Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This article, by Mrs. Angela van Boxtel, contains many things that I would like to say for myself, but for which I would be denounced as a misogynist if I did. I encourage you to read the article in full, but here are the best bits (though I disagree with her anti-private education stance, of course):
Many women don't realise it, but the very simple answer to the question of balance for working mothers is this: be happy with less.Reginaldvs Cantvar
I really wish more mums had the guts to reclaim motherhood and just stopped whinging about "having" to work.
A lot of families have a choice but they are addicted to things they can't let go of - the big house, their cars, their shopping and private education to name just a few things.
I'm a mother of four boys myself (aged between one and 12). I do not have a so called
career. My life, including my family, is my career.
I've made choices so my children are my first priority in life and that means being there for them. This means not working all the time just to be able to give them a big house where no-one is home anyway, or only ever spending short amounts of "quality time" with them.
I have some tips for the Daily Telegraph's mums who say they work because they have to.
For starters, I do not have a mortgage. My husband and I and our four kids, so six of us in all, share a three bedroom apartment and one of those rooms is our office.
We never go on holidays or weekends away. We don't need to as we live in Manly, just a few minutes from the beach - and isn't my backyard the surrounding natural beauty of the beach anyway?
Who needs a holiday when as a family we are happy exploring our local neighbourhoods?
We are not members of any gym so we don't have to pay for any fitness. Instead we walk everywhere.
Your children are your gifts and they are here to be enjoyed. Yes mums, you're natural yearnings to be with your child are right.
The answer is to let go of the things you are working so hard and such long hours to be able to afford. Be creative. And just let go of those material things for the sake of your children.
lower female wages force many families to assume the traditional roles of having a male breadwinner and female carer rather than equally sharing the burden of paid and unpaid work.Ms Dunlevy agues that the preference of most working mothers to stay home is a result of the relatively low earnings of women relative to men. But in fact this is a reversal of the true causality and it ignores the fact that in Australia today, to the best of my knowledge, there is no occupation with a lower hourly rate or annual salary for women relative to men. Given this, it is strange to hear it said that
the pay rates of a female-dominated area like hairdressing and a male area like the building trades highlight the pay divide.No, they do not. This is just a classic case of comparing apples with oranges; the proper comparison would be the hourly rate in either industry for a woman and for a man. But this would only illustrate the pay equity of the sexes.
This article was also the subject of a brief, sarcastic editorial entitled ‘Illogical lunacy’:
But the only illogic here is in Ms Dunlevy’s arguments.
According to Wednesday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph,
MORE than two-thirds of working mums would rather be at home with their children.This would come as a surprise only to the most hard-core feminist theoretician. Let’s face it, the explosion in mothers’ work-force participation figures over the past forty years has far more to do with the pursuit of economic growth and the spread of consumerism than the liberation of women. Feminism is just the fig leaf with which this truth is covered up; economic rationalism is the real philosophy that has underpinned these changes.
This link, to the latest column by Rev. Fr. Ron Rolheiser O.M.I., appeared in Tuesday’s CathNews. Originally I had intended not to comment on this piece, since it is largely unsubstantiated waffle of the sort that one finds in the C.N.S. opinion/spirituality columns provided to Diocesan weeklies, but since in-principle opposition to the death penalty is one of the great errors of the day, I thought I might say a few words about it.
Fr. Rolheiser writes with the following premise in mind:
Rene Girard once wrote that the cross of Christ is the most revolutionary moral event ever in human history and its implications are still slowly unfolding within human consciousness.Firstly: who is this René Girard? Is he a Pope, Bishop or Doctor of the Church? Likewise the Gil Bailie whom Fr. Rolheiser cites. Now I don’t doubt that, as Father puts it, “it is taking us many centuries to understand more fully what is contained in the revelation of the cross”, but what Fr. Rolheiser fails to explain is how an evolution from in-principle support for the death penalty, except where the common good might require the limitation of its application, to in-principle opposition to the death penalty, except where the defence of society might require it, can be considered to be a legitimate doctrinal development.
Fr. Rolheiser compares the following situations:
For example: It took the universal church more than 1500 years to understand that we may not use force and violence to spread the gospel or to silence those who do not agree with us. It took all the churches more than1800 years to understand and accept that slavery was wrong; It took all the churches nearly 2000 years (and Pope John Paul II) to understand and accept that capital punishment is wrong. And it has taken all the churches more than 2000 years to understand and accept somewhat more fully the equality of women.Now firstly, the Church has never taught that we may use violence to spread the Gospel, but certainly it might legitimately be used in its defence. And slavery, understood as the ownership by one man of another man’s whole being, has never been compatible with the Gospel. Furthermore, an inequality in ontological dignity between the sexes has never been Church teaching either. So lumping capital punishment in with these other aberrations is quite unfair.
