the Capitalist system, nor as dismissive of the beliefs of others.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 07:00 PM

Somehow, somewhere, I lost the track of the train of logic in this thread - or wasn't there any?

As for ethicists, I would hope that everyone is an ethicist, in one form or another - we should all consider the effects seriously whenever we make a choice to do something with significant impact. To my mind, we should make our moral decisions with our own logic, taking the guidance of rules and authorities into consideration - at least, that's how my Catholic seminary taught me to make moral decisions. I wasn't taught to follow rules - I was taught to make my own decisions for my own actions, taking the rules into consideration. That, my friends, is the authentic Catholic tradition, no matter what misconceptions of Catholic rules you may have heard.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 06:45 PM

Joe, you are too long with Mudcat to expect threads to have trains of logic, aren't you? We must be glad when we find sporadic streaks.
As for ethicists, I would hope that everyone is an ethicist, in one form or another - we should all consider the effects seriously whenever we make a choice to do something with significant impact. To my mind, we should make our moral decisions with our own logic, taking the guidance of rules and authorities into consideration
Yes, and their arguments in a free discussion.
That, my friends, is the authentic Catholic tradition, no matter what misconceptions of Catholic rules you may have heard.
I read them in the texts you mentioned. You are probably right that those rules / teachings do not play the role in Catholic practice that conservative clergy attach to them.

The pope seems to have realized that, and may be preparing a major reform of the Vatican's doctrine. Yesterday he published a statement - not really sounding clear to me, but journalists suggest that the following passage indicates nothing less than a revocation of the infallibility dogma:
Nor do I believe that the papal magisterium should be expected to offer a definitive or complete word on every question which affects the Church and the world. It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound "decentralization".
If those journalists are right, it will be not 30, but 500 years late, and all the more respectable. (Note that the other major churches have been there for centuries, yet not been able to prevent abuse of power as described by Musket.) Further steps lie ahead, together with the other religions and denominations.

Being an ethicist is as high a qualification as being a scientist - I do not claim either, at expert level. (In fact, what I wrote in this thread seems pretty basic and self-evident to me.) Ethical reasoning must be strong enough to serve as a basis for a better organization of society worldwide, universally accepted, to prevent various disasters. (Using the word "capitalism" is a bad idea, since in 19th-20th century logic, "socialism" is associated.)

That project takes more collective effort than any conventional politics can offer - neither can a conventional revolution, of course. All persons of authority, including but not restricted to religious leaders, will be required to contribute really new practical ideas and convincing arguments, not just patronizing wisdom. Let us see how much the pope has understood.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 07:15 PM

This seems to be a "good" Pope, but he's been reading my posts.

"Capitalism a tyranny"?......Of course it is, and there will never be any sort of real equality 'till it is left far behind.

I have been trying to explain this very point to people like Ian for years.

In place of ethics they have an agenda, an agenda designed and promulgated by our rulers (corporate Capitalists) to divide and manipulate.....This agenda has become known as "liberalism", but in reality it is the very antithesis of liberal thought.

According to Ian, we live in a liberal paradise, the only dark clouds on the horizon are the lack of "marriage" rights for homosexuals, and the right of any other minority to do exactly as they please regardless on the effect their actions have on other sections of society.

Well, now the blessed Francis has spelt it out for them.....and I'm off down to the chapel tomorrow morning, to join up!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 07:22 PM

Alright Joe?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 10:04 PM

Ake, you have a very simplistic and totally erroneous view of what Liberalism is all about.

Educate yourself. Read some John Locke and John Stuart Mill.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 10:39 PM

OK by me, Ake.

I have to say that Moral Theology was one of the most exciting classes I took in the seminary. The professor was a crusty, old, Irish-American priest, Fr. Ty Cullen. He was blessed with a wonderful passion, and a great sense of humor. When I left the seminary and enlisted in the Army so I'd get sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey (CA), he told me that was the second-best way to learn a language. The first? - to live with a woman from the country, of course. Ty taught Moral Theology to a couple of generations of Milwaukee priests, and he destroyed all their pious preconceptions. His view of morality was tempered by a huge sense of compassion. This was a magnificent man, who wouldn't condemn anybody for anything - except for injustice.

One of the things Ty introduced me to, was Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development. I've learned since then that these six stages are central to many Catholic Moral Theology classes. Here are notes from a Moral Theology class taught by a Jesuit at the University of San Francisco: http://usf.usfca.edu/fac_staff/bretzkesj/FundamentalMoralNotes.PDF. Note that for people in stages five and six, the rules fall by the wayside because these people are able to make their own decisions. Franciscan Father Richard Rohr says that people in stages 1-4, hate those in 5-6, because they simply cannot understand a life lived according to principle, and not by rules. They accuse those in stages 5-6 of defying the rules - but for people at that point, no rules are necessary.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 12:02 AM

Very insightful!

Joe, I checked your two links and I'm going back to do more reading.

We covered a lot of this kind of material in a Philosophy (Ethics) class I took when I was at the University of Washington. A really good prof. and he made the class discussions most interesting!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:35 AM

Don ...I used to enjoy conversing...and "fighting" with you on Mudcat, but until you stop your snide, uninformed inferences about my sexuality, further debate on any subject will not be forthcoming.

If you wish to engage further PM me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:38 AM

Joe...Thanks for the links, which I haven't time to read or digest at the moment.....later.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:54 AM

I used to enjoy Mudcat till it allowed you to post hate that could be read by unsuspecting decent people.

I doubt your sexuality is of any interest to anyone but your reasons for your bigotry may be of academic interest to anyone studying forensic psychology.

If you can't be decent then at at least keep your odious suggestions to yourself. Gay members of Mudcat don't want to be called perverts. They don't want to be associated with your "homosexual act" filth. They don't want to hear someone genuinely think it a good idea to round them all up and put them on a register after assaulting them.

I can't be more serious when I say "back in your hole worm"

Although in keeping with the thread, I remain surprised the number who remain members of religions that would also see them as second class, even if the condescending "but we love you" is there.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 05:18 AM

OK, this is getting into a personal spat. I don't know or care who started it - but please stop.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 05:32 AM

Whenever hate and bigotry is displayed and I see it, I shall respond.

Out of interest Joe, you do know who started it. You also know it isn't a personal spat as there is nobody on Mudcat, not a single member who isn't dismayed when Akenhateon uses the oxygen of publicity to further his call for rounding up members of society.

Is there?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 07:50 AM

I studied (as an extra module) Moral Philosophy at Uni, and I'm interested to consider the difference between that and Theological Philosophy. The reason I say this is that the latter (obviously) has to take into account belief and the tenets of a/all religion/s. Thus, 'God'-given rules and regulations can be rather far from what might be termed ethically tenable from a mere, secular moral viewpoint. To give an example, if one is OK about sex between consenting adults of any sexuality not in committed relationships, with adequate protection against STD's etc, this could (depending on ones stance) be seen as ethically unobjectionable. But according to many religions, including Christianity and especially Catholicism, this is not allowed, and seen as a 'sin'. It is this sort of discrepancy between moral and religious ethics with which I have problems. But sexuality isn't the only department of contention. Divorce and remarriage is another example, and having various 'thoughts' of envy, anger, desire etc. Bad thoughts are sins, (as I understand it) but in no way can I defend a religion which tries to modify ones freedom to think!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 08:54 AM

Eliza, it has very little to do with theology. "Every sperm is sacred" (do not forget so watch the next scene!), is a position of ethical philosophy, akin to protection of life (- animals too? plants too?). Traditionally, clergy declared such axioms as God's will, in order to exclude any discussion, but whatever Aquinas and his followers designed as "Natural Law", does not really stand examination nowadays. Ethics must be researched, explained, argued, and - most crucially - allowed to change in time. The Bible is still an excellent inspiration, but (fortunately) not too specific about the problems we face today.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 11:00 AM

Grishka, I don't wish to pick hairs, as the general thrust of what you say in the post above isn't something I could really argue with, but to say "the Bible" is excellent inspiration misses the point.

There are stories within the Bible that you can use to deduce inspirational conclusions but a book of stories, many of which would be obscene from any modern day moral perspective is no inspiration in itself.

I totally agree with Eliza regarding the way religions substitute sin for immoral. It's an ownership trick and for many years worked, mainly because you were executed for questioning it. There is a built in altruism in most creatures, humans amongst them. This is highly developed in humans and we speak of moral compass. Organised religions can only thrive if they have ownership of this, as then they have ownership of you.

That's why I have respect for people who have faith, but none whatsoever for the archaic structures clinging onto a power they never deserved in the first place.

Mind you, if was King of a country in medieval times, I'd promote religion for the same reason they did. Far cheaper than bread and circuses together with built in loyalty.

We have democracies now, so subduing with the promise of jam tomorrow doesn't fit society's needs nor intelligence. The survey somewhat acknowledges this, but the emphatic refusal to even debate women having high office roles within the church is another nail in the coffin as far as their relevance and indeed right to influence is concerned.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 12:38 PM

There are stories within the Bible that you can use to deduce inspirational conclusions but a book of stories, many of which would be obscene from any modern day moral perspective is no inspiration in itself.
The stories without a simple moral message are those that can inspire thinking about ethics and its relation to religion. The Hebrew-Jewish culture has a strong sense of identity, imagined as ethnic, religious, and cultural, but only secondarily ethical. A Jew should of course be "righteous", but failing so makes her or him not less of a Jew, just a bad Jew.
Organised religions can only thrive if they have ownership of this, as then they have ownership of you.
Do not write "religions" if you mean a specific group of clergy. Power and oppression exist and must be criticized, but that cannot discredit ethics as such, and neither religion as such. Most sexual abuse by teachers is done in sports lessons and clubs - who would want to abolish sports for that reason?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 01:16 PM

Ake, this (CLICKY) is only ONE of a whole list of articles I could link to that tends to explain your (and others') rabid antipathy toward gay men.

What lends weight to the speculation is the fact that just about every thread you post to, no matter what the subject, almost invariably gets diverted to what is apparently your favorite hobby horse.

So it is not ME who is insulting you. Look to yourself.

The initial subject of this thread is interest and important enough, so let's just stick to it, okay?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:21 PM

Grishka. I don't see millions of members of religions marching on their gilded palaces shouting "Not in my name! "

My point was also historical. The purpose of superstition as a concept is to control. Religions came from that observable fact. Not making anything of it, but no point in discussing if delusion pops in for a cup of tea.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 05:51 PM

Just keep your OPINIONS of my personal life to yourself Don, you are completely wrong in you grubby inferences.
I have no idea what your personal life consists of, nor have I any interest in it.
If I did have any thoughts on it, I certainly would not publish them here, that would be quite unethical.

Ian... you are a known and strong supporter of the Capitalist system, you also profess to believe in equality before all else, how do you manage to conflate such dissenting ideologies.
The Pope has described Capitalism as a tyranny, which as long as lies on our shoulders, no real equality can ever be attained....this is self evident so where does it leave your personal ideology, from an ethical point of view?
Try to answer in a civil manner.

Joe...
"In his sermon this morning, our deacon (father of five) spoke about dealing with death and grief, talking about the deaths of his son and of a good friend - both of whom were known to many in the congregation. Last week, there was a lot of talk about the typhoon in the Philippines, and how we needed to have compassion for the victims."

"I guess that's the "liberal" stuff that Akenaton is so worried about."

Was that a joke Joe, or do you really think that I have no compassion for people affected by natural disasters or illness

My neighbour's wife was back home in the Phillipines on holiday when the storm struck, they are from a poor family and have lost everything, except thankfully, their lives.
I have compassion for people who are affected by an epidemic of disease and part of that compassion is to see the epidemic ended as soon as possible, not continuing with ineffective procedures.

The "liberalism" that I am "on about" is the ideology that seeks out any vestige of social conservatism and demonises it...and yes, you and the church are in their sights. No matter how liberal you or your organisation profess to be you will be marginalised and ridiculed as you have been on many threads here over the years, truth will be hidden, any deviation of thought will be punished... the world will have a rosey glow when the "Messiahs of Mudcat" take over........
but the air will stink of Fascism.

Still thinking about the links you posted.....later.



Does that not prove that your stance on equality


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 06:15 PM

But according to many religions, including Christianity and especially Catholicism, this is not allowed, and seen as a 'sin'. It is this sort of discrepancy between moral and religious ethics with which I have problems.

The Catholic Church's stance on sex (bearing in mind that the stance is constructed by men, and only men, who are supposed never to have sex) has nothing to do with ethics and everything to do with the egregiously-immoral and ruthless acquisition to itself of a blunt instrument of control. Everybody wants sex so, a bit like a government that realises that everyone gets money and invents tax accordingly, the Church pounces. The plain fact is that sex is no more a moral issue than eating burgers, drinking beer or not being a veggie. Sex is what people do. Religion seriously needs to keep its big nose out. People are experts at sex. Popes, bishops and theologians are crass amateurs, as is abundantly revealed by their pathetic response to the sex abuse scandals.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 06:49 PM

From Musket: Organised religions can only thrive if they have ownership of this, as then they have ownership of you.

I don't really think that's true, Musket, for the most part. I don't think that most religious groups seek "ownership" of their members. That's building on the "religion-as-mind-control" model, and I just don't think that's a true perception of most religions.

Several of you harp on an on about "rules" about sexual conduct and such. Yeah, religions voice their opinions on various aspects of sexual conduct, but that's only one aspect. And whether or not you agree with a group's views on one or another sort of sexual behavior, I think it's unfair to discount the group entirely because of that. In my experience, for example, most churches don't spend much time opposing homosexuality, even if they don't approve of homosexual sex.

Until quite recently, society in general did not approve of homosexuality. That prejudice is gradually disappearing, but vestiges still remain. I think rather than condemning those who still disapprove of homosexuality and thinking they're horrible, it might be wise to give them a little room and simply consider them "stodgy."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 09:22 PM

Whether you like it or not, Joe,(weasel words red alert...) the perception of a very large number of people is that religion is obsessed with sex. Now that might not be your perception as an insider (so to speak), but I fear it's true. Just think. The Church has a stance on women, particularly with regard to their role in the Church hierarchy (they have no role). It has a stance on homosexuality. It has a stance on sex outside marriage. It has a stance on divorce. It has a stance on gay marriage. It has a stance on abortion. It has a stance on birth control. It has a stance on sex education. We all know what those stances are.

Right, your Church has stances on other things too. But, mention the Catholic Church to most people, and ask them what they think its stances are on issues, and they will mention those. And probably nothing else. Hardly anyone knows what the Catholic Church's stance is on anything other than matters that impinge on sex, one way or another. Now I see that as a bit of a problem (especially as the Church has shot itself in the foot big-time over sex abuse scandals), but I don't think the Church sees it that way. You say the Church has eased up on these issues. I say that easing up does not mean shutting up. If the Church has really adopted a more relaxed attitude to sexual matters, then the Church should shout LOUD that it has eased up on sexual matters. The fact that it keeps so quiet reeks of its wanting things to continue as before in the hope that the flock will not notice the change and thereby continue to be controlled.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 09:26 PM

Damn. I meant to type "Hardly anyone outside the Church..."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 10:06 PM

Ake, my "opinions" and "grubby inferences" about your own inclinations (probably carefully hidden from yourself) are drawn from your own over-the-top assertions about the personal lives of others and how someone needs to control them.

And as far as my personal life is concerned, I've been happily married for thirty-six years—to a woman of many talents—and I have a grown son of whom I am very proud.

I am not at all inclined toward any kind of physical relationship with members of my own sex. I am not frightened by the thought. I just don't have any interest in it.

But my wife and I know a couple of same-sex couples who are in stable, monogamous relationships and this does not bother us in any way. In no way does our marriage need "defending."

As to those who engage in uncommitted same-sex relationships:   I have a cousin who was seventy years old when he took up hang-gliding. He knows it is a dangerous sport, but he enjoys it anyway. I'll be damned if I'm going to lock him up to protect him from himself and I would object to anyone else who wants to do so. He knows the risks.

And my "Liberalism" is not concerned with what Conservatives think or do except when and where it impinges about the rights and freedoms of others to live their own lives in their own way.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 10:14 PM

". . . where it impinges upon the rights and freedoms. . . ."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 10:27 PM

You're so right, Steve. The misperception of a very large number of people is that religion is obsessed with sex.

So, Steve, when's the last time you were in a church and heard about sex? When's the last time you saw a church publication about sex?

That's what I thought - you're resting on your prejudices.

I suppose you think that all Jews have long noses, too. And since that's the case, they should have nosectomies so as not to offend people, right?

As for sex education, it seems to me that the Catholic Church is in favor of it, and does a pretty good job of it in Catholic schools. And yeah, I'm sure there are exceptions.

With homosexuality, birth control, and a number of other sex issues in the Catholic Church, the right wing has taken these issues up in the last ten years and caused a lot of embarrassment for the rest of us. Before that, there were laws on the books that were largely ignored - I've read in the "legitimate" press that the Catholic Church had a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on many of these - until the conservatives found they could use them to gain power.

It's true that the Catholic church doesn't ordain women, but they have a lot of women in a lot of different jobs. For much of the last twenty years, the chancellor of our diocese has been a woman.

The truth of the matter, Steve, is that you don't really know. But that doesn't stop you from hurling accusations.

No, the Catholic Church isn't where I'd like it to be on a number of issues. But neither is it the seething morass of bigotry that you make it out to be. It is a highly political body, and it takes time for such entities to get things straight. I suppose you'd rather see it be an absolute but progressive monarchy, whose subjects all obeyed the whims of an enlightened despot.

It is what it is, and it is sometimes a mess. But it's messy because of its diversity.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 04:30 AM

I think you are wrong to say that only "conservative" Catholics are against homosexual marriage, or abortion on demand, Joe.

In the US, religion seems more politically polarised than here in the UK. I know dozens of Catholics, whom I would consider true liberals and to the left politically who are against such legislation.

These issues aught to be above party politics and this is the problem in addressing them, folks get their political agenda confused with "ethics"


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 04:50 AM

And there you have it.

Not much to add really.

I think therefore I am, I suppose. I reckon I could agree with the bit where it says you don't have to be conservative to be against gay equality.

You do have to be a disgusting homophobic bigot with nothing to add to any debate on the subject though. ....

Interestingly a couple of friends of ours who have had the tokenistic civil partnership are hoping to be amongst the first to marry when England starts them early next year. One is a conservative councillor and the other a Catholic.

Just goes to show, stereotype anybody for any reason and you can come a cropper. ....



Hey Joe.

We can agree to disagree over whether a religion likes to have a degree of control, but to point out middle management posts women hold isn't quite the point is it?   In other industries, we speak of glass ceilings but the roof of The Vatican is one people crane their necks to look up at but no woman can look beyond it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 05:05 AM

So Ian, you think that all opponents of homosexual "marriage" are "disgusting, homophobic, bigots"?

Do you ever think about what you write?

You are talking about a huge majority of the worlds population and probably over 60% of our own nations population.

Doesn't do your professed credentials of " equality and outreach" much good, does it?

"Just goes to show, stereotype anybody for any reason and you can come a cropper"......:0)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 06:30 AM

Grishka. I don't see millions of members of religions marching on their gilded palaces shouting "Not in my name! "
You bet they did and do, many millions. Normally they reluctantly join other denominations or found new ones, despite the main point of religion being to stick together and to its history. Others curse religion altogether and feel bad about it.
My point was also historical. The purpose of superstition as a concept is to control.
Absolutely wrong, historically and psychologically. Yesterday the BBC told us about a new crypto-satanist cult of "Santa Muerte" in Mexico, created by Catholics without help from anybody in power, and of course heavily fought by the Catholic clergy. The drug cartels try to gain control over it - ex post facto.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 06:42 AM

Ok. I will shout it just in case anybody doesn't quite get it.

ANYONE WHO OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE IS DISPLAYING DISGUSTING HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTRY. THERE IS A CHANCE THEY ARE DISGUSTING HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTS AND THERE IS A CHANCE THEY ARE ILL INFORMED AND CONDITIONED INTO THINKING SO. OFTEN BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD JESUS OR MOHAMMED DOESNT LIKE THE IDEA.

Grishka gives an amusing account of "millions" swapping deck chairs on The Titanic. Mmmm.. The only two who spring to mind are Henry VIII and Martin Luther. Most change in the same way I went from a Jaguar to a BMW the other month. Or tried having coffee without a spot of sugar, (didn't last long.)

Oh, if you say something is absolutely wrong, do try to explain why it is either wrong or why you disagree, there's a good chap or chappess.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 06:49 AM

Keep on stereotyping! :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 07:35 AM

ANYONE WHO OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE IS DISPLAYING DISGUSTING HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTRY.

Does that include those gays who oppose it?
Does that include those who have no issue with sexuality but just have the traditional view of what the institution of marriage is and should be?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 08:12 AM

Oh, if you say something is absolutely wrong, do try to explain why it is either wrong or why you disagree, there's a good chap or chappess.
Since my monicker is a male first name, I can be safely addressed using the male form only.

Musket, when I try to explain anything, your tell me your eyes become glazed, so I mentioned an example. The message is that widespread cults are not invented by those in power, but are expressions of deeply felt desires in the community. Control comes second, exerted either by those who are in military power or by clever elites who carefully listen to the existing ideas. Active dictatorship can come third, when the power is firmly established, but even then, most dictators prefer tweaking existing convictions to inventing new ones. The real pharaoh Akenaton gave a perfect example that even absolutist power cannot arbitrarily create cults that outlast it.

