Friday, March 26, 2010

Two items from yesterday's Vatican Information Service e-mail bulletin: One on the Murphy case, the other on a new resource at the Vatican home-page

The first one balances what you'll read in mainstream media news items today on the appalling case of a priest who is accused of molesting some two hundred deaf children, and which (the case, that is) was (much) later referred to the Sacred C.D.F. when H.H. The Pope was its Prefect:

VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the complete text of the English-language declaration made yesterday, 24 March, by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. to the New York Times:

"The tragic case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy, a priest of the archdiocese of Milwaukee, involved particularly vulnerable victims who suffered terribly from what he did. By sexually abusing children who were hearing-impaired, Fr. Murphy violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him.

"During the mid-1970s, some of Fr. Murphy's victims reported his abuse to civil authorities, who investigated him at that time; however, according to news reports, that investigation was dropped. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was not informed of the matter until some twenty years later.

"It has been suggested that a relationship exists between the application of 'Crimen sollicitationis' and the non-reporting of child abuse to civil authorities in this case. In fact, there is no such relationship. Indeed, contrary to some statements that have circulated in the press, neither 'Crimen' nor the Code of Canon Law ever prohibited the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement authorities.

"In the late 1990s, after over two decades had passed since the abuse had been reported to diocesan officials and the police, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was presented for the first time with the question of how to treat the Murphy case canonically. The Congregation was informed of the matter because it involved solicitation in the confessional, which is a violation of the Sacrament of Penance. It is important to note that the canonical question presented to the Congregation was unrelated to any potential civil or criminal proceedings against Fr. Murphy.

"In such cases, the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties, but recommends that a judgment be made not excluding even the greatest ecclesiastical penalty of dismissal from the clerical state. In light of the facts that Fr. Murphy was elderly and in very poor health, and that he was living in seclusion and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggested that the archbishop of Milwaukee give consideration to addressing the situation by, for example, restricting Fr. Murphy's public ministry and requiring that Fr. Murphy accept full responsibility for the gravity of his acts. Fr. Murphy died approximately four months later, without further incident".

[Msgr. Magee's statement, which does not deal with the Murphy case, follows.]
[My square-bracketed interpolation]
The second item alerts us to a very valuable resource which is now available, and for free, at the Vatican's home-page:


VATICAN CITY, 25 MAR 2010 (VIS) - In a communique released today the Holy See Press Office announced the online publication of the official acts of the Holy See and of the collection of documents from the period of World War II.

"Important texts that until now have only been available in hard copy in libraries are now accessible at the Official Site of the Holy See, in the "Resource Library" section.

"Entire collections of the 'Actae Sanctae Sedis (A.S.S.)' and of the 'Acta Apostolicae Sedis (A.A.S.)' - i.e., the official Acts of the Holy See from 1865 to 2007 - are available in pdf format, as is the twelve-volume collection of the 'Actes et documents du Saint-Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale', published by order of Paul VI starting in 1965, and edited by a specialised group of four Jesuit historians.

"These texts represent a documentary resource of inestimable value that is now at the disposal of scholars and all interested persons, free of charge. It is a great contribution to research and information on the history and activities of the Holy See".

I don't want to sound ungrateful--I am certainly very pleased that this resource is now so easily accessible--but I wish that the A.S.S. entries for the entire Pontificate of Bl. Pius IX had been posted; the propositions which make up the Syllabus of Errors, published in 1864, were extracted from various Acts of His late Holiness; some of those Acts--some Encyclicals, for instance--are available on-line, but most are not.

Reginaldvs Cantvar

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mrs. Shanahan on discouraging stay-at-home married mothers while encouraging stay-at-home unwed mothers

Mrs. Angela Shanahan had an interesting column in last Saturday's edition of The Weekend Australian. Here are some excerpts:

Almost 30 per cent of Australian children are born out of wedlock, mostly to 20-something single mums. Many never marry and will probably be reliant on income support for large chunks of their lives.

[...] The flip side of the growing number of ex[tra-?]nuptial births is the so-called marriage gap, the modern phenomenon in which girls who have tertiary education and are generally ambitious are the ones who are getting married. This is unlike the past when the home-centred, less educated 20-somethings would have married and had children. In fact most tertiary-educated women are married by the time they are 30 and try to have the first child quickly because their window of fertility is fast narrowing. Importantly, the marriage gap has resulted in two classes of mothers: those who are married and live in stable relationships and those who aren't and probably don't.

