Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An interesting AQ post on Hilaire Belloc, the French Revolution and political science

With a comment from me there as well:


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

What to think about this story from yesterday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph:


Can anyone make anyone sense out of this? (Here are the main parts of the article, but by all means read the whole thing; there’s at least one nugget of insanity tucked away in almost every paragraph:

A 62-YEAR-OLD lesbian has been awarded access by the Family Court to the three-year-old child of her former partner, despite the couple splitting after living together for less than a year and a judge ruling the woman was not legally the child's parent.

The child's 44-year-old mother has been ordered to allow her 62-year-old former partner, who has suffered from psychiatric conditions and has a history of self-harm, to have access to the child.

The Family Court has ruled that, although the 62-year-old did not live in a de facto relationship with the woman and was not legally a parent of the girl, she could have court-ordered access because she was a significant person in the child's life.

[…] [A] full bench of the Family Court last month dismissed an appeal by the child's mother over access and granted the older woman visitation rights to the child for three hours a week, which will increase to overnight stays.

[bold type in the original]
Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

Mr. Meney on the N.S.W. Parliament's same-sex adoption inquiry recommendations


Last Sunday’s Sydney Catholic Weekly had a brief report on the N.S.W. upper-house same-sex adoption inquiry’s recommendation in support of same-sex adoption, with remarks (in the Weekly report) from Mr. Christopher Meney, the director of the Life, Marriage and Family Centre for the Archdiocese of Sydney and a participant at the Inquiry’s public hearings:

[…] Mr Meney believes adoption in NSW is “in grave danger of being used as a mechanism for meeting a rights-based agenda so as to satisfy an activist minority”.

“Given the small number of children regularly available for adoption in NSW every year we should be placing them in family situations which will give them the opportunity to benefit from the complementary contributions of a father and a mother.”

He said the proposed requirements for faith-based adoption agencies to be compelled to refer same-sex couples agencies willing to facilitate such adoptions “appears to be an intentional attack on those faith-based agencies”.

“It would require them to either act against their strongly held beliefs by co-operating in the placing of children in homosexual households or to cease being a provider of any adoption services.”
Inevitably the degenerates who favour the madness of same-sex adoption will try to paint the Church’s opposition as ‘homophobia’, ‘religious bigotry’, ‘fundamentalism’, whatever, but when even an ardent secularist and feminist like the journalist Ms Naomi Wolf can see that respectable scholarly literature tells us that

it serves everyone for men and women to share their sometimes different but often complementary strengths - a conclusion that seems reassuring
and that
men tend to rear children differently from women for similarly neurological reasons, encouraging more risk taking and independence and with less awareness of the details of their nurture. One can see the advantages to children of having both parenting styles.
[both quotations from
it is clear that this is not a matter of Ecclesiastical law, but of what intuition suggests, natural reason proves and empirical findings confirm.

I found it interesting that Mr. Meney observed that the Inquiry’s recommendation for compulsory referral by religious adoption agencies of children to secular agencies when same-sex couples are involved “appears to be an intentional attack on those faith-based agencies”. Given the renowned bloody-mindedness of the Sodomite’s League I’m reluctant to give its enablers the benefit of the doubt, but I suspect that the referral recommendation is more a matter of the pro-proposal Inquiry committee members (except perhaps for the Green member of the Inquiry committee, Ms Sylvia Hale M.L.C.) lacking the knowledge of ethics to understand the strict conditions in the absence of which it is impossible to co-operate in evil, and which are likely to be absent here. As for the potential response of religious adoption agencies to demands for referrals, I think that a spot of civil disobedience would be in order.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

‘I now pronounce you both manwife’


The Weekend Australian and Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald each had an article on the latest outburst of U.S. Anglican madness, viz., what the Herald’s article (from The New York Times) reported in its first paragraph as

a compromise measure [on which the E.C.U.S.A. pseudobishops agreed on Wednesday] that stops short of developing an official rite for same-sex unions, but gives latitude to bishops who wish to go ahead and bless such unions, particularly in states that have legalized such marriages.
but which the Australian’s article (originally from The Times of London) described more evocatively in its first paragraph as

Bishops in the US dealt a death blow to hopes for unity in the worldwide Anglican Church when they approved in principle services for same-sex partnerships. The decision will finally split the Communion between Bible-based conservative evangelicals and liberal modernisers.
What I found particularly intriguing, though, was this tidbit from the Herald’s article:

