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Did Archbishop Conti criticise Archbishop Nichols for denying that Christians are being persecuted? Maybe, maybe not: but he certainly disagrees with him

Our bishops should make it clearer that they are not trying to disassociate themselves from the Magisterium

By on Monday, 26 March 2012

Archbishop Nichols (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Archbishop Nichols (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

I was interested to see, on the admirable Protect the Pope website, the intriguing headline “Archbishop Conti challenges Archbishop Nichols’ dismissal of the UK persecution of Christians”. Deacon Nick thinks that in a recent sermon, “it seems pretty clear” that Archbishop Conti was responding to Archbishop Nichols’s recent statement, published in the Guardian newspaper, that Christians are not persecuted in this country and should not claim that they are: “I personally don’t feel in the least bit persecuted. I don’t think Christians should use that word,” Andrew Brown reports him as saying (in a tendentious opinion piece, of which more presently).

I’m not at all certain it’s absolutely “clear” that Archbishop Conti was in fact targeting Archbishop Nichols, or was even aware of what he had said (I don’t somehow see Archbishop Conti as the archetypal Guardian reader); but he was certainly expressing, with admirable eloquence and force, a very different point of view:

All around us we hear ideas advanced which seem alien to our understanding of things … unborn and vulnerable life is snuffed out with impunity; attempts are made to disfigure and corrupt our understanding of marriage and family life; the very symbols of our faith – the cross of Christ worn around our necks or on our lapels – is denounced as an offensive sign, one that must remain hidden from public gaze!

What we are really seeing is an attempt to remove Christianity from the public forum; to erase the Christian markers from our path through life and to airbrush our Christian heritage out of our consciousness.

This is not the persecution your forebears experienced as they huddled, shivering, around Mass rocks, but it is a persecution nevertheless, and being more subtle, it is more difficult to resist.

But resist we must, and the greatest weapon we have in our armoury is … fidelity. Fidelity to the faith of your fathers. Fidelity to the traditions of home and hearth which have distinguished Irish life for centuries. And fidelity to the Mass.

“It is the Mass that matters”… remember the Pope’s words.

Those words were spoken at a Mass he celebrated for the Irish community in Glasgow, and they would no doubt for that reason alone be despised by the very sophisticated Andrew Brown, who writes appreciatively about Archbishop Nichols (and most of the English bishops) for putting a distance between themselves and Rome: their general posture is, he says, all part of “a careful balancing act between the demands of Catholic theology, and of conservative factions in the Vatican, and the reality of the English Roman Catholic Church, where several of the most prominent [my italics] lay figures [unspecified] are either gay themselves, divorced, or married to divorced people”.

He goes on to say that the emergence of the Catholic Church into the mainstream of national life “has been accompanied by a change in character: the old working-class Irish-based Catholicism has almost vanished, to be replaced by a much less traditional English middle class which largely rejects the Church’s teachings on birth control and homosexuality, while still treasuring it for its spiritual value.”

I have to say that this isn’t the English Catholic Church I know and of which I have been a member for over 20 years now, despite the fact that many of the English bishops are undoubtedly open to criticism for reflecting, all too often, what can only be called a secularised version of Christianity, a version which reveals them as being distinctly not, as Pope John Paul said we should all be, “signs of contradiction”.

Most of the Catholics I know (I live in Oxford) are believers in the faith as it is taught by the present Pope; they are mostly not working class, nor are they ignorant or uneducated; some are present or former fellows of Oxford colleges (as I am) and most are graduates. I do not say this to indicate any kind of superiority on my part or theirs to the “working class Irish-based Catholicism” that Andrew Brown despises so much: it was, indeed, the five years I spent in Ireland as an undergraduate and then as a research student, during which I was greatly impressed by the fact that the Catholic religion (unlike Anglicanism) made sense to the Irish working class just as much as it did to the Catholic intellectuals I knew, that as much as anything else convinced me of the viability of the Catholic tradition.