It seems also that Fr. Rolheiser does not grasp the significance behind the fact that the liceity of the death penalty as a punishment rather than just a deterrent or precaution was taught and practiced for some two thousand years—almost the entire era of human redemption.
His next comparison:
We too, like Al-Qaeda, had our own period of history wherein we believed that error had no rights and that violence and killing could be justified in God's name. Today, happily, within all the Christian churches, that is becoming harder to justify, irrespective as to whether that killing is abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, or pre-emptive waris simply egregious and really quite uncalled for. Error has no rights, though those in error still have the right to come to truth and goodness. Capital punishment is a legitimate exercise of the authority that God entrusts to the state, and is not mere wanton ‘violence and killing’.
His implication of a moral equivalence between “abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, [and] pre-emptive war” suggests that he is a disciple of the ‘seamless garment approach’, but this approach is only legitimate with respect to innocent life; as Pius XII pointed out, the state does not deprive the condemned man of his right to life, since the man deprived himself of it by his actions.
I might add as a digression that Father’s reference to “pre-emptive war” is presumably a swipe at the Second Gulf War, which I agree was unjustified, though not merely by virtue of being pre-emptive. A pre-emptive strike could be justified if an intention imminently to attack is clear; no such imminence was evident in Iraq, regardless of whether Saddam did indeed possess weapons of mass destruction.
Essentially, then, Fr. Rolheiser’s opposition to the death penalty follows from a discounting of past teaching and practice and the disproportionate weighting of present teaching.
Finally, I point out that any reference to the virtue of justice is completely absent from Fr. Rolheiser’s piece. This is deplorable, but unsurprising, since it is only with reference to this cardinal virtue that the necessity of the death penalty can be understood.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Fr. Sirico is from the dreadful Acton Institute; I will not post a link here but you can find one at Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog. This Institute appears to advocate what I would call neo-Americanism, an updated form of Americanism that extends beyond the religious libertarianism of the original and attempts to incorporate economic libertarianism into Church social teaching.
The lecture begins fairly inoffensively, with “an assertion of two distinct realms: the temporal and the ecclesiastical. In this concept, both the law and the civil magistrate are to be respected, even prayed for.” ‘Distinct’ is the key word, and perfectly appropriate, though of course we must not go as far as to advocate the desirability of their separation as a principle:
That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error.
(St. Pius X, Vehementer Nos)
Fr. Sirico notes perceptively that “[w]hat is really at issue here is the problem of authority”, and identifies that “Christianity did not, however, see the origin of authority as lying in the state, and it did not see the state as the source of law, much less of morality”. Clearly God is the origin of authority and of law, and the State must acknowledge this authority, do God the homage that He is owed for delegating His authority, and makes its civil laws correspond to the Divine Law.
Indeed, the reliable Rev. Fr. Francis J. Connell C.SS.R. makes very clear that Church-State relations are actually a secondary issue:
In other words, the real point at issue is not the relation between the State and the Catholic Church but rather the relation between the State and Christ the King.
So far, so good. And one could forgive Father’s rather strange, utilitarian notion of a Christian vision of
a society in which people leave old professions and adopt new ones,take on vocations as priests or nuns, become educated and advance within the culture, become merchants and capitalists who produce wealth(my emphasis)
or his fanciful depiction of the Dark Ages as a some kind of proto-capitalist utopia:
The so-called Dark Ages saw the origins of the water mill and the windmill, used for capitalistic production. Monastic estates were used for the domestication and production of fish, and for cloth-making. Monasteries were the first modern institutions of complex capitalistic production.
[Constantine] and his successors certainly went too far in making the Christian faith the official religion and using public resources for the construction of churches. But when one looks at this history, we need to carefully distinguish between unjust practices of the present day and the roots of what would eventually lead to what we now know as modern-day freedom. It was Christianity itself, and not atheism, secularism or materialism, that first advanced the idea that the state and the Church were distinct and separate entities. The concept that institutions could flourish in the absence of civic approval is what led to the creation of the university, the monastery, the hospital, the rule of law in courts, and the flourishing of science and institutional and international charity.(my emphasis)
Indeed, it is Christianity that lies at the root of the body of ideas we know today as classical liberalism, which can be summed up in four essential claims: all people have rights that cannot be abrogated; society flourishes most when the state is a resource of last resort; economic advance is desirable and made possible through free exchange; and the social peace is best maintained when religion and the state are separated.
