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St Maria Goretti, who died defending her virginity, should be an inspiration for Aids charities

She could join Terrence Higgins as a figurehead for those who are trying to eradicate HIV/Aids

By on Monday, 9 July 2012

This painting of St Maria Goretti hangs at the shrine where she is buried in Nettuno, Italy (CNS photo)

This painting of St Maria Goretti hangs at the shrine where she is buried in Nettuno, Italy (CNS photo)

Last Monday, July 2, I was included in an email by David Skinner of the Christian Peoples Alliance about the Terrence Higgins Trust. This trust is a well-known charity, indeed “the leading and largest HIV and sexual health charity in the UK”, attracting much celebrity endorsement by Stephen Fry and others, as well as NHS funding and occasional sums from the Department of Education, in its campaign against the spread of HIV/Aids. Skinner drew my attention to certain “health information for gay men” available on the Trust’s website, which was easily accessible to everyone, including young people. What he described was scatological and pornographic. Interestingly though, when I finally got round to checking out for myself the Terrence Higgins Trust website on Friday, July 6, the site was, coincidentally, unavailable; apparently it was being modernised and updated. When I did manage to access it a day later, all graphic references to scatological practices had been removed.

Perhaps this was because of the publicity stirred up by the Christian Peoples Alliance? At any rate, checking the website was a depressing enough experience as it was. The trust wants to open a “broader debate in society including the entertainment industry and the media, concerning growing sexualisation in the UK”. What does this mean: a new evolutionary leap (backwards) or the fact that promiscuous sexual behaviour and corrupting sex education are reaching ever wider and deeper into society and to ever younger age groups?

It happens that Friday July 6 was also the feast day of St Maria Goretti. My CTS New Daily Missal provides the following information about her: “St Maria Goretti (1890-1902) was born in Corinaldo, near Ancona (Italy), the third of six children, and became known for her cheerfulness and piety. When she was twelve, she was the victim of attempted rape and was mortally wounded as she defended her virginity. She forgave her murderer shortly before she died in hospital. The culprit was imprisoned and experienced a conversion of heart; he was present at St Maria’s canonisation in 1950 and ended his days as a Capuchin brother.”

Seen in the light of today’s society this is much more than an old-fashioned, pious story. The concept of modesty is barely mentioned these days – yet for Maria, a poor and unsophisticated peasant girl, her purity mattered more than her life. Her attacker, a neglected and brutalised youth (who was converted in prison by a vision of St Maria) was in the habit of reading pornographic magazines – now commonplace on the internet and at newsagents and sometimes blamed for youthful crimes involving sex. I rather think that St Maria Goretti should be invoked on behalf of the Terrence Higgins Trust. To wish to eradicate HIV/Aids is a worthy ambition – but will this be achieved, for instance, by the Trust’s advice on its site that “gay saunas should provide condoms”? The original Terrence Higgins was born in 1945, the same year as I was; he died of Aids in 1982. He is regarded by the trust as a martyr to the cause of combating social bigotry and prejudice. Maria Goretti, described in the Missal as “virgin and martyr”, is a powerful and unfashionable witness to a Christian counter-culture.

If it seems odd to suggest her as the spiritual companion to Terrence Higgins, we should recall that it is the saints who show us the way to lasting wholeness and healing.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Can’t wait to see the comments in response to this! As you say, the ideas that virginity is something noble and something to be defended even at the cost of your life are so countercultural that I’ve no doubt the usual suspects will queue up to mock. Well, shame on them. St Maria Goretti and her heroic virtue (quite apart from the startling fact that her murderer ended up attending her canonization) is a challenge to the easy acceptance of sexual licence that we’re all supposed to buy into these days. 

  • theroadmaster

    It seems that organizations like the Terence Higgins Trust are in the business of promoting the sort of wreckless behaviour which continues to spread the HIV-AIDS virus through societies in the Western World.  Condoms have a specious sort of credibility in relation to tackling this health crisis and in reality they give the green light to the sexually promiscuous in the gay and also heterosexual communities, to continue on with their immoral lifestyles.  A more holistic approach combines healthcare with morality to give governments and aid agencies the chance to create programs with genuine long-term chances of combating and getting to grips with the terrible epidemic of AIDS.