What disturbs me more than anything else is the fact that Archbishop Nichols should attract so much approval from Andrew Brown, who one might characterise as an archetypal Guardian man. Take a look at this:

The reasoned tone seems a deliberate attempt to take the high ground in the national debate. The statements of the English Catholic bishops in favour of civil partnership (as an alternative to gay marriage) contrasts very noticeably with the grumbling anathemata issuing from the Scottish and Irish churches on the subject.

When asked how to interpret the notorious Vatican description of homosexuality as “a tendency towards an objective moral evil”, Nichols gave me a carefully prepared talk on the roots of Catholic philosophy. “This is a philosophical construct,” he said.

In other words, he was (and good for him) wriggling out of supporting the teachings of the Magisterium. Now, since we are dependent on Andrew Brown’s account of their conversation, I don’t know if he was or not. And neither, I suspect, does Andrew Brown, who is about as qualified to write in an authoritative way about the Catholic Church and its teachings as a eunuch is qualified to talk about the meaning of marriage. But I am disturbed that it is possible for a Catholic bishop to be reported so favourably on the assumption that he is prepared to argue in a way which distances the English Church from the Pope and his teachings.

  • paulpriest

    Has His Grace officially withdrawn his statements that the Church does not oppose Civil Partnerships?

    Given that the Bishops Conference has restated [and therefore endorsed] their depostion to Parliament in 2003 which stresses a position of strong opposition to them?

    …has there been a retraction from Catholic Voices?

  • daclamat

    “I suspect, does Andrew Brown, who is about as qualified to write in an authoritative way about the Catholic Church and its teachings as a eunuch is qualified to talk about the meaning of marriage”
    “Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can”
    Dr Oddie, you have just sold the pass. Every cleric, from the pope down, who has chosen not to marry for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, should keep quiet, is not in any way qualified to talk about the meaning of marriage. Should listen to the married who also declare the sensus fidelium.

  • Patrick_Hadley

    It all depends what you mean by “persecution”.

    Archbishop Nichols is using the word to mean, in the words of the OED :”A particular course or period of systematic violent oppression, esp. one directed against the members of a particular religious or political group, race, etc.” I would suggest that is the normal meaning of the word today.

    Archbishop Conti seems to want to re-define the word “persecution” to mean “A difficult situation with some direct opposition, but also a lot of general indifference.” I am not sure how often the word “persecution” is used to convey that meaning in general speech.

    Who is right, Nichols or Conti? If it is just an argument about semantics, who cares? If on the other hand Nichols is making a point that it is unwise to use words that exaggerate the difficulties faced by the Church, but Conti thinks it is important to use strong words to stir the faithful to action, then it is more a matter of strategy and tactics.

  • W Oddie

    No, that’s not what the passage means at all: surely nobody can be aware of what it actually means; it refers for the most part to someone who has voluntarily renounced his still existent sexual feelings.That’s what I was very obviously talking about. “Sold the pass” be damned. You should really think before you sound off in this way: preferably do a little informed bible study with a reliable Catholic commentary. The Catholic church, incidentally, forbids the ordination of a castrated person for precisely this reason. Didn’t you know that?

  • W Oddie

    what I mean of course is “surely nobody can be UNaware”. Sorry.

  • paulpriest

     …and thus evil thrives because the good not only remain silent – they tell others to stop complaining about it because it doesn’t exist and they should ‘hold their tongues’!!!

    If you truly cannot see what’s happening around you Patrick; especially in regard to life issues where eugenics thrives, euthanasia runs rampant and the genocide of the unborn is a major industry…while Catholics are being legally forced to conspire with it or face loss of livelihood or criminal prosecution or imprisonment…

    …then you’re a damned fool!

    Only a few months ago His Grace Archbishop Nichols gave the inaugural Sir George Pinker memorial address to Obstetricians & Gynaecologists where he commended their conscience clause which allowed Catholics to continue in the profession…

    Any referral to the RCOG code of conduct will discover that these alleged ‘conscience clauses’ DO NOT EXIST!

