Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Wednesday, December 25-29, 2010

1. "[A]mong lesbian couples, generally both women take on a mothering role"

As one would expect. But who takes on the fathering role?

2. "Two of Russia's biggest spy agencies are at war with one another as attempts are made to merge them and create an intelligence service modelled on the Soviet-era KGB, according to a Russian intelligence expert"

3. Two letters from yesterday's Herald: One on defamation law in Australia, the other on traditional Christmas decorating

The former:

Facts on truth

Wayne Lawson (Letters, December 27) is correct that freedom of speech is not enshrined in the constitution, but substantial truth has been an absolute defence in defamation law since January 2006.

Geoff Holland Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney

The latter:

Undeck the halls

Commercial interests have completely distorted the dates and extent of the Christmas season for their own purpose, which is to encourage increased spending. No wonder the public is confused, and I don't doubt that some no longer remember that, properly speaking, the season runs from
Christmas Day to Epiphany, January 6 - 12 days, no more.

Decorations should be put up on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 7. Ignore what the shops do; if householders want to do it, we can at least get it right.

Mona Finley Darlington Point


4. Mr. Katter on his ancestry:

''[His grandparents] were very religious people - there wouldn't have been too much playing up - my grandfather's uncle was head of the Maronite Church - that's almost equivalent to the pope.''

5. Dr. Daintree on, among other things, references to Christianity and religion in the draft national curriculum for history:

Yet the compilers of the draft curriculum have chosen the simplest strategy of all: deliberate, pointed, tendentious and outrageous silence. In its 20 pages, the draft ancient history curriculum mentions religion twice. There is no reference to Christianity anywhere in the document.

The draft modern history curriculum is 30 pages long. Christianity is simply never mentioned, at least not explicitly. The word religion appears twice, the first occurrence in the context of Indian history, the second in the context of Asian and African decolonisation. However the precise phrase in which it is found discloses the agenda of the compilers: "The effect of racism, religion and European cultures."

This, surely, is an oblique mention of Christianity and a judgment upon it at the same time.


6. R.I.P. The Lord Bishop of Sandhurst

7. "Watch out for Russian wild card in Asia-Pacific"

8. "Church free to ban gay foster parents after NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal ruling"

This is, in several respects, and interesting article:

CHURCH groups are free to discriminate against homosexuals after a landmark judgment in which a tribunal ruled religious charities are allowed to ban gay foster parents.

The ruling, made in the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal, has been hailed by the Catholic Church but has outraged civil libertarians, who are demanding religions no longer be exempt from anti-discrimination laws if they receive public money.

[...] Even the tribunal itself, whose judgment came down in favour of the ban, said it was effectively bound to reach the decision because of the very broad exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act relating to religious groups.

And, it went as far as suggesting that Parliament may wish to revise those laws.

The decision marks the end of a seven-year legal battle for a gay couple who attempted to become foster carers through Wesley Mission Australia but were knocked back because their lifestyle was not in keeping with the beliefs and values of Wesleyanism, a Methodist order of the Uniting Church.

The ADT initially awarded the couple $10,000 and ordered the charity to change its practices so it did not discriminate but an appeals panel set aside that decision and ordered the tribunal to reconsider the matter.

The tribunal then said it had little choice but to find that the discrimination was "in conformity" with the church's doctrine because the test in the law "is singularly undemanding". [...]

[bold type in the original,]

Unless the N.S.W. Government has already exempted religious adoption agencies from having to offer their services to same-sex couples (I can't remember whether it has or not), this ruling could have (favourable) implications for the Government deciding whether or not to grant such an exemption. For more on this, see here.

For The Australian's editorial on the ruling, see here.

9. This generation of youngsters to have a lower average I.Q. than previous generations?

I was interested to read the following in the Sydney Daily Telegraph the other day:

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons trauma committee deputy chair Professor Danny Cass said the level of heavy drinking in society would lead to brain damage among this generation.

"There's going to be a group from this generation who will have lower IQs," Professor Cass said.

"They are lowering their IQ by drinking at a young age, when their brains are still developing."


But then, most generations have probably had such a group. As one commenter says in that article's combox,

Steve R of Sydney Posted at 7:44 AM December 27, 2010

Its always been the same. Just more media coverage these days.