1) “all people have rights that cannot be abrogated”: yes, but the object of any right can only ever be what is true and good.
2) “society flourishes most when the state is a resource of last resort”: this is just one of the assumptions of economic rationalism; it has no place in Christian doctrine.
3) “economic advance is desirable”: not in itself.
4) “the social peace is best maintained when religion and the state are separated”: false in principle, possibly true in certain circumstances.
When Fr. Sirico speaks of “the authentic Christian liberalism of the nineteenth century, which in turn connects backwards in time to the Middle Ages, to Augustine, to the Church Fathers, and finally to the words of Jesus”, one wonders whether the Anglicans are the only ones prone to ‘ecclesial amnesia’: does he not know that the ‘Liberal Catholic’ political movement was condemned unequivocally by the Popes of the time? Indeed, Fr. Sirico analysis of currents in nineteenth-century Catholic political thought is far too simplistic: he says that
In the mid- to late nineteenth century, at a time when democracy was rising, the Papal States were under serious strain, and radical political movements were on the move, two general camps emerged within the Catholic Church. On one side, there were the ultramontanists, who favoured the temporal power and regarded the idea of religious liberty as a fateful surrender to secularism and modernism. On the other side were the liberals, who embraced religious liberty and argued that papal infallibility should be embraced only in the strictly defined terms related to its own competency of faith and morals, but not to politics or economics.Concessions to false religions can only ever be a toleration based on circumstances, and a concession in principle is indeed a “fateful surrender to secularism and modernism”. And his reading of the Syllabus of Errors is simply not supported by the text:
Even Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors could be read as compatible with an embrace of liberty if we recognise that while it condemned the view that the Church must be universally separated from the state (understood as the state confining religion to the purely private sphere—the goal of today’s radical secularists), it tolerated the view that the Church can be made prudently and advantageously distinct from the state.Here we see confusion in his argument: that “the view that the Church can be made prudently and advantageously distinct from the state” is tolerable is not in question (and ‘distinct’ is the wrong word anyway, since Church and State are distinct), while in fact it is Fr. Sirico’s views on Church-States relations at the level of principles that Bl. Pius IX was condemning.
When Fr. Sirico describes ‘liberation theology’ as “essentially a baptised form of Marxism” it is hard to ignore the savage irony that what he and the Acton Institute advocate is really just a ‘baptised form’ of libertarianism and economic rationalism. How can they not see this? Indeed, Marxism and economic rationalism aren’t fundamentally all that different: they share the same foundation, namely materialistic determinism, though while Marxism focuses on the social level, at which circumstances in the factors of production determine the course of history (historical materialism), economic rationalism focuses on the individual, with man conceived of as homo economicus, with a utility function into which ones plugs the numbers and determines his behaviour.
We see this materialism crop up again when Fr. Sirico writes off the era of Christendom as being one in which the fact that
the tyrant professed Christianity was an incidental fact: he was merely using the culturally dominant religion as a cover for his true ambitionand it is an insult to the likes of Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, St. Edward the Confessor and St. Louis IX.
What is it with people trying to graft onto Tradition that which can never organically be a part of it? Why the constant conformity to the spirit of the age? Why can they not be content simply ‘to hand on what they have received’?
What is perhaps most telling about Fr. Sirico’s position is the complete absence of any reference in this lecture to one of the fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching, namely the common good. Search for keywords like ‘common good’ or ‘public good’ or public welfare or common welfare and you will find nothing. Indeed, one must ask of Fr. Sirico: does he agree that the common good is the proper end of the State? Does he agree that the common good is the relevant criterion for determining when to restrict liberty (an important question given that his lecture was, after all, on the topic of ‘Must Religion be a Threat to Liberty?’)? Does he agree that the State is a juridical and moral person that is capable of acknowledging God as the source of its authority, of the blessings that it enjoys and of its very existence, i.e., that the State really can be confessional? Just what is this man’s theory of the State?
founded in 2000 by the Reverend Robert Allmen, a former Catholic priest, [and] is based in Columbus, Ohio, and has communities in 25 US states as well as in Africa, Asia, Europe, Mexico and Australia.