    …the Archbishop went on to say to the predominantly pro-choice audience
    that it is not the Church’s role to intrude upon the dilemmas doctors
    face in reaching clinical decisions, in terms of it not being within the
    competence of the Church to offer technical solutions to moral/ethical
    problems.

    How does one deal with an Archbishop who stares grave evil in the face amongst those who perpetrate the greatest crime against humanity – and not only remain silent – but say thank you for the opt-out [which doesn't exist] from their genocide and then proceeds to abrogate all Apostolic moral responsibility by declaring ‘it’s not in my remit to question your actions’??!!!

    This is insanity!

    Now do you wish me to continue along this line with reference to those arrested or imprisoned for saying in public that homosexual acts are sinful?
    Or those sacked and suspended due to acting according to religious conscience in regard to Life and sexuality issues?
    The midwives ordered to assist at abortions?
    The pharmacists ordered to prescribe abortifacients?
    The doctors and nurses forbidden by law/ordered to do nothing while their patients are euthanised?
    The school nurses forbidden from reporting the underage rape of students?
    The sacked registrars who won’t assist at civil partnerships?
    The sacked local government official who said they disagreed with gay marriage [note - not civil partnerships] ?

    No – of course not – because +Vin tells us none of this is happening!

    The same way Connexions aren’t procuring/providing abortions for Catholic schoolkids after the sex advice they gave was followed and the contraceptives they provided failed…

    The same way the Liverpool Care Pathway isn’t starving & dehydrating to death and isn’t rendering the terminally ill artificially unconscious for their [accelerated dying] final days…

    The same way +Vin’s very own hospital in his own diocese – The St John & St Elizabeth doesn’t prescribe contraception/abortifacients or allow abortion/sterilization/IVF referrals or even perform sex-change operations

    It doesn’t exist! Because +Vin says it doesn’t!
    There is nothing wrong – there is no persecution – how dare we suggest there is – anyone daring to make such a vile accusation should keep silent!

    ….because +Vin says so!

  • paulpriest

    While we’re on the subject – could anyone please explain to me what His Grace meant in the final paragraph of Andrew Brown’s interview?

    Phrases like “abstract moral evil”, he [+VN] said, are not aimed at any
    individual. “One talks about objective moral evil, you might say today,
    that’s racism. No matter what’s intended or understood, that,
    objectively, is wrong. In a similar way, you can say, in every sphere of
    life there is objective moral evil. But that does not imply subjective
    moral guilt. That does not imply guilt on an individual.

    …is he saying that even if there is a lot of sin around it doesn’t mean anyone is sinning?

  • Andreas

    Dr Oddie – think you do Andrew Brown an injustice here. He’s one of the few people writing on religion at The Guardian who seems to have bothered to read and think about what Catholics believe, and he has also been good at pointing out the deeply illiberal and bigoted tendencies of some of the prominent New Atheists.  I write as a Rome-compliant Catholic, so hardly someone who shares Brown’s worldview.

  • Andreas

    Should the Church one day accept the reality of gay partnerships? “I
    don’t know. There is in the Book of Nature an inherent connection between
    human sexuality and procreation; and those two things cannot ultimately be
    totally separate. People who are of a homosexual orientation say: ‘Well,
    hang on a minute. How is the Book of Nature written in me?’ The most
    important thing the Christian tradition says is, don’t see yourself simply
    as an isolated individual but as part of a wider family. The moral demands
    on all of us made by that tradition are difficult. That tradition says human
    sexuality is for an expression of total self-giving in fidelity in a way
    that is open to the creation of new life. Now, that’s tough, that’s a high
    ideal. I’m not sure many people have ever observed it in its totality, but
    it doesn’t mean to say it has no sense.”
    The old language – of mortal sin, for example – was, he says, a misguided
    attempt to motivate the faithful.