Henry VIII was in power alright (- wisely surfing on existing ideas -), but Luther was not. Neither were most other religious innovators; some of them eventually gained power by mandate of their voluntary followers.

Bottom line: religion does not come from power, but can be seized by powerful persons and groups.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 08:12 AM

Yes.

Two reasons.

1. The traditional view, as you put it, has an issue with sexuality. You can't disguise something by calling it traditional. It used to be traditional to take babies from unmarried mums and keep them as slaves in nunneries, doesn't stop it being criminally disgraceful.

2. A gay is an equal member of society so if that person wishes to restrict the rights of others, of course the cap fits. It doesn't make them some pink Uncle Tom, it makes them a bigot.

Obviously the meaning of equality has connotations neither you nor your mate Akenhateon has thought through properly.

Just because old men in frocks go on the telly saying you are persecuting them for their beliefs if you insist on equality for all, doesn't mean their beliefs have any place in decent society. Being a cleric does not put you above anybody else in your behaviour, as the prison population clearly shows.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 09:33 AM

So, Steve, when's the last time you were in a church and heard about sex? When's the last time you saw a church publication about sex?

That's what I thought - you're resting on your prejudices.


I answered this one very recently (perhaps you only skim: you should read carefully what people say if you wish to have it back at them). Priests are not going to talk much about sex from the pulpit because (a) children are present (b) a celibate man in a frock would carry little credibility with an audience of mainly married people, so stop being so disingenuous! I referred to the perceived stances of the Church, which has an authoritarian hierarchy frequently and fundamentally at odds with the flock (as you yourself have admitted: most Catholics, [at least in the west - my addition, and not an unimportant one], ignore the Church law on contraception, for example). When did I see a Church publication about sex? Why three weeks ago at my Dad's house (he's a fervent Catholic still), in the parish magazine, which had an item regarding the Union of Catholic Mothers' rallying people to an upcoming anti-abortion rally. Naturally, the item was replete with the obligatory moralising about the evils of murdering innocent life, etc. I'm afraid that your constant claims that I am out of touch, prejudiced, etc., are based more on hope than reality.   

I suppose you think that all Jews have long noses, too. And since that's the case, they should have nosectomies so as not to offend people, right?

Beneath contempt. You should be ashamed of this intemperate outburst.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 09:41 AM

Does that include those gays who oppose it?

Well, maybe they're misinformed, or conditioned by religion. Musket did allow that category, if you'll care to stop straw-manning for a minute.

Does that include those who have no issue with sexuality but just have the traditional view of what the institution of marriage is and should be?

They can't be both things, so they're liars as well as bigots.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 09:53 AM

They can't be both things
Yes they can.
That is the position of the Anglican and Catholic churches for instance.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 10:24 AM

I must admit Keith, of all the people coming to the conclusion the Anglican and Catholic Churches are liars and bigots, you'd be one of the last in my book. But then, what do I know?

If the position of any person or organisation is that something open to the rest of society (marriage) isn't open to a section of society, then that is discrimination. Full stop.

If no reason other than bigotry is put forward as the excuse, then walking and quacking leads people to a conclusion. After all, anything in their bible applies only to those who wish it to. It had no bearing, no power and no relevance to anyone else. But that isn't the position of the churches is it?

You learn something every day
Today I learned that Grishka is a male name, or at least I was berated for not knowing that. Funny, I have one friend and one work acquaintance by that name, and one is male, the other female. Hence my covering the bases.

That's the only thing Grishka taught me. The idea that religion isn't a historical mechanism for controlling the pack is outrageously funny. Such brainwashing just shows the danger of some of the less palatable aspects of religious control. Even level headed cynical people hesitate before defying these man made constructs.

Keith for instance feels you can have no issue with sexuality but have an issue with sexuality so long as you are a church, who must of course be respected..

Why?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 11:33 AM

My problem with religions has to do with an authoritarian mind-set. They are not democratic in that they invest the power with priests, ministers, rabbis, imams and other reputedly
"holy" men. (Not too many if any women).

In order for this authoritarian view to be relinquished, the notion of being a child with
parental authority has to be given up in favor of the responsibility of thinking for yourself.
You can't let a Pope or Dalai Lama or anyone in authority do your thinking for you.

Sexuality is a private matter and can't be legislated by religion or government. Sex crimes however must be controlled by law enforcement.

Homosexuality is not a crime. Race hatred however is.

Religion generally is consensual power, that is power allowed to be place in the hands
of an authority figure. The mind-control is allowed when the power is relinquished.

Religion is not necessary to societal good. It is harmful when the mind gets shut off
and decisions about life are placed in the hands of generally incompetent religious leaders.

If the Pope has any value as a spokesperson for the good of society, his religious tenets must be criticized if his words have any meaning. Any inconsistency here becomes a glaring error in the case of one so powerful.

Religion is a form of politics. Any hierarchical institution involves political struggle whether it's a religion or form of government.

I question whether democracy or true socialism can thrive in this kind of institution.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 11:37 AM

Well Jesus was a "socialist" in his time.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 12:16 PM

"Well Jesus was a socialist in his time"
'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.'
That sounds more laissez faire than radical socialism.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 12:19 PM

Today I learned that Grishka is a male name, or at least I was berated for not knowing that.
Not berated, informed. On googling, I read that it is a "baby boy name", haha. English generally has a tradition of gender ambiguity, but I think we are excused to call a, say, Tony a "he" by default. Anyway, my persona is a man.

You asked me for an explanation and got it. Now it is your turn: if you say something is "outrageously funny", do try to explain why it is either wrong or why you disagree, there's a good chap. If you are overchallenged with the general case, comment on my example of 29 Nov 13 - 06:30 AM. Note that it is by no means meant as a plea to condone satanism. "Man made" in a sense, but not invented by powerful persons as a means of controlling the masses.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket drooling
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 01:26 PM

Who mentioned satanism?

As far as I'm concerned its something to do with role play at sexy swinging parties.

Not that any bugger has invited me.

Ah well. Two's company, three's fun.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 02:58 PM

Using Joe's scale from his clever insightful post,the 1-4's are playing their roles here in this thread.I think Joe an obvious 5-6 er has just shown you how Catholicism is no different in essence than the other religions from around the planet.My problem with Catholicism is it is bottom of the pile in delivering enlightenment compared to other "paths".If the people who try preach it understood their religion like Joe that figure would rise imho.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 05:23 PM

Agreed!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 06:08 PM

Ake says: I think you are wrong to say that only "conservative" Catholics are against homosexual marriage, or abortion on demand, Joe.

I didn't say that, Ake. In my post at 10:27 PM yesterday, I said, "the right wing has taken these issues up in the last ten years and caused a lot of embarrassment for the rest of us."

And maybe I can answer this rather definitive statement from Musket at the same time: ANYONE WHO OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE IS DISPLAYING DISGUSTING HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTRY. THERE IS A CHANCE THEY ARE DISGUSTING HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTS AND THERE IS A CHANCE THEY ARE ILL INFORMED AND CONDITIONED INTO THINKING SO. OFTEN BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD JESUS OR MOHAMMED DOESNT LIKE THE IDEA..

What the conservative Catholics have done in their power play, is to make issues of these matters. In fact, that seems to be a hallmark of conservatism today: passing judgment on the private conduct of others, possibly to serve as a smokescreen to cover the selfishness of their own social misconduct. They can justify withholding medical care because of the evil sexual conduct of those seeking abortion (or even maternity care) or treatment for AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases. They feel justified in condemning homeless people because they label homeless people drug addicts and alcoholics and thieves.

Another conservative trait, is to deify civil law and to consider disobedience of a civil law to be immoral. Therefore, these people see it justifiable for undocumented immigrants to suffer whatever consequences they suffer - because "they broke the law." Laws requiring capital punishment and allowing gun ownership, can also take on this "deified" status. I've wondered, though, why the Affordable Care Act / Obamacare does not enjoy this same divine support.

And on to Musket's sweeping statement, which seems to be in bed with many of the twisted perceptions of Mr. Shaw: whether you like it or not, it has traditionally been the job of churches to raise questions about the morality of human conduct and human decisions. In this thread others, this practice of churches has been portrayed by some as something horrible and bigoted, as some sort of mind control, as interference with the rights of individuals or governments. In other words, the idea is that it is somehow not right for churches to dabble in the realm of morality. Indeed, some seem to think it wrong for churches to say anything in the public forum, or for religious people to defile the atmosphere with greetings such as "Merry Christmas."

I think there must be some reasonable middle ground. I certainly don't think it's right for churches to coerce governments to do anything, and thus I find it wrong for the Catholic Church to pressure governments to outlaw birth control devices in certain countries (no longer true in most situations). On abortion, I have mixed feelings - I don't think third-trimester abortions should be legal in most circumstances; but although I question the morality of abortion, I don't think there should be laws against abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Ake's use of the term "abortion on demand" makes it appear that people who have abortions take their decisions lightly, and I think that characterization is unfair. I believe that most women who have abortions, think very seriously about their decision.

I think that in the United States and many other places, the churches are the strongest advocates for the poor, the homeless, and the immigrants. Some may claim this is religion interfering with government, but I see this as people of like mind joining together to speak for what they think is right. The Catholic Church gets a lot of flak from its own members for its opposition to capital punishment, and for its support of the rights of workers. Indeed, some people seem to think it wrong for workers to join together to advocate their rights, instead of speaking only as individuals. [Corporations, in their mind, should not have such restrictions, because U.S. law has declared corporations to be "persons" - except, of course, when it is inconvenient for them to be persons]. To my mind, churches should certainly have the right to speak out on public issues, but there should be limits on churches controlling legislation. I suppose it's hard to figure where to draw the line on that.

OK, about this issue of how much churches control their members - I would say that in most places nowadays, that control is very limited. Steve Shaw will no doubt come up with yet another of his amazingly distorted perceptions on this, but the fact of the matter is that most churches don't threaten people with hellfire any more (a possible exception: some of the born-again churches, but I think they mostly condemn only infidels and members of other churches). In fact, threatening parishioners with hellfire was already out of style when I was a Catholic seminary student in the 1960s - because it was poor theology then, and it's poor theology today. Despite that fact that Catholics in the 1950s seemed to be afraid of ending up in hell, the Baltimore Catechism I memorized in grammar school carefully explained how difficult it was to do something that would qualify you for hell; and then you had to die without being sorry for what you had done and being fully convinced that what you did was horrible and intentional evildoing.

About a quarter of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a study of morality. If you follow the link and take a look at at least a few sections, you will find that it is far more rational and compassionate in its approach than you might have imagined - and far less authoritarian than Stringsinger would have you think. Even parts you might disagree with, are presented in a very balanced, rational manner - a manner that seems to me to respect those who might see the issue differently.

So, Musket thinks it "disgusting homophobic bigotry" to oppose gay marriage. Some above seem to think that it's wrong for churches to question any sort of sexual conduct. Seems to me, that all of these "moral issues" should be open to rational discussion. For an individual or an organization to merely question the morality of homosexual sex, shouldn't be condemned quite so severely. After all, societal acceptance of homosexuality is still in its infancy, and there are many questions to be answered before acceptance of gay relationships becomes near-universal. Same with abortion - this is one of those life-and-death questions that shouldn't be taken lightly, so it should be open to questioning and discussion. Birth control - again, it's a question that's at least worth pondering. Are Chinese government one-child laws moral?

So, what I would like to see, is open, thoughtful discussion of moral issues - without condemnation or name-calling or rash generalizations. And yes, I think churches have a place in this discussion and should be a forum themselves for such discussion.

And although Steve Shaw cannot seem to accept this, churches do not consider sexual activity to be among the most important of moral issues. Far more important to most churches, are the issues of compassion: poverty and homelessness, immigration, warfare, capital punishment, peace within families, healthcare, the rights of workers, human trafficking, the environment. To say that churches do not have a right to speak out on such issues, is nonsense.

Oh, as as for sexual activity and churches taking strong stands, I think it's most often lay people who take the strongest and most vocal positions against various things. For the most part, even celibate clergy tend to be compassionate and tolerant, because they've heard and seen so much from so many different people. One exception - popes and bishops don't tend to get close enough to people to hear such things, so their opinions may vary.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 07:22 PM

"
So, Musket thinks it "disgusting homophobic bigotry" to oppose gay marriage. Some above seem to think that it's wrong for churches to question any sort of sexual conduct. Seems to me, that all of these "moral issues" should be open to rational discussion. For an individual or an organization to merely question the morality of homosexual sex, shouldn't be condemned quite so severely. After all, societal acceptance of homosexuality is still in its infancy, and there are many questions to be answered before acceptance of gay relationships becomes near-universal. Same with abortion - this is one of those life-and-death questions that shouldn't be taken lightly, so it should be open to questioning and discussion. Birth control - again, it's a question that's at least worth pondering. Are Chinese government one-child laws moral?"

That is exactly my position Joe; and by far the most important question that requires to be answered, is why are sexual infection rates so high amongst male homosexuals and what new procedures can be brought forward to halt the epidemic and replace the failed ones presently in position.
These matters ARE "issues"...serious issues, and to oppose legislation to promote this lifestyle as safe and healthy whilst these infection rates apply is perfectly valid.
It is NOT of course valid to refuse medical treatment to anyone affected by serious disease no matter what their sexual preferences may be,(does this really happen?)

Of course birth control should be allowed and even encouraged in some cases....BUT, when life has been created, we must think very hard before destroying that life.
Abortion on demand is being practiced widely in the UK, I'm not sure about the US, but it is practiced here for convenience or even to select preferred gender of child.
Society finds it easier and less expensive to abort the child, than to deal with the difficult issue through social services....these are the issues which require leadership and it is the place of the church to provide that leadership, not allow itself to be dragged along by the coat tails by an increasingly selfish and uncaring society.
We are all so hung up on the rights of the individual, that we have forgotten our obligations to our species...humanity.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 09:07 PM

And on to Musket's sweeping statement, which seems to be in bed with many of the twisted perceptions of Mr. Shaw: whether you like it or not, it has traditionally been the job of churches to raise questions about the morality of human conduct and human decisions.

And who made it "their job?" Not me, that's for sure.


but although I question the morality of abortion

You're a man. Abortion has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with a woman's right to choose what she does with her body. By all means get quietly indignant if you really must, but keep your moralising to yourself. You might consider, instead, the morality of a Church (your Church) that lionises people such as Mother Teresa whose main aim is to keep women in ignorance and poverty. Once you've done that, see then where you abortion-moralising gets you.   


Steve Shaw will no doubt come up with yet another of his amazingly distorted perceptions on this, but the fact of the matter is that most churches don't threaten people with hellfire any more (a possible exception: some of the born-again churches, but I think they mostly condemn only infidels and members of other churches). In fact, threatening parishioners with hellfire was already out of style when I was a Catholic seminary student in the 1960s - because it was poor theology then, and it's poor theology today.

Well I don't give a damn about theology, but your general thrust here is a misrepresentation. I taught in a Catholic faith school for seven years until 1980 (including, as I've been at pains to tell you, my teaching religious instruction), and I can assure you that the the promotion of the fear and hellfire was alive and kicking right up to that point.


For an individual or an organization to merely question the morality of homosexual sex, shouldn't be condemned quite so severely. After all, societal acceptance of homosexuality is still in its infancy, and there are many questions to be answered before acceptance of gay relationships becomes near-universal.

I don't give a toss what society thinks. I do give a toss about what is right and wrong. I don't see why gay people should have to sit around waiting patiently for "societal acceptance" to happen so that we can then condemn properly what is a thoroughly immoral outrage, namely, the lack of acceptance of gay relationships. And, as before, do leave your morals at the door. They don't exactly help. The immorality lies one hundred percent with the lack of acceptance and nil percent with the gay relationships. Gay people are waiting, and you umming and ahhing about their "morality" is a disgrace.


So, what I would like to see, is open, thoughtful discussion of moral issues

Fine, but do try to get your head round what are moral issues and what are practical issues. Your Church does not enjoy a monopoly on making such definitions.

And although Steve Shaw cannot seem to accept this, churches do not consider sexual activity to be among the most important of moral issues. Far more important to most churches, are the issues of compassion: poverty and homelessness, immigration, warfare, capital punishment, peace within families, healthcare, the rights of workers, human trafficking, the environment. To say that churches do not have a right to speak out on such issues, is nonsense.

You have a right to say whatever you like, but on some of these issues your Church provides an embarrassed silence when some of your leading spokespersons, Mother Teresa being the most egregious example, preach ignorance, sexual repression, the subjugation of women, the celebration and tacit acceptance of poverty and injustice - AND YOU DON'T SPEAK OUT. So let's hear it. Not in soft tones. Mother Teresa is going to become a saint. Whaddya gonna say about that then?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 12:38 AM

What am I going to say when Mother Teresa becomes a saint? Same thing I say now: Steve Shaw has some really twisted ideas about Mother Teresa. He bought into the Hitchens progaganda, hook, line, and sinker. Nobody is as horrible as Hitchens (and Shaw) make Mother Teresa out to be, so I don't believe a word of what they say.

Same with Steve's putative expertise on Catholic Church teaching on sexuality. He worked in a Catholic high school until 1980, so he thinks he has his finger on up-to-date information.

Oh, and he says the only reason why priests don't talk about sex from the pulpit, is because there are children present in church. Otherwise, I suppose, all those priests would talk obsessively about sex - just like Steve....

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 01:11 AM

...and no, Steve, I'm not a big supporter of Mother Teresa. She's a conservative icon. But neither do I think she's the demon you make her out to be.

And I've always been one to speak out about things I think are wrong in the Catholic Church, particularly the refusal to ordain women and my bishop's support of the California election campaign against gay marriage.

I even wrote to my bishop and demanded my $250 contribution back from his diocesan campaign when he had ended funding for a homeless organization that hired a female Methodist minister as executive director, because she had spoken in favor of Planned Parenthood and gay marriage.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 03:43 AM

And on to Musket's sweeping statement, which seems to be in bed with many of the twisted perceptions of Mr. Shaw: whether you like it or not, it has traditionally been the job of churches to raise questions about the morality of human conduct and human decisions.

And who made it "their job?" Not me, that's for sure.


Maybe 'job' wasn't an ideal word - 'role' might be better.   But I think you are getting carried away in that comment. No-one said it is exclusively their job/role. A group or individual does not need the right or approval of anyone else - subject to legal restrictions - to raise questions on anything. Greenpeace did not seek my approval. Stonewall did not seek my approval. CND did not seek my approval. Shelter did not seek my approval. Whether an individual happens to agree or not with the arguments the church and these other groups make has no bearing whatever on their right to adopt the role of raising questions.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 03:54 AM

This forum has become alive.....excellent Joe and DMcG!...The "Messiahs of Mudcat" REALLY have no robes!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket giggling
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 05:19 AM

In which case I must read their contributions more closely before seeing merit. Mind you, they can't be that good. Akenhateon is a one trick pony so presumably he thinks they are supporting his position. ...

Joe. No.

It is not the role of the church in any democracy to feel they have a right to influence. They can lobby the same as any pressure group but until they all realise everybody, regardless of class, ethnicity, gender or sexual persuasion has an equal right to opportunity, they have no mandate outside their own clubs and societies. Politicians pander to them due to the votes they return, not because their paintings of biblical characters look vaguely Western.

Here in The UK, the prime minister started attending church once he became leader of his party because his spin doctors reminded him of votes. The deputy prime minister and leader of the opposition are not religious and both have spoken of removing the religious clauses in equality legislation.

Getting there.

In the meantime, if religious clubs and organisations do most of the social work where you live, don't translate it over here. Many do fine work but we have a welfare state, creaking and more reliant on charity but not religious in essence. The Charities Commission rules preclude overt religious emphasis on charities. Although most religions have charitable status to allow tax breaks for their pastoral work. Fine.

I did some sabbatical work in Kenya a few years ago. One community had both Cafod and an Islamic aid body wishing to invest in the village infrastructure. Just one clause. .

By the time I got there, the medical centre was still a clearing waiting to be built but the mosque and Catholic mission were up, open and to a high standard.

Funny that.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 05:45 AM


It is not the role of the church in any democracy to feel they have a right to influence. They can lobby the same as any pressure group but until they all realise everybody, regardless of class, ethnicity, gender or sexual persuasion has an equal right to opportunity, they have no mandate outside their own clubs and societies. Politicians pander to them due to the votes they return, not because their paintings of biblical characters look vaguely Western.


Ok, this is a little complicated. Let's begin by agreeing there should be no bishops in the House of Lords by right. That's one of many of the reforms of the House that should have happened, but didn't.

I would agree that "It is not the role of the church in any democracy to have a right to influence" but not "It is not the role of the church in any democracy to feel they have a right to influence." I am not about to try to regulate feelings or beliefs, but agree with you that the influence should be similar to any other pressure group.