  • Nesbyth

    I received the email from Skinner and did see the Higgins site, which was shocking and I closed it pretty quickly. It seemed to me that the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) are not in any sense trying to deal with Aids/HIV because they promote some very unhealthy ideas of gay sex. I just feel very sad that young men can get caught up in this.
    ..but surely gays have morals and ideals, so some are being led badly astray by such organisations as THT.
     

  • Paulus

    “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot  do whatever one wants.” 
    Benedict XVI (2010) “Light of the World”.

  • JByrne24

    Ms Lisa Power, corporate head of policy at the Terrence Higgins Trust, has condemned the views of Pope Benedict 16th  on the use of condoms to prevent AIDS and has said: “We deeply regret the continued misinformation around condoms, which remain the most effective way of preventing the spread of HIV.”
    Ms Phillips quotes the trust as wanting to open a: “..broader debate in society including the entertainment industry and the media, concerning growing sexualisation in the UK”.  Ms Phillips then proceeds to “ask” whether this means a “step backward” or “the FACT [my capitals] that promiscuous sexual behaviour and corrupting sex education are reaching ever wider and deeper into society and to ever younger age groups?”
    May I answer her on this point as best I can?
    I believe it means: the trust “wants to open a broader debate in society including the entertainment industry and the media, concerning growing sexualisation in the UK”.  The meaning of this seems clear to me, and much clearer than her wandering article.

    Perhaps the trust has this website in mind? Or has it [the website] always been like this?

    Maybe, Ms Philips, you would be better concerned with the war on women:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/07/melinda-gates-family-planning-summit

  • theroadmaster

    Some sections of the global media tried to take this sentence out of the context in which the Pope had set it, and tried to twist it’s meaning into conveying a general acceptance by the Pontiff of the need for condoms as a health safeguard in relation to homosexual activity.  The pope was tentatively seeking to tease out the good intentions, that initially might be behind a male prostitute using a condom to protect the life of some-one, that he was having a liaison with (even though this type of behavior is intrinsically disordered and immoral). In no way was the Pope condoning such activity, but was painting a scenario in which conscience might eventually lead to a final rejection of it by someone who was caught up in it.  I think that while one should never doubt that the conversion of someone from sinful conduct to a life of biblical righteousness was foremost in Pope Benedict XV1′s mind, his choice of analogy to demonstrate this was unfortunate insofar as it had the potential to be exploited by media commentators for their own narrow ideological ends. 

  • Aloysius

    That’s right. It’s like telling a bank robber not to put bullets in his gun. That doesn’t mean you condone that sought of thing.

    Example from Janet Smith. See http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/the-pope-said-what-about-condoms

  • JByrne24

    “Can’t wait to see the comments in response to this!……
    I’ve no doubt the usual suspects will queue up to mock.”

    What a truly bizarre taste in entertainment! 

    (PS: but then, one or two “regulars” are still to arrive)

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘What a truly bizarre taste in entertainment!’
      
    It’s the way you tell them…

  • paulpriest

     Go further to the Our Sunday Visitor scrap on the issue :

    http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/7298/A-response-to-Father-Rhonheimer-on-condoms.aspx

    and follow the links to what happens afterwards,,,

    you might also like to read the spat I have with the darling Austen Ivereigh in the process on the com-boxes….

  • Oconnordamien

    Well I fail to see any nobility in the story of a child dying while resisting a rapist. Bravery, courage and forgiveness (on her part), yes, but nobility, no. What does it say to any other child or woman who survived a rape? That you are not noble by surviving? That death is preferable to defilement? Perhaps that if you are too weak to prevent the rape, but you are not strong enough to make him kill you are inferior? If you you survive then perhaps it’s your fault because you lack “nobilty”

    It says far more about a church who celebrates and applauds such suffering than it ever will about the Terence Higgins Trust. 

    Is that the sort of reply you were waiting for Lazarus? Or how about the fact that I’d much rather have a daughter/sister/friend who survived a rape than one who died because she thought it was “noble”.