Comment 4 of 33

10. Of Foucault pendulums

An interesting item from the other day's edition of the Herald's "Column 8" section:

Here's a concoction of science and dark deeds to mull over. ''During the 1954 solar eclipse Maurice Allais reported unusual motion of a Foucault pendulum (a device that demonstrates the rotation of the Earth),'' we are told by Joe Wolfe, of the University of NSW School of Physics. ''Since then, a number of different or null effects have been reported for Foucault pendulums at eclipses. One possible explanation is that, during an eclipse, physicists are usually outside observing it rather than indoors watching to see whether anyone tampers with a pendulum. The University of NSW School of Physics has a Foucault pendulum in the foyer. On the day of the lunar eclipse last Tuesday this pendulum suffered unusual motion: it vanished, leaving a suspending wire that appears to have been cut. So, if your Christmas stocking contained a 60cm varnished sphere of jarrah wood, please alert the school of physics. We would like it back.''

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, Bishop, Martyr, A.D. 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Notes: Friday, December 24, 2010

... One in seven children grow up in families where no one in the house has a job.

The Australian Council of Social Service and the Salvos estimate that 2 million people cannot afford some of the bare necessities of life.


3. "I have just spent 10 days in Israel and every discussion there - almost every thought - is infused with Iran"

4. A consequentialist defence of lying to children about the existence of 'Santa Claus'

Needless to say, I disagree:

5. Mr. Egan on the harmful psychological effects on mothers who abort their respective pregnancies
(Mr. Egan's letter is a response to this letter from yesterday's edition of The Australian. Unfortunately neither of the respective on-line versions of those two letters contains the respective first sentences of those two letters. They were, for Mr. Egan's letter, "IT won't be difficult for Angela Shanahan to meet Maryanne Long's challenge.", and, for Ms Long's letter, "I CHALLENGE Angela Shanahan to produce objective, valid evidence to support her statement that abortion "can cause terrible long-term trauma".")

6. "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus Forum"

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord, A.D. 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Notes: Thursday, December 23, 2010

1. "Bishop Williamson appoints new lawyer"
(brought to my attention by this AQ thread)

2. A new website against 'Communion in the hand'
(brought to my attention by this AQ thread)

3. An interesting AQ comment by "Amemus Athanasium"

Interesting chiefly for mention of how

dissident patriarch Bartholomew I, while being a schismatic, received his theological doctorate and primary formation in the (Uniate) Russian College 'Russicum' in Rome. It is now a sadly ecumenist and dogmatically relativist institute, but it was once a great theological institute of the united Russian Byzantine Rite Catholic Church (or 'Russian Orthodox Church in communion with Rome').

4. Mr. Donohue with the names of those who have "theorized ["pedophilia"] as something fully in conformity with man and even with children"

Reginaldvs Cantvar

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Notes: Tuesday-Wednesday, December 21-22, 2010

1. The latest on the New S.T.A.R.T. treaty:

As the US Senate prepared for a critical vote on the Obama administration's nuclear arms treaty with Russia, Moscow warned legislators not to alter the treaty's terms and the White House stepped up lobbying to have the pact ratified.

See also

And according to Dr. Hal G. P. Colebatch, there is "massive Russian re-armament now taking place" (mentioned here:

2. "Fr Mark Kirby OSB - 10 advantages of saying Mass ad orientum"

3. Lord Nicholas Windsor on abortion

4. Dr. Fennell on "The Last Episode in the Staggered End of Western Civilisation"

5. What does the Holy Father mean by "the principle of secularity"?

6. Some good comments by "Jan B." and "Pax Vobiscum" on, respectively, religious freedom/religious tolerance and libertarianism

Reginaldvs Cantvar

Monday, December 20, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Monday, December 18-20, 2010

1. "Melkite Patriarch Gregory III: Jihad attacks on Middle Eastern Christians have all been a Zionist plot"

2. "Oberammergau bends 10-year vow, will stage religious plays annually"

3. "No renting houses to Arabs: 55% of Israelis agree with the Rabbis"

See also this Herald article:

Despite Rabbi Eliyahu's edict sending shockwaves through Israel's secular political establishment - with many commentators likening it to Nazi Germany's anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws of 1935 - it received the immediate backing of 75 rabbis across Israel.

At last count more than 300 rabbis - most of them in positions funded by the state - have added their names to the edict.

[...] Israeli Jews offended by the actions of the state rabbis have been further angered by their apparent immunity from the law.

[...] Yet, after two months in which a host of discriminatory laws were passed by the Israeli parliament, including a loyalty oath demanded of all new immigrants to Israel, a ban on Arab tour guides in the city of Jerusalem, and a ban on all organisations that question the Jewish character of the state of Israel, others argue that it is a natural extension of the current status quo. ''Fascism has raised its head in Israeli society,'' said the Arab Israeli MP Ahmed Tibi.