Led now by Bishop Phillip Zimmerman, the church follows Catholic doctrine but welcomes gays and lesbians. It also allows its clergy to be single, gay, married or divorced.
The Benedictines observe silence, charity and chastity. But Britton has declined to take the vow of chastity.
But apparently this woman is not only a nun but a clergywomen:
"My partner supports me but she doesn't feel that she is called into the clergy," says Britton. "She has always said 'you're the pastor, I'm just the pastor's wife'."
Since then, they have founded the St Flora Anglican Mission Parish on acreage in the Glasshouse Mountains.
Naturally, there is a significance to the choice of Patroness:
Last year, she established the St Flora Mission. It is one of only two Reformed Catholic Church communities in Australia - the other is in Brisbane - and is named after the patron saint of the abandoned.But it was this woman who abandoned her husband and Christ’s Church! Speaking of her husband, despite the acceptance of her children for her sexual disorder, “[o]nly her husband had mixed reactions”! I suspect that’s something of an understatement!
It appears identical to my version, transcribed here)
‘Vulgar language’ [the letter’s headline]
As a young parishioner, I was aware that we had another Catholic church in the parish. It was the Maronite church. As a seminarian we had some bi ritual candidates studying with us which included a Ukrainian student.
When I was appointed as deacon to Golden Grove parish, the Melkites were transforming the church into the present day structure. As parish priest of Punchbowl once again I had regular contact with Melkites and Maronites.
Hence to hear a silly comment that Latin is part of the DNA of the church during the wonderful event called WYD, really surprised and disappointed me.
Yes I know it is the official language of the Latin Church and I may be confused that while we must have “the Lord be with your Spirit” as the proper translation, Dei Verbum is still translated as “the Gospel of the Lord”, I do not consider it as part of the DNA of the whole Church.
I think of St Jerome translating the Scriptures into that “vulgar language” as it was the language of the people. Now we give it some magical powers that I think is a form of language snobbery.
You know “Bella Casa’ sounds nicer than ‘Beautiful House’ especially if said with a nice Italian accent than the broader Australian one but of course would be more acceptable if said with the proper Queen’s accent.
The rush with which most priests and communities around the world embraced the Mass in their own vulgar languages shows that the insights of the council were correct. A few rejected the authority of the council and wanted their own way. The Pope has said “Well look, if this will bring you back into the fold, ok if say it [sic] your way! But leave the majority alone”.
I have not felt the presence of God in any celebration where the majority of the singing was not in the language of the majority of the people. It is exclusive and divisive. It becomes a concert; a performance. A recent comment about facing each other meaning, we have turned into ourselves is so far of the mark it is laughable. When we are gathered around the altar, facing the same way as in a circle, the focus is not on each other but the tables of word and sacrifice. The welcoming of the chaplain of the Samoan community at Parramatta community was one especially where the presence of Christ in each other, the Word and the Eucharist was so powerful, it beats any experience where being on the sanctuary one feels one is in an enclosed cage. Especially if six or seven candles with a large crucifix prevents the people from seeing the presider.
The liturgy of the Mass as a public act of worship is meant to be that public [sic]. The days of the priest saying Mass with the choir should be long gone. I for one will be avoiding any celebration where Latin so dominates that the people are reduced to mere observers. It may have a small part to play sometimes but that is it as-an [sic] exception not the rule. Anything else is just intellectual superiority.
Fr Robert M Fuller
Then he offers the following non sequitur:
The rush with which most priests and communities around the world embraced the Mass in their own vulgar languages shows that the insights of the council were correct.
Father’s subsequent statement is simply stunning:
I have not felt the presence of God in any celebration where the majority of the singing was not in the language of the majority of the people.
Also surprising is Fr. Fuller’s opinion that
A recent comment about facing each other meaning, we have turned into ourselves is so far of the mark it is laughable
Father then offers the following irrelevant anecdote:
The welcoming of the chaplain of the Samoan community at Parramatta community was one especially where the presence of Christ in each other, the Word and the Eucharist was so powerful
Fr. Fuller’s assertion that “The liturgy of the Mass as a public act of worship is meant to be that public [sic]” is disturbingly sweeping. He imposes no conditions on this alleged public character of the Mass; he does not confine himself to Sunday Mass, in connection with which one might excuse such a sweeping assertion, but the entire “liturgy of the Mass”. His allusion to Traditional Mass congregations as ‘mere observers’ is certainly unoriginal, and seems to neglect the primarily sacrificial character of the Mass as the same Sacrifice as the Sacrifice of Calvary. Were Our Lady and St. John ‘mere observers’ at Golgotha? But thanks to our baptism we are never ‘mere observers’ but always have the capacity to participate actively by offering up our own spiritual sacrifices in association with the Sacrifice of the Altar. And Fr. Fuller’s opinion that Latin “may have a small part to play sometimes but that is it as-an [sic] exception not the rule” is simply not supported by Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy.