  • Oconnordamien

    Just one point, but one that belies the truth of the story:

    “Her attacker, a neglected and brutalised youth (who was converted in prison by a vision of St Maria) was in the habit of reading pornographic magazines”.

    Where would a poor and nominally illiterate farm worker,in 1902, sharing a house with his father and another family, have access to pornography? Did he have a subscription to “Penthouse?”

    Unless the author is suggesting that the prison provided him with porn, after his conviction, then it’s a fairly ridiculous assertion. 

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘Is that the sort of reply you were waiting for Lazarus?’
    Yes, that’s pretty much what I expected.

     Let’s put an analogous case: a ‘have a go hero’ who intervenes in a street crime and gets killed. On your logic, we should sneer at her and say things such as “I’d much rather have a daughter/sister friend who kept out of it rather than one who died because she thought it was ‘noble’.”

    Goretti’s act (as the case of the ‘have a go hero’) was one of supererogation. I would not have blamed her if she had acted to save her life: she would not have failed in any moral duty. But only the utterly vile would sneer at the nobility she displayed.

  • karlf

     What a horribly twisted response Lazarus!

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Sneering again, Damien.

    “My behavior was influenced by print, mass-media and bad examples which are followed by the majority of young people without even thinking. And I did the same. I was not worried.”

    Alessandro Serenelli  http://www.mariagoretti.org/alessandrobio.htm

    The idea that, just because Penthouse wasn’t available, Alessandro had no access to any pornography is just silly. (I’ve just had an entertaining wander round the internet having googled ‘nineteenth century pornography’. I can (sort of) recommend it.)

  • stevenblackpool

    Even from an atheistic point of view, the approach of th eTerence Higgins Trust is nonsensical. If there were only one awful consequence of practicing homosexuality – and promiscuity generally – then it woul dbe possible to construct an argument for it. As the number of adverse consequences increases, (ands there are many besides AIDS) the possibility of continuing with the behaviour and avoiding all of those consequences diminishes rapidly to zero. In such cases, the ONLY rational course of action is an absolute ban on the behaviour. That is why we have for example, the 10 commandments. Somethings are just too bad. Others are too bad to be worthy of a mention.

  • karlf

     The 10 commandments doesn’t mention gay sex – God was obviously more concerned about you coveting your neighbours ass

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘…coveting your neighbours ass’

    I’m afraid I’m sufficiently childish to point out the rather ironic ambiguity in the way you’ve put your point…

  • Nesbyth

    Condoms split….especially if one practises the sort of sex promoted by Terrence Higgins Trust. I’m surmising here!
    They do NOT necessarily protect. They give a very false sense of security.

  • Nesbyth

    So maybe your “double-entendre” is spot on.

  • karlf

    I think God i.e. whoever originally came up with the line, actually meant the animal – so this clearly puts “God’s” priorities into perspective, which is the point I was making.

  • Burt

    Surely it is because of her heroic degree of Christian forgiveness she is a canonised saint. That is why she is noble. She regarded her attacker as a victim of sin, and cared about his soul. That’s very Noble indeed.

  • karlf

     She was just a 12 year old girl who had probably had all sorts of ideas about sin and hell drummed into her head. The concept of sainthood is just fantasy Burt.

  • Lewispbuckingham

     The use of condoms with multiple partners just slows the disease down.The big breakthrough in care has been the advent of retroviral drugs that prolong life after HIV.
    AIDS has wiped out a whole generation of gay men, the survivors being single and celibate or in a long term stable relationship.One of the arguments for condoms is that they reduce STD’s in promiscuous people.
    The way around this problem is to marry someone and enjoy ‘unprotected’ sex for the rest of your life.Venereal diseases don”t stand a chance.

  • Joe_d333

    Terrence Higgins Trust responds to what is going on the REAL world. I praise them for their work and without them the world would be a different place. i think people need to realise that people are still going to sex regardless of other people telling them not to. By realising what is going on instead of turning away blindly is where we can sort the problem out. Alot of my Hetrosexual Chrisitian friends participate in risky behaviour. education needs to change at an early age not a charitys approach where people wont listen.

  • Burt

     All your homosexual friends if any, and heterosexual friends risky behaviour, is risking going to Hell for eternity. That’s what the Church is obliged to warn about. Our eternal destiny will be the “real world” in the end my friend.