    “Fear is never a good motivation. The whole point of the Catholic journey
    is that it is a journey, and we try to hold together high ideals and
    understanding. That is the same for people who struggle in whatever way with
    their sexuality. It’s an aim.”

  • JabbaPapa

    The Archbishop’s theology is correct, though his explanation of it seems to leave something to be desired…
     
    … but I’m really not sure that I could do any better myself.
     
    Perhaps the closest I can get to a more easily understandable explanation, without discussing various obscure arguments and counter-arguments in mediaeval theology, is to make two parallels.
     
    1) With Original Sin — our only real moral responsibility as regards Original Sin is to seek forgiveness for it via baptism and eucharistic communion. Original Sin nevertheless includes a dimension of objective or abstract moral evil — that cannot be attributed to any individual’s personal responsibility or personal guilt at a subjective level.
     
    2) With pain – pain is an evil, for which in great many cases there is no subjectively personal guilt or fault attached to it. Nobody is to blame for many cases where people are in pain, but the evil that is attached to it exists anyway.
     
    I doubt that this will be a sufficient amount of light to clearly read the Archbishop’s theology here, and I’m afraid that any further exploration of this would require some deeper personal research ; unless there’s someone else here can do a better job than I can. :-)

  • JabbaPapa

    The Archbishop’s theology is correct, though his explanation of it seems to leave something to be desired…
     
    … but I’m really not sure that I could do any better myself.
     
    Perhaps the closest I can get to a more easily understandable explanation, without discussing various obscure arguments and counter-arguments in mediaeval theology, is to make two parallels.
     
    1) With Original Sin — our only real moral responsibility as regards Original Sin is to seek forgiveness for it via baptism and eucharistic communion. Original Sin nevertheless includes a dimension of objective or abstract moral evil — that cannot be attributed to any individual’s personal responsibility or personal guilt at a subjective level.
     
    2) With pain — pain is an evil, for which in great many cases there is no subjectively personal guilt or fault attached to it. Nobody is to blame for many cases where people are in pain, but the evil that is attached to it exists anyway.
     
    I doubt that this will be a sufficient amount of light to clearly read the Archbishop’s theology here, and I’m afraid that any further exploration of this would require some deeper personal research ; unless there’s someone else here can do a better job than I can. :-)

  • paulpriest

     Well perhaps His Grace might wish to re-read St Augustine where he will be informed that we all conspire in the Fall by our personal sin – and are not guiltless of our legacy of original sin.

    Perhaps also he might wish to brush-up on his study [he is an Archbishop after all - and expected - actually canonically commanded - to continue with his study to attain at least a doctorate] and read some von Balthasar & Josef Ratzinger on the diachronicity of grace and the consequences of sin as that grace’s deprivation.

    Our present personal sin transcends space and time by precluding that potential grace designated to be afforded us from the beginning – our personal sin conspires with the Fall in which we are all complicit.

    Pain=Evil?
    What a ridiculous delusional monstrously-inhuman fallacy…!!!!!

    Archbishop Nichols [ in the bitterest of ironies] is an expert on St John Fisher but I think his moral theology stops around “..get me +Smiffy!”

  • diarmuidlee

    Is bishop Nichols steering the English Catholic Church in the same direction as Cameron is steering the Tory party? 
    Are we to have an anodyne New Age Catholic Church which ditches anything that is remotely ‘nasty’ and embraces what is fashionable and ‘nice’?
    Is bishop Nichols embarrassed with the teachings of the Gospels and the Magisterium?
     I can think of a few bishops and others who ‘are never to be ashamed to be witness to the Lord.’ 
    Bishop Nichols is not one of them.

  • diarmuidlee

    Is bishop Nichols steering the English Catholic Church in the same direction as Cameron is steering the Tory party? 
    Are we to have an anodyne New Age Catholic Church which ditches anything that is remotely ‘nasty’ and embraces what is fashionable and ‘nice’?
    Is bishop Nichols embarrassed with the teachings of the Gospels and the Magisterium?
     I can think of a few bishops and others who ‘are never to be ashamed to be witness to the Lord.’ 
    Bishop Nichols is not one of them.