Fr. Fuller’s Parthian shot, that “[a]nything else is just intellectual superiority” (presumably he means ‘intellectual élitism’ or some such, unless he is conceding that the T.L.M. is indeed intellectually superior to the New Mass!), seems to contradict his notion of Latin as representative of “language snobbery”—he has changed his argument from a preference for Latin being based on a superficial preference concerned with euphony, to an intellectual argument based, presumably, on the relative merits of either rite. What this statement confirms, though, is that he sets up an opposition between heart and intellect—between feelings of a Divine presence versus ‘intellectual superiority’. This is a contrived opposition.
Looking back over the letter, it is clear that Fr. Fuller approaches the liturgy from the angle of public accessibility rather than Sacrificial integrity—the word ‘sacrifice’ is only mentioned once, and in the lower case, compared to numerous references to the community gathered. One might object that this is a contrived opposition of my own; I do not mean to oppose the two against each other, only to point out that this letter provides no evidence of a zeal for protecting the Mass’s sacrificial identity, and an overriding concern for a superficial notion of lay participation.
As for Fr. Fuller’s Ordinary, His Eminence Cardinal Pell, his ambivalence on these matters is evident in the last lines of his Sunday Telegraph column on last year’s Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Throne:
In the old Mass I find the many particular actions required of the celebrant to be distracting; I miss too the regular responses of the congregation and the lively sense of community this can engender. The English is easier for everyone also.
But the old Mass calls us to worship in a way that is rarely equalled today.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
So it comes as no surprise to hear (from The Age, via Mr. Schütz’s Sentire cum Ecclesia) that Victorian Greens M.P. Colleen Hartland is not only pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia, but has in fact had an abortion herself, or rather, contracted a doctor to perform one on her own unborn baby. This woman was once a Catholic, but :
"I'm completely detached from the church now," she says. "There's no place for someone with my opinions in the church [sic]."Quite right, Ms. Hartland. The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of Truth, and you, Madam, are, materially, a servant of the father of lies. Her excuse is that “[t]he timing was just completely wrong”. But the timing of the conception and the abortion were both of her own choosing, so I’m not sure what this really means.
I find the notion that those supporting it have less faith or belief than those opposing it deeply offensive. It is from my Catholic upbringing I get my deep sense of social justice. I would not have become a member of Parliament without it. I am Catholic.No, Madam, you are not. How repulsive.
Finally, a few words on the notion of being ‘pro-choice’. Choice is, of course, just a faculty, and therefore oriented towards its operation. Laws are enacted in order to restrict or permit the objects to which the faculty may be applied without penalty. The possible objects of the faculty are, in this case, abortion or non-abortion. ‘Pro-choice’ seems, then, to mean that either object is a legitimate object for the operation of the faculty. Therefore pro-choice means pro-abortion and pro-non-abortion. But non-abortion is not at issue here; both ‘sides’ agree that non-abortion is a legitimate object for the faculty of choice. So why are the pro-choicers so allergic to being called pro-abortion when, on this issue, that is precisely what they are?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Confused about what to name her daughter, Lauren McIntyre left the name up to her husband, Jamie, when they had their girl Holly in April. "There was a television show we watched all the time Girls in the Playboy Mansion and he named her after one of them," Mrs McIntyre, of Cowra, said.http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24203550-5001021,00.html
Still, the article wasn’t all bad news:
It can now be revealed that the names John and Mary have been the most popular names for newborns in NSW since the first birth more than 230 years ago.Reginaldvs Canvar
Monday, August 18, 2008
The Church has always taught that abortion is a grave sin; thanks to contemporary embryology we know now that it is not just any grave sin, but is truly murder. That the newly-conceived fœtus is a living human body is beyond doubt, and we know that a human being is a unity of body and soul, so the newly-conceived fœtus is indeed a human being. Abortion is murder. It is the secularist agnosticism and materialism towards what constitutes ‘personhood’ that prevents many from admitting this.