Now, you say the politicians pander to the churches views. Suppose that to be true. Are you saying the church should stop expressing its beliefs in case they are taken seriously? Surely not: any fault here lies with the politicians, not the church.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 07:26 AM

The Church predicates its morality on religion. It has a guidebook called the New Testament ("interpreted" for our moral guidance by a whole swarm of "theologians"), a tendentious, historically-dubious document that is often at odds even with itself. Good morals may well arise from that shaky foundation, but so might bad morals too. That's the trouble with shaky foundations. Well, the thing is that, in the world as a whole, the Catholic Church enjoys only minority support. Worse, most of the people who are ostensibly "Catholic" (i.e. signed up at birth in a church ceremony that they had no say about) don't give a damn. But does this imbue the Church with a sense of humility? Why no, it does not. Like all organised religions, it seeks to impose its faith-based morality on the world as a whole. The Church, for example, does not simply counsel its own members against abortion - it seeks to have laws on abortion that cover all of us (remember that rally I mentioned the Union of Catholic Mothers, and the parish mag, were supporting?). Mother Teresa told her audience that abortion was the greatest threat to world peace. What did she know about world peace? Why didn't she just say to her members that it's against the Church's teaching, in case you're considering it? The Church campaigns against proposals for gay marriage in the nation, not just for its own members. You do ask yourself where the Church supposes it gets its authority from to go beyond its own bounds in these ways. Don't ask a priest or a bishop that question though, as you might just get a silly answer and a glance heavenwards.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 07:52 AM

Correct. It is the fault of the politicians if they give undue influence to any group if that group promotes discrimination.

I have no issue whatsoever with the rights of churches, mosques, temples whatever to ensure their interests are protected but in a country where equality of opportunity is promoted and even legislated for, they have no right to protect discrimination. We don't have truck with BNP and their view of ethnic minorities so why should we be so inviting to those who discriminate against women in the career front and see gays as second class citizens.

It isn't any more complicated than that?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 08:01 AM

The Church campaigns against proposals for gay marriage in the nation, not just for its own members. You do ask yourself where the Church supposes it gets its authority from to go beyond its own bounds in these ways

But that's exactly what every pressure group does, one way or another. Not necessarily via laws, of course, but certainly it will seek to make its case outside its membership. And as I said before, the question of authority does not arise. [Pressure group] makes its case, you decide whether or not to agree. If you don't [pressure group] tries again. That's the nature of the lobbying of all kinds. That process does not imply the pressure group has any authority.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 08:39 AM

This might be a duplicate post, as my last attempt vaporised. This thread was originally about a survey of the view of ordinary UK Catholics by the UK bishops. Today, 20 November 2013, is he last date to complete the survey.

(click here)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 08:40 AM

"It isn't any more complicated than that?"

OH yes it is, these issues are not simple, or only "simple" to the simple minded.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 11:45 AM

Disgusting obscene bigotry isn't complicated at all. If it were, you wouldn't be capable of it worm.

The complications are purely down to whether or not society is accessible for all, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation. If any person or organisation feels otherwise, they have a view, fine. But if they by action or inaction carry out that view, they are in breach of the law (in The UK.) Unless they are acting on behalf of a recognised religion. Wow. Doesn't exactly make discrimination a bad thing after all eh? I have a friend who lives in a city with his wife and two young girls. He would love to move to a village, but he is white and his wife is black. They are discriminated less in the city. People don't stare at them. But if religions can openly discriminate, it isn't a bad thing if others do?

My stance is simple. If I can't discriminate, why can they? If Akenhateon came into a pub I owned, I couldn't bar him on the basis of his odious beliefs but a church can put out a job advert for a bishop, (which is a job and comes under employment law) and say no women can apply. They can say "come and get married here!" But gays can piss off. (In order to pander to them and ensure respectable citizens don't take them to court, the gay marriage act makes it illegal for Church of England or Wales to conduct gay marriage.)

Mind you, I still wouldn't serve him.

So tell me again, what legitimate voice have religious clubs and societies when they have fought hard and long against equality of opportunity for all? Why should I or anybody else have any respect for them.? Importantly, when Joe talks of the role of church to get involved in moral affairs, it would be nice for them to get their own house in order before preaching morals to those for whom civilisation has progressed beyond bigotry and misogyny. Oh, and in The UK, the number of practicing Anglican Christians means it would make more sense for members of The Council of Mosques to sit in the upper house than Anglican bishops.

The wonderful Stephen Fry in his two part documentary "Stepping Out" was debating with a Ugandan priest who advocated capital punishment for being gay. He said that there are over four hundred creatures who exhibit homosexual behaviour but only one that persecutes them. He then spoke to a young lesbian who, on the orders of her local Catholic priest (who was named and admitted it) was "correctively raped." She fell pregnant from the ordeal and just for good measure is now HIV+. The priest spoke of God's punishment of her. I had to go for "a short walk" after viewing her brave interview.

Sorry Joe, still not getting this moral stance. I must be thick.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 01:01 PM

But that's exactly what every pressure group does, one way or another. Not necessarily via laws, of course, but certainly it will seek to make its case outside its membership. And as I said before, the question of authority does not arise. [Pressure group] makes its case, you decide whether or not to agree. If you don't [pressure group] tries again. That's the nature of the lobbying of all kinds. That process does not imply the pressure group has any authority.

You are equating pressure groups with major organised religion. That is a false equivalence. AIPAC is a pressure group. The wonderful women of Greenham were a pressure group. Surfers Against Sewage are a pressure group. Pressure groups tend towards a single focus. Religions don't do that. Religions are large, complex, hierarchical organisations with many facets and a multitude of activities from running infants' carol services to getting unelected male bishops into parliament. You wouldn't call the Conservative Party a pressure group, would you? Yes it's a free country and the voice of religion has a right to be heard. But that is a very loud voice, out of all proportion to its membership (and it's worse than that, considering that most of the people they count as "members" don't give a flying fart for religion). We see religion everywhere in the media and on the streets, usually giving us messages of myth masquerading as certainty. Religion is the default. Imagine a world in which religion occupied its proper, humble place in the world. I'd suggest arriving at that assessment by counting arses on Sunday pews. Even UKIP can do better than that and they haven't got a single MP!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 01:34 PM

Pressure groups tend towards a single focus.
That all depends what you mean by a focus. Greenpeace, for example, has a single over-arching principle, but it is expressed by many different campaigns over time on specific issues. Similarly churches normally have some sort of overall principle, and it is expressed via different campaigns on specific issues. It seems a good parallel to me.

Of course, there are also pressure groups like 'Save Lewisham Hospital' where there is a single goal and essentially only one campaign, but by no means all are like this.

Would I call the Conservative Party a pressure group? No, but that is because a pressure group is trying to put pressure on someone, normally the government, and that can't apply if they are the government. Would I call whoever is in opposition at any particular time a pressure group? Probably not, but I'm not certain. Would I call the Anti-European wing of the Conservatives a pressure group? Yes, I would.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 08:45 PM

DMcG says:
  • Greenpeace did not seek my approval.
  • Stonewall did not seek my approval.
  • CND did not seek my approval.
  • Shelter did not seek my approval.

Well, no, but they DID seek my donation.


Sorry, Dave, the Devil made me say it.....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 08:50 PM

Greenpeace reinvents itself for each campaign. It is a pressure group, tightly-focussed and constantly reinvented, but it does not enjoy the millennia-old hierarchical structure of an organised religion. There is no rule-book and no doctrine. Greenpeace, like all pressure groups, and unlike all major religions, is run by its volunteer members and is utterly and ideologically devoid of the authoritarian and undemocratic structures of religions. Greenpeace relies on its campaigns attracting members and supporters, unlike religions, which coerce the parents of infants into signing up their proteges at birth (and getting them into faith schools where possible). Religions put their feelers out in all directions, whereas Greenpeace puts its feelers out in one direction at a time. You shouldn't really be mentioning Greenpeace in the same breath as organised religion at all. Your doing so reeks of an attempt to legitimise religion by associating it with worthwhile causes. Greenpeace should either sue you or charge you a fee. And, for the sake of complete information, I have nothing to do with Greenpeace.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 09:19 PM

Musket, let me say that I agree that the Catholic Church as an institution, discriminates against homosexuals, and against women. That's the position taken by those in power, and I disagree with that position and have worked most of my life to change it.

But still, it's my church, and it allows me the opportunity to worship in the way I wish to worship.

My church also does a lot of good, and has an exceptionally good reputation for giving aid to the poor of the world efficiently and effectively. I suppose some would like birth control to be packaged with that aid, but it isn't.

My church has made strong, credible moral statements on a number of issues that are very important to me: poverty, homelessness, the rights of immigrants and workers, opposition to warfare and capital punishment.

You say: It is not the role of the church in any democracy to feel they have a right to influence. They can lobby the same as any pressure group but until they all realise everybody, regardless of class, ethnicity, gender or sexual persuasion has an equal right to opportunity, they have no mandate outside their own clubs and societies. Politicians pander to them due to the votes they return, not because their paintings of biblical characters look vaguely Western

I think you're wrong, Musket. It is the role and the right of any group in a democracy to have influence. It's not only corporations that deserve a voice. That's what democracy is supposed to be all about. So, yes, I firmly believe that churches have a right and a duty to speak out on moral issues, just as you have the same right.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 02:14 AM

Steve, we are talking about whether churches interact with governments in the same way as pressure groups, and I believe they do, [apart from the CofE which also has the additional House of Lords back door, which we agree should not be there]. Whether we approve or disapprove of the organisation concerned, whether they are new or old, whether they have a loose or a tight organisation, and all the rest only matters as far as the lobbying role is concerned in so far as they are more or less effective in getting the governments to respond to their views.

There are plenty of things you object to about churches (Mother Teresa, etc.), but on this point of lobbying your main criticism seems to be that they are too successful. Now, that's a very odd charge to make against any lobbyist. Which is why I say that on this specific point your anger would be better directed at the politicians than the churches.

So no, I don't feel I am slandering Greenpeace in any way.


====

Joe: I concede your point, devil or no!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 02:40 AM

...and so, to continue. I admit I don't like my church's stand on homosexual marriage and on ordination of women. I do have questions about extending a church blessing on homosexual marriage, but I cannot see how or why the Catholic Church should oppose a civil marriage for homosexuals. Now, there are "purists" who then say I am a horrible person because I do not insist that churches bless homosexual marriages, but that's where I stand. I myself would bless the marriage of any two people who pledge lifelong fidelity to each other, but a church blessing demands that the vast majority of church members feel certain that they can bless the marriage. It will take time to reach that point. If a church wants to jump the gun and legislate that it will bless homosexual marriages, it will cause polarization and separation.

I don't know how to bring an entire church to the point where it can freely and wholeheartedly bless a homosexual marriage. I wish I knew how it could be done.

On the other hand, civil marriage is a different matter, and I don't understand why so many people and my Catholic Church have such opposition to allowing civil marriages for homosexual couples. This is a perfect opportunity for churches to try out Acts 5:39 and see if it really works: "but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them."

And yeah, there's the issue of women, and whether women should be ordained priests. I am in favor of the ordination of women, but I also know that a huge number of Catholics would be greatly disturbed if the Catholic Church were to ordain women. We've seen the problems that the Anglican Communion has had with the ordination of women and homosexuals. It has led to a very nasty schism. So...the question is whether the Catholics should avoid the schism and wait until the vast majority of Catholics are ready to accept homosexual and women priests, or if they should impose female and homosexual ordination on people who are not ready to accept it. Now, Mr. Musket and Mr. Shaw are vehemently opposed to the thought of the Catholic Church imposing anything on anyone - but this is a matter where a vast number of lay people are vehemently opposed on this being imposed on them. So....it's a very difficult question, and there are no easy answers.

And Mr. Musket and Mr. Shaw appear to believe that because the Catholic Church does not have the proper stance on homosexuals or women or abortion, then it should have no right to speak on any issues whatsoever.

Well.....I disagree. While I think my Catholic Church is wrong on the issues of homosexuals and women and abortion, I think it is absolutely right on the far more important issues of poverty, homelessness, the rights of immigrants and workers, and opposition to warfare and capital punishment - and of that, I am very proud.

So, am I forced to belong only to those organizations that support all the same issues I support, or can I accept the reality that my church thinks mostly the way I do, but not completely? I've pondered that question most of my life, and I have not come up with a definitive answer.

Maybe that's the reality of life - that everything is not as we would wish it to be, that there are no absolutes, and that our job in life is to balance things and continue to strive to make some sense out of it all.

In the meantime, I'll stay Catholic, and remain convinced that somehow I'm going to fix all the many shortcomings of my Catholic Church.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 02:45 AM

Yes Joe.

But other lobby groups hope their wishes are taken on board.

The position of most religions is to assume their wishes are taken on board as a right.

I have never questioned the joy people get from involvement with their church, mosque, synagogue or temple. I would add, and should have added, freedom of expression of faith to my list of ethnicity, disability, gender and sexual orientation. Sadly, many people feel that questioning bigotry or misogyny is suppressing their freedom of expression of faith. Well, most people convicted of serious crime could find a biblical hero who did something similar. ...

The issue isn't people's faith and isn't their right to worship, nor indeed the good work people do using their particular organisation as a tool. Far from it.

It is the assumption of legitimacy of whatever an organised religion feels they desire and their right to pile it on others. That is why we have the absurd Sunday trading laws, legalised discrimination and both yours and our prisons stuffed with people whose avowed aim is a Caliph in The Whitehouse.

I said above that it is quite simple. If religions feel they have something to offer society at large, they should begin by acting with the same moral standards as those they wish to influence. As a start they should realise that you and the many like you are not just providing a view but a key to social acceptance. Gone are the days of favour, gone are the days of being used to keep the masses in order. (Blessed are the meek, rich men and camels through eyes of needles etc)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 03:23 AM

Unfortunately, musket [and Steve], life is far from simple. I only referred to Greenpeace by way of illustration, but we will continue to use them to consider your point.

Most people, including me, would agree that Greenpeace is "worthwhile" and many, including me, have donated occasionally over the years without actually joining.

But to face the hard-nosed fact: In many countries Greenpeace is listed as a terrorist organisation. I'm not sure if it still is, but it certainly was so listed in the UK at one time. This is because it is perfectly willing to break the democratically created laws because it believes it has a higher moral imperative.

On the other hand, in most cases at least, church organisations are law-abiding: for example they do abide by the UK employment laws as enacted. (Of course, individuals in the organisations may not be law-abiding, but that's a different matter.) You may feel the laws as enacted are not right, but again that's another matter.

So, as I say, life is complex. The axes of worthwhile/not-worthwhile, law-abiding/terrorist, democratic/undemocratic do not fit together anything like as neatly as one might hope.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 03:39 AM

You know, Musket, I think the churches realized about fifty years ago that "gone are the days of favor." Certainly there are some stodgy old (and not-so-old) bishops who would disagree - New York's Cardinal Dolan would be one of them. But in general, I think that in general the churches realize that they're on a more even playing ground, and that's the way it should be.

Still, although churches may not be "right" on every issue, I think they have a right and a duty to speak their position.

And although it does take some positions I disagree with, I'm very happy my church speaks so strongly on behalf of the poor and the immigrant and the worker, and against capital punishment and warfare.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 03:41 AM

True. "As enacted. "

Except. ...

First of all the bishop of York as an example said on gay marriage that he answers to a higher authority. Rather sinister don't you think?

Secondly, once the gay marriage act is in use, papers are presently being filed to challenge through the European Court of Human Rights the ban on certain churches being able to offer them. Not, incidentally, by those churches but by those who will use any ruling to then pursue those churches for discrimination.   Once the act is active, Catholic churches are already fair game for suing.

But why?

Why go to making lawyers rich? Just because of translations of writings by superstitious people in the middle east a couple of thousand years ago?

Or because of reducing power over people?

My money is on the latter.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 03:58 AM


First of all the bishop of York as an example said on gay marriage that he answers to a higher authority. Rather sinister don't you think?


Silly, yes. I certainly don't agree with his conviction. But sinister? No, not really.

I am not sure exactly what the point of the EU case you referred to is. As far as I understand the legislation, there is explicit provision for the Church of England to refuse gay marriages, but there is no such provision for any other church. So to the best of my knowledge, the Catholic church could be sued for refusing without involving the EU at all, at least at the first step. If the church lost, then certainly the EU would become involved due the arguments about religious versus other freedoms, but that would be a long way down the road.

Where the EU ruling might come into play is whether one church can be singled out for special treatment in law in that way.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 04:07 AM

Wait - the Catholic Church can be sued for refusing to perform gay marriages, but the Anglican Church cannot?
Or am I missing something here?

I have to say that there is a vastly different view of church-state relations in the US vs. the EU, because the churches have never held any political status in the US. As an American, I have the feeling that church and state make strange bedfellows. And yet in the EU, where anti-church sentiment is very strong, churches have political advantages that the most conservative Americans would never dream of granting to churches.

Another difference is in the attitude toward services to the poor. In most of Europe, it seems that it is considered to be the duty of the state to care for the poor and to provide medical care. In the U.S., conservatives rail against any attempt to spend taxpayer money on the needs of the poor, since this is "socialism." So, the churches fill the gap. Churches don't have to do that in Europe, so maybe they can spend their time meddling in people's sex lives.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 04:13 AM

Wait - the Catholic Church can be sued for refusing to perform gay marriages, but the Anglican Church cannot?
Or am I missing something here?


Yes, you are missing something, but it is pretty excusable since you probably don't following arguments in the UK Parliament too closely. The problem arises, ultimately, because the Queen is Titular head of the Church of England and during her coronation swore an oath to uphold it. Parliament got concerned that they would be asking her to sign an act of Parliament that arguably breaks that oath. So they put into the law explicitly that it did not apply to the Church of England.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 04:46 AM

In the U.S., conservatives rail against any attempt to In the U.S., conservatives rail against any attempt to spend taxpayer money on the needs of the poor, since this is "socialism." So, the churches fill the gap. Churches don't have to do that in Europe, since this is "socialism." So, the churches fill the gap. Churches don't have to do that in Europe
That is more or less the case, Joe, but less so than it was. In the UK, for a long time but even more so since the economic crash, the governments have been trying to cut back on "spend[ing] taxpayer money on the needs of the poor", which has led to, for example, a huge increase in the number of UK food banks. These are in large part "churches filling the gap."

Article on UK food banks


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:03 AM

Another anomaly lately has been the prosecution of a Christian couple who own a Guest House and refused to rent a double bedded room to a couple of male homosexuals.
They appealed the prosecution on the grounds that their Christian beliefs did not permit homosexual practice.
They lost the appeal and were fined around £2000.

This meant that they had to close down their business or give up their Christian faith.
It is believed that Christians are being targeted by activists who are using "human rights legislation" to weaken the position of committed Christians.

I suppose its all VERY simple, the rights of one section of the community matter. The rights of committed Christians do not!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:05 AM

That's precisely what I mean. The legitimacy of the legislation in terms of our signing up to the Human Rights covered by that constitutional court. The Church of England and their counterpart in Wales have been promised they can't be made to account for their discrimination by making it illegal for them to conduct gay marriage. Of course, this is no more than a delaying clause as the legislation will be challenged on our commitment to human rights charter obligations. The Monarch being asked to dilute her religious role is just a smokescreen. We are a constitutional monarchy. She signs what she is told to and if she objects, it is signed by the Prime Minister as first Lord of the Treasury. Presumably the constitutional crisis that would entail would mark the end of monarchy. Disestablishing the church would be a far easier option and Liz knows it.

I said that Catholics are already, once the act becomes live, sitting ducks for legal action. Just as they were for refusing to accept gay couples as potential foster parents for an agency they ran in Leeds.

The position for Muslims is easier. If you believe you tend to believe most of it. The term boutique Muslim only applies when sheiks get pissed and order prostitutes to theirroom when on business in London. Boutique Christians tend be those who run round the pick n mix counter. Most of them, if I'm correct.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:21 AM

I said that Catholics are already, once the act becomes live, sitting ducks for legal action

My hope, but not my expectation, is that the survey that started this thread could mean we never get to that point. But if we do, there are still a lot of games that can be played that stop the Catholic church being such an easy target. For example, it could adopt the model common in France that there is a church service that is not a marriage from a legal viewpoint, followed by a registration elsewhere, such as a civil registry office, which would be in law where the marriage took place, and so the Church would be in accord with the law.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:39 AM

But D McG, I'm sure you know, it's actually all about the word.

The "liberal" activists who produce this "show" are simply using homosexuals, the vast majority of whom don't want "marriage" in any form, to assist them in wrecking all forms of religious faith, which they see as bastions of conservatism.

It's like being beaten with a club, "either accept our agenda or we will make up words to demonise you, we have the power of the media and the politicians are running scared"

It is in actuality a form of Fascism and can be seen in action on these threads.
I've been happily married for 45 years, have 4 children and have had a conventional sex life, yet have my sexuality questioned by a couple of people who have never met me, know nothing about me, but have taken exception to me expressing my views on this forum.

Pathetic!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:58 AM

Nothing to add to that.

When someone shows their arse, its rude to point at it.

Mind you, it's good to hear from the spokesman for "most homosexuals."

zzzzzzz


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 07:15 AM

Mr. Shaw [is] vehemently opposed to the thought of the Catholic Church imposing anything on anyone

I'm more than happy to have rules imposed on me by any organisation I have joined voluntarily as a consenting, informed adult. I am perfectly happy for consenting Catholics to have the Church's rules imposed on them if that's what they want (in fact, that would be none of my bloody business). I am not happy with the egregious immorality of forcing children to undergo religious instruction in schools, to be herded to church services or to be signed up to a complex mass of theology at the age of two weeks old that will later prove difficult for them to unhitch themselves from. If anyone thinks this kind of stuff is in any way "moral", well, you've lost me there.   

And Mr. Musket and Mr. Shaw appear to believe that because the Catholic Church does not have the proper stance on homosexuals or women or abortion, then it should have no right to speak on any issues whatsoever.

Are you stooping to lies now? Just yesterday in this thread I defended the right of the Church to have a voice. I complained that that voice is way too loud, considering the puny numbers of Catholic arses on Sunday morning pews. Kindly do not misrepresent me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 08:06 AM

Amazing how people twist what you are saying if it doesn't please them.