  • JByrne24

    You might, on reflection, feel ashamed of your reply to Joe_d333. 

    But it is true that some in the Church, such as yourself, presently seek adherence to some of its dogmas through threats (rather than warnings) of eternal damnation. This is done in order to frighten the wits out of good and usually innocent people (especially the most innocent of all: viz impressionable young children).

    Consider: where will people such as yourself be when such threats are forbidden by the criminal law, in historically, the very near future? Have you any idea of the psychological damage and the sheer misery that these threats cause?

    When, carrying with them the likelihood of imprisonment, these immoral threats are dropped, may I suggest that the highly good and most moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are used to fill the vacuum?
    (And pause before claiming that these things ARE the teachings of Jesus. There are the soundest of reasons for considering them to be much later insertions, and very much to do with “Muck & Brass”, as they say in Yorkshire.)

  • JByrne24

    The signed statement “of Serenelli” at age 80 and “about to depart” (in “his words”) is very lucid, isn’t it?
    The Capuchin convent of Macerata is to be “congratulated” — on a very- common-in-these-circumstances “job well done”.  

    As you may know, from your researches, the pornography of this period came in the later 19th century and was seen by the middle and upper class urban populations. It coincided with 19th Century prudery and moralising – just as 20th Century pornography coincided with 20th century prudery and moralising.
    The prudery and moralising always precedes the pornography and is the cause of the latter.
    I have posted before on how Christian prudery and moralising in ancient Rome converted the brooches and amulets depicting penises, worn commonly by respectable girls and young women in earlier times, into pornographic items.

  • Burt

     “You might, on reflection, feel ashamed of your reply to Joe_d333.”

    Not at all Jbyrne24. But I should be ashamed if I had your views. A person who constantly argues on the side of destroying human life. You have become devoid of a Christian mindset.

    “Consider: where will people such as yourself be when such threats are
    forbidden by the criminal law, in historically, the very near future?
    Have you any idea of the psychological damage and the sheer misery that
    these threats cause?”

    Indeed I agree it does look at if such a time is round the corner, and you reveal so gleefully how you look forward to the criminalisation and persecution of the Catholic Church. That is because you have the same mentality, as the enemies of the Church.

    “When the threats are dropped, carrying with them the likelihood of
    imprisonment, may I suggest the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are used
    to fill the vacuum?”

    If am eventually arrested, and persecuted by those such as you, who favour a totalitarian system,( unless by then you change your views) I do hope I will have the strength to call on the assistance of Jesus of Nazereth not to fail him.

  • Burt

     and (Jesus) said, Verily I say to you, Unless ye are converted and become as
    little children, ye will not at all enter into the kingdom of the
    heavens.

  • JByrne24

    Indeed. If people hope to deceive others – having already quite easily deceived themselves – they need to apply additional caution.

    This fact formed the basis of some Eastern European humour/jokes about the Communist dictatorships. BBC TV has screened a few former Communist block films which also illustrate this. The apparatchiks, with an agenda to which they had to conform, enjoyed their self-deception, but slightly more critical eyes were not deceived.  

  • JByrne24

    I didn’t see this email, and it might have shocked me too – I obviously cannot know.
    But, just a point to keep in mind, when you say it “was shocking”, you mean “it shocked me”. 
    Moralisers generally fail to understand the difference.

  • Burt

     Yes, the depraved are not very easily shocked. That’s how corruption works. People can indulge in very profane, disordered, anti Life thinking and behaviour when they become sufficiently corrupt.

  • JByrne24

    I note you have the impudence to say that I am in favour of  “destroying human life”. Such an act is, rightly, a serious criminal act and not one with which I agree. (And you know this as well as I do). Please do not claim in public that I am a criminal. 
    I do however believe that a zygote and an early foetus are not  human beings – and the law recognises this, as many Catholics, including clerics, also do. I recognise your opinion – have the goodness to recognise that of others.