  • John Byrne

    The Archbishop of Westminster is a Liverpudlian.

  • JabbaPapa

    (trying to keep this in the right location)

    Well perhaps His Grace might wish to re-read St Augustine where he will be informed that we all conspire in the Fall by our personal sin – and are not guiltless of our legacy of original sin.

    Our present personal sin transcends space and time by precluding that potential grace designated to be afforded us from the beginning – our personal sin conspires with the Fall in which we are all complicit.

    Well, I can see that you have some familiarity at least with the mediaeval arguments and counterarguments that I mentioned earlier (below) … :-)

    But I think you have missed my point nevertheless, which is likely due to my inadequacy in the face of the rather arcane theology that’s in question here, and the inherent difficulties involved in attempting to explain this in a simple blog talkback…

    I meant that the doctrine of Original Sin is somewhat similar to the theology in question, but it remains a rough parallel, and they are not strictly speaking accurate mirrors of each other. Including for the reasons that you have yourself provided.

    The question is in the theological and philosophical differences in the definitions of words such as objective/subjective and personal/impersonal/collective and so on, and how they relate to the very thorny and complex issues of both the nature and the scope and the origin and the spiritual weight and responsibility of the various different forms of sin.

    The Archbishop’s point is entirely in agreement with the doctrine and teachings on this question, including (it would seem) on the point that some of the theology is in the state of unanswered questions, instead of constituting dogmata as such.

    This *is* one of those more ponderous areas of doctrinal theology, where various Catholic teachings can directly contradict each other in some cases, and yet never contradict any dogmata nor any actual doctrine.

    Pain=Evil?What a ridiculous delusional monstrously-inhuman fallacy…!!!!!

    erm I said “evil” not “Evil” — I’m sorry for any unintended confusion, but there was no reason for such an exaggerated reaction, was there ? I was talking about evil(s) = “bad stuff” ; not Evil = erm, Evil.

  • JabbaPapa

    There is an “edit” button :-)

    Otherwise, well said !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Generally, the article is so heavily contaminated by Andrew Browns personal journalistic interpretations, except for those few lines contained between quotation marks, that it is hard to read it as being a clean statement by the Archbishop. It appears in any case to be contaminated by some Marxist-inspired notions that it would be extremely uncharitable to attribute to the Archbishop, given that he is not the author of the article.

  • JabbaPapa

    Generally, the article is so heavily contaminated by Andrew Browns personal journalistic interpretations, except for those few lines contained between quotation marks, that it is hard to read it as being a clean statement by the Archbishop. It appears in any case to be contaminated by some Marxist-inspired notions that it would be extremely uncharitable to attribute to the Archbishop, given that he is not the author of the article.

  • John Byrne

    The following is from The Sermon on the Mount:
    “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5: 10-12) 

    But does it apply to those with a persecution complex ?
     

  • paulpriest

    Let the dead bury the dead – leave them to it – instead it’s Fr Larry Richard’s 52nd Birthday today  – make today worthwhile by listening to some real preaching :

  • Honeybadger

    The Holy Father should rein in Archbishop Nichols.

  • theroadmaster

    In trying to make the Church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage appear less threatening to the secular and atheistic sensibilities of  the chattering classes, are not some bishops woefully falling short on preaching the complete truth  of God’s Revelation in humanity.  The unswerving loyalty of English Catholic Saints like Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More to the Old Faith and their consciences, even to the point of death, in  defiance of an tyrannical monarch who usurped the leadership of the Church, can be classic examples for members of the hierarchy of England and Wales to follow.  Semantic gymnastics and balancing acts can cast more shade than light and confuse the issues to the point where the objective truths, as believed by the Church, can be lost sight of or diluted.  Perhaps Cardinal O’Brien was a little shrill for some ears but at least he spoke with a clarity and authority that left little doubt as to Catholic teaching on the whole area of sexuality and marriage and the rationale behind it.