Let me make it clear. There is no proper stance. Equality of opportunity for all is above stance, as it is a key tenet of democracy and freedom. If a Church wishes to propose restrictions on that then that's fine too. Just don't be upset when decent normal rational people dismiss it. If they can't be trusted with freedom and equality, what moral right have they to demand to be heard on any issue?

I think you will find that to be very different to the words put in my mouth above. I am surprised to read it from respectable decent people like Joe. The church or mosque in any community has a role to play. Resolving the medieval aberrations will make them a contributing piece in the jigsaw puzzle rather than an increasingly irrelevant one. You can't speak of sustaining old ideas on the basis of evolution. My phone is out of date less than a year since it came out. Society doesn't like being kept waiting. It wants things to be fit for purpose now or it buys into something else.

By the way, I wish the Catholic Church put as much effort into resolving the crimes carried out in its name as it does on the worthwhile and admirable stances Joe is pleased to be associated with.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 08:22 AM

You've just unwittingly damaged many decades of my thinking Donovan's lyrics were better than they were. He wrote, simplifying: "Freedom is a word I rarely use without thinking/Of the times/when I've been loved" and until I looked it up moments ago I though it was ".. of the times/when I've been low". Much better, in my view, as it recognises that freedom comes at a price. Very "Brave New World": Freedom is the right to be unhappy. Instead, it turns out to be an empty soppy phrase, oh well...


But when you actually think about it, freedom and equality are incompatible. Equality almost always comes with a loss of freedom (you are not free to be prejudiced, for example.) There are some really good [non-religious] books on the subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 09:14 AM

Aye. If you use semantics and take words out of context, anything is possible.

In this case though the context is the freedom to enjoy equality of opportunity regardless of what you can't or shouldn't have to alter in order to achieve it.

Freedom unrestrained would include the freedom to hate, so it would also include the freedom not to be affected by the impact of hate. This gets somewhat circular so I would recommend you recognise the context.   There's only one person who posts on Mudcat.org who purposely alters the context to push his point and there is only one who is so consumed with hate he tries using words beyond his demonstrated intelligence. The rest of us, you and I included are capable of recognising context.

I too have problems with Donovan lyrics. I occasionally am asked to sing my take on Catch the Wind. I get the first bit of the second verse and the last bit of the last verse tits up. Strangely, it doesn't alter the meaning of the song. We can all get lover's balls. Even my greyhound and he doesn't have any. But try telling him that when he is fawning over our cleaner's lurcher. ....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 11:31 AM

"Mind you, it's good to hear from the spokesman for "most homosexuals."

Let me explain to you Ian, you don't need a spokesperson.

Simply look at the figures for those countries which have introduced "homosexual marriage" the take up rates are miniscule, especially for age groups who would be expected to be "sexually active".

Your remarks on the basic nature of my education may be correct, but do you no credit at all, as either a supporter of equality or as a person.
I have had a basic education, because I was brought up in a very loving but very poor family.
I felt it was my duty to leave school as soon as was humanly possible, so that I could contribute to the family finances.

I believe that I am reasonably intelligent, intelligent enough to form an argument and hold a civil discussion, I do not feel the need to bolster my arguments with personal abuse......perhaps that is being stupid?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 12:05 PM

Simply look at the figures for those countries which have introduced "homosexual marriage" the take up rates are miniscule

Well they would be if they called it that. And my take-up rate of delicious, dry-cure streaky would be minUscule if they called it "pig's abdominal body wall contractile tissue".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 12:42 PM

I haven't commented on your education. I will however comment on your use of your education, whatever it was, to articulate lies to substantiate your odious views. You don't have to be thick as pigshit to wish to discriminate. I doubt either the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury left school to be pushed up chimneys but they share distaste for high office for women or equal rights for gay people.

Stop trying to look hurt, it doesn't wash. Education and wisdom can be mutually exclusive. Something I learned very quickly when I worked down the pit.

Perhaps if every post you type didn't contain personal abuse aimed at a section of society, you might well be able to hold a civil discussion.. But no. Your outburst on another thread less than an hour ago was so far from decency, I find it difficult to see how you could ever recover it.

Earlier in this thread, Joe Offer said

"Until quite recently, society in general did not approve of homosexuality. That prejudice is gradually disappearing, but vestiges still remain. I think rather than condemning those who still disapprove of homosexuality and thinking they're horrible, it might be wise to give them a little room and simply consider them "stodgy."

Perhaps if he thought on about how hurtful you are to people you don't even know, let alone judge, or if he thought on about how a church in his country, Westboro, has said that the eight people who died in the helicopter crash in Glasgow deserved to die as it was God's reaction to allowing gay marriage in Scotland....

I don't consider them or you as stodgy. I have another word I could use.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 01:54 PM

Ake:   The "liberal" activists who produce this "show" are simply using homosexuals, the vast majority of whom don't want "marriage" in any form, to assist them in wrecking all forms of religious faith, which they see as bastions of conservatism.

Blatantly untrue.

Ake again:   Simply look at the figures for those countries which have introduced "homosexual marriage" the take up rates are miniscule, especially for age groups who would be expected to be "sexually active".

May be true where he lives, but definitely not where I live. Once gay marriage was legalized in this state, within days there was a great surge in the number of marriage licenses issued—to same-sex couples. And that's been the case in every state in which same-sex marriage has been legalized

AND—there are a large number of churches that are willing to perform same-sex marriages, so at least in the enlightened area in which I live, if a particular church or denomination wishes to refuse to perform such marriages, there are plenty of others that will.

So Ake's oft repeated claim that gay men don't want marriage in any form is simply not borne out by what is actually happening in the real world.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 03:58 PM

It isn't true where he lives. Scotland is a multicultural melting pot with large numbers of gay couples and both main cities enjoy gay pride marches.

But there again, he doesn't live in the real world.   I wish he would stop shouting his bile towards the real world though. One day bigotry might die, but whilst ever small pockets thrive, the world is a sadder place than it should be.

I noted in another thread that there are over 400 creatures we know to exhibit homosexual tendencies, but only one that persecutes them.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:25 PM

Musket, do you actually see fairness in comparing anybody to the bigots at Westboro Baptist Church, http://www.godhatesfags.com/

You know, it's kind of like the Hitler argument rule - if you have to resort to comparing your opponent to Hitler, it means you're losing the argument.

Most people who oppose gay marriage aren't hateful about it - they're just uncomfortable, and maybe they don't know anybody who's gay and they're a bit afraid. It they are dealt with gently and nonaggressively, they'll come around.

But the bigots at Westboro Baptist, ought to be in jail.

But you do understand, Musket, that Joe Offer favors gay marriage - right? I also favor the ordination of women.

As of June, 2013, Pew Research reported that there were at least 71,000 gay marriages in the U.S. I'd say that's pretty popular, Ake.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:46 PM

Most people who oppose gay marriage aren't hateful about it - they're just uncomfortable, and maybe they don't know anybody who's gay and they're a bit afraid. It they are dealt with gently and nonaggressively

Why yes, let's be gentle and non-aggressive to bigots. Why not? After all, the victims of their bigotry, going backs many hundreds of years, were treated so gently and non-aggressively, weren't they?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:51 PM

" Equality almost always comes with a loss of freedom"   

I'm not convinced. Inequality comes with a loss of freedom for some. It's the opposite of equality. Being equal in a democratic society means that ultimately everyone will share
in the same amount of freedom.

Freedom to do harm or commit to destructive behavior is not freedom at all but a twisting of the definition of freedom.

There doesn't exist anyone on this planet that is totally free of everything. Freedom is relative.

Catholics have a choice to follow or not and impinge on their freedom by the rules of the institution. In other words, they have the freedom to not be free of the rules.

For non-Catholics, however, the Pope's edicts, however socially conscious and constructive lacks the freedom to break the yoke of institutional imprisonment since these progressive ideas of freedom of Choice, birth control, accepting homosexuality,
and ordaining women to the priesthood can't be swept under the carpet. These "antediluvian" edicts dilute the Pope's message.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:30 PM

What am I going to say when Mother Teresa becomes a saint? Same thing I say now: Steve Shaw has some really twisted ideas about Mother Teresa. He bought into the Hitchens progaganda, hook, line, and sinker. Nobody is as horrible as Hitchens (and Shaw) make Mother Teresa out to be, so I don't believe a word of what they say.

Never got back to this, such is the confusion through which we live, but I'm back with it now. You see, Joe, denial here is useless. You seem to be confusing hatred of Hitchens with facts vs. propaganda. Unfortunately, Mother Teresa did say those things about the poor needing to rejoice in their lot, she did say those things about Bhopal and she did say those things about abortion being the main threat to world peace. She did treat her staff horribly, she did allow appalling conditions to prevail in her establishments, she did dismiss the need to employ qualified medical staff and she did, quite improperly, corruptly one could say, divert millions of dollars that people had donated for the poor into founding convents. And she afforded herself the best medical facilities in the US when she herself needed treatment, in stark contrast to the lack of care meted out to those people unfortunate enough to find themselves in her institutions. All these things are matters of fact, inconvenient though those facts may be. They are on record, and I discovered them myself, not by believing Hitchens' "propaganda" (facts, actually, but hey) but by looking into it and finding it out for myself. You can do the same if you want to. You can find her sayings, her speeches and videos of her homes all over Youtube and elsewhere on the web. But only if you want to. If you don't want to, you can slag me and Hitchens off instead. Your choice. We're watching.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:33 PM

I didn't even like Hitchens, by the way, but I'll let that particular annoyance pass for now.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 06:49 PM

" Equality almost always comes with a loss of freedom"   

I'm not convinced. Inequality comes with a loss of freedom for some.


We are getting well outside any area of expertise on my part, but I would say there is an inevitable tension between equality and freedom to such an extent that it is how the conflicts between these are traded that is the primary difference between the mainstream political parties. As a crude example, calling on an earlier comment of Joes: a party that believes people should retain as much freedom to spend their earnings how they wish will tend to be to a low taxation government which necessarily means they have less to spend on social provision to address inequalities, even though that damages equality. Conversely a government that thinks social provision is very important will necessarily have to raise the taxes to pay for it, even though that reduces the taxed persons freedom to spend how they wish.

Now, you are right that inequality means a loss of freedom for some. There are two ways you can address that. You can let things be, and hope society finds a solution, but the prospect of that is normally pretty slim. Or you can apply legislation, which necessarily affects a much larger number of people to some extent, in the hope that it improves things significantly for a smaller number. And that's all about judgement, predictions and hope about how things will turn out, not firm foundations. Occasionally, a government will act because it is the moral course, but that's rare - its much more likely to be about voting trends than morality. And that, I suggest, is the situation with gay marriages. I would hope the government is proposing it because they believe it to be right. Let us say I have my doubts if that's the reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 07:06 PM

Gosh, I omitted to mention that Mother Teresa accepted donations from Papa Doc, and, in return, publicly praised him. Fact, Joe, not propaganda. Maybe she was just a confused old lady, huh? (who managed to inflict... oh, never mind...)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 01:16 AM

Joe. Is it really extreme to indicate how bad bigotry is?

People within religious organisations continually claim that those who don't share their take on life have some sort of secular agenda. Senior church leaders refer to losing court cases where their prejudice has had an effect on innocent people and they call it persecution. Apparently, a couple who ran a hotel here in The UK thought it right that they could refuse a couple who had booked a room on the basis they happened to both be men. A nurse visiting old people in their home couldn't see what the fuss was when she was asking people to pray with her and leaving them leaflets when they refused or became confused or upset.

They asked the courts to suggest it was they who were being persecuted rather than those who suffered from their blinkered bigotry.

So when I point out how bad religious bigotry can get, it makes you wonder. Do you think there is a point where intolerance remains acceptable? Where would we draw the line? Who would draw it?   

Presumably the Ugandan priest who happily admitted on camera he ordered the corrective rape of a young lesbian is beyond the pail? Westboro? How's about Akenaton? Whilst we read this, he is busy on another thread saying lots of tests have been carried out showing gay porn to "normal" men and checking to see if they get an erection. He reckons that a) they don't and b) that proves that being gay is unnatural and normal people find it repulsive.

Fancy a game of spot the difference?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 01:33 AM

Stringsinger says: For non-Catholics, however, the Pope's edicts, however socially conscious and constructive lacks the freedom to break the yoke of institutional imprisonment since these progressive ideas of freedom of Choice, birth control, accepting homosexuality, and ordaining women to the priesthood can't be swept under the carpet. These "antediluvian" edicts dilute the Pope's message.

I disagree, Frank. I think you have to take a person or a group's positions on various issues and deal with them individually. You can't just say, "He doesn't follow my agenda on thus, thus, and thus, so I can't believe what he says on issues we might agree on." Even though you consider a person's opinions on some issues to be neanderthal, I don't think that gives you the right to discount that person (or group) altogether. If we write people off totally because of partial disagreement, then we'll never come to agreement and cooperation on anything.

And when you're dealing with a group, that sort of polarization is even more deadly. I belong to the Catholic Church, which has positions you oppose on treatment of women and homosexuals. But I, part of the "loyal opposition" in the Catholic Church, agree with you on both women's and homosexual issues. So, do you discount and condemn me for belonging to an organization whose positions I share your opposition to?

It gets really messy when you issue blanket condemnations. Most people are blind-sided on at least some issues. If you use blind-sidedness as a criterion for considering people valueless, you can ignore almost everybody in the world and convince yourself you are vastly superior to them.

I think it's better not to get bogged down in that sort of combative relationship. Better to take people for their good points, and coax them along where they're behind. The more people we can get to seek common ground together, the better off we are.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 01:57 AM

Musket, you're stretching the bounds of credibility again, with your reference to a Ugandan priest who happily admitted on camera he ordered the corrective rape of a young lesbian is beyond the pail?

Yes, it's beyond the pale. But when you bring up examples of really perverted people as proof of how horrible a group is that wouldn't dream of supporting such conduct, what are you proving?

"Corrective rape" is a totally repulsive concept. Do you really think that any civilized human being would approve or condone such conduct?

On the other hand, I have to say that I have a difficult time understanding middle eastern communities that punish women who are victims of rape. I can see where an individual might do such a thing, maybe even a family - but for an entire community to do that? It makes me think I really need to learn more about the reality of life in the middle east, because it's nearly impossible for me to believe that such a thing can happen. It's a real threat to my generally positive view of humankind.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 04:10 AM

And there is always the possibility that you or I, or Frank, may be WRONG on some details of a particular issue.

Ian of course, is never WRONG.....as he has more "faith" in his ideology than the whole of the Catholic Church or Islam put together. :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 04:33 AM

It makes me think I really need to learn more about the reality of life in the middle east, because it's nearly impossible for me to believe that such a thing can happen. It's a real threat to my generally positive view of humankind.
Not only the Middle East and Mexico have mindsets undreamt of in our philosophy. There are many unreflected items of "common sense" (see a Mudcat thread of that title) in our western societies that amount to taboos of thinking. Some are suddenly exposed when a new problem arises, or simply by comparing different western countries. Marriage is a good example - it seemed such a self-evident institution that we forgot to discuss its meanings, and the various distinct reasons behind its legal aspects, before same-sex marriage became an audible postulation. (In fact the Catholic Church has always praised and blessed people of the same sex living together and sharing their possessions; some even wear golden rings.)

It is easy to say "those people are/were deluded/hateful/hypocritical/power-hungry..." when we feel to have gained a better moral stance on a particular problem. Typically a decade later, we find that the new stance was not too good either. "Anti-authoritarian" education in the 1970s is a good example. We can only claim a progress when we have learned more about human nature and the motives behind apparently irrational opinions. The opinion-makers currently in power, mostly journalists, often lack incentive to think it through. So do most Mudcatters (who fortunately have very little influence).


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 04:49 AM

While we discuss semantics, I can never understand why the huge rates of sexual disease amongst male homosexuals is never a factor.
I seems to be completely ignored by the pro "homosexual marriage" folks.    It is a very large "elephant in the room".
Its OK saying, well "marriage" will improve the situation, but most of us know in our hearts that there is a deeper problem in the behaviour itself.
Male homosexuality has links to extreme promiscuity and high levels of risk taking, that is obvious. Figures are available for annual and lifetime sexual partners and they are many times higher amongst male homosexuals than amongst heteros.
As I have said before, marriage does not make a man monogamous, the creation and upbringing of children and the influences of an extended family are what keeps most men "on the rails"
These options are not available to, or sought by the vast majority of
homosexuals, who feel free to carry on a hedonistic and highly promiscuous lifestyle.....as shown by the sexual health figures.

I am amazed that sensible people within and outwith the Church, do not see this situation as any sort of impediment to the promotion of homosexuality as a safe, healthy, or normal lifestyle.

Settle down a minute and think if your views would alter if the present increasing infection figures were to continue for say another five years.
Hove can this state of affairs just be ignored?
The health agencies are cowardly and their procedures ineffective, the "services" them selves have in many cases become "Public corporations"....all administration and no positive action.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 06:25 AM

...by the vast majority of homosexuals, who feel free to carry on a hedonistic and highly promiscuous lifestyle...

My word, you really are deluded, aren't you?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 06:37 AM

Well Steve......how do you explain the health statistics.
If you can't explain them, don't call others who try to do so do, deluded.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket noting
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 06:40 AM

Pail not pale.

It goes back to a wooden stake in the ground that marked the end of the village. If you were put beyond the pail, you were seen as not behaving to the standards of the village and the pail was as close as you were allowed.

It was usually the priest who decided who was and who wasn't though so not a perfect situation.

It was before your country was invented so your mistake is fine but picking up on what you perceived as my mistake leads me to wonder if this was a sideshow? Surely the debate is worthy without distraction?

Read what the little twat is posting then ask yourself why I am the one being questioned.

If an organisation promotes bigotry, it is only the degree that varies and your comments are far better aimed at those who claim to speak in your name than those who abhor hypocrisy.

Sorry but this is getting daft. You and I seem to agree on issues your church opposes. Don't be so touchy when I point out extreme examples of what their stance promotes.

To permit is to promote.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 06:44 AM

Hey Joe!!.....How come you can edit your posts and we can't??

That's not fair!!!   :0)


    Because I work here...but I try to edit my own posts only when I catch a mistake or come up with another idea before I think anybody has seen my post. Sometimes, though, I get caught.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 06:51 AM

I picked you up for saying that the vast majority of homosexuals feel free to carry on a hedonistic and highly promiscuous lifestyle, a remark loaded with value judgement and weasel words and empty of any "health statistics", as well as being patently untrue. I would not call you deluded for producing germane and well-researched statistics for discussion, but that is quite plainly not what you were doing in the quoted post: you were letting your well-known prejudice take wing, no more than that.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:14 AM

Etymology[edit]
From pale, a jurisdiction under a given authority; often held by one nation in another country, hence suggesting that anything outside their control was uncivilized. It was in use by the mid-17th century. The phrase may be a reference to the general sense of boundary, but is often understood to refer to the English Pale in Ireland. In the nominally English territory of Ireland, only the pale fell genuinely under the authority of English law, hence the terms within the pale and beyond the pale.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:14 AM

The statistics of high numbers of sexual partners and risk taking point to a hedonistic and highly promiscuous lifestyle Steve.

I don't want to keep cut and pasting figures here, you are perfectly capable of finding them for yourself if you don't believe me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:24 AM

Oh! Ian is not QUITE as well educated as he thinks he is! :0)

Thanks Keith, for the information, Joe rarely makes mistakes in his posts,......of course he does have an edit facility! :0))


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:46 AM

Old English and been standardised.   The pail, spelt pail on the plaque that stands outside the Priory Gatehouse in Worksop is where I originally read it. It was often the site of a well so the ostracised could still get water and you fetched water in a pail.

It seems either spelling is admissible. For that I stand corrected.

Two things though. .

Researching my comments as a matter of course would be a compliment if it wasn't so sad and pathetic.

Tell you what Keith, research this.

UKIP.

Shouldn't be too difficult. I assume you have a favourites folder.

Well done, the worm thinks his disgusting views are acceptable when he reckons you are on the same "side. " He licks his lips when people play smart arse at people who expose his sick agenda.

He also thinks Joe doesn't get things wrong. He certainly has a respectable view on gay issues and the meaning of liberalism.

That hole full of shit worm? Dig another and get back in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:55 AM

UKIP has no special significance to me Musket.

It was YOU who felt the need to correct someone over this usage, and you were wrong.
Again.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:59 AM

The statistics of high numbers of sexual partners and risk taking point to a hedonistic and highly promiscuous lifestyle Steve.

Ah, but you see, the crucial bit of your post, which you craftily omit here, is that the vast majority feel free... That is not statistics. That's your own prejudiced take. And I can't begin to think what statistics might point to "hedonism".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 08:05 AM

Joe...figures are a bit "patchy", and I would assume a "spike" when this sort of legislation.
Taken on population numbers the uptake rate rate works out about 2/3%, much lower than "hetero marriage".

Interesting conclusion to your link, "Lesbian "marriages" constituted three fifths of all "marriages" listed".....???


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 08:07 AM

Sorry,   "When this sort of legislation has been enacted."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 08:16 AM

Steve...I can hardly be blamed if you don't see the link between hedonism and promiscuity? But this is nitpicking, lets get back to your explanation of homosexual health statistics...OK?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,muse
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 10:03 AM


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 10:06 AM

You asked for that Keith.

When you do it, I show that I can stoop too.

If you must wrestle with pigs, you get dirty.