There has been optimism that the divorce rate has levelled off, a good thing because it means fewer of those women now marrying will end up single mothers. However, the marriage rate is plummeting, so there will be a disproportionate number of children on the bottom end of the economic scale.

This is, and will continue to be, a huge drain on the welfare system. According to The Australian's social affairs writer Stephen Lunn, women receive two-thirds of income-support payments -- mostly parenting payments -- and in the future a disproportionate number will not have partners. Government and the opposition should start thinking about the consequences of this.

In his book Battlelines Tony Abbott states the disproportionate numbers of children in the bottom income deciles are the reason behind his maternity leave push: get the people at the top of the tree to have more kids.Unfortunately, we will need a lot more than maternity leave for the ones at the top to fix this problem because the disproportionate exnuptial birthrate at the bottom end of the economic spectrum will make the figures on children in poverty only worse.

There is another part of this seesaw. Larger stable families in the middle who in the past could have had long periods living on a single income can no longer afford to do so. They are taxed as individuals. The so-called family tax benefit part B has been means-tested and there is no real taxation relief for these families, let alone the kinds of freebies that come with a social security card.

[...] However, no one has thought of any way to substantially alleviate the problems of tax disadvantage with which families have to cope. It seems that luring more middle-income mothers into the workforce is all they can think of. But a second income is often a much resented necessity and not always the career choice it is portrayed as.

[...] Meanwhile, the welfare problem is huge and it's going to get bigger. So it is not a case of the married stay-at-home mums v the salaried mums that are the two great blocks of women in two different family types, as is often portrayed in the one-track ideology of the media mentality.

It is the single, welfare-dependent mothers who will never marry and the rest; one group supporting another.

Abbott emphasises that married middle-class women should be able to work and have more children. But the taxes of those married mums forced to work are paying for a growing number of children of single mums.

[my square-bracketed interpolations]
Reginaldvs Cantvar

Cardinal Pell, contra Mr. Hitchens, on sexual abuse

His Eminence The Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney has a good opinion piece in today's edition of The Australian. Here's an excerpt:

In 2001, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, [H.H. The Pope] issued an instruction to all bishops requiring them to refer allegations of pedophilia against priests to the congregation for investigation. It is frequently claimed that this 2001 instruction required bishops to treat these allegations with total secrecy and not inform the police, under penalty of excommunication.

This claim was repeated in The Australian on March 18 by Christopher Hitchens. Referring to the 2001 instruction, Hitchens wrote: "The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church's own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated `in the most secretive way restrained by a perpetual silence and everyone is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office under the penalty of excommunication'."

However, the letter Ratzinger issued in 2001 made no reference to excommunication. The words Hitchens quotes are taken from an earlier letter from the Holy See on this matter, issued in 1962, which was superseded by the 2001 document.

I received the 2001 letter soon after I became Archbishop of Sydney. Five years earlier I had established an independent commission, headed by Peter O'Callaghan QC, to investigate complaints of abuse in the archdiocese of Melbourne.

I was not excommunicated and neither were the other bishops when they set up the Towards Healing process soon afterwards.

[my square-bracketed interpolation]
Reginaldvs Cantvar

Friday, March 19, 2010

More liturgical dancing, this time in The Archdiocese of Sydney

And once again presided over by a Bishop, though not the local Ordinary this time:

Mass celebrates Lunar New Year

28 February, 2010
More than 1500 Vietnamese Catholics came together for a celebration of song and dance during a New Year’s Eve Mass to celebrate the Lunar New Year or “Tet” at Sacred Heart Church, Cabramatta, on February 13.

Fr Liem Duong, assistant priest at Sacred Heart, was principal celebrant, with Fr Patrick McAuliffe (parish priest at Sacred Heart), and Bishop Michael McKenna, Bishop of Bathurst, presiding at the Mass on the first day of New Year.

Fr Liem says the first part of the Mass included a “Thanksgiving to God” ceremony asking him for his blessing.

“We also honoured our ancestors, thanking them for our faith and culture, and we honoured the memory of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs,” he said.