4. "Catholics told to lobby against gay marriage"
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Rodney Croome said the gay marriage movement respected the church's right not to marry same-sex couples, ...
I wonder how long that'll last?

5. Mrs. Peterson on why women can't be priests

6. Two articles by Mr. Muehlenberg regarding abortion

7. The rising popularity of civil unions and the declining popularity of marriage in France

... French couples are increasingly shunning traditional marriages and opting instead for civil unions, to the point that there are now two civil unions for every three marriages.

When France created its system of civil unions in 1999, it was heralded as a revolution in gay rights, a relationship almost like marriage, but not quite. No one, though, anticipated how many couples would make use of the new law. Nor was it predicted that by 2009, the overwhelming majority of civil unions would be between straight couples.

It remains unclear whether the idea of a civil union, called a pacte civil de solidarite, has responded to a shift in social attitudes or caused one. But it has proved remarkably well suited to France and its particularities about marriage, divorce, religion and taxes - and it can be dissolved with just a registered letter.

[...] France recognises only ''citizens'', and the country's legal principles hold that special rights should not be accorded to particular groups or ethnicities. So civil unions were made available to everyone. But their appeal to heterosexual couples was evident from the start. In 2000, just one year after the passage of the law, more than 75 per cent of civil unions were signed between heterosexual couples. That trend has only strengthened: of the 173,045 civil unions signed in 2009, 95 per cent were between heterosexual couples.

As with traditional marriages, civil unions allow couples to file joint tax returns, exempt spouses from inheritance taxes, permit partners to share insurance policies, ease access to residency permits for foreigners and make partners responsible for each other's debts. Concluding a civil union requires little more than a single appearance before a judicial official.

Even the Catholic Church, which initially condemned the partnerships, has relented. The French National Confederation of Catholic Family Associations says civil unions do not pose ''a real threat''.

While partnerships have exploded in popularity, marriage numbers have continued a long decline in France, as across Europe. Just 250,000 French couples married last year, with fewer than four marriages for each 1000 residents. In 1970, almost 400,000 French couples wed.


8. Dr. Brown on the purpose of the major post-Vatican-II liturgical changes
(the exchange between Dr. Brown and another commenter later in that thread is also interesting)

Reginaldvs Cantvar

Friday, December 17, 2010

Notes: Friday, December 17, 2010

1. Vatican Information Service (V.I.S.) daily e-mail bulletin item on a press conference for H.H. The Pope's Message for the 2011 World Day of Peace

Full text, including hyperlink in the last sentence:


VATICAN CITY, 16 DEC 2010 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, a press conference was held to present the Pope's Message for the forty-fourth World Day of Peace. The Day falls on 1 January 2011 and has as its theme: "Religious Freedom. The Path to Peace".

Participating in today's press conference were Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Bishop Mario Toso, S.D.B., Msgr. Anthony Frontiero and Tommaso De Ruzza, respectively president, secretary and officials of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Cardinal Turkson, speaking English, explained how this year's Message is made up of "an introductory reference to the attack on Christians in Iraq, the main body of the text which presents the meaning of religious freedom and the various ways in which it fashions peace and experiences of peace, and a concluding reflection on peace as a gift of God and as the work of men and women of goodwill, especially of believers.

"Religious freedom", he added, "is the theme of the Pope's Message for the World Day of Peace not only because that subject matter is central to Catholic social doctrine, but also because the experience of religious freedom - a basic vocation of man and a fundamental, inalienable and universal human right, and key to peace - has come under great stress and threat: From raging secularism, which is intolerant of God and of any form of expression of religion. From religious fundamentalism, the politicisation of religion and the establishment of State religions. From the growing cultural and religious pluralism that is becoming ever more present and pressing in our day".

"The Holy Father", the cardinal said, "sees the safeguarding of religious freedom in our multi-cultural, multi-religious and secularised world as one of the ways to safeguard peace".

"One of the important tasks that our world set for itself following World War II was the formulation, adoption and promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", said the president of the pontifical council. Benedict XVI, he said, "is also worried about the increasing instances of the denial of the universality of these rights in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks".

"Religious freedom is not a right granted by a State", it "is derived, ... from natural law and from the dignity of the person, which are rooted in creation. Rather, the State and other public institutions, ... need to recognise it as intrinsic to the human person, as indispensable for integrity and peace".

Cardinal Turkson went on: "Religious freedom is a duty of public authority" but "it is not an unlimited right. ... Religious freedom refers primarily to man's freedom to express his being 'capax Dei': his freedom to respond to the truth of his nature as created by God and created for life with God without coercion or impediments. It is in this that man finds his peace, and from there becomes an instrument of peace".