The measure was written to defer to bishops who oppose adopting a liturgy for same-sex blessings and to those who say their constituents are not ready for such a step. But it opens the door to doing so in the future, saying they will “collect and develop theological and liturgical resources” for same-sex blessings, and report to the next convention three years from now, which could then design an official rite.
[my emphasis]
which corresponds, though with a subtle difference, to this part of the Australian’s article:

The bishops at the Episcopal General Convention voted by 104 to 30 to “collect and develop theological resources and liturgies” for blessing same-sex relationships, to be considered at the next convention in 2012.
[my emphasis]
(The difference might not be all that significant, though the Herald’s version is probably more accurate, since the pseudobishops of E.C.U.S.A. have deferred the composition of actual “liturgies” to a future occasion, so presumably in the meantime they’ll just be ‘collecting and developing’ the requisite "resources". ) Regarding the “liturgical resources”, I suppose that the pseudobishops will be able to draw on the tradition contained in such opera as Rosemary Radford Reuther’s Woman-Church, with its delightful “Coming Out Rite for a Lesbian” (source). The ‘theological resources’, though, might be somewhat more difficult to come by. Certainly I don’t recall coming across any in my copies of Teachings of the Church Fathers or Denzinger. Any suggestions, readers?

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Two recent comments from me: one at thepunch.com.au on same-sex parenting and gaymarriage, and one at AQ on private judgment


If you've got time during the day today then you might want to join in the discussion at the thepunch.com.au link above here; if my comment is published there then it might attract some criticism from the liberals who dominate the discussion in these matters, but since I won't be back on-line till after midnight, tomorrow morning, any comments there in defence of the truth about marriage and family would be appreciated.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, A.D. 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On the final report of the N.S.W. Parliament's same-sex adoption inquiry

I've now read the final report, but rather than doing a whole new post on it I hereby direct any interested readers to my comments at this post.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Bonaventure, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Facts and figures: on the efficacy of the contraception-based approach to reducing the teenage pregnancy rate

I remember hearing in the media about how, in America, chastity-based programmes to combat teenage unwed pregnancy have failed, and even backfired, resulting in an increased pregnancy rate for participants. Here is an interesting world news item from last Thursday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph which has implications for the efficacy of the alternative, ‘harm minimisation’ (rather than harm elimination) approach:

Teen baby boom

• LONDON: a multi-million-pound initiative to reduce teenage pregnancies in Britain more than doubled the number of girls conceiving.
The Government-backed scheme tried to persuade teenage girls not to get pregnant by handing out condoms and teaching them about sex.
But research funded by the Department of Health shows young women who attended the program, at a cost of ₤2500 ($5100) each, were “significantly” more likely to become pregnant than those on other programs not given contraception and sex advice.
A total of 16 per cent of those on the Young People’s Development Programme conceived compared with just 6 per cent in other programs.
[The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia, Thursday, July 9, 2009, p. 24]
Reginaldvs Cantvar

Thursday, July 9, 2009

N.S.W. Parliament inquiry recommends legislating for adoption by same-sex couples


Today’s Sydney Morning Herald reports that

SAME-SEX couples should be allowed to adopt children, a State Government parliamentary inquiry has narrowly recommended.

[…] Three members of the Legislative Council committee, including Ms [Christine] Robertson [Labor], supported same-sex adoptions while three, including the Liberal MLC David Clarke, opposed. However, as chairwoman, Ms Robertson had the casting vote.

In supporting the recommendation, the committee handed the Government a political hot potato. The Government stepped back from stirring controversy yesterday, saying it would "thoroughly consider" the report before commenting further.

[…] Besides Ms Robertson, same-sex adoption was supported by Amanda Fazio (ALP) and Sylvia Hale (Green). John Ajaka (Liberal) and Mr [Greg] Donnelly [Labor] opposed the move.

'Three supported, and the chairman's casting vote became the majority," said Mr Clarke. "I believe there is no mandate for the Government in this report. […]
The 205-page final report is available here; I downloaded the P.D.F. document but when I tried to save it to my hard drive something went wrong and it failed, and then when I tried to return to the document I couldn’t download it at all for some reason, so I’ll try again tomorrow or next week and might do a post about it then.