And the pigs enjoy it.

Oink.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 10:25 AM

Huh?
Anyone know what he means?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 01:04 PM

I think Ian must have an "imaginary friend" Keith! :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 01:48 PM

Nice to see you two getting on so well.

You use similar evidence to support your waffle so it was only a matter of time before you start a friendship. Just think Keith, the worm will agree with all your more right wing nonsense and positively lap up your support for your church's position on gay marriage.

Mind you, try not to get too associated with his views eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 03:42 PM

I favour gay marriage and have stated that on a previous thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 04:28 PM

On the subject of the "mad" post (10:06am), I think Ian may have discovered where the gin bottle was hidden?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 04:55 PM

I know. I just wanted your mate to read you saying it. You see, I get rather confused about the wall of silence when hatred rears it's ugly head, yet many of those who don't challenge must be as shocked and repulsed as me, surely?

To permit is to promote.

Perhaps those coming onto this thread wanting to know about the pope's survey now have a slightly better understanding of the bile many religious organisations give respectability to by tacit agreement.

You can't just say gay people are nice but not equal. You can't say women are just as capable of getting a top job but we won't let them. You have to say why. And the only people showing their colours are the extremists such as the worm.

I disagreed with your take on matters and you launched a tirade so bitter, you were blinkered enough to be confused when I gave as good as I got. Yet the worm comes out with frankly shocking distasteful hatred that is aimed at not just a large section of society but many Mudcat members, and you and many others just brush it to one side.

He genuinely thinks he has a right to publish hatred with no regard of the hurt and distress he can cause.

But no matter, Let's not infringe his right to opinion eh? He reckons I'm a libertarian. I'm not you know. I would happily see society protected from filth, happily see bigotry wither and die, and I will celebrate when discrimination is put on the biblical scrap heap along with the other biblical embarrassments Christians gloss over. But oh no, not discrimination, that's not beyond the pail (pale in Hertford) just yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 05:40 PM

you launched a tirade so bitter

huh?
You accused someone of a spelling mistake, and it was you who were wrong.
No bitter tirade, just a brief quote to make the point.

I have no issue with gay people or gay marriage, but I have to acknowledge that Akeneaton's statistics are accurate, because they are.

You make up lies about people, including me.
Why?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 01:30 AM

Which statistics?

The experiments to see if "normal" people get an erection watching gay porn?

The distortion on infection rates he read on a homophobic website?

The statistics that gay people aren't interested in monogamy?



Take your choice. I reckon the top one to be most intriguing, the middle one to be most absurd and the latter one the most condescending.

With regard to your final statement. No. You give enough material for people to pick holes in your argument without resorting to lies. Although each time you infer others lie, you are then surprised when they, not just me, taunt you with either your earlier claims or distortions.

Sorry but I just cannot resist responding to some of the two dimensional agenda ridden tripe you come out with. Tell you what though. Debating with you around is fine. Ok. You are impossible at times and reason has packed it's bags and gone back to its mother but you are a legitimate person with a legitimate view. You just get caustic at times yet don't like it when others drop to your level in return.

The worm however. . Beyond the Blue clicky Joe used, (see? He picked me up on spelling first and you automatically decided I had started it. Says a lot. )


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 01:41 AM

The infection rates are correct, and came from HPA.
I relish people picking holes in my arguments, but not making shit up.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 01:58 AM

Keith, I would think that religious people would want to encourage gay people to get married and live life with one partner, instead of living a life of promiscuity. I think one reason that gay people may have a higher rate of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, if that's true, is that society does not encourage gay people to have stable relationships.
Whatever the case, it doesn't seem logical that gay marriage would increase the rate of STDs.



-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 02:34 AM

I do approve of gay marriage Joe.
I have given my support on previous threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 02:47 AM

BBC Friday.

"We seem to have come full circle and now have to face what will certainly be an uncomfortable truth for many of us working in the sector: we have made very little, if any progress, in getting prevention and treatment to those groups of people most vulnerable to HIV/Aids, wherever they are.

These groups people who inject drugs, transgender people and men who have sex with men. They make up the majority of those affected by the epidemic, except in sub-Saharan Africa, where they also make up an increasing share of infections in urban settings.

New obstacles
Against a backdrop of some truly extraordinary responses to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic over the past 30 years, it is both painful but necessary to acknowledge that the response for these groups remains so often a story of indifference and neglect.

Indeed we can compare our failure to adequately address these issues to the situation that prevailed in 2000.

At that time, effective HIV drugs had been available in rich countries for years, but were inaccessible in developing and emerging economies because of cost.

Today, cost is not the primary obstacle: we have drugs and we have proven interventions.

Rather, it is economic, social and political obstacles that prevent them from being made available to those who need them most."

"One can draw upon an almost infinite supply of statistics that tell the true picture for those most affected by the epidemic: in low- and middle-income countries, men who have sex with men and female sex workers are 19 and 13 times more likely to have HIV, respectively, than the rest of the population.

Men who have sex with men alone account for more than 33% of new infections in China, and projections indicate that this group could make up half or more of all new infections in Asia by 2020."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25118975


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 02:57 AM

Sorry, Keith - I saw in an earlier post from you in this thread that you support gay marriage, but I forgot. And I don't know if you're religious or not. But still, I can't see why churches (including my own) would complain about gay marriage, more than they do about gay sex. I suppose they don't want to give the appearance of legitimacy to gay relationships - but from a sociological standpoint, there are so many advantages to encouraging people to be married (couples care for each other and cook for each other, and sharing beds is efficient - and warmer). And in this day and age, it seems absolutely ludicrous to expect gays to marry people of the opposite sex. It would seem to me that even anti-gay people would know how problematic that is.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 03:01 AM

BBC Febrary. (extracts)

A fall in the proportion of gay and bisexual men using condoms is behind the rise in HIV infections in those groups in the UK, say researchers.

Wider use of anti-retroviral drugs has helped to stop a sharper rise, a study by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and a number of universities found.

They found a 26% rise, from 1990-2010, in the proportion of men who have sex with men who did not use condoms.

The report said the figures showed it was vital to promote safe sex.

Rates of HIV have been rising in recent years with latest figures showing cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK reaching an all-time high.

A recent report from the HPA found that nearly half of the 6,280 people diagnosed in the UK in 2011 were MSM.

Overall, one in 20 MSM are infected with HIV.

For this study, researchers analysed data from 1990 to 2010. They concluded that, without the introduction of anti-retroviral drugs to treat those with HIV, infections would be 68% higher in MSM.

Therapy with anti-retrovirals lowers the risk of people with HIV infecting others.

The report suggested the incidence of HIV could be 32% lower if all anti-retroviral treatment were prescribed from the moment of diagnosis rather than when health declined.


The data also showed that the incidence of HIV could have dropped by a quarter if more HIV testing had been done.


"We also encourage men who have sex with men to get an HIV and STI screen at least annually, and every three months if having condomless sex with new or casual partners - and clinicians to take every opportunity to recommend HIV testing to this group."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21474066


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 04:54 AM

Joe, I disagree with Keith and yourself, I am still against the legislation on "homosexual marriage".

However that battle has been almost won in Western "liberal" democracies, by the media, who have huge influence amongst younger people...the negative aspects of homosexual behaviour being almost completely ignored, to the detriment of committed Christians and to homosexuals, who's infection rates continue to rise annually.

The argument has moved on to a study male homosexuality itself, and the reasons for the epidemic of sexual disease which has been reported by HPA/CDC.....Is it in the interests of society to promote this type of relationship as healthy and normal while these infection rates are associated. I feel that these figures should have been taken into account when this legislation was being debated.

To be honest, it astounds me that a decent guy like you, is unaware that a section of society is so affected, or that you disbelieve the official health agencies, or that you do not understand why the issue is not being addressed.
I also find it hard to understand how you can be an obviously strong believer and follower of the church, yet feel it right that the church follows a popular perception of morality.
Homosexuality used to be a crime, society has determined, rightly in my view that it should no longer be a crime.
If society were to take the same view of incest, or paedophilia in the future, would you encourage the Church to "evolve" in order to fit in with modern morality?

I don't mean to take "pot shots" at you Joe, or diss your sincerity or your faith, I admire you for both......but these points trouble me, in the context of this discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 05:46 AM

Thanks Keith. They are the HPA figures I have quoted, (although more recent ones in some threads.).

It is awful, bad and disturbing that people have, through ignorance confused antiretrovirals with cure, although that as a reason for the increase is subjective. The wholesale public health publicity of the mid '80s was a long time ago and there is a new generation that missed it.

Less than half new HIV+ diagnosis results are from make to male transmission, and the takeup of screening of men vulnerable through MSM is encouraging. The majority (just) are from a combination of heterosexual sex and non sexual (needle sharing, mother to child and other blood / needle stick.).

Akenhateon in his bid to eradicate a section of society has constantly portrayed my take on these figures as complacent. Far from it, and I am personally involved in trying to make sense nationally of the splitting of public health and screening provision in England, as this has a risk of exacerbating the issue.

But read what he puts. He quotes a figure then misapplied it. He changes minority to majority. He calls anybody who puts the truth a liberal, as if it is a dirty word. (You too I presume after your cut and paste of headline figures. As you are intelligent, I would recommend digging into the figures behind the headlines, they are available via DofH.)

His repeating of lies he got from a series of homophobic websites, (including figures from two so called Christian websites,) is nothing new. I subscribe to a daily briefing of what people in The UK have as news on health matters, as well as warnings of scare mongering sources, and his words, let alone his figures tally with some of them.

Of course, he has, even on this thread spoke of his disgust of gay lifestyle, that it isn't natural and even against natural law. He spins a fantasy of conclusions that it is wrong based on asking straight men to view gay porn and seeing if they get an erection... Joe thought it wrong to confuse his rants with the rants of the infamous Westboro Church. The aims are the same, just that they get more publicity than sad bitter twisted nobodies.

Either he is having a laugh or he is one sick puppy.

The relevance to this thread is that the pope has hitherto failed to embrace the equal status of all what he calls God's children. Even worms have the right to a view, however depraved, but I question the right to hurt others by expressing it publicly.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 05:57 AM

Less than half new HIV+ diagnosis results are from make to male transmission

"MSM account for 51 per cent of all new HIV diagnoses in 2012." Terence Higgins Trust.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 06:04 AM

You accused someone of a spelling mistake, and it was you who were wrong.

There was never a spelling mistake. There was the selection of the wrong word, which was then spelled correctly. I know how important accuracy is to you, Keith.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 06:16 AM

No it is not.
I never highlight anyone's mistakes and make plenty myself.
It was Musket's arrogant, elitist, incorrect correction that provoked my response.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 07:44 AM

As I said, Joe picked me up on what he thought was a spelling mistake, which was not nice, especially from someone who tries to come over as nice, I replied in kind.

Keith then decided to portray some of his "arrogant elitist" waffle to try to make me look a cunt. The usual backfire seems to be echoing around the place.

In my last post, I spoke of massaging and misrepresenting figures. So Keith shows us how to do it. The Terence Higgins Trust figures, 51%, and HPA figures for the same period, 43%. How can that be? They are both (statistically) accurate although HPA extrapolate theirs through more robust data, it still wouldn't alter the figures that much. Oh! I see. Keith has , let's be kind and say inadvertently, looked at transmission through sex, whilst the figures he himself cut and pasted earlier up the thread today, are for all diagnosis. And the year before. Oh, and the worm loves quoting CDC figures, as if a) they are pertinent to the UK figures and b) that they are universal. Neither apply, and as Don keeps pointing out, not to be taken universally, as his figures from Washington State show. CDC figures support bids for investment from the public purse in an insurance weighted health economy. Try using them and getting published in British medical Journal and you start to see the problem.

I am no expert on these matters and whilst instrumental in providing the quality side of healthcare, I am not a healthcare professional. I am however capable of reading and considering business plans from GU services, assessing the rationale and forming an opinion to put forward when planning integrated care. The sexual health issues facing us in areas where gay people are most vulnerable are there, real and being tackled.

However, the sincere lobbying by those wanting more investment is one of many, and represent just under half of one service that needs more funding. There are services out there needing funding that need to get their share from the same pot. Over 20,000 old people will die unnecessarily in England alone this winter who would not die if summer carried on. A bit of a problem. Over two thirds of all deaths this year in England would not be so soon, nor the quality of life beforehand so bad if it weren't for smoking and obesity. (That one shocked me for other reasons. I would have thought that was too low a number.)

So... The worm wants to force testing (not that it would do anything on its own) on people who are gay men, regardless of if they have sex, or are monogamous if they do. He says it's for their own protection and good. (Presumably being called perverts is for their own good too.). Such draconian measures for peoples' own good? Wow!! What we could do with that! Make it illegal to smoke! Shut down Gregs and McDonalds! Tell people to wear loose clothing because "we" are offended by their rolls of fat!

You said he is correct with his figures. You also want us to agree with your take on use of figures in other threads. You can't have it both ways.

If you aren't part of the solution, you must be part of the problem. Can we believe anything you write?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 08:05 AM

The Terence Higgins Trust figures, 51%, and HPA figures for the same period, 43%. How can that be?
It can not be.
You were wrong.
Again.
HPA.
diagnoses among MSM accounted for 3,250 (51%) of new
diagnoses in 2012, the highest number ever reported.
http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317140300680


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 11:47 AM

https://hpa.org.uk/intranet/HPAweb_F/7648934680753

Took less than a minute doing an Athens search to find that. Granted, I doubt you have the Athens research tool, but internet searches via google usually find them. This, for anyone who doesn't look it up, is the corrected 2012 diagnoses after allowing for errors.

The errors were, whilst not large, large enough to be significant. The issue in reporting came from coding errors by NHS trusts that provide GU clinics. They were coding, as they should for reimbursement purposes, all presentations that led to positive diagnosis and referral. The HRG for monitoring purposes was for gay men who disclosed they had penetrative sex, but.... And here is why the figures were slightly out nationally and way out in inner city figures... Included the large number of needle share transmissions.

That said, and in all seriousness, there is an issue. But 3,250? Great. Hopefully that can double or triple next year. The aim is to get as many diagnoses through screening as possible, as the presentations through deteriorating health need to decrease and rapidly. The demographics of the hard to reach groups within that cluster make it difficult. Even more so whilst stigmatising and hate has free rein to fetter attempts to help.

Mind you, if your friend wants to round people up to achieve that aim, let's not forget that antiretrovirals are expensive but stop the condition from killing you.

In the meantime, 104,000 people in The UK died from direct smoking illness in the same year. Far cheaper to ban cigarettes than to criminalise people for their tastes.

Just over 6,000 diagnoses. Mmmm. Tell you what, as you love finding figures, you tell me how many diagnoses of chlamydia there were in the same period. Even better, there is sadly a growing body of published evidence that cervical cancer is more prevalent in women with multiple sexual partners than monogamous or not sexually active.

Then tell me why the fucking fascination with a real issue that is far more under control in this country than those that are actually killing people. The worm said I was disgusting for saying if his logic was used, round up any woman who couldn't prove they were a virgin and stick a swab up their fanny.

Do you really wish to be associated with his agenda? You go beyond pedantry. Well beyond. You don't even check your facts.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 01:07 PM

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM)) represent approximately 2% of the United States population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2010, young MSM (aged 13-24 years) accounted for 72% of new HIV infections among all persons aged 13 to 24, and 30% of new infections among all MSM. At the end of 2010, an estimated 489,121 (56%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the United States were MSM or MSM-IDU.

From CDC
The Numbers

New HIV Infections
•In 2010, MSM accounted for 63% of estimated new HIV infections in the United States and 78% of infections among all newly infected men. From 2008 to 2010, new HIV infections increased 22% among young (aged 13-24) MSM and 12% among MSM overall.
•Among all MSM, white MSM accounted for 11,400 (38%) estimated new HIV infections in 2010. The largest number of new infections among white MSM (3,300; 29%) occurred in those aged 25 to 34.
•Among all MSM, black/African American MSM accounted for 10,600 (36%) estimated new HIV infections in 2010. The largest number of new infections among black/African American MSM (4,800; 45%) occurred in those aged 13 to 24. From 2008 to 2010 new infections increased 20% among young black/African American MSM aged 13 to 24.


The infection rates have been rising steadily since these figures were collated in 2011.
Wakey Wakey!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 03:12 PM

Does Mudcat actively encourage homophobia? Does it no longer welcome gay or reasonable members of society?

How odd.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 03:46 PM

Akenaton never seems to talk about the (non) rates of HIV/Aids among gay men who are in stable, monogamous relationships, e.g. same-sex marriages.

Zip! Zero! Nada!

Yet he who is so concerned about MSM spreading HIV throughout the world is opposed to same-sex marriage

Strange. . . .

Don Firth

Can you say "hypocrite"?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 03:52 PM

You don't even check your facts

They are from HPA.
They do not need checking, or are you saying those HPA researchers should know better?

You have made a cunt of yourself again.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 06:27 PM

Does Mudcat actively encourage homophobia? Does it no longer welcome gay or reasonable members of society?

It's only a small minority, but one horrid little man farting in a big lift full of decent people still manages to taint everyone else. Note that far more of us try to fight it. Had this been a real pub we'd have driven him out months ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 01:02 AM

Funny. I was quoting HPA. What were you quoting? Oh. An old link.

Read my type.

The figures have been adjusted to remove the people in that bracket who contracted through needle share or other blood to blood contamination. Coding by many clinics has hitherto not distinguished in HRG returns.

I got it from HPA and gave a link. Your page is superceded by the 2012-13 interim report.

I see no point in discussing infections nor indeed infection rates because the figures are too low in population rates to infer social action. They are being used to exacerbate a problem to justify horrible bigotry. You should be ashamed of yourself for supporting the thrust of the worm's argument.

Cunt. No. I take that back. A cunt is far more useful than you.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 02:05 AM


I got it from HPA and gave a link. Your page is superseded by the 2012-13 interim report.

No.
Your link is fake.
Mine is not an "old link."
It was only published November 2013.
It is the full report, and could not be superseded by an "interim report" that only you can access.
You lie.
http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317140300680


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 02:58 AM

My linked report includes drug injectors.(see appendix 2 and section in report)
There were only 120 such diagnoses but if they were removed the % I quoted would be even higher.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:52 AM

Musket, I have yet to find any evidence that "beyond the pail" is a legitimate expression in the English language, but I'll take your word for it - and I'll continue to use the more common "beyond the pale."

I think I should ask for your logic in referring to extremists like the Westboro Baptist Church and the situation of the Ugandan priest suggesting "corrective rape" for a lesbian.

It seems to me that this is simply a variation of the argumentum ad absurdum logical error. To take isolated, extreme examples of misconduct of individuals in a group as proof of the nature of the entire group, seems to be both unfair, and to be unsound logic.

What were you trying to prove by bringing up these two extreme examples?

I was thinking about homosexual marriage over the last day or so. I don't know any homosexual couples who are married. I do know several lesbian couples who have had long-term, stable relationships - and these couples have come to seem quite normal to me. I don't know any male homosexual couples, although I do know individual male homosexuals. I think if I knew more couples, then male homosexuals would also begin to feel more "normal" to me.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 04:30 AM

Ake, I guess I'd say I really don't have an opinion on gay marriage - but that being the case, I don't see why anybody should think they should have a right to interfere with it.
I think it's up to homosexuals to decide whether their own conduct is moral or immoral. It has no effect on me, so I can't see where I have a right to interfere.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 04:34 AM

Steve...I'll ignore you insulting remarks.

This is a very serious problem, and bringing the epidemic under control should be above any political agenda.
The health agencies them selves are saying that more testing MUST be done, that practicing homosexuals should present themselves for testing at three monthly intervals.....If male homosexuals are unwilling to do so, what steps do you suggest.
It is important that the true extent of the epidemic be explained to homosexuals, and the general public......

Distortion and outright lying as practiced by or resident "health expert" Ian, is no benefit to those he claims to stand for.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 04:41 AM

Yes Joe...A lot of people have that stance and I see the point, but is it truly a Christian stance?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 04:53 AM

The National Aids Trust is campaigning for opt out rather than opt in testing for high risk groups.
Not quite compulsory.

Expanded 'opt-out' HIV testing
It is important that testing efforts reach
those most at risk from HIV and, in
particular, those who would otherwise
be diagnosed late. To do this, the
UK must move from reliance on its
traditional 'opt-in' model of voluntary
HIV testing, usually conducted within
sexual health clinics, to a more 'opt-out'
approach (also known as provider-initiated testing) across a range of
healthcare settings. This is where an
HIV test is usually offered alongside
other routine tests; the patient can turn
down the offer, but must explicitly say
no. Opt-out testing in antenatal care
has already proved highly effective
in reducing mother-to-child HIV
transmission.
http://www.nat.org.uk/media/Files/Policy/2012/May-2012-Testing-Action-Plan.pdf


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 05:06 AM

Joe.

Two things.

The extreme actions and statements by the two sources you refer to are to my mind no different in origin to any other hatred of equal members of society. But by using religion and Christian religion for that matter as a cloak of respectability, I am highlighting the problems your Pope faces in his reasonable quest to gain relevance for his position and outlook both in and out of his church.

If organisations who feel they have a voice to be heard on moral issues can't formally banish bigotry from what they actually can control, what use do they have in trying to convince the larger community they are relevant?

The Uganda priest is there in his name and ultimately by his appointment. The Russian politician in St Petetsberg who has made claiming gay to be a normal state for the people concerned as a crime is also a Catholic priest. He says if being gay is seen as normal, men will have free rein to rape small boys. His outlook is weird but to be fair, he is a priest as well as the equivalent of mayor.