I read in yesterday’s Sydney Catholic Weekly a report from Mr. John Thavis via C.N.S. on H.H. The Pope’s recent informal dialogue with some Priests while on His Holiness’ holidays. Here is the portion that I find curious:
The pope, in a moment of self-revelation that's become typical of these encounters, said he used to be more strict about administering the sacraments, but he's come to see that it's more important to be generous if it can encourage even a "glimmer" of faith.
The comment immediately prompted speculation that Pope Benedict might prove to be somewhat more lenient than expected on other sacramental issues, including the church's current policy of no Communion for Catholics who have divorced and remarried without an annulment.
Professor Clive Hamilton offered the following observation in an article on trends in television and society in the Sydney Morning Herod on Saturday:
"But when you walk around and see teenage girls wearing T-shirts that say 'Porn Star' or, even worse, one that says [a slogan too obscene to bear repetition]', then you ask yourself: where else can society go? And you realise the big disappointment of liberalism's failure to deliver genuine freedom."
[h]is search takes him to an unexpected conclusion: that we cannot be truly free unless we commit ourselves to a moral life. The implications of this conclusion are profound, and they challenge many deeply held beliefs in modern secular society.
Catholics know what real freedom is all about, though. For the individual, St. John tells us that it is the truth that makes us free—it is truth and goodness that are the just objects of freedom. And as for society, His late Holiness Leo XIII puts it quite succinctly in Libertas Præstantissimum:
[…] the true liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he pleases, for this would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the State; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the eternal law.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
"I would assist the patient and appropriately counsel them in making the right decision." Later [adds the reporter], she admits she would help a woman obtain an abortion, if that was the "right decision"."
That's a nice, weaselly little way to put it, a disclaimer worthy of the craven 'as far as God's Law allows' that the English Lords Spiritual appended to their cave-in to Henry VIII's usurping of ecclesial headship.
Dr. Capolingua goes on to say that:
"You learn to understand how people end up in situations, how life evolves for them. Life is just life. When someone comes to me, they are looking for help, non-judgmental help. I would rather we used better contraception. I advocate condoms and all of the other options, rather than put a woman in that terrible situation."
"Life is just life"!!! "how life evolves for them"!!! What is this?! How bewildering! Surely abortion is either the self-interested murder of a totally defenceless human being, and therefore one of the most monstrous crimes imaginable, or it is not, and is just an optional medical procedure, to be evaluated on its medical merits, and not a 'terrible situation' at all. So which is it, Dr. Capolingua? Are you an accomplice to this 'terrible situation', or merely a technician providing a morally neutral service? Until you decide, please, don't call yourself a Catholic.
"However, for [the late Mr. B.A.] Santamaria the Catholic schools in the Promised Land proved to be a bitter disappointment. In 1983 he foresaw Catholic schools 'becoming a dutiful appendage of the State', exactly what the bishops of 1872 opposed. For him, government money produced ecclesiastical bureaucracies which took power from the bishops so that the faith of two generations was threatened by the unexpected consequences of Vatican II and the disintegration of the family. [...]
The increase in absolute numbers [of pupils] through migration obscured the percentage declines, most never recognised too clearly what was happening until they realised their children were not worshipping regularly (and sometimes their grandchildren were not even baptised), but there was also a feeling that it was an implied criticism of the Council, disloyalty, to point out the disappointing realities.
The new Catholic bureaucracies often exiled and persecuted orthodox dissenters, who were also liable to the devastating critique that they sounded just like Santamaria."
I seem to recall Mr. Santamaria lamenting that the schools were teaching an 'attenuated version of Christianity' (though I cannot provide a citation), and it is hard to argue with this. As a former Catholic (systemic) primary school pupil I can recall instruction on the events of Christ's life, His parables and the importance of devotion to Our Lady being of sound quality, but doctrine was a serious weak point, even in the later years and in preparation for the Sacraments. Catholic high schools leave even more to be desired, emphasising 'living the Christan life' and ecumenical harmony over Catholic doctrine, despite the best efforts of some teachers (while other teachers are more or less open in their dissent). (And of course, years 11 and 12 are, for most N.S.W. pupils, consumed with the syncretistic 'Studies of Religion' course).
The reasons for these weaknesses will be familiar to most readers: the 'spirit of Vatican II' (especially its ecumenical irenicism), the shortage of religious, the secularisation of extra-curricular life, the influx of non-Catholics, careerists among the parents and teachers, the bureaucrats in the C.E.O.s all too keen to emulate their Education Department counterparts, and so on. (Add your own reasons in the combox).