    A system that, one day, will define the disgraceful habits of those who terrorise young children and other good and innocent people with threats of damnation unless they accept their viewpoints, is a caring, kind and humane system.  
    The Church to its credit and to meet this forthcoming challenge (lest you haven’t noticed it) has been back-peddling on this hell & damnation issue for some years past. 
    (Even the preachings of the Bishop of Shrewsbury [Mark Davies] before Easter were a little guarded.)

  • JByrne24

    theroadmaster  QUOTE: “It seems that……”

    NO, dear roadmaster. You mean:  It seems TO YOU that…… 

    It seems nothing of the sort to me, and to many thousands of others.

  • Burt

     “I note you have the impudence to say that I am in favour of  “destroying
    human life”. Such an act is, rightly, a serious criminal act and not
    one with which I agree. (And you know this as well as I do). Please do
    not claim in public that I am a criminal. ”

    I will not say your’e commiting crime for expressing an opinion. If you perform or procure abortion you are not even breaking the law of the land….but you are breaking the Law of God and breaking a most serious law indeed.

    “I do however believe that a zygote and an early foetus are not  human beings”

    The words I used was ‘human life’. If a human foetus is not human life what else is it? not a chicken, or fish, it’s an early phase of human life. A Catholic mind has respect for human life at it’s earliest stages. Holds it sacred in fact.

    “The Church to its credit and to meet this forthcoming challenge (lest
    you haven’t noticed it) has been back-peddling on this hell &
    damnation issue for some years past.”

    Since Vatican II the Church has catastrophically failed to remember it’s sole purpose is to do it’s utmost to try prevent as many human souls from damnation. That duty is a most charitable act.
    Methinks that too many have become just like you JByrne24. To me it seems they have lost belief in such things as Heaven and Hell.

  • Burt

     Here’s a passage of scripture they should perhaps take some stock of…it’s from next Sunday’s First reading in the Novus Ordo…

    First Reading: Book of Jeremiah 23:1-6
    “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!”
    says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel,
    concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: “It is you who have
    scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended
    to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings,” says the Lord.

    Well come Judgement day they can’t say they weren’t warned.

  • JByrne24

    Burt writes: “To me it seems that……..”
    I care not two hoots how anything seems to you. Just don’t have the bloody cheek to assume you know what others think or believe.

  • Nesbyth

    I think it would have even shocked you Mr JByrne.

    The web site is shocking; there is no doubt there. And should it fail to shock someone then I  would say that that person has had all natural morality/virtue obliterated by the unnatural and perverse.

    Why don’t you look for yourself at the David Skinner site?

    And, why do you always like to put people down with rather snide asides?

    eg “Moralisers generally fail to understand the difference”

  • Oconnordamien

    Why bother with an imaginary analogous case? Goretti’s case is simple enough. Can’t you just answer the questions I raised instead of bringing in an analogy?

    I did not question her actions, only those who decide to venerate them. And what that veneration implies.