Instead of wringing hands and saying how broad and large your church is, perhaps you can start by realising if the vast majority of decent people who call themselves Catholic told the Vatican to get their house in order if they want bums on pews, the dichotomy of decent people and discriminatory official position could be solved.

Then religious people might stop moaning of being persecuted for their beliefs. The bosses quietly dropped some of the Old Testament crap so why not the rest of the obscene stuff. If it is no longer church teaching to advocate execution for shagging a donkey or another man and the Bible advocating keeping slaves, then why cling to homophobia and the role of women?

Secondly, questioning gay marriage on the basis of numbers when it is not only a recent thing but an element of choice is not worthy of you my friend. Here in The UK we could remove charitable tax exempt status for churches on the basis of dwindling numbers if that were the case. If Church of England paid tax, the social programmes it could fund. .. wow.

Thirdly of the two points..

You picked me up on spelling which always excites our resident flawed researcher Keith. I laid the trap to wind him up, but to be fair you started it!

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.

Both spellings are admissible it seems but the medieval post I used to walk past every day as a child said pail, as they tended to be next to wells. Where you took your pails.

About as distracting as the worm and his sidekick throwing statistics out of proportion to satisfy the worm's awful agenda and Keith's lack of social skills.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 08:06 AM

I sent a link to this thread to the local CCG commissioning manager for sexual health to give her an idea of how ignorance feeds extremism.

She said that luckily the more gormless ones hadn't found the pressure groups harking for illogical measures that are fantasy.

NICE looked at GU screening based on the national cancer screening programme and have no evidence wish to do any more than encourage those who are perceived at risk to take up offers of screening. My concern is the local government commissioning of services where partner screening as part of the referral is missing for cost saving measures. Pressure groups, right, left, sincere or dangerous should target better. I'd subscribe myself if they campaigned for realistic targets.

Man A has unprotected anal sex with a female prostitute. End of story.

Man B begins a relationship with another man. With or without protection or even with or without sex. How does this particular idea get them to opt out of testing? "Hello I'm gay. But I decline any offer to be tested. "

Pity there are a few man C types around eh?

You are getting like your mate. I too can find pressure group websites. Let's see. Some would execute you for being an infidel. Some for the heresy of not believing everything in your Bible. Another group or other would disenfranchise you for being right of centre.   I reckon at least one or two would wish to physically prevent you from enjoying folk music.

You should pick and choose your sources on reasonableness not agreeing with what is slowly being revealed as an agenda. How many erb pages did you have to trawl before finding ones that agree with your prejudice?

You say you support gay marriage. Perhaps you might support those who are trying to deal with sexual health issues of a small but significant number of them. If you use your skills at website searching you will find many providers of GU clinics fighting the stigmatisation of the odious bastards who see the issue as an excuse to put people on some register so others can hate them too.

NAT has little credibility with the NHS at the best of times. Their unrealistic demands fly in the face of NICE evidence on screening. Plenty out there. Happy reading.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 08:50 AM

This looks like opt-out testing, from an NHS site.

NHS Tayside HIV Testing Guideline

May 2013

Screening of high risk groups*

People with identifiable risk factors should be routinely offered and recommended to have an HIV test

An HIV test should be recommended regardless of their clinical presentation

* The individual has the option to decline a test


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 08:57 AM

The National Aids Trust was founded by the Department of Health.
It is funded by them and also by Scottish Government.
They are in no way just some random "pressure group."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 09:00 AM

NAT has little credibility with the NHS at the best of times. Their unrealistic demands fly in the face of NICE evidence on screening.

Not true.
NICE is itself investigating how to increase testing take up for MSMs and considering opt-out testing.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 11:37 AM

Yes, yes, no and yes.

Sorry. You aren't capable of understanding these issues, so best to ignore you.

For everybody else, The Dept of Health fund independent groups to look at ideas. These are used to influence health policy and lead to consultations, floating ideas and influencing providers. Providers and the healthcare professionals working within them have to take final guidance into account.

With regard to HIV testing for people who declare they are MSM, every consultation where this is discussed, a test is offered. The body charged with evaluating evidence and formulating guidance, NICE, consider publicly all avenues, including opt out. This is part of a general opt out idea that covers organ donation, smoking cessation, obesity and alcohol, as well as high risk sexual activity.

The present situation is that as we have found with cancer screening, hard to reach groups become harder to reach if they feel contact with health services leads to being asked to x, y and z.

Opting out rather than in is irrelevant to screening, as in England, to give the example, although similar regulations apply in other parts of The UK, The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulated activities regulations 2010) section on consent make the whole idea of anything done without the consent of the person irrelevant. It is criminal assault to do anything without the express permission of the patient or where they lack capacity, a best interest meeting under The Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Keith is looking at green field thinking there to provoke debate and thinking it will happen next week.

There are huge issues with sexual health, especially HIV and chlamydia. However, those who would persecute people for their sexual preference jump on the figures in order to stigmatise people and Keith is being very very disingenuous here.

What he says should be happening in terms of offering already is. If it weren't, we wouldn't have the 6000 new diagnoses Keith whittles on about as if they come via the fucking tooth fairy. His persistence in seeing success as an issue is bad enough, but throwing opt out testing into the debate when NICE concedes it isn't legal, let alone effective is pathetic. Anonymised testing for statistical purposes goes on and helps plan services.

What more do you want Keith?

The worm's little list?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 12:54 PM

It seems to me that this is simply a variation of the argumentum ad absurdum logical error. To take isolated, extreme examples of misconduct of individuals in a group as proof of the nature of the entire group, seems to be both unfair, and to be unsound logic.

Yet an extremely similar gambit is employed by so-called "pro-lifers". They will take the comparatively very rare examples of late abortion to have a good tug at our heartstrings, using, emotively, issues such as near-viability outside the womb and the infant-like appearance of the foetus that simply don't apply to the vast majority of abortions. Yes, we do know. What they would like us to dwell on are practices that are not at all in the nature of the entire group, to adopt your words. We see further similarity in ake's unsavoury attempts to brand all gay people as promiscuous and hedonistic. Yes there are fallacies in many of these arguments all right, but they are not always accidental ones.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 01:30 PM

Of course I don't say ALL homosexuals are promiscuous or hedonistic Steve, but the figures state pretty clearly that a very large number of them are.
As male homosexuals get older and less sexually active, the rate of new infections decreases, young male homosexuals being worst affected.

Seems at last we are getting somewhere with this issue, thanks mainly to Keith's factual and sensible posts.

We even seem to have a grudging admission from Ian, that the present procedures for dealing with the epidemic are ineffective...in fact "failed dismally" according to one of the agencies.

"Opting out" appears to be a reasonable start in the eradication of sexually transmitted disease amongst male homosexuals.
Hopefully one day it will simply be "socially unacceptable" among Sexually active male homosexuals NOT to regularly tested.

We are now obviously all agreed that there actually IS a problem intrinsic to male homosexuality.
We would never have reached this position if all of us stuck our heads in the sand like Ian

Hooray for "the worms"!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 01:34 PM

I will of course, graciously accept any apologies offered, with my usual civility......Ake.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 01:54 PM

Of course I don't say ALL homosexuals are promiscuous or hedonistic Steve, but the figures state pretty clearly that a very large number of them are.

You said the vast majority.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 02:04 PM

We are now obviously all agreed that there actually IS a problem intrinsic to male homosexuality.

No we are not. We might all agree that there are issues to be addressed, but we do not all agree that we are discussing a problem "intrinsic to male homosexuality". We are discussing your obsession, that's what we're discussing.

As an idle and totally irrelevant aside, how does your avowed "radical socialism" square with Keith's "factual and sensible posts" on Israel/Palestine? Or is he only "factual and sensible" when he happens to be giving you succour? (Gosh, sorry, my mischief neurones got the better of me there for a minute...phew...)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:09 PM

The only information that is factual happens to be facts.

Try the info those who deal with health use, they are who I go to. Those are who I am asked to hold to account for the quality of their work. Keith is a perfect example of the issues we face with the duty of candour that is to be applied to The NHS. Idiots like him get hold of half facts, extrapolated statistics and sticks with wrong ends and push illogical points with them. Then nasty little bastards get an erection when someone they think is respectable uses them to support their wicked agenda.

There is a problem with blood borne viruses. It doesn't know who is gay and who isn't. Isaac Asimov died from being HIV+ Many babies in poor areas of Africa and the Indian Sub Continent die of AIDS. Over 50% of people in The UK who contracted HIV in the last reporting period were not gay. Ditto the previous year. Surprising as the statistic Keith forgets in the "rates" smokescreen is that the high number of gay people being screened is wonderful and sadly some are positive, but most women who set positive were not screened but picked up once poorly, ditto substance misuse. Gay people appear to be more responsible than straight people if both happen to be promiscuous, according to the figures.. Interesting eh? The world thinks HIV is about being gay. It's about blood borne transmission and the majority has never been through gay sex. Despite the huge risks a male sexually active lifestyle faces.

3000 for the previous reporting year by HPA. 3000 too many but a lot of fuss verses the other sexually transmitted diseases. Or even any preventable condition. Let's bring in smoking? Drinking? Greg's? Motorbikes? Tell you what, type 2 diabetes.. That's lifestyle induced if you are susceptible. Perverts are they worm? Intrinsic issue?

Evil little twat doesn't even have the guts to address Don's question over transmission in monogamous relationships (such as marriage for instance..) or indeed the 99% (derived from approximate gay population to gay infection ratio) safe sex that is part of the legitimate life of any gay person who happens to be sexually active.

The only problem intrinsic to gay people is that sick puppies like you are capable of breathing.

If it is a disease, I suggest you ring in sick tomorrow, tell your boss you're feeling a bit gay. Put it on your self cert form. You can spend the rest of the day carrying out the scientific experiment you are so fascinated by. All you need is a telly, a DVD player, your films and a micrometer.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:11 PM

I don't let my political views interfere with my wish to see disease eliminated, Steve, but there are a handful here who do.

I don't think I need to name them.

Keith and I disagree about some political issues, but socially he represents common sense, I agree with Keith on many social issues.

If we are to progress politically we must be prepared to examine the views of others, unite on the issues we agree upon and try to convince one another when we disagree.

Although I am a committed socialist, I have many "conservative friends" with whom I have had many civil debates,
My "radical" socialism does not involve hatred of different ideas, it is "radical" to the extent that I believe we must convince others that the capitalist system is a very bad idea, that we must find a way of survival that does not make a mockery of REAL democracy, equality and freedom, and still allows us to express ourselves and lead fulfilling lives.
This will NOT equate to "industrial communism"
It will mean less wasteful and "lower living standards"....we have come to expect too much in this life. Hard work is now something to be avoided, the truth bows to expediency, we have allowed our children to be twisted and stupefied, family life has all but vanished, the war on spirituality is being won by the "powers of darkness", we are part of the decline and fall of humanity.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:14 PM

NAT has little credibility with the NHS at the best of times. Their unrealistic demands fly in the face of NICE evidence on screening.

"Unrealistic demands" referred to opt-out screening which you have just admitted is actually happening for MSMs.

NAT does have credibility, was founded by Department of Health and is still funded by them and by Scottish Government.

So Musket, you got it all wrong again.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:17 PM

Like that shit you made up about the HPA report I linked to.
You just get everything wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:27 PM

Ian no one is suggesting that the virus only attacks male homosexuals.

We are presently discussing transmission rates, which are massively higher amongst MSM than any other demographic.
These rates apply to all sexually transmitted diseases, not just HIV/AIDS

Please stop waffling.....and you are using the royal "we" again :0)
I don't believe you have anything to do with aids prevention, you simply have no grasp of the facts. I should not have to remind a "health advisor" of the facts above and no "health advisor" would seek to conceal them.
Keith should not need to correct you on health statistics.
When you are caught deliberately lying, you don't even have the guts to "fess up".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 04:38 PM

Ake:    "We are now obviously all agreed that there actually IS a problem intrinsic to male homosexuality."

No, we are NOT!

There is an intrinsic problem in sexual promiscuity in the transmission of various venereal diseases, but no more so in male homosexuality than in promiscuity in general.

People are going to have sex, and there is nothing you can do about that. There is nothing you should do about that. The way to diminish the transmission of venereal diseases of any and all varieties is to encourage stable, monogamous relationships.

Marriage.

No matter what varieties of sex people indulge in.

And since a large number of gay men (and lesbian women) have indicated that they want to have their relationships legalized and sanctified, this is a major step in the right direction.

To oppose this gives the lie to those who claim they are concerned with HIV/Aids transmission rates.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 04:55 PM

Keith and I disagree about some political issues, but socially he represents common sense

I doubt whether several million Palestinians would appreciate his social common sense. I doubt whether all those massacred women and children in Sabra and Shatila would have seen Keith's "common sense" that way. Still, to you he's "factual and sensible". He's on your anti-gay crusade, and that's all that matters innit. Cherry-pick away! Whited sepulchre...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 06:15 PM

Ake says: Yes Joe...A lot of people have that stance and I see the point, but is it truly a Christian stance?

Well, I know there are religious teachings that require believers to correct others when they are wrong; but then there are other religious teachings that tell believers not to pass judgment on others. I think I'll stick with the latter. Passing judgment, closes doors. It doesn't make anything better, and just causes animosity. Homosexuals know their own sexuality, far better than I do.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 06:18 PM

Don...Participation in a "marriage" ceremony does not guarantee fidelity or monogamy. I know of several married heterosexuals who have been unfaithful to their wives or husbands
An extended family structure is much more likely to keep men and women on the "straight and narrow".
"Homosexual "marriage" will make very little difference to male homosexual sexual transmission rates, even if they remain monogamous, the uptake RATES are so small that it is impossible for them to have much affect. This legislation does much more harm than good.

It is really a smoke screen to obscure the true nature of male homosexuality...hedonism, promiscuity and risk taking; also a double edged weapon as the "conservative" church can be attacked for opposing "equality"

It is in fact a "liberal" attack on conservative social values.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 06:27 PM

What a terrible post. Fascism personified. Dismal and repressive. :-(


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 06:43 PM

Yes I like that attitude Joe, but not when hides the true nature of an epidemic.
The church must defend itself or it will be torn apart, its opponents don't want a "reformed" church, they want to see it obliterated along with the values which it espouses.
The more we discuss these topics the more clearly I see what the Church's role should be in defending spirituality and morality

I spoke today with a member of the Free Church of Scotland, a protestant presbyterian organisation.
They were at one time, very much opposed to Catholicism, but now they look to the Catholic Church in Scotland to support them in their opposition to "homosexual marriage"
With Scotland's history of sectarianism, a coming together of the churches to support the restoration of "the family", would be a very good thing for Scottish society.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 06:50 PM

A radical revolutionary socialist sucking up to religion? Gosh, times have changed since me and Blair Peach clobbered the right-wing commies in east London... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 07:01 PM

Ake, you are just plain wrong about that.

True, a marriage ceremony does not guarantee fidelity. BUT--you haven't be able to supply your usual run of spurious statistics about gay marriage because there aren't any.

I know a number of gay couples who have been living together for some years now, and recently they took advantage of Washington State's recently enacted same-sex marriage law. They're healthy and happy!

The law, and other such laws, have not been in effect long enough for any meaningful statistics to emerge--except for the substantial number of gay men who are already living in monogamous relationships and among whom HIV/Aids is conspicuously absent.

Sorry to spoil your day!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 07:10 PM

You don't spoil my day Don, I had forgotten your disgusting insinuations earlier on this thread.

Steve, I bow to no one or to any agenda, I am my own man.
Because I am unable to practice a "faith", does not mean that others who can should be prohibited.

A sense of spirituality has always played a large part in my life, and does not conflict with my political views.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 07:42 PM

I am my own man.

(Oh God, please don't tempt me...)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 08:16 PM

I guess this is what I'd say about the morality of sexual conduct:
    As long as it doesn't hurt anybody who doesn't consent, people should make up their own minds about their own sexual conduct, and then live with the consequences. I really don't think God minds one way or another, as long as nobody gets hurt.

I can't really understand homosexuals and homosexuality, but I feel that I am obliged to respect them. That's a perspective that is totally different from the life I live. So, I think any moral decisions about homosexual conduct, should be made by homosexuals.

Musket, I have to admit that I had never heard of "corrective rape" before you mentioned it. I can't imagine how any decent person could see justification in doing such a horrible thing. It appears to happen mostly in Africa, where the taboo against homosexuality is very strong (and I believe it is far older than Christianity is in Africa, so don't go blaming it on all Christians).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 09:16 PM

Musket says: He says if being gay is seen as normal, men will have free rein to rape small boys...

Musket, I must compliment you on your spelling of "rein" but I still disagree with "pail." ;-)

I think, though, that you're being too hard on Akenaton. He's a good man, and he represents the conservative point of view quite well. Instead of denigrating him, I suggest that you might wish to answer his positions rationally. We can have a very fruitful discussion here, but only if we respect everyone involved - even the ones we disagree with. Those we disagree with, give us something to respond to. Otherwise, we can just stand around and pat ourselves on the back, admiring how wonderful we are. And that would be dreadfully boring.

Ake has a point. There have been times in history where wealthy men kept boys for sexual pleasure. I once came across a man in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization service who always had foreign-born lowers who were just over the legal age of 18. I wondered if those lovers really had free choice in the matter. I think Ake has a legitimate concern.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 09:20 PM

That sounds very tolerant of you, Joe. I don't understand why people enjoy Big Macs (they're shit). I don't understand why someone wants to sit on the canal bank all day tossing lumps of Spam into the water failing to catch fish he couldn't eat anyway. I don't understand anyone who wants to waste his life playing golf. I don't understand why anyone would be masochistic enough to support Sheffield Wednesday. I don't understand why anyone watches Holby City. I don't understand why anyone doesn't love Shane MacGowan to pieces. But I'm fine not understanding these things. If I understood everything that came my way I'd be bored shitless. But what I don't do is to try to superimpose some kind of moral dimension onto stuff I don't understand. There is no more morality involved in two blokes making love than there is in you and me going out for a Big Mac or a cappuccino. There is no more morality in a young woman having an abortion than there is in her teachers not providing her with the education required to help her not have got into that position in the first place, or in her mum and dad having been too shy to talk to her about sex. There is no more morality involved in a bloke infecting someone else with HIV than there is in the state not having provided that bloke with the education and the wherewithal towards working at that not happening. Not only do I not see why I should morally judge these things, but I don't give a damn anyway. It would be too bad for my health. If you think there's any agonising to do over the "morals" of a homosexual couple that doesn't apply to other people, well that's your sad lookout. Even my saying that their morals are none of my business would be a statement laden with value judgement that would be a sad reflection on none other than me. We could celebrate the diversity of humanity instead, if you like.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 09:30 PM

I for one have wasted a lot of energy replying to ake rationally. He completely ignored me when I suggested that the answer to high infection rates is education. Only a bloody dolt would disagree with that, but he was so keen on his moralising that he ignored me. You call him a "good man" but I call him an intemperate bigot with a seriously anti-gay agenda. By his fruits you could know him. Just read his posts, that's all you have to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 09:57 PM

Steve Shaw says: But what I don't do is to try to superimpose some kind of moral dimension onto stuff I don't understand.

Don't fool yourself, Steve. You moralize and pass judgment more than anybody else here at Mudcat.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 02:01 AM

Steve.
I doubt whether all those massacred women and children in Sabra and Shatila would have seen Keith's "common sense" that way.

There were two massacres there but you only care about one.
Why?
That one was committed by Arab militiamen, and Israel denies direct involvement.
Why is it wrong to put their side of the story?

You would enjoy seeing it debunked, but that is the problem for you.
It stands up.
You do not want any contradictions interfering with your preconceptions.
Prejudice Steve.
You have the closed mind of a bigot.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:19 AM

Don't fool yourself, Steve. You moralize and pass judgment more than anybody else here at Mudcat.

Easy to say, hard to demonstrate. So do demonstrate.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:21 AM

Not here, Keith, eh? There's another thread if you really want to ignite it again. My post was primarily directed at ake's inconsistencies.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 08:31 AM

Good job this is a music site and not a parliamentary debating chamber..

Keith A. hole of Hertford doesn't understand conflicting opinions, interpretations of data and investment prioritising, and questions the right of those who have to consider all of it as to their suitability to hold office. I in return question his suitability and competence to consider anything as he could be dangerous if anyone took him seriously. If he ever read The British Medical Journal with his dogmatic "if someone clever says it, it must be right" obsession, his head would explode. If we agreed with his blind faith, we'd possibly still have MMR.

The worm is neither here nor there. Joe is wrong to say he is a decent chap and all that. He is an odious bigot and promotes hatred. Full stop. You can't ignore his wish to see lifestyle as peverted, flawed or wrong. His wish to compel people to report themselves for being what they are is nothing short of criminal. In fact, the Home Secretary announced yesterday that this side of the pond, we are tightening up on holding people to account for publishing incitement to hate.

In the meantime, this thread is about the relevance of religion.

I look at some of the absurd logic put forward and have seen that the high winds today that, as our cleaner has just contacted me to say, have stripped my garden room of ridge tiles, taken a pergola for a walk down the garden and my dustbins are being propped up by the trellis that should be shielding them.

Obviously my fault for upsetting Jesus.