Reginaldvs Cantvar

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A comment at The Punch on India’s High Court ruling on sodomy


As you probably know by now, India’s High Court has capped off “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month” in style, ruling that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 is unconstitutional. Section 377 says:

Unnatural Offences – Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life …
So another one bites the dust (or should that be pillow?!) and joins Club Buggery, abandoning the natural law in favour of a crude positivism. Here is a comment which I have submitted for publication at http://www.thepunch.com.au/, a website which News Limited bills as “Australia’s best conversation” and aims to develop into the Australian answer to the Huffington Post, in response to an article by Mr. Stephen Keim S.C., examining the ruling in greater depth (but no less approvingly) than the other reports which I’ve read:


“Only now is it legal to be gay in India”

An inadequate headline because, as the article goes on to note, ‘gayness’ wasn’t illegal; rather, buggery was illegal, regardless of whether the sodomite was homosexual or heterosexual and regardless of whether the catamite was male or female. For this reason, plus the fact that other reports indicate that sodomy might just be de-criminalised rather than legalised, a more apt headline would be something like “Only now can people sodomise other people (and, apparently, animals) with impunity in India”.

“Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, although drafted by Lord Macaulay, speaks with the coyness of Queen Victoria.”

I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of “coyness”, or a reluctance to use the terms “buggery” or “sodomy”, or that it’s a “euphemism” to speak of “carnal intercourse against the law of nature”. The laws of morality, and in turn the laws of society, can have their basis only in either natural law—in which the good is that which suits the objective *nature* of the thing desiring it—or in positive law, in which the good is whatever the person desiring it might like to *posit* as good, which is to say, the good is whatever people will consent to, and hence ultimately the good is, for positivists, whatever suits people’s subjective tastes and preferences. (One might suggest that a third alternative would be some combination of natural law and positive law, but since the combination would be determined by the tastes and preferences of the person determining it, it would still be fundamentally positivist, and hence there really are just two alternatives.) But people will consent to all sorts of self-destructive things (just look at the unfortunate David Carradine), so natural law is the only reasonable basis for morality. But India, it seems, has decided to embrace the Western liberal lunacy of positivism, and embraces it for the flimsiest of reasons—anti-buggery laws do not contradict any of the three cited articles of the Indian Constitution, and as for the effects of anti-buggery laws on A.I.D.S. prevention programmes, the role of the *justice* system is to adjudicate on matters of *justice*, not matters of prudence; prudential matters are the concern of the executive branch of government. And the notion of sodomy as a ‘human right’ is laughable: rights can only have what is true and good as their object, and since the good can only be that which suits the nature of the thing desiring it, sodomy cannot possibly be the object of a proper right, since it does not suit the respective natures of the organs involved or of the persons involved.

“The judgment is particularly moving where it recounts …”

Here we have two logical fallacies: the appeal to emotion, and the violation of the principle that abuse does not detract from use. The fact that police abused their authority and used brutality against sodomites does not diminish the brutality of sodomy, and both kinds of brutality should be punished in a just society.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Thank You!
Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator for approval.


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen, Widow, A.D. 2009

More comments at Opuscula


Here are some more comments which I have submitted for publication at the Opuscula blog of Mr. Gurries:


1. Applying your definition (in your post “On Duties and Rights” of January 30, 2006) of a right, we can say that God is the subject of a right to obedience, and the term of this right would be man’s duty to obey him. The means which God has given man for discerning how to obey Him is his conscience, so the term of God’s right to obedience amounts to man’s duty to obey his conscience. But in judging how well a man has obeyed his conscience, God takes into account the prevailing circumstances; so for instance, if an heretic’s conscience is telling him to disseminate his errors, but the civic authorities have imprisoned him for doing so and so he is unable to disseminate them, God will not ajudge him to have sinned against his conscience, and a reasonable heretic knows this. Why then would it be illegitimate for the State to impose such a change of circumstances (i.e. imprisoning notorious public heretics), when such an imposition does not induce the offender of the Catholic religion to sin?
Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval.

2. You say (in your post “On Duties and Rights” of January 30, 2006) that a proper right has three parts: a subject, which is the person exacting the right, a term, which is “the person with the corresponding duty” and an object, which is the matter of the right. But in a supposed right to public offences against the Catholic religion—which are the matter of a right to freedom of religion for heretics—the term is the Catholics who are exposed to these offences. But being exposed to the seductive errors of heretics is an occasion of sin, and one can only have a duty to put oneself in an occasion of sin for the sake of some higher duty, never for the sake of the sin itself, which would be an absurdity. (And as you say, “Rights have limits - ceasing to be a right at the point where a conflicting duty arises that is superior”, and the duty to avoid occasions of sin is certainly a superior duty when it is possible to make someone refrain sinlessly from imposing the occasion of sin, which, as mentioned in 1., is the case here.) Given, then, that one of the parts of the right is certainly missing, how can a right to religious freedom be considered a true and proper right?
Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval.