  • Nesbyth

    My post last week about Terrence Higgins Trust’s (THT’s) health advice (here) caused shock and a bit of a stir. But it is appropriate first to clarify exactly what my objection to THT is about:
    (a) It is NOT a homophobic thing. Gays must be at liberty to live their lives free from harassment and hatred like everyone else. Further, the depraved behaviour described on the THT website – and in the corresponding THT advice booklets The Bottom Line and Below The Belt – is presumably practiced by a small minority of people of any sexual orientation and both genders. However THT makes clear that this particular obscene health advice is intended specifically for gay males.
    (b) It IS an anti-THT thing. The Trust received £15m of statutory funding (71% of total income) in 2010/11 (here); has reputable patrons such as Sir Richard Branson, Dame Judi Dench, Miriam Stoppard, Tracey Emin, Sir Elton John and Stephen Fry (here); works in close partnership with the NHS, the Department for Education and other authorities; and is currently targeting young people with counsel and guidance – yet as bold as brass THT distributes health advice that is blatantly unhealthy, unhygienic and harmful let alone sordid and perverted. The big question: should we trust our young people to THT for health and sex guidance?
    Of course another issue is THT’s corporate culture. What exactly are the underlying values and corporate aims exposed by these booklets? Newspaper culture has been exposed by journalist phone hacking; banking culture has been exposed by ‘rogue traders’ and Libor-fixing. What do The Bottom Line and Below The Belt tell us about a management that sanctions such publications and makes them available on their main website? That’s a question we’ll need to put to Sir Nick Partridge OBE, chief executive of THT (here).
    I posted about THT on Monday evening, 2nd July. Within 48 hours, on Wednesday afternoon, THT took down their website, initially (they informed us on a temporary webpage) for ‘maintenance’ and then for a relaunch. The new site was published 24 hours later and – surprise, surprise – the offending health information had been removed. The new site can be found (here).
    On Wednesday too I wrote to the Charity Commission requesting them to rescind THT’s charity registration on the basis that the trust is operating openly in contradiction of its health and charitable objectives.
    I forwarded to them THT’s advice on watersports, scat, fisting, felching, and rimming and asked – rhetorically of course – whether giving advice about drinking urine, eating faeces, inserting forearms up recta, sucking semen from anuses through a straw, and tongue-licking the rear end of men’s alimentary canals can be seen as sound or even acceptable health advice?
    As by then the website was down, I let them know they could obtain copies of the advice by contacting THT direct and requesting their health booklets The Bottom Line and Below The Belt. (If you too want copies, call THT on 020-7812 1600.)
    The Commission say they will reply within 15 days.
    Encouragingly, a number of readers forwarded my post to their MP. At least one ‘absolutely shocked’ MP has now also written to the Charity Commission ‘asking for their opinion on whether it is appropriate for such material to be funded by the public purse, whether they were aware that this material was being produced by THT and what action they can take in this case’. Another has said he will take up the issue too.
    Have you contacted your MP yet?
    This entry was posted on Monday, July 9th, 2012 at 9:32 pm and is filed under Children, Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
    « Terrence Higgins Health Horrors
    5 Responses to “Terrence Higgins Health Horrors: 2”
    Therese Prunet-Brewer Says:
    July 10th, 2012 at 3:58 pm I contacted my Mp and sent him the link to look at the unhealthy material… I have no answer whatsoever from Adam Afriyie Berkshire.obviously not interested or in agreement with THT ?Julia Gasper Says:
    July 10th, 2012 at 3:58 pm You call Stephen Fry a reputable person. Yet he is a convicted criminal who admits he was gaoled for credit card fraud and before that had been pilfering on a small scale for years.Now he profits by telling all this in his charming autobiography!Julia Gasper Says:
    July 10th, 2012 at 4:06 pm Don’t grovel to them Alan by saying you are not “homophobic”. Make it clear that you are not intimidated by the rhetoric of extremists.John B Sears Says:
    July 10th, 2012 at 4:06 pm This needs airing, as does the whole sub-culture of The Frankfurt School, undermining our families as well as our whole society. The first part has been published already and it will have gone to several hundred if not over a thousand people by e-mail and several hundred more hard copies will follow.Simon M Says: July 10th, 2012 at 4:58 pm Alan,Nobody doubts your sincerity, but you have been effectively painted into a corner by the church. The real issue here is straightforward: homosexual practice is unambiguously condemned by scripture and therefore wrong. I won’t dwell on the detail of the argument, suffice it to say it is an IMPORTANT matter because it speaks to core Christian doctrine, viz the Trinity, the nuclear family, and the Church’s relationship with its maker. It is not the side issue that liberals have long portrayed it, nor is it something on which true Christians can be ‘neutral’ (as if that were ever possible).Thus, because of the duplicitous nature of church leadership (not just Anglican but of other denominations too), there is no MORAL voice in the land calling the people to repentance and to return to the Lord. You dare not call this the abomination it is, for you will NOT be supported by your spiritual ‘leaders’, such is the corruption within God’s house.Is it any wonder therefore, that we see a rise of false gods and atheism in Britain today? How could anyone possibly ever convert to militant Islam, except in the absence of strong Christian witness in the land. And it is indeed absent!There is much in the Bible about how a people declines when it is spiritually leaderless, and this is what we observe now.It was Edward Gibbon who observed that great civilizations collapse when they start to rot morally from within. He was talking about Rome, naturally, so it’s ironic that it applies now, to our once Christian society.The real question is not whether the Terence Higgins Trust will be deprecated, but whether there are yet prophets in the land to stand up and speak the word of the Lord to the people. For where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).