Clapton knows what he would think of my support for everyone having an equal stake in society. Good job he is a construct of people whose ideas don't appeal to me, and if they don't wake up, won't appeal to the society they wish to be relevant to.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 08:45 AM

Musket, you made a statement of fact.
I put up a brief quote from an HPA report that showed you were wrong.

You claimed it was because the report was an old one.

Not true.
It had only just been published.

You claimed it had been "superseded" by an "interim" report.

Not true.
It was the final report and had just been published.

You claimed to have the said "interim" report and even gave a link.

No surprise that the link did not work.

You stated here once that it is OK to lie because there is no Judgement.
You are a consummate liar and no-one should take seriously anything you say.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: GUEST,musket again
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 04:21 PM

Ok. Keith is a lying shit.

That's settled that then.

Don't keep saying the information you read is up to date when those with access to up to date figures are around.

A. You look a prat.
B. The updated are irrelevant to the thrust of the issue anyway. You just feel that it is important to be right and everyone else wrong. You can't resist can you? Get a fucking life.

On this you made a mistake. I am no genius on healthcare but I need to make decisions based on facts and employ a lot of resources in getting it.

It is available and in the public domain. Your lazy searching and insistence that a body you have heard of makes the definitive data. It doesn't for the simple reason it updates itself all the time.

Don't call me a liar please. I hope you pay tax because I am paid lots of money from taxes for not lying. If that sounds arrogant, it is purely that you say historians are professionals so must be respected. I speak for 1.3 million professionals in what you think is lying. Stupid twat.

Stupid little man.

I realise it is a bad idea arguing with ignorant people especially when they are trying to support bad agendas. But I realise the stupidity of doing so.

Sorry for trying to give information with my opinions. I realise there are people who will use that to make them look good. Or at least they think they do.

You adequately represent your right wing politics. No argument so lie instead.

Pathetic.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 05:22 PM

Everything I said is true.
I do not lie, and simply do not understand why some of you do.
Here again is the right up to date and current HPA final report.
http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317140300680

If you expect to be believed over HPA you are a fool as well as a liar.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 06:05 PM

Ake says: We are presently discussing transmission rates, which are massively higher amongst MSM than any other demographic.
These rates apply to all sexually transmitted diseases, not just HIV/AIDS


I'm not going to get into the argument whether this is correct or no. But Ake, what would you suggest should be the response to this information? Enforced celibacy for homosexuals?

My Catholic Church recommends "voluntary celibacy for homosexuals" - and I have to say that I am deeply embarrassed by that ludicrous suggestion.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:07 PM

What I am saying Joe, is that these figures...and they are true, point to a serious problem affecting male homosexuals, a section of the community for whom we are presently attempting to bring in legislation which presents homosexuality as just another safe and healthy lifestyle.
The negative heath figures run at epidemic proportions for almost all sexually transmitted disease, and contradict the legislation which is about to be enacted.
I am sure, and the uptake figures support my view, that the vast majority of active male homosexuals have no interest in "marriage" or monogamy, and the issue is actually being driven by an anti- conservative, anti religion pressure group, which has enormous power principally in the news and entertainment media.

I think most of us are aware that "democracy" never did have teeth, and is now extinct......political decisions are made with both eyes on the media who's "liberal" agenda is really so illiberal as to be almost Fascist in nature.

I don't think the church should advocate enforced celibacy, the celibacy rule has caused enough trouble already for the church and contributed in large measure to the sexual assault of thousands of mainly teenage boys and young men by people who should never have been in the priesthood to begin with.

But EFFECTIVE measures to end the epidemic of sexually transmitted disease amongst homosexuals and a proper up to date study of male homosexuality and why these rate apply to it, should be forcefully supported by all churches.
I am an atheist at the moment, but I am not anti- religion, and believe the church should give a lead on moral and social issues.

If that does not happen, our society is heading in the same direction as ancient ROME. Do you understand what the lowest common denominator means when applied to morality?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:09 PM

OK, Steve Shaw, here's what you said:
    But what I don't do is to try to superimpose some kind of moral dimension onto stuff I don't understand. There is no more morality involved in two blokes making love than there is in you and me going out for a Big Mac or a cappuccino. There is no more morality in a young woman having an abortion than there is in her teachers not providing her with the education required to help her not have got into that position in the first place, or in her mum and dad having been too shy to talk to her about sex. There is no more morality involved in a bloke infecting someone else with HIV than there is in the state not having provided that bloke with the education and the wherewithal towards working at that not happening.

Morality isn't a matter of judging people with a bunch of arbitrary rules, Steve. It's making decisions about what is harmful, and what is helpful.
  • For most of us, two people making love is certainly more significant than having a Big Mac or capuccino. It can be a sublime and profound expression of love, or it can hurt one or both people very deeply - so it is a moral decision, one not to be taken lightly.

  • Abortion, too, is a moral decision that must not be taken lightly. There's the potential life of a child involved, and the possibility of lifelong grief and regret for those who will mourn the loss of that child. Nonetheless, there are often many factors that make abortion the best of a number of bad options. Certainly, it's also wrong for schools and parents to fail to give their children sex education - but I think that nowadays, relatively few schools (religious and otherwise) and relatively few parents (religious and otherwise) fail to do this. My kids went to Catholic schools in the US in the 1980s, and they got sex education from both their schools and their parents in more detail than they wanted to have. And if a woman didn't have sex education, it still behooves her not to take the decision to abort lightly.

  • Yes, it is immoral (and gravely harmful) for a person to knowingly or recklessly give another person HIV. And yes, it is also wrong for the state to fail to give education and materials to help prevent the spread of HIV. But it's not an either-or proposition. Both actions are immoral.

  • That's what morality is - deciding whether to do harm or do good. All people in society need to be moral people - it's not just a religious thing. And all people in society need to speak out when they see injustice.

    -Joe Offer-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:23 PM

    Ake says: But EFFECTIVE measures to end the epidemic of sexually transmitted disease amongst homosexuals

    And I am thoroughly convinced that the most effective measure against sexually transmitted disease, is a stable marriage - including homosexual marriage. Marriage institutionalizes monogamy, and monogamy is an extremely effective way to prevent the spread of STDs. Yes, many people are not faithful to their marriage vows; but most are, for the most part.

    -Joe-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:28 PM

    Steve says...If you think there's any agonising to do over the "morals" of a homosexual couple that doesn't apply to other people, well that's your sad lookout. Even my saying that their morals are none of my business would be a statement laden with value judgement that would be a sad reflection on none other than me. We could celebrate the diversity of humanity instead, if you like.

    If these infection rates applied to heterosexuals, we would not now be discussing the niceties of "diversity", or "human rights", heterosexuals would be "rounded up" as Ian puts it, forced to to take STD tests for all of the diseases and if it were possible due to the numbers involved, incarcerated.
    If these rates applied to heterosexuals, it would be "the end of society"
    The reason we do not seriously address the issue by increasing testing, contact tracing and targeting of the most affected demographic, is because we can, and because it is politically beneficial NOT to do so.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 05 Dec 13 - 07:33 PM

    Sorry off to bed...interesting thread....catch up tomorrow..Ake


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Steve Shaw
    Date: 05 Dec 13 - 09:18 PM

    For most of us, two people making love is certainly more significant than having a Big Mac or capuccino.

    Really? Have you really thought about this? Making love is a normal, easy and happy part of everyday life. Why's it more significant than doing other socialising stuff such as going out for a nosh or a coffee? Has your faith been getting at you or something?

    It can be a sublime and profound expression of love, or it can hurt one or both people very deeply - so it is a moral decision, one not to be taken lightly.

    Nah, you have this completely wrong. Making love can be and should be a sublime and profound expression of love (it can be a bit naff occasionally, but one gets over it). Exploitative sex is what can hurt very deeply. There is a difference, a rather profound one actually.

    Abortion, too, is a moral decision that must not be taken lightly. There's the potential life of a child involved, and the possibility of lifelong grief and regret for those who will mourn the loss of that child.

    Fine, but it's not for you or your Church, both somewhat "male", to point that up. It's for you and your Church, if you want to be "moral" about it, to tell the woman that it's her body and that it's none of your masculine business. After that, reflect on what makes young women get into that dilemma. Ask yourself whether the moralising and the championing of ignorance and condemnation of contraception might just have had something to do with it. I'm not going to bend on this, you know, because you are wrong. The Church you defend so stolidly has a hell of a lot to answer for.

    Certainly, it's also wrong for schools and parents to fail to give their children sex education - but I think that nowadays, relatively few schools (religious and otherwise) and relatively few parents (religious and otherwise) fail to do this. My kids went to Catholic schools in the US in the 1980s, and they got sex education from both their schools and their parents in more detail than they wanted to have.

    Well I think you're living in cloud cuckoo land. Sex education is a farce. We think we're so enlightened if we allow the school nurse to demonstrate condoms by rolling one over a boiling tube (with the school priest observing in the wings) and blackboard diagrams of fannies and willies and videos that excuse the embarrassed teacher from actually talking to children about sex. I've ranted long and hard about the pathetic state of education for relationships (hey, guess what: I didn't say "sex education"!) many times before and I'm not going over it all again right now. Let's just say for now that anyone who thinks sex education is about fannies, willies and condoms is seriously deluded.   

    And if a woman didn't have sex education, it still behooves her not to take the decision to abort lightly.

    And men? Jesus wept...


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Don Firth
    Date: 05 Dec 13 - 10:59 PM

    Ake:   I am sure, and the uptake figures support my view, that the vast majority of active male homosexuals have no interest in "marriage" or monogamy, and the issue is actually being driven by an anti- conservative, anti religion pressure group, which has enormous power principally in the news and entertainment media.

    Sorry, not true. Any of it.

    The actual figures do not bear that out. First, the uptake figures are very high. In each of the states in which same-sex marriage has been legalized, the "uptake" figures have been surprisingly high, much to the exasperation and frustration of certain conservative groups, some churches, and people like Ake. There has been a rush to the altars (there are a fair number of churches that have no problem with this) or to a Justices of the Peace by same-sex couples—women AND men.

    And the campaigns have been driven, not by Liberal pressure groups, but by same-sex couples themselves. But supported by Liberal groups, who tend to be a fair-minded bunch and don't believe in trying to curtail the freedoms of others.

    Like some folks.

    Just because Ake doesn't like the real figures doesn't mean they're not true.

    Sorry, Ake. (But not really.)

    Don Firth


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,musket asking the point
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 03:02 AM

    Interesting sideshow and brought out a few otherwise hidden agendas in what should be an objective debate.

    Here in The UK we have, for the time being, figures produced by The Health Protection Agency which people such as the ones I give strategic support to in the real world use to plan services. The worrying figures for male to male are the largest set for HIV infection They aren't the majority, but not far off.

    Two reasons for this. 1. Gay promiscuity is higher risk than heterosexual promiscuity. 2. Due to previous health campaigns, more gay men present for testing than straight men or women with high risk sexual lifestyles.

    The Health Protection Agency said that. Funnily enough, their public health role is being taken away as it is too polarised. The NHS and Department of Health agree that priority funding is based far too heavily on issues in isolation.   In short, whilst the trend in HIV is peaking at 6000 new diagnoses per annum to include all cases, not just gay men, the monthly figures for chlamydia are more. The only reason why needle share isn't the overall highest reason for transmission is the funded free needles avaliable.

    I notice the political party Keith once said he supported would require The NHS to stop funding this and require knowledge of drug users to be forwarded to the police.

    It fits with Keith's professed inability to balance and dig out the data behind statistics. If The NHS worked purely on headline statistics, it would grind to a halt as The Royal Colleges usually disagree with NICE who question HPA who question trust based coding who question what clinicians report.

    All Department of Health funded.

    Shallow people don't want to know that if it shags their hypothesis.

    A sideshow and a smokescreen. 60 million people in The UK and Keith and his pet worm want liberty suspended for how many? Certainly not the 3000 who came forward and were positive last year. They came forward. .

    So why?

    Not nice, that worm you know. Not nice at all. Those that encourage him through lazy so called research need to ask themselves questions too.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 03:31 AM

    Well, Steve, it looks to me like you just like to fight, and have no desire to carry on any sort of rational discussion. If you want to discuss things, you give the other person the benefit of the doubt, and seek some sort of exchange of ideas and common ground.
    But apparently, you are unable or unwilling to do that.

    And Musket, you're getting pretty squabbly yourself. I thought you were better than that.

    -Joe-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 04:32 AM


    I notice the political party Keith once said he supported

    Keith never said any such thing and supports none.

    male to male are the largest set for HIV infection They aren't the majority, but not far off.
    They are the majority of new diagnoses (51%)

    The only reason why needle share isn't the overall highest reason for transmission is the funded free needles avaliable.

    Hardly. Only 120 pa.

    liberty suspended for how many?
    None actually.
    Opt out testing is not an infringement, and seems to be effective where tried.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 04:57 AM

    Ian, obviously you are not concerned about the epidemic of STD.s amongst male homosexuals, your last post confirms that, but the health agencies are very concerned.

    You appear to be concerned only for you agenda......"just don't talk about the figures"
    Joe is correct, this subject is worrying, it does involve issues of "morality" and should be discussed in a civilised manner.

    It also brings in wider issues like the place of the church in society and that is what terrifies the "Fascists" of the left more than anything else, that is their greatest obstacle, there will always be people of faith, Christians, Taoists, Buddhists Moslems most of whom want to see goodness and morality prevail.

    I begin to see this great movement as the only defence again the continual erosion of moral and social values in our society. "Faith", that inborn feeling, there since the beginning of time, that there is a higher and greater power at work, is the only impediment to the complete demolition of our social structure.

    As a Socialist, I often call for real political change, but we must never forget who the enemy really is and what are our strongest weapons against him.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,musket again
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 04:59 AM

    Yes Joe I am

    Bigotry isn't something to be cuddly about.

    Keith. Every day I missives from doctors who throw accurate but irrelevant statistics to justify why things should change or remain the same. Often after their colleagues have supported a position.

    They are defending what they want to see happen.

    And you?


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 05:29 AM

    Me?
    I just pointed out errors of fact in your posts.
    I know you would do the same for me.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 06:01 AM

    You put up the statistics Musket.
    They were relevant but inaccurate.
    I just corrected them for you.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 07:37 AM

    They weren't inaccurate, but if you feel data that hasn't been refined yet is the only one you can find, it's a bit silly arguing with you. As I said before, healthcare professionals even, when lobbying for their particular field find credible statistics and draw earth shattering conclusions from them. The public health observatory, which forms the bedrock of commissioning decisions doesn't employ data readers, it employs consultants in public health, in some ways the intellectual cream of the crop (if you ask them) or autistic (if you ask other doctors....) They form the source of the data that is used. I see that my link is to the HPA intranet, but the data should be on the internet site. Your comment that needle users formed only 120 people is exactly my point. Needle exchange works, and needs to carry on being funded. (The figure is sadly somewhat higher, as the headline figures don't account for either root cause, index patient nor co morbidity, just number trawl from commissioning data, which is why HPA isn't used on its own for planning healthcare, and why it is being shrunk back, allowing Public Health England and similar new bodies in the rest of The UK to be the source of epidemiological data, as healthcare planning, from political aspiration to budget setting in commissioning is based on their advice to CCGs and health authorities.

    Civil enough for you?

    Worm.

    What morality?   Is being gay a moral issue?   Unless you can show it is, I fail to see why it should be discussed? If you wish to put forward a moral argument for increasing healthcare spending based on lifestyle choices, I suggest you add in heterosexual polygamy, tobacco, alcohol, Glasgow and branches of Gregs. Take out polygamous gay sex and you still have 99% of the argument left to play with.

    Civil enough for Joe?


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 07:47 AM

    HPA is the most authoritative source of primary data we have.

    Your stats were inaccurate according to HPA.

    If you are claiming to be right and HPA wrong do not expect to be believed.

    I merely corrected the stats YOU put up to further YOUR agenda.
    Why do you object, and why did you tell lies?


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Steve Shaw
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 07:58 AM

    Well, Steve, it looks to me like you just like to fight, and have no desire to carry on any sort of rational discussion. If you want to discuss things, you give the other person the benefit of the doubt, and seek some sort of exchange of ideas and common ground.
    But apparently, you are unable or unwilling to do that.


    [Suggested translator's note: Steve refuses to acquiesce in Joe's soft-soaping of the Catholic Church's (still) antediluvian attitude to sexuality. Therefore Steve must be wrong.]


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Steve Shaw
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 08:30 AM

    Aargh, not soft-soaping. Wrong expression. I meant "gentle indulgence of...", which is not what soft-soaping means... :-(


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,musket
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 08:30 AM

    Please write to Jeremy Hunt then and tell him to save money.

    The most authoritive data we have is held by regional directors of public health. They use the statistics available from NRLS, HRG returns, ONS and HPA, as well as local data from providers.

    One reason why HPA was first being abolished then brought down in scale was the data integrity issue, which relied on coding by NHS bodies. Its role in public protection and coordination of notifiable disease remains in their brief. For now. For what it's worth, just before the government tried putting it on the quango bonfire, stupid liar Musket wasIinterviewed for the chair. Didn't get it, but at least was shortlisted. Read about HPA and data integrity if you want. HSJ and BMJ tend to be the best sources. The same issue brought about the much publicised Keogh investigations into mortality. Coding leads to SHMI data being unreliable. Oh, , and this is about thousands of deaths per month, not a national figure of a couple of thousand non fatal infections.

    Which is why the homophobic agenda is so so obvious.

    I'm involved with two Dept of Health bodies that are funded by them yet have totally different figures derived from the same sources, advising the exact opposite view. (Foundation Trust Network and NHS Confederation with regard to "any qualified provider" issues . Your assertion that funded bodies are authoritive is as laughable as it is inaccurate.

    I don't usually have much time for government but ours doesn't stuff advisory bodies with agreeing toadys. Healthcare is far more important than that. Which is why I am privileged to be able to help with structures that professionals can work within.

    Which is why your arguments are a poor imitation of the shroud waving consultants queuing up outside my office. Their concerns however are more open and more genuine. As far as I can see, your dogmatic but ill informed take serves only anti gay agendas.

    And that can't go unchallenged.   Joe may be happy to discuss second class citizens but I won't, can't even.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 10:07 AM

    If you are claiming to be right and HPA wrong do not expect to be believed.

    At least produce some reputable source to corroborate your claim, or admit you were wrong.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 10:12 AM

    As far as I can see, your dogmatic but ill informed take serves only anti gay agendas.

    Not ill-informed.
    Informed by HPA.

    If you have a better source, produce it.
    Meanwhlile stop lying and smearing with accusations of "right wing politics" "support for political parties" and homophobic agenda."

    You are the one who put up the stats.
    I just corrected them.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 10:36 AM

    Before asking someone who says HPA are wrong and they are right, first find someone who said it, prat.

    I said their data is one of a number of data sets used to form the picture. Their data is based on returns from commissioning returns. See www.hpa.org.uk for details.

    Search HSJ if you must under public health. Or this governments rationale for the quango bonfire. Or see what The academy of Royal Colleges or NICE have to say about trusting arbitrary statistics. Howsabout The BMA and their take on clinical planning based on single source statistics. As much evidence as you wish. Even, if you must be lazy, the link I gave you was intranet, for which I apologise, I forget my Athens gets me in them. There will be the internet version by now if you care to look.

    See? Why should I take you seriously when I keep saying a) the HPA data is fairly close to the picture directors of public health use, but not quite accurate enough for the people I work with. b) There is an issue with numbers of infections but the rest of the health worries of the country put these in perspective regarding action and the figures are used in isolation by groups, many religious ones in that, to push a homophobic agenda. c) You read something and throw it in the face of others, regardless of subject. If a government agency says so, it must be. Well it is, but allowing for errors. Errors that are catered for in the service commissioning data that pays for healthcare, which iI have to use each and every day.

    I expect better than that from first year post grad management trainees, let alone the worlds leading expert on cutting and pasting and shouting with the text in his hand.

    Zzzzz


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 01:24 PM

    YOU said my figure quoted from HPA was wrong.
    YOU said it was out of date and superseded.
    So, YOU produce any reputable source to justify YOUR figure or admit you got it wrong.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 04:39 PM

    Steve, I agree that in many ways, the Catholic Church has a (still) antediluvian attitude to sexuality. Therefore, I generally disregard what they have to say about sex, and make my own decisions about my own sex life. If you look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church and see how the church itself words its positions on such issues, you will see that it is worded thoughtfully, factually, and dispassionately, and certainly not in the authoritarian way one might think would come from the Vatican. Some of the ideas on sexuality are, in fact, very good; and some I disagree with. It's certainly not presented in the hysterical way that you and musket and Stringsinger describe.

    But you're right, the Catholic Church has a (still) antediluvian attitude to sexuality.

    On the other hand, the Catholic Church has very good, wise, and compassionate things to say about immigration, poverty, peace, the rights of workers, capital punishment, and a number of social issues.

    I know that it is in vogue to completely discount and disregard any group or individual that has views in any area that the speaker disagrees with, but I think that's bigotry. I try to look for the good wherever I go, and I find it. I disregard or step around what I disagree with, or work to resolve the disagreement if I can find a way.

    -Joe Offer-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 06:33 PM

    Ian, even working with your "home made" figures, the new infection rates amongst male homosexuals are massively higher than any other demographic, in every STD, and in every country which conducts surveys of this issue.

    All you have to do is explain why, to break even.
    Stop waffling and answer the bloody question.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Steve Shaw
    Date: 06 Dec 13 - 08:22 PM

    On the other hand, the Catholic Church has very good, wise, and compassionate things to say about immigration, poverty, peace, the rights of workers, capital punishment, and a number of social issues.