  • Parasum

    AFAICS, he’s saying that such talk has a meaning, and proceeds to explain it but is not an accusation against any particular person. “Murder is a crime against society” does not mean, “You, matey, who hear this, are a murderer”. A pretty straightforward distinction.

  • Parasum

    Well perhaps His Grace might wish to re-read St Augustine where he will be informed that we all conspire in the Fall by our personal sin – and are not guiltless of our legacy of original sin.”

    ## That’s Calvinism – and is directly contradicted by the Council of Trent, which reaches we contract originial sin not by imitation, but by propagation. Our legacy is our by inheritance, not through our own actions -are actual sins, however regrettable, are (in part) caused by that of Adam, whose own actual sin has damaged us in a number of ways – but our actual sins are ours because we are responsible for them, not because Adam’s sin has made his descendants into “damaged goods”.  

    The Church modifies St.Augustine at various points – this would appear to be one of them.

    Calvin is strongly Augustinian in many respects – sin, grace, predestination; less so on certain aspects of ecclesiology - which is probably why his doctrine is, it seems, closer to that of St.Augustine than much of the post-Augustinian Tradition of the Church.   

    Would that be Smiffy of the Bash Street Kids ?

  • Parasum

    None the less, the OP’s point remains:

    “I suspect, does Andrew Brown, who is about as qualified to write in an authoritative way about the Catholic Church and its teachings as a eunuch is qualified to talk about the meaning of marriage”

    If eunuchs are incapacitated from “talk[ing] about the meaning of marriage” because they do not have offspring – then the  same applies to the hierarchy, who do not even marry (disregarding the Pastoral Epistles, which envisage bishops with wives and offspring).

    The only way out is to say that eunuchs are disqualified because they are physically incapacitated from begetting offspring (as well as being irregular for marriage). On a historical note, eunuch clergy are not unknown - though that is BTW. The impediment arising from mutilation can be dispensed, and does not arise from divine law, but from ecclesiastical law: which is why both blindness & injury to the hands inflicted by torture have on occasion been dispensed.  

    Unless eunuchs are incompetent to talk about the meaning of marriage exactly because being a eunuch is irreversible whereas being forbidden to marry is not, so that men forbidden to marry, but not physically incapacited from so doing, *are* competent to talk about the meaning of marriage, ghen the OP’s point is correct.

    Why should Muslims and Sikhs, whose religion is no more in accord with Catholic orthodoxy than is the atheism of Andrew Brown, be valued as allies of the CC in defending the Catholic meaning of marriage, while he is dismissed ? This dismissal of him is unprincipled & anti-rational nonsense - for if he is disqualified from commenting on the subject by his atheism, so are they, by their equally non-Catholic views. If non-Catholics can be allies of Catholics even so, there have to be intelligible reasons for saying why a particular non-Catholic cannot be. 

  • JabbaPapa

    None the less, the OP’s point remains

    errrrmmmm — that was a follow-up post by the OP ; are you suggesting that he was disagreeing with himself ? LOL

    Historically, you’re both wrong.

    The actual reason why eunuchs are ordinarily forbidden from being ordained is not for the reasons that anyone has provided so far ; but because there was a heretical movement of voluntary castration in the early Church that needed stamping out.

    Not only may voluntary castrates not be ordained as priests ; but any priest doing such a thing after ordination is to be immediately defrocked and excommunicated for heresy and apostasy.

    You are right, though, that exceptions can be made for those having lost their genitalia involuntarily, by accident, illness, or torture. IIRC castrati, ie men who were castrated as young boys, are not included in the possible exceptions, though I cannot remember why.