"During the Mass, children wore traditional costumes and a traditional dance was performed during the offertory.

“At the end of the Mass, a dragon dance was performed to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.”

Another 12 Vietnamese Masses were celebrated across Sydney on the first day of the New Year.

There are 200,000 Vietnamese living in Australia with 43,000 of them Catholics. There are 16,000 Vietnamese Catholics living in Sydney.

Liturgical dancing during the Novus Ordo "Offertory"--talk about heaping infidelity upon infidelity.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessor, A.D. 2010.

Mr. Justice Kirby on the prospects for a government apology to sodomites (seriously)

The Hon. Michael Kirby A.C. C.M.G. has written some interesting things in a document whose intended audience is youngsters and which apparently was obtained by News Limited (it was reported in yesterday's Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun):

[...] "Openness about sexuality helps to destroy the foundation for prejudice and discrimination," he has written in a new collection of essays.

"One day there will be a big parliamentary apology . . . to gay people for the oppression that was forced on them and the inequalities that were maintained in the law well beyond their use-by date. Just like the delayed 2008 apology to the Aboriginal people of our country."

Justice Kirby, 71, has contributed to a collection of essays about justice issues, distributed to secondary schools and universities.

Future Justice is published by the Future Leaders initiative, with essays by Julian Burnside QC and Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty.

[...] "I also do not doubt that, in a comparatively short time, Australia will move towards same-sex civil unions and gay marriage," he writes.

"No one has satisfactorily explained how my 40-year loving relationship with my partner Johan in any way affects (still less undermines) heterosexual marriage.

"If Australians are now more homophobic than racist, as some recent public opinion polls suggest, this is because Australians have lacked good leadership on this issue."

He says that just as Australians overcame racism by "getting to know" people of different races, "we would all overcome homophobia more quickly if every gay person were open and felt able to say without fear of violence and discrimination: 'This is me. Get over it. It is no big deal!'." [...]
[my square-bracketed interpolations,]
So Mr. Justice Kirby says that

[n]o one has satisfactorily explained how [his] 40-year loving relationship with [his] partner Johan in any way affects (still less undermines) heterosexual marriage.
Sorry to be the one to break it to you, Your Honour, but: It's the buggery. Love means willing the highest good for another, and the good is that which suits the nature of the thing desiring it. Buggery, or whatever you and your confederates do to each other, doesn't suit anyone's nature, and therefore can never be a true expression of love, which is the heart of a marriage. Buggery ain't pretty, and any institution associated with it is tarnished thereby. In these and other ways, same-sex pairings like yours undermine opposite-sex matrimony (which is the only kind of matrimony, of course). But of course, Mr. Justice Kirby will not acknowledge this, because evidently he subscribes to the Sodomites' League's overall strategy of diverting the public discourse on sodomites away from behaviour and towards identity--hence his talk of "'This is me. Get over it."

The Future Leaders website has a section devoted to Future Justice, and while the Publications section confirms that the document is targeted at youngsters ("A free copy available for every secondary school"), apparently it is not available to the wider community. Pity. I would have liked to see what other perverted notions of justice, in addition to those peddled by Mr. Justice Kirby, positivists are trying to inflict on impressionable schoolchildren.

Here are the choicest of the comments at the on-line versions of the News Limited articles:


john Posted at 9:05 AM March 18, 2010
why not just be sorry for being white hetrosexual tax paying christians, this way we've covered all bases..

Comment 5 of 17

JohhnyG of Sydney Posted at 9:38 AM March 18, 2010
If you were to say "Australians are homophobic" you would be racist.... right?

Comment 8 of 17

Paul of Melbourne Posted at 3:57 AM March 18, 2010
How can you compare people's not exceptance of homosexuals with racism? This article states that recent public opinion polls show people are not excepting of homosexual practices due to poor leadership. Wot the!!!! The poll shows exactly what it shows. The silent majority are saying they don"t accept homosexual behaviour, don' you get it!!!!!

Comment 2 of 49

Barry Jones of Balnarring Beach Posted at 5:45 AM March 18, 2010
I would have thought it more appropriate for gays to apologize for their part in inflicting aids on the hetrosexual community.