3. Even if we suppose, by an impossibility, that there is a right to religious freedom of the kind which you describe, how can the matter of this right—which, in the case of offenders of the Catholic religion, is objectively false and evil—be anything other than the object of tolerance on the part of the offender’s neighbours and the civic authorities?
Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval.

4. Dignitatis Humanæ teaches (§7) that the common good is composed of two subsets: one is the ‘just public order’, whose elements are listed in §7, and the other is “the rest”, whose elements are whatever elements are not listed under the heading of ‘just public order’, since these two parts are mutually exclusive and exhaustive. One element of “the rest”, then, would be an entirely Catholic populace’s desire to remain united in the Catholic Faith. But Dignitatis Humanæ teaches that with respect to “the rest”—including, as mentioned, the Catholic unity of the populace—“the freedom of man is to be respected as far as possible and is not to be curtailed except when and insofar as necessary” (§7). But is this not an inversion of the Traditional doctrine, which, if we were to try to encapsulate it in a slogan, would be something like “curtailing freedom to offend the Catholic religion as far as possible and not permitting it except when and insofar as necessary”, as is clear when Pius XII affirmed, in Ci riesce, that “religious and moral error must always be impeded, when it is possible”, and does this not therefore defy the emphatic teaching of Leo XIII that all the elements of the common good—since he speaks repeatedly of the common good without qualification—are to be taken into account when considering how much freedom the State should tolerate?
Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval.

5. How does Suarez explain how bans on offences against the Catholic Faith (but not, for some reason, offences against Catholic morals, i.e. the natural law) “would involve, to some extent, forcing people to accept the Faith; and that is never permitted”? If he does not explain this, then could you, Mr. Gurries, elaborate on your understanding of this? It seems to be based on an illegitimate symmetry between being forced to disobey one’s conscience and being prevented from obeying one’s conscience.
Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval.

Mr. Gurries,

As you know I am not objecting to the substance of your notion of ‘separation’, just the terms; both popular and Magisterial usage of the term ‘separation of Church and State’ has changed greatly during the more than a millennium from Gelasius I to the modern era, to the extent that the terms ‘that the State should be separated from the Church, and the Church from the State’ were condemned in the Syllabus of Errors. Given that that is the present-day usage, does what you have written not attract the censure of “evil-sounding”, i.e., using improper words to express otherwise acceptable truths (cf. the article “Censures, theological” in The Catholic Encyclopedia)?

Furthermore, your citation is of the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, but the man now reigning gloriously as Pope did not use the term ‘separation’ of Church and State when he had the opportunity to do so, at His Holiness’s December 13, 2008 visit to the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, the misrepresentation in a Zenit report notwithstanding:

"“This brief visit allows me to reaffirm that the Church is very aware that the distinction between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, that is to say, the distinction between State and Church, is a part of the fundamental structure of Christianity. ... This distinction and autonomy are respected and recognized by the Church which is happy with them, considering them a great progress for humanity and a fundamental condition for its freedom and for fulfilling its universal mission of salvation among the peoples".”
[my emphasis,
VIS 081215 (600)]

Given that the term ‘distinction’ is clearly sufficient for the Holy Father, and use of the term ‘separation’ is at best imprudent, why your insistence on the latter?

Regarding “Religious Freedom FAQ’s”, I have condensed my objections into five questions, each no more than a paragraph when taken with its accompanying explanation, and I have submitted them at that post. You are free, of course, to publish as many or as few of them as you please, and to respond to them, if you wish to respond, at your leisure.
Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval.


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen, Widow, A.D. 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Changes to Burke’s Peerage: what is the world coming to?!

From yesterday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph:

Bastards in Peerage

LONDON: Aristocracy's bible Burke's Peerage and Gentry has succumbed to the 21st century by including illegitimate children.
Among the changes in the guide, which lists the genealogy of every royal and aristocratic family in Europe and the US, will be naming offspring in order of birth, rather than males first.
The new version, due out this year, will bring major changes to the Queen's entry. Her daughter Princess Anne, now listed last of her four children, will be ahead of her younger brothers Princes Andrew and Edward.
[The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia, July 2, 2009, p.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Irenaeus, Deacon, Martyr, A.D. 2009