  • paulpriest

     No – it’s not Calvinism, for with Calvinism it’s our predestined sin adopts the ‘ongoing fall”s punishment…it’s a vicious domino-affect collapsing house where the rot crumbles away all the extraneous…

    We’re complicit and not guiltless by our conspiracy with a fall which we aggravate – not with the nature of the Fall – it would have happened anyway – but that which we inherit – the scarring and predilection to sinfulness is not something of which we are blameless victims. We have no personal fault for the Fall – BUT we are responsible for making its diachronistic effects worse via our personal conspiracy in the deprivation of Grace

    At the Fall the Grace which was to be bestowed on us was precluded BUT simultaneously this was also restructured by all the future deprivations of grace that future sin by all would cause – the Fall being a poisoning of the roots of the Tree of Grace while we poisoned fruit eaters set fire to the leaves and branches which makes the posion all the more devastating to the tree.

  • Fr. Frank

    Vincent Nichols for Archbishop of Canterbury!

  • nytor

    “Mortal sin a misguided attempt to motivate the faithful”? But if mortal sin doesn’t really exist why do we need confession?

    Where did you get this passage from?

  • nytor

    “there was a heretical movement of voluntary castration in the early Church that needed stamping out.”

    Indeed, Origen did so.

  • nytor

    “IIRC castrati, ie men who were castrated as young boys, are not included in the possible exceptions, though I cannot remember why.”

    Because they would not have undergone puberty and acquired masculine characteristics.

  • JabbaPapa

    Sounds fairly Lutheran to my ear (the “Book of Nature” stuff is textbook Lutheranism AFAIK), but caveat emptor
     
    As for provence — Google turns up the following :
     
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/7995510/Archbishop-of-Westminster-Pope-Benedict-is-a-man-of-real-poise-with-an-inner-peace.html
     
     As I have suggested elsewhere, the Archbishop’s comprehension of the doctrine of Original Sin appears to have its limitations. :-(

  • JabbaPapa

    That’s another good parallel, but in the fine analysis it would ultimately fail.

    But thank you nevertheless for trying to help illumine in bite-sized words the theological question that the Archbishop was talking about in that quote :-)

  • JabbaPapa

    naaaaah — they should hire some lesbian single-mother (adopted) feminist charismatic who gives communion to dogs instead !!

  • Avenger

    Why complain here? 

    Complain to the Nuncio.
    Complain to the CDF.
    Complain to the Congregation for Bishops.

  • Apostolic

    And a protege of the well named Archbishop Worlock. The sooner the remnants of the 1960s generation of trendies shuffle off their mortal coil the better.

  • John Byrne

    “Vince”, please, not Vin !

  • Parasum

    There is also a requirement – or was – of bodily integrity on the part of aspirants to the priesthood. It may have been discontinued, of course.

    Is your emphasis on “heretical”, or “voluntary”, or “castration” ? Voluntary self-castration is known from the second century – St. Justin Martyr knew of it.

    The Fathers were not at all keen on the cult of the Great Mother Cybele – partly because of her eunuch-priests (who were widely despised by non-Christians as well – see Apuleius’ “The Golden Ass”); but Christian eunuchs are known from Byzantine history, long before the operatic castrati of the 18th century. So it seems that this practice was not always regarded as repellent; that the motive was important. It’s against Catholic doctrine now, but wasn’t always.

    “Not only may voluntary castrates not be ordained as priests ; but any
    priest doing such a thing after ordination is to be immediately
    defrocked and excommunicated for heresy and apostasy.”

    ## Why “heresy and apostasy” ? The train of thought is not immediately obvious.

  • Parasum

    Not many, if any, of the people who’ve complained, over the years, of being persecuted, have shown much of a tendency to rejoice for the reason given. To complain, often – but not to rejoice. And there has been a lot of “great poet” logic:

    Major premise: Great poets are persecuted
    Minor premise: I’m persecuted
    Conclusion: I must be a great poet

    Sometimes, people are criticised. not because they are Christians, but because they are berks. But this reason for the criticisms that come their way is never mentioned by them. Yet it is mentioned by St. Peter.