It is interesting to note that the latest avaliable data (2007) show that, in the Sydney Archdiocese, government funding for State schools exceeds government funding for Catholic systemic schools by "just over $2554 per head", while Catholic school fees are $1798. (So should one infer then that, all else equal, a Catholic education is inferior by about $750?). Total government funding per high school pupil is $7947, implying a total cost per pupil of about $9750. It would be intersting to see figures for the funding spent on central administration; one would expect it, a priori, to have increased at a decreasing rate, if at all (given the presumed economies of scale), but given the natural tendencies of bureaucracies it would not surprise me at all if has increased more than proportionately.
Certainly, if parents had to bear all the cost then we would have a smaller, purer (sound familiar?) Catholic education system. If nothing else, this would cast the Lord Bishops out of their complacency and inaction over the current crisis of Catholic culture, since they would have to stop fooling themselves that as long as the Catholic education system is thriving then they have a captive audience for evangelisation. But instead I suppose we'll have to wait for Sunday Mass attendance to drop to 14% of the present 14%, or perhaps some external crisis of Apocalyptic proportions.
In yesterday's column he listed some of the lamentable post-Conciliar Sanctuary 're-orderings' and compares them with what the Council really said. But one paragraph seems to me rather incongruous:
"The crucifix in some places has yielded to the so-called "Cross of the Risen Christ"; a fanciful blend of Cross, Resurrection, Ascension and Parousia that turns the historical reality of Christ's suffering and death into an image worthy of its four letter acronym."
Now I can conjure all too easily the image of what he is talking about; a certain new Church in the Diocese of Wollongong has a decidedly totem-pole-like carving with 'Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again' inscribed, in place of a Crucifix (in fact, this Church has just about the entire range of post-Conciliar 're-orderings'--obscured Tabernacle, designed 'in the round', you know what I mean).
But isn't this strange blend of events supposed to be central to the New Mass? Isn't the New Mass all about the whole 'Paschal Mystery' rather than just the Mystical Immolation of the Lamb of God? The 'Cross of the Risen Christ' seems to me to be suited quite well to the New Mass.
(From yesterday's Sydney Catholic Weekly)
Saturday, August 9, 2008
1) As late as 1955, a mere ten years before the promulgation of Dignitatis Humanæ, His late Holiness Pius XII said that
“Historians must not forget that if the Church and the State did have hours or years of struggle there were, from Constantine the Great even to this day, periods of tranquility, often long, in which they cooperated, with full comprehension, in the education of the same persons. The Church does not hide the fact that it [sic] considers, in principle, this cooperation as normal and that it sees as an ideal the unity of the people in the true religion and the unanimity in action between her and the State.”(Allocution to the tenth International Congress of Historical Sciences, September 7, 1955)
2) It appears that Bl. Pius IX exercised his Extraordinary Papal Magisterium in condemning the following errors in his encyclical Quanta Cura:
“that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.”
“liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.”
In section 6 of Quanta Cura the four criteria for the Extraordinary Papal Magisterium appear to find their satisfaction:
“6. Amidst, therefore, such great perversity of depraved opinions, we, well remembering our Apostolic Office, and very greatly solicitous for our most holy Religion, for sound doctrine and the salvation of souls which is intrusted to us by God, and (solicitous also) for the welfare of human society itself, have thought it right again to raise up our Apostolic voice. Therefore, by our Apostolic authority, we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines severally mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned.”
It is issued, therefore, in the Pope’s capacity as Head of the Church Militant (“by our Apostolic authority”), it is clearly a matter of faith or morals, it is definitive (the errors are defined unambiguously and are “reprobated, proscribed and condemned”), and addressed “To Our Venerable Brethren, all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops having favor and Communion of the Holy See” and intended as binding for “all children of the Catholic Church”.
I note that it was on August 8, 1984 that New South Wales permitted shopping on Friday night and Saturday afternoon (History section, The Daily Telegraph). This was lamentable in itself because it represented another concession to economic rationalism and consumerism and an encroachment on family time for the workers whom it affected, and also because it signified that Sunday trading was imminent.
With the fortieth anniversary of Humanæ Vitæ, we hear talk that as much as 80% of Catholic couples in America, for instance, might be on contraception; certainly there is widespread dissent from this teaching. But one wonders how many Catholics dissent from the requirement to abstain from servile work (or from availing oneself of others’ servile work) on Sunday. My a priori expectation would be that a good 90% would feel no compunction at doing so, and maybe fewer than 10% might scruple at it if it were to infringe on Sunday worship.