Comment 6 of 49

Sean Posted at 6:08 AM March 18, 2010
Gay people should receive an apology. Sooo, to all the gay people out there..."I'm sorry you are gay". I hope that makes everyone feel better, particulary those anti-homophobes...

Comment 9 of 49

Father of 4 Posted at 6:20 AM March 18, 2010
Sorry??? What for??? They chose that unhealthy, immoral lifestyle, it wasn't forced on them

Comment 10 of 49

tommy of melb Posted at 7:40 AM March 18, 2010

Comment 24 of 49

Rob of Melbourne Posted at 7:51 AM March 18, 2010
Justice Kirby is a fool. I will never apologise to sinners engaged in "unnatural" and depraved behaviour. Homosexuals need to apologise to God and repent of their sinful lifestyle.

Comment 29 of 49

William of Carlton Posted at 8:40 AM March 18, 2010
Sigh . . . looks like my time has come. I'm a middle-aged, white, Anglo-Celtic heterosexual male who has raised a family, works hard, eschews government welfare, tries to get on with everyone and sometimes attends a Christian church service. So all you perpetually aggrieved whingers, line up over there and I'll dispense my apologies as genuinely as possible.

Comment 43 of 49

Stevo of Yarrambat Posted at 8:40 AM March 18, 2010
Gays should be apologising to US for rubbing their sexuality in our faces!!! Get this idiot off the bench!!!!!

Comment 44 of 49

There was no editorial on the matter in The Daily Telegraph, but apparently there was one in The Herald Sun, with this at its website:

No more sorries

From: Herald Sun March 18, 2010 12:00AM

FORMER High Court judge Michael Kirby believes there will be "a big parliamentary apology" to gay people.

But the question is, should there be?

As reported in the Herald Sun, Justice Kirby has contributed to a collection of essays on justice issues to be sent to secondary schools and universities.

He says Australians "are now more homophobic than racist" and likens a gay apology to prime Minister Kevin Rudd's "sorry" in 2008 to Aborigines.

But many Australians will question Justice Kirby's analogy.

It represents a collective guilt to which most of us would plead innocence.

How many times are we to say "sorry" and for how many injustices, real or perceived?

What is more important is to recognise discrimination and remove it, not seek to lay blame.
Disappointing. It's good that The Herald Sun doesn't support Mr. Justice Kirby's mooted apology, but that newspaper fails to discriminate between just and unjust discrimination. I am not aware of any official unjust discrimination against sodomites in Australia at any time between colonisation and the present, though of course there has been plenty of just discrimination. Mind you, some laws regarded as discriminating against 'G.L.B.T.' folk did nothing of the sort; the matter of so-called anti-homosexuality laws, for instance, was acts, not orientations, and applied to sodomites regardless of whether they were homosexual or heterosexual and to catamites regardless of whether they were male or female.

So, with a Parlimentary apology to the so-called gay community (properly the gay contingent, since the members of a community, by definition, strive after a common good, not after vice) in the not-too-distant future, one wonders: Will Australia's gay precincts start to hold Welcome to Queer Country ceremonies at events like Sydney's annual Sodomites' Parade?! Stay tuned, though for all I know something of the sort happens already!

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessor, A.D. 2010.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ms Tom on so-called gay marriage

In her column in last Saturday's edition of The Weekend Australian, Ms Emma Tom, herself a supporter of so-called gay marriage, refuted the argument for it from the behaviour of brute animals:
News that animals can be as queer as folk has -- understandably -- been seized on by activists as indisputable proof that homosexuality is as "natural" a human state as heterosexuality.

But while such studies are an essential counter to the homophobic observer bias previously found in that alleged bastion of objectivity known as science, extrapolating from animal to human behaviour is precarious.

[...] No, fascinating and thought-provoking as they may be, animal sexual habits are like Rorschach inkblot tests: squint hard enough and you'll see whatever you want.

The argument that natural occurrences automatically have moral worth is also suss. Rape, infanticide, snuff sex and necrophilia are all common in the animal kingdom yet no one's agitating for more humans to hop into these unattractive practices.