    Yes, I know. I fully acknowledge that, whilst at the same time keeping a sharp and suspicious eye on motivations (I would, though, wouldn't I?). By their fruits shall ye know them, sayeth the Lord, and he never said a wiser word.

    However, you say that some of the Church's positions on sexuality are very good. Well, maybe. But the Church does not have women priests or bishops, does not allow priests to marry and has a dreadful take on abortion and contraception, matters that imprison women, and it still treats gay people as inferior beings, to be discussed in judgemental terms and to be allowed minor concessions with a sorry shake of the head. The Church, from where I'm standing, has shed very little of its misogynistic and homophobic past. It has a long way to go, and progress is grindingly and painfully slow.


    .


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 12:45 AM

    But Ake, how would you reduce STDs among homosexuals? I think that's the primary question your data raises.

    -Joe-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,musket again
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 03:45 AM

    I would like to see them rise.

    Also, as the dataset doesn't reflect primary presentation, cardinal /FCE rate or co morbidity, I would also wish to see HPA be more careful with their figures. Their adjustments indicate their acknowledgement of increasingly better coding by trusts.

    If they were, you would see the worm's stance look even more in his favour.

    But you would also see the full story. So I repeat.

    I would like to see the figures rise and The NHS is working hard to get those numbers up.

    Keith could find all this with his Google toy if he wished. The worm could at least look at the pretty pictures.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 04:17 AM

    I can not find it and do not believe you.
    You said HPA was wrong on new diagnoses 2012 (51%).
    Show us a body that supports your claim, or is it a lie.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 05:36 AM

    Joe, the ONLY way to reduce the incidence of STD amongst male homosexuals, is to cut transmission rates drastically.

    The MSM demographic should be targeted with more frequent testing and contact tracing. As Keith has mentioned, the agencies are looking at an "opt out" system, where MSM will be routinely tested, unless they specifically refused to allow it.
    Their hands are of course tied by human rights and anti discrimination legislation, which in this case is working against the interests of male homosexuals.

    Personally, I think that more should be done by homosexuals themselves to defeat this epidemic and have suggested a voluntary register, which could be run by Ian's friends in Stonewall.
    All active male homosexual would volunteer to be tested perhaps four times a year or whenever starting a new sexual relationship.
    My main point being, that before long, for MSM NOT to be tested would become socially unacceptable within their own circle, just as smoking in public and drunk driving has become socially unacceptable in mainstream society.

    I think that male homosexuals need to be seen to be willing to help themselves, before this dreadful health problem can be properly addressed.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 05:41 AM

    Don't understand what Ian means about wishing to see STD rates RISE?

    The rest of his post is the usual waffle.....the hands of a drowning man waving in the air.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 05:49 AM

    He meant diagnoses rise, so there are fewer untreated.
    They become less infectious when on retrovirals.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 07:23 AM

    I have explained how figures are derived. I have pointed to some of the sources should anyone be interested in knowing which datasets are used by The NHS . I have also explained why many published statistics are subjective and why we pay consultants in public health to interpret and advise accordingly.

    Nothing to add really. I support and advise1.3 million liars it seems.

    Nice to see the worm expanding his awful thesis to the point of suggesting the actual work could be outsourced. Presumably we can outsource testing for heterosexual sexual infections to knocking shops. I love the bit about when starting new relationships.. Very romantic! Not to mention presumptuous.....

    Presumably the 99.9% (of the 68% of gay men) who have sex with condoms need to be on your register too? And the celibate men?

    After all, if you didn't include the vast majority of gay men, the ones who are not at risk of infection that is, how can you achieve your real aim of a list of all gay men for your horrid purposes? Incidentally, those gay porn movies you keep talking about? I hear the actors show each other certificates before lubricating up. A pity then not every gay bloke is an actor eh? Supply and demand and all that, your videos would be cheaper for you and your scientist friends to buy.

    Worm, you know where to crawl, I shouldn't need to keep reminding you.




    Keith. If you must use big words, note the rather significant difference between the antiretrovirals men and women are offered when HIV+ and the rather interesting retrovirals you just said. Probably supplied in '70s style pill bottles.....


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 08:26 AM

    My God Ian, You sure love making a fool of yourself.

    Do you think it helps your case to call others "little men", "worms", or sneer at other members who are trying to assist in keeping the discussion truthful.
    You have been caught lying several times, therefore your posts need to be carefully scrutinised.
    Keith has no axe to grind here, but he likes to see accuracy in anything presented as fact.
    Regarding "little men"...you have no idea of my stature, or you would not make such a comment. I may be over retiring age, but I still do a hard manual job daily and am fit and strong.
    Try to control yourself.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 08:33 AM

    Musket, if you were not lying you would paste up something from some body supporting your claim.
    You can not do that because there is none.
    You were wrong and chose to lie about it.

    Any normal person would acknowledge the slight inaccuracy, point out how insignificant it was, and say that it did not change the argument.

    You chose to lie, hoping to save face.
    Instead you have made a cunt of yourself again.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 08:59 AM

    Truth....For example Ian, "those gay porn videos you are always talking about"   that is a lie and a deliberate smear(among many)

    What I did say, was that "scientists have conducted studies to help determine sexual orientation", which has a quite different connotation. I have never mentioned, nor know anything about "gay porn movies". You on the other hand have used the phrase several times over the last few days on different threads.
    I don't know if any conclusions can be drawn from that or not. Perhaps you are more familiar with such "entertainment"?


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 01:10 PM

    Akenhateon said that gay porn was shown by scientists to men, checked to see if they got erections and scientists deduced that gay lifestyle was abnormal as a result.

    Ha Ha.

    Keith grabbed a set of figures that have been adjusted and uses words such as liar and cunt to describe people who point out how they are used and when services are wary of them. He then says that others should point out that the figures adjustment are insignificant to the argument. Perhaps he should read my posts then. Fed up of saying it, it doesn't sink in, till he says it himself and defies others to say it err.. A couple of days after they did.

    Ha Ha.

    If you both wish to smear people, find someone who would be affected by it will you? I don't lie. Perhaps you two don't either, but your ignorance shines through. Statistics are dangerous enough without incompetent buffoons using them put of context. Mind you, Akenhateon tells some whoppers. Mostly in order to smear whole sections of society. Or to tell us he is a socialist or some such nonsense.

    I may not know anything of Akenhateon's stature, but I have worked out his status; bigoted little shit.

    Perhaps you two should get a room. You could sit and work out new ways of being preposterous.

    Ha Ha.

    Etc.

    zzzzzzzzzz


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Keith A of Hertford
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 03:32 PM

    You chose to deny HPA figures.
    You said it was outdated.
    LIE.
    You said it was "superseded" by an "interim report".
    LIES.
    It was a final report on the 2012 figures and only published a couple of weeks ago.
    You said you had the interim report, and that other bodies produced different figures.
    LIES.
    You could not produce a single one.

    You previously accused me of trying to make a "cunt" of you, otherwise I would not use such a word.
    I do not try.
    You do it all by yourself.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Steve Shaw
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 05:02 PM

    For God's sake, keefenache, you both sound like minnows attempting and failing to gnaw away at a blue whale's bum. Wottapair of losers! Get out while the going's shit but not as shit as it could be! :-) Tosseratissima!


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Don Firth
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 05:42 PM

    This thread has wandered far from the original subject and has long since passed its "Sell By" date. It's grown positively rancid!

    Arguing with brick walls is fruitless, so I'm spending my effort in working on the issue in the real world.

    Don Firth


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 08:27 PM

    Here's an e-mail I got today from faithfulamerica.org:
      Dear Faithful America member,

      Rush Limbaugh is leading a new right-wing assault on Pope Francis, accusing him of "pure Marxism" for warning that the global financial system has failed the poor. On Fox and CNBC, hosts are accusing the pope of overstepping his bounds and "indulging in politics."

      In the face of this absurd and extremist rhetoric, the American bishops have been uncharacteristically silent. When a reporter called the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for comment, their spokesperson declined to say anything except "We don't follow Rush Limbaugh."

      These same bishops haven't hesitated to criticize progressive politicians and media figures over abortion and gay marriage, but when it comes to promoting the pope's teachings on social and economic justice, they're nowhere to be found.

      So today we're launching a new petition asking the bishops to condemn Limbaugh's statement and clarify their support for Pope Francis's opposition to "the new idolatry of money."


    It's clear to me, that Pope Francis makes Timothy Cardinal Dolan and a lot of U.S. bishops nervous. The American bishops have been in bed with the far right for far too long, and they have alienated many of us Catholics who consider ourselves "moderate" or "liberal." It's good to see the bishops squirm...

    The primary tenet of Catholic conservatism is absolute and unquestioning obedience to the Pope - according to their perception of what the Pope is saying. Unfortunately for them, this pope is speaking a bit too clearly, and they're getting worried. Pope Benedict said more-or-less the same thing, but not with such clarity.

    -Joe-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Don Firth
    Date: 07 Dec 13 - 10:37 PM

    I'm not Catholic, but--

    I like this new Pope!

    Don Firth


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 08 Dec 13 - 06:28 AM

    I also applaud Pope Francis for his attack on the Capitalist system, It's just amazing that some people here don't seem to understand what he is saying

    Centre "liberals" have kept the system on the rails for decades, by telling folks that THEIR champion could fix it.
    It cant be fixed!.....and Francis was saying so very clearly, you either use a system that has found greener fields to plough, with all the negatives that are becoming glaringly obvious, or you scrap it and find something better.
    No one can do that overnight, but a start must be made, there is no other option and Francis has put the church right in the front line.

    The best thing that has happened in Christianity, since Jesus threw the bankers out of the temple!! :0)

    Sideshows and smokescreens like homosexual "marriage" will become irrelevant when the REAL battle starts.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Don Firth
    Date: 08 Dec 13 - 09:51 PM

    I don't really think the Fourth Reich is quite what Pope Francis has in mind. . . .

    Don Firth


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Grishka
    Date: 09 Dec 13 - 06:54 AM

    Economic systems are not a pope's field of authority. Pope Francis and many other religious leaders are quite right to remind us that "the Market" is no excuse for irresponsible or malicious activities, and that material property must not be confused with value.

    Ethics are about curbing human selfishness, political economics must find out how to deal with it.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 09 Dec 13 - 06:24 PM

    I wonder if "authority" is the right word, Grishka. I think that the popular view of "papal authority," may be far broader than the popes themselves see it. John Paul II was a victim of his Slavic maleness and tended to be on the authoritarian side. Other than JPII, the last pope we had who was impressed with his own authority was Pius X, who reigned 1903-1914; and the authoritarian pope before him was the notorious Pius IX (Pio Nono), who reigned 1846-1878. John Paul reigned 26 years and Pio Nono 31, so they had plenty of time to build power structures.

    From my point of view, it seems it was Pius IX who built the myth of "Papal Authority" during his long reign. He lost authority as a civil ruler when the Papal States became part of Italy in 1870. Pius IX dramatically became a self-imposed "prisoner of the Vatican," and the popes did not leave the Vatican until the concordat with Mussolini in 1929. During the First Vatican Council (1869-70), papal infallibility was proclaimed, and the heresy of "modernism" was condemned (one professor told me that modernism was a shopping list of things Pius IX didn't like).

    What remains of "Papal Authority" is an interesting phenomenon. It's a big thing for conservative Catholics, who believe it's an essential part of their faith that they obey the wishes of the Pope. However, their perception of the Pope's wishes, is often very distorted, and often seems to be a reflection of their own aims and their own need to condemn the private conduct of other people. They're having a real problem with Pope Francis, because he has been very clear in saying some things that make conservative Catholics very uncomfortable.

    I think that Francis simply wants to be a credible voice in the discussion, and sees his authority only in his responsibility to clean up the messes that have been made in the past. I don't think people realized that Benedict also sought discussion more than authority.

    -Joe-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Greg F.
    Date: 09 Dec 13 - 06:49 PM

    ....Pope Francis... has been very clear in saying some things that make conservative Catholics very uncomfortable.

    Deo gratius, Joe, Deo gratius. And long overdue.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,musket giggling
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 01:26 AM

    Ah the fog clears.

    When the worm behind Akenhateon keeps rattling on about being a socialist, I wondered where he picked the word up from. . He obviously means national socialist. Which, I suppose, fits in with his condemnation of gays, travellers and "liberals. " I was still giggling at his last post after I had moved on to reality for the day.

    Poor bloody Pope. He makes reasonable observations in order to ask people to examine their conscience and wannabe little Hitlers reckon he is speaking to them too.

    Still reckon I'm wrong in my opinion of the small minded little fool then Joe? Is it arrogance to denounce the likes of him?


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 04:03 AM

    Aw, Musket, I think you're basing your judgment on ideology, and I don't put much stock in ideology myself. I suppose I have my own ideology and sometimes I think my thoughts are quite profound, but I try to keep that in check and train myself to appreciate the thoughts of others - and to like people for who they are, not for their ideology.

    And so, despite his ideology and despite yours, I like you both.

    So, there.

    -Joe-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Grishka
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 04:17 AM

    Joe, my remark was not meant as a complaint about authoritarian attitudes. I was simply observing that using the word "capitalism" in ethics can be misleading. Pope Francis did so in an interview, but was well advised not to repeat it in his pastoral letter.

    Ethics on economics has two distinct aspects. The first is that individuals should not behave unfairly even if it is legal. Secondly, those who determine economical systems and laws (and those who elect them) should strive for justice, both in theory and in practical effects, not relying on all other people being fair and just. The technical details must be left to political and social sciences, for which being the pope is no credential.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 04:20 AM

    If we are serious in wanting to get rid of Capitalism and build a society which can sustain itself and provide purpose for all, I have come to the conclusion that an element of spirituality will be required.

    If the planet and humanity are simply resources to be used and abused, we are doomed to failure.

    Primitive societies saw themselves as guardians of the natural world, not owners.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 04:30 AM

    Fair enough. I happily drink and laugh with people whom I just don't peer into their views. If they come out, I normally say I don't talk bollocks on a Friday / whenever and remind them my glass is empty and won't fill itself. Deflect rather than alter opinion of people who, to be fair, share my love of chewing the fat over a drink.

    Problem is, I very much doubt I have a philosophy beyond Sheffield Wednesday and pork scratchings. Oh, add the search for the perfect Pinot I suppose, and music has to feature in there somewhere. Who knows Joe? I might be asking questions regarding other's philosophy in order to develop my own? About time I grew up, now I'm a granddad and all that.

    I doubt I will learn much from Akenhateon's philosophy though. Overthrow of democracy and rounding up of people I don't understand doesn't fit with the image somehow. Also, if I have a low opinion of someone, I tend to know something about them. I doubt our resident worm has had the chance to know anything about every gay person in the world prior to judging them.

    And still we allow stereotyping hatred to be published here. If anyone is offended by what I type it is because they have said something here on Mudcat that I am challenging so might expect it. I doubt any gay member deserves to read what he not only puts but fails to apologise for.

    Ok. I happily offend Sheffield United fans whether I know them or not. But those buggers deserve it....


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 11:27 AM

    Ian, this forum is not all about you.....or me.

    Your little quips are becoming very boring. Try to understand that your idiotic insults and name calling actually work in my interests, but the rest of the membership are getting fed up listening to YOU, YOu you!!!

    Do us all a favour and go formulate some sort of reasonable response to my stance, I will happily debate with you, providing you keep it civil.

    Continually repeating your belief in equality under a system which is build on the propagation of inequality, just doesn't cut it.....does it Ian?


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 11:51 AM

    Ok.

    My reasonable assessment of you is that your odious filth has no place in decent society therefore unsuspecting decent people shouldn't have to read it when they are Mudcat readers.

    It is also reasonable to piss myself laughing at your ludicrous thought that the new Pope agrees with you in respect of what needs to happen in society.

    Now, where's that wormhole?


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,musket again
    Date: 11 Dec 13 - 03:33 PM

    Just conducted a survey. It appears that "the rest of us" present worm excepted, are members of the human race. Equally so.

    Looks like you're wrong again.

    Whether you put the seat and steering wheel heater on in your BMW as you drive home from the office or come down off a scaffolding to warm your hands on a gas ring, you are all equal. In the eyes of Joe's God or the eyes of the law, regardless of race, Creed, colour, ability or sexual persuasion.

    You ought to try respectable society one day. It's fun.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 12 Dec 13 - 05:18 AM

    I've never been able to afford a BMW.
    Though I'm pretty sure I've lost more sweat and blood than your average banker or, failed "NHS advisor".....and put a damned sight more into society.

    You may have a warm arse while I have frozen hands, but I have the respect of the people I have helped in my community.
    These people are my friends, members of families my grandfather knew, if they don't have enough money, they still get the work done and they pay it when and if they can.

    You haven't a clue about society or how it works, you live in an ideological fairyland and if you think the Capitalist system provides anything approaching equality, you are also deluded.

    Pope Francis was perfectly clear, "Capitalism is a tyranny"....I have been saying that for decades....It is the root of society's problems.
    Or have you got a hot line to the Pope?...Like the one you have to HPA.   :0)


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 12 Dec 13 - 12:03 PM

    Ah well. If you want to compare jobs.

    I was lovely and warm when I worked down the pit.

    Got a bit cold when I was in the construction industry.

    Boiled over when I read that dinosaurs with no respect for people they don't understand still exist.

    Funnily enough I wasn't thinking of me. I don't have a steering wheel heater. I saw it on the option list but thought it daft. Oh and before calling anyone a failure look in the mirror will you? You even fail to be trusted in company in case you embarrass people with your extremist drivel.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Steve Shaw
    Date: 12 Dec 13 - 08:45 PM

    The leaders of the US, the UK, Canada, France, Ireland, South Africa, India, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, (some bastard stop me please...), New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Chile, (fer chrissake, OK, I'll stop...) were elected by the people. This pope was "elected" by a bunch of time-serving, celibate old men wearing frocks. No woman, child or lay person had a say. As far as I'm concerned, that means that this Pope, along with all other popes before him, has no authority whatsoever beyond the authority he has over those people who are gullible enough to belong to his sect. Yes, he gets a public voice. A bloody big public voice, at least as big as the public voice of properly-elected politicians. Now I don't think that's right. I don't think the Pope, having been elected by no-one other than Vatican cronies and arse-lickers, should have any more voice than me, you, or Joe Cunt's cat. But he does, and the sheer authority (gained but not earned) derived from having that voice, gets him the ears of the public. So far, he has not recognised the humility that ought to come from that privilege. He wants to be a pop-star pope. Don't be fooled by all that alternative touchy-feely papal niceness, guys. But worry ye not. Type will be well and truly reverted to when the chips are down. The Vatican men of marble will see to that.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: Joe Offer
    Date: 13 Dec 13 - 02:15 AM

    Well, Steve, sometimes I'm not all that sure about elections. I live in the United States, and I'm still wondering how George W. Bush became President in 2000. And for that matter, I'm wondering why so many people still insist that the man who won the popular election in 2008 and 2012, is not legally qualified to be President.

    No matter how Pope Francis was elected, his credibility will depend upon the job he does. So far, he has done quite well - and he is widely supported by Catholics, even though he did not get his job by popular election. I, for one, did not expect much good to come out of this year's papal election, because the bishops in general have become increasingly conservative. I was pleasantly surprised. I guess other people were pleasantly surprised, too, since Time Magazine named Pope Francis their "person of the year."

    -Joe Offer-


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Grishka
    Date: 13 Dec 13 - 03:55 AM

    Joe,
    No matter how Pope Francis was elected, his credibility will depend upon the job he does.
    Exactly.

    The idea of democracy is that the people's free wished should be implemented as faithfully as possible; voters occasionally find it necessary to elect someone who has no connection to the previous elite.

    In contrast, religion is by its very nature (as I see it) our connection to our past, so it cannot be chosen freely. Religious leaders are first of all required to represent their religion, analogous to constitutional monarchs (whom I find less useful, by the way). Of course, definitely unpopular representatives are sometimes unseated, or weakened by those who defect to other denominations (think of so-called "Old Catholics").

    My important point is that this representative function does not extend to ethics (in detail), science, politics/economics (in detail), and other branches of philosophy. In these matters, a pope or a queen have as much legitimation qua office as, say, a film star: they happen to have the attention of mass media and their "fans", and the responsibility resulting from it.

    It is however part of the religious office to insist that questions of morality and social coherence be taken very seriously and discussed properly.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 13 Dec 13 - 05:08 AM

    How many Catholics are there in the world?
    How many involved in smoke chimneys ?
    How many women involved in choosing a pope?

    If we are to discuss democracy lets go!

    I doubt there is any democracy so it is luck rather than judgement that he has views that are popular with a wider audience.

    Not as wide as to include equality of women in society. Not as wide as to embrace all regardless of any status. Not as wide as to promote safe sex. Not as wide as to expose those guilty of shielding awful criminals in the ranks.

    Yet he obviously is influencing wider than his membership. Not a bad thing in terms of some of his message but the principle......


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: akenaton
    Date: 13 Dec 13 - 05:16 AM

    "
    It is however part of the religious office to insist that questions of morality and social coherence be taken very seriously and discussed properly."

    Yes, and that does not take place in mainstream society any longer, the pressure groups construct the new morality.


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    Subject: RE: BS: The Pope's Survey
    From: GUEST,Musket
    Date: 14 Dec 13 - 03:38 AM

    I don't know whether he sounds less plausible trying to sound reasonable than when he is frothing at the mouth.


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