When was the last time one heard Priests or Bishops denouncing Sunday labour for its grave sinfulness? (If you have an example please mention it in the combox.) We hear condemnations of ‘racism’, ‘unsustainable development’, or whatever is the flavour of the month, but as regards sinful Sunday labour, the best we might expect would be expressions of unease at the 24/7 consumerist economy.
Yesterday was also the Feast of St. John Mary Vianney, the great Curate of Ars. I will never forget the image of Sunday labour that he offers:
“When I see people driving carts on Sunday, I think I see them carrying their souls to Hell.”
See http://saints.sqpn.com/stj18009.htm for more of his thoughts on the matter.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I read with great interest an article in last Friday's Sydney Daily Telegraph by Mr. Steve Lewis (available on-line under the Courier-Mail masthead, link above) about certain changes taking place in the Governor-General's official staff. The Official Secretary, Mr. Malcolm Hazell, despite being regarded as "resolutely non-partisan", was dismissed by the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mr. Rudd denied any involvement, and it is not too great a leap of logic to infer that Ms. Quentin Bryce, the Governor-General-Designate, was behind the sacking.
(And I was amused to note that "More recently, Ms Bryce raised eyebrows after visiting Therese Rein, the wife of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, at her office in Brisbane last Friday." They would have been two peas in a pod.)
So what does this imply for our expectations about Ms. Bryce as Governor-General? I think we ought to prepare for an activist, 'agenda-setting' viceroy; in particular, the feminist agenda. This demands like-minded, even partisan, assistants, secretaries and speech-writers, hence Mr. Hazell's dismissal, and no doubt he will only be the first. Her Excellency's greatest pre-gubernatorial distinction appears to have been becoming one of Australia's top-ranking political correctness commissars ('Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner' or some such high-sounding but mediocre office) and is well-known as a member (one of the first, in fact) of the genteel, pearl-necklace-wearing wing of feminism that has been so influential in the corporate and civic worlds (in contrast to the noisy but irrelevant feral feminists in academia, like Germaine Greer). Ludicrously, she is of the opinion that "it can be argued I believe that Jesus was a feminist" (see here for that and other insights), which clearly verges on blasphemy.
When we hear Ms. Elizabeth Broderick (cut from the same cloth as Ms. Bryce, and her successor as Sex Discrimination Supremo (Suprema, or would that be sexist?)) say that "There is no question that legislated paid maternity leave is a basic human right" we can dismiss it as par for the course. But imagine what resonance it will have when coming from the mouth of the viceroy. We will see an inglorious new chapter open up in the cooperation of feminists like Ms. Bryce and economic rationalists like Mr. Rudd in driving every last mother into menial, low-paying work. And I'm sure it will be a suitable softening-up of the populace for the inevitable popularly-elected 'President' with a popular mandate of his or her own, at which point the 'Washminster' (Washington/Westminster) system of ours will break down entirely.
Clearly then, we may situate Bl. Peter in the lineage of Martyrs for the Christian ideal of marriage, beginning with St. John the Baptist, stretching into the Protestant Revolt with St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, and with Bl. Peter the most recent (as far as I know) to win the Crown of Martyrdom for this cause. We must look to his example and draw on his merits as we stand up for God's ideal of marriage in the face of the ridicule of those immersed in the climate of infidelity and debauchery (and even face, in the not too distant future, imprisonment for 'hate speech' when we do so).
See here for more on Bl. Peter: http://saints.sqpn.com/saintp8g.htm
I posted one last comment:
“Yes the program is taught by the designer of the course, Bruce Coleman”
Thankyou for clarifying that. Why, though, did you fail to mention it either in your original article or your blog post? I understand the difficulties of the news cycle but it was a fairly crucial piece of information to miss.
“Public school parents did not know they were sending their children to a class that was"upfront Christian."”
This is the fault neither of the parents nor of the programme’s presenters. Nor, for that matter, of the Department. What did the school Heads of Curriculum, or whoever examines teaching content, have to say for themselves?
Reginaldvs Cantvar "
Now, I should point out that I do not approve of 'sex education' in the classroom, since an education in chastity is a duty of parents that they must discharge directly rather than by delegating it to schoolteachers. There is also, in co-educational classes, the additional risk of serious embarassment, even humiliation. But clearly there is a place for learning about the pre-birth development of babies in the context of high school biology classes.
Furthermore, true 'personal development' comes from conforming oneself ever more closely to the example and teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, not by idle talk of 'self-image' and 'self-esteem'.