In truth, biological determinism can't be used to determine anything except that animals and humans are biologically exuberant and highly resistant to sexual pigeon-holing.
Ms Tom went on to offer some pro-'gay-marriage' arguments, but they were so weak that I will not refute them here. Instead I will state, as succinctly as possible, why so-called gay marriages are invalid, in response to Ms Tom's assertion that "the case against simply doesn't stack up":
Marriage, in the most general sense of the word, means to unite two complementary parts into a whole. Given this, it is not necessary to provide a full definition of matrimony; it is sufficient to point out the mode in which the spouses are joined in matrimony. Now as any supporter of so-called gay marriage will acknowledge, marriage is not just some kind of Platonic union of two friends; it is the conjugal union of two lovers. And since two persons of the same sex are incapable of consummating a conjugal union, they are incapable of marrying. That proves the invalidity of any 'gay marriage', and its illegitimacy as a simulation of real marriage is proved from the fact that the manner in which same-sex couples simulate (though as you know my preferred verb is 'parody') genuine conjugal relations is an abuse of the faculties involved and is therefore, by definition, intrinsically evil (and of course the evil can never be the object of a right).
Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, A.D. 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Msgr. Tissier on the theology of H.H. The Pope

The Rt. Rev. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais F.S.S.P.X. has written a treatise, published originally in Le Sel de la terre, no. 69, (Northern) Summer 2009 and now available in English on-line at Mr. Stephen Heiner's True Restoration blog or in a hard copy from True Restoration Press, entitled Faith Imperiled by Reason: Benedict XVI’s Hermeneutics. The following section from Chapter 1 was of particular interest to me and, presumably, will be to readers of this blog, too, and should whet your appetite for what would make fine weekend reading:

When hermeneutics begins to distort history

If only Benedict XVI would allow me to protest this distortion of history! The popes of the 19th century have condemned religious liberty, not only on account of the indifferentism of its promoters, but in itself:

— because it is not a natural right of man: Pius IX said that it is not a ‘proprium cujuscumque hominis jus,’[22] and Leo XIII said that it is not one of the ‘jura quae homini natura dederit.’[23]
— and because it proceeds from ‘an altogether distorted idea of the State,’[24] the idea of a State which would rather not have the duty of protecting the true religion against the expansion of religious error.

These two motives for condemnation are absolutely general; they follow from the truth of Christ and of his Church, from the duty of the State to recognize it, and from its indirect duty to promote the eternal salvation of the citizens, not, indeed, by constraining them to believe in spite of themselves, but by protecting them against the influence of socially professed error, all things taught by Pius IX and Leo XIII.

If today, circumstances having changed, religious plurality demands, in the name of political prudence, civil measures for tolerance even of legal equality between diverse cults, religious liberty as a natural right of the person, in the name of justice, should not be invoked. It remains a condemned error. The doctrine of the faith is immutable, even if its complete application is impeded by the malice of the times. And on the day when circumstances return to normal, to those of Christianity, the same practical application of repression of false cults must be made, as in the time of the Syllabus. Let’s remember that circumstance which change application (consequent circumstances) do not affect the content of doctrine.

We must say the same thing concerning circumstances which prompt the magisterium to intervene (antecedent circumstances). That religious liberty had in 1965 a personalist context, very different from the context of aggressiveness that it had a hundred years earlier in 1864, at the time of the Syllabus, does not change its intrinsic malice. The circumstances of 1864 certainly caused Pius IX to act, but they did not affect the content of the condemnation that he set down for religious liberty. Should a new Luther arise in 2017, even without his attaching as in 1517 his 95 theses to the door of the collegial church of Wittenberg, he would be condemned in the very terms of 500 years before.[25] Let us reject then the equivocation between ‘circumstantial’ decision and prudential, provisional, fallible, reformable, correctible decision in matters of doctrine.

[22] “A right proper to each man’: Pius IX, encyclical Quanta cura, Dz 1690.
[23] ‘Rights which nature has given to man’: Leo XIII, encyclical Libertas, Dz 1932.
[24] Pius IX, encyclical Quanta cura, Dz 1690.
[25] See: Fr. François Knittel, “Benedict XVI: debate concerning Vatican II,’ in Courrier de Rome, Si si no no, # 290, June 2006, p. 6

The sources (in English) for footnotes 22-24 are available here and here. For discussion on Faith Imperiled by Reason, go hither (though of course you're welcome to discuss it here, too).

Reginaldvs Cantvar