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  • Burt

     It’s a bit obvious JByrne24 what you think and believe…you come on this message board and tell us everyday!….You started this debate that has reduced you to a hissy fit, by offering your judgemental opinion how I was supposed to be feeling..ashamed I believe it was your word….who has the bloody cheek in actual fact?

  • Oconnordamien

    If you call questioning sneering…. Well I’m sneering.

    Bad-examples does not mean pornography, neither does mass media. So my question stands unanswered. 

    But let me sneer again by questioning the word of a repentant killer and would-be rapist when in fear for his eternal damnation. Could he simply have lied in hope and self denial?

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Damien, I did answer your points. Your response was a foolish one and the analogy was intended to help you see that. 

  • theroadmaster

    No “seeming” about it, Dear Mr Byrne.  The reality of the graphical and pornographic depiction of certain objectionable acts of a homosexual nature on their website is proof positive concerning their encouragement of reckless behavior.  It really does not matter whether such acts are homosexual or heterosexual in nature,as the main point still stands in relation to the message that such websites are sending out.  Why don’t they include material that encourages fidelity and chastity in relation to how people should conduct their sexual and personal relationships.  Sex is a precious gift to us from our Creator and is ideally reserved for the sacred state of marriage between a man and a woman.

  • theroadmaster

    The zygote and early foetus unarguably mark the early stages in the development of a human being and your disingenuous arguments to refute this, goes against scientifically proved reality.  Thus to destroy human life at such stages, amounts indubitably to the destruction of human life.  The Church throughout Her 2000 years has taught against this grave evil
    The Church teaches about the reality of Heaven and hell, but does not enforce Her doctrines on anyone.  There is an argument to be had, that a faultily constructed theology concerning an overburdening guilt associated with hellfire sermons, pervaded some sections of the Church in the past.  Christ brought the balm of mercy and redemption to those who  who listened to His words and changed their lives accordingly.  This is still on offer today through the sacraments e.g confession, prayer and personal repentance.  After Vatican 11 confession went out of style as the Mercy of Christ was turned into a fuzzy form of Dr Feelgood therapy, which evaded a necessary sense of guilt and repentance.  A properly constructed theology stresses the infinite Mercy of God coupled with a need for the penitent to repent of His/Her sins, make reparation and to change their lifestyles.

  • karlf

    What about all the Australian aborigines who had never heard of Jesus until the Christians turned up 1700 years later and butchered them? They didn’t stand a chance to enter – and all the millions of Muslims. God is so unfair!

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘the pornography of this period came in the later 19th century’

    If you thought through what you were saying, you’d realize that, by definition, the pornography of the nineteenth century came in the nineteenth century etc. Are you suggesting that pornography only existed in the nineteenth century? Utter nonsense if you are.

    As far as your wittering about Roman phalluses is concerned, I can’t think anyone would suggest that their use was pornographic in the sense that it was intended to produce sexual excitement and release. It is however part and parcel of an attitude to sex that was rightly condemned by Christianity. It doesn’t surprise me that your apostasy has now extended into praising the sexual mores of the  Classical world. I look forward to reading your next post explaining how your Jesuit confessor and Cambridge education have led you (on careful reflection) to support the exposure of unwanted children and gladiatorial combats.

  • Oconnordamien

    No you didn’t…

    A victim of a child rapist/murderer is not comparable to a “have a go hero”. You didn’t address any of my questions, you simply tried to “shift the goalposts”. So I ask again…..

    What does it say to any other child or woman who survived a rape? That you are not noble by surviving? That death is preferable to defilement? Perhaps that if you are too weak to prevent the rape, but you are not strong enough to make him kill you are inferior? If you you survive then perhaps it’s your fault because you lack “nobility”.

  • Oconnordamien

    I apologise, after rereading, and rereading again I can see that perhaps you did answer the questions. Albeit with a catholic mindset which I’m glad I don’t possess.

    “I would not have blamed her if she had acted to save her life: she would not have failed in any moral duty”.

    Anyone who could write a sentence like that is far beyond my understanding.