  • JabbaPapa

    Is your emphasis on “heretical”, or “voluntary”, or “castration” ?

    No. Why do you think that any special emphasis should be placed on just one of these words ?

    Voluntary self-castration is known from the second century – St. Justin Martyr knew of it.

    Yes, and it was condemned as being unchristian rather swiftly.

    There was no mandatory priestly celibacy, and it was at the time fairly normal for a priest to be married — though the vow of celibacy was already in existence, and some unmarried priests took that vow.

    Voluntary castration disobeys the commandment from God “Go forth and multiply”, whilst being a perversion of the vow of celibacy.

    It is also an extra sin for a priest to be voluntarily unable to become a father in such cases as he might either fulfil his marriage duties, or break his vows. In the case of a married priest, it would also be a monstrous sacrilege of his marriage vows to become a castrate.

    The cult of voluntary castration was condemned as being heretical — therefore to engage in such a castration is heretical (that is to say, as following unchristian teachings), and any priest doing so will therefore have fallen into an apostasy, the penalty for which is to be defrocked and excommunicated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Johnson/100002117620278 Adrian Johnson

    –are you implying  that  is objectively or subjectively evil ? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Johnson/100002117620278 Adrian Johnson

    Well, the Church had to accept the civil reality of slavery for a few centuries. . . 

  • Parasum

    Talking of persecution, this item may belong here: 

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9171982/Doctor-claims-he-was-dismissed-for-emailing-prayer-to-colleagues.html

    “Dr David Drew, 64, told an employment tribunal that he was made to feel like a
    “religious maniac” after sending out the prayer by St Ignatius Loyola,
    founder of the Jesuits, to motivate his department.

    He said he was subsequently disciplined and ordered to refrain from using
    religious references in professional communication. When he sought
    clarification from executives, he was told to accept the recommendation
    without questioning or to resign, he claimed.

    The report into his behaviour even chastised him for sending a text message to
    a colleague, Rob Hodgkiss, reading “Have a peaceful Christmas”.

    “While DD may regard such messages as benign RH perceived them as
    aggressive and unwelcome intrusions into his private time,” it said.

    Dr Drew claimed Mr Hodgkiss had simply replied, saying “likewise”.”

    ## He’d have been safer if he’d told his colleagues to go and get stuffed, or something even less friendly. The only “aggress[ion]” on view is that against the doctor.

    STM the day is coming when Christians will be able to carry on the normal social functions only by abandoning our current arrangements. Let the secularists enjoy themselves without our involvement. Since theu will infallibly make a pig’s ear of things, that will show them that it is not Christianity that is the cause of society’s problems, but the bloody-mindedness in human nature. 

  • Parasum

    PS:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9158234/Russian-conglomerate-to-boycott-British-goods-over-crosses-at-work-ban.html

    “The Government argues that because the wearing of a cross or crucifix is not
    a “requirement” of the Christian faith, companies have the right
    to ask employees to conceal it.

    In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Mr Boyko-Veliky said: “I know and
    respect Britain and I like its products but in a country where the English
    monarch, the Queen, has a crown set with a cross, it looks like savagery to
    prevent the people wearing one.” He added: “We are against the
    persecutors of faith. For Orthodox believers, wearing the cross is
    obligatory. Our boycott is aimed primarily at the British people, in support
    of those who are against this. We hope they will demand a law from
    parliament and the government to allow a cross to be openly worn.”
    Workers at Your Financial Guardian are being urged to shun food, furniture,
    electrical goods and clothes from British chains, “for example, Marks
    and Spencer,” until the Government changes its position. A Bentley
    showroom which rents land from the company has been warned its contract will
    be torn up in July if there is no reversal.”

  • pooka

     daclamat has it right. It has always been taught in the Catholic church that celibate clergy are those who ‘made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven.’  ( Douay- Rheims). And indeed, they are not people best placed to speak on the nature of marriage.

  • Mihangel Mawr

    Is this a tea in a storm cup?

  • Piofabio