"Religious freedom does not imply that all religions are equal. Nor is it a reason for religious relativism or indifferentism. Religious freedom is compatible with defence of one's religious identity against relativism, syncretism and fundamentalism, which are all abused forms of religious freedom".

After then highlighting how "religious freedom is not limited to the free exercise of worship", the cardinal pointed out that "there is a public dimension to it, which grants believers the chance of making their contribution to building the social order".

"Denying the right to profess one's religion in public and the right to bring the truth of faith to bear upon public life has negative consequences for true development", he said.

"The exercise of the right of religious freedom as a way to peace thus implies the recognition of the harmony that must exist between the two areas and forms of life: private and public, individual and community, person and society. ... Accordingly, the development and the exercise of one's religious freedom, is also the task of one's community".

Referring then to the relationship between religious freedom and the State, Cardinal Turkson affirmed that, "although religious freedom is not established by the State, it (the State) nevertheless needs to recognise it as intrinsic to the human person and his public and communitarian expressions. Recognition of religious freedom and respect for the innate dignity of every person also imply the principle of the responsibility to protect on the part of the community, society and the State".

"The Church's appeals for religious freedom are not based on a claim of reciprocity, whereby one group respects the rights of others only if the latter respect their rights. Rather, appeals for religious freedom are based on the dignity of persons. We respect the rights of others because it is the right thing to do, not in exchange for its equivalent or for a favour granted. At the same time, when others suffer persecution because of their faith and religious practice, we offer them compassion and solidarity".

Cardinal Turkson concluded his observations by noting that "all proclamation of the Gospel ... is an effort to awaken the (religious) freedom of man to desire and to embrace the truth of the Gospel. This truth of the Gospel, however, is unique, because it is truth that saves. ... Evangelisation and the carrying out of the missionary charge, then, do not contradict and oppose the sense of religious freedom".

For his part, Bishop Toso affirmed that Benedict XVI's Message "invites us particularly to examine the truth of the right to religious freedom; in other words, its anthropological, ethical, juridical, political, civil and religious implications. ... Over and above mere tolerance, religious freedom is the marrow bone of all morality and freedom, of reciprocal respect, of peace".

"The Message reserves the same criticism for fanaticism, fundamentalism and laicism, because they all overlook the essence of religious freedom, which is the free and common search for transcendent truth".

"For the Church", the bishop concluded, "dialogue between followers of different religions is an important stimulus to collaborate with all religious communities for the promotion of peace. In this way - in a globalised world characterised by increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-confessional societies - the great religions can represent not a problem but a resource, an important factor of unity and harmony".

To read the text of the Holy Father's Message click
AC/ VIS 20101216 (1070)

2. "Irish abortion ban violates womens' rights: European Court of Human Rights"

3. Mr. Ackland on child sexual assault and child pornography in Australia


5. Mr. Haddad on the consequences of the recent changes to the CathNews comments policy
(first comment there)

6. "Terra" on the A.C.B.C.'s preoccupation with refugees

7. Mr. Muehlenberg on what a family is
(brought to my attention by one of Mr. Muehlenberg's comments here)

8. Mr. Skinner with a possible reason why most heterosexuals don't kick up a stink about the advance of 'gay rights'
(comment of 16.12.10 / 8pm)

Reginaldvs Cantvar

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Notes: Thursday, December 16, 2010

1. "Russian Army's [new, Tsarist-era-style] chic designer uniforms make soldiers ill"

2. "About Catholic Liturgy by an Anglican"

Interesting to me mainly for the reference in it to Msgr. Lefebvre:

3. Mr. Muehlenberg on moves in Switzerland to decriminalise incest

Also interesting for the reference, late in the post, to the Sodomites' League's call, almost forty years ago, for the legalisation of polygamy:

4. "Young gay risks"

Full text of a very short article from page seven of last Monday's edition of the Sydney Daily Telegraph (my transcription):

Young gay risks

A STUDY of HIV has revealed younger gay men are more willing to take sexual risks, were more likely to have never been tested for HIV and more likely to report not knowing the HIV status of regular partners, the study for the Centre for Population Health at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne found.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Notes: Tuesday-Wednesday, December 14-15, 2010

1. A good letter (1.1) to The Australian on abortion and infanticide and a bad (but significant) letter (1.2) to the same paper on euthanasia

1.1 (the second of the letters)



Those who sanctify human life above all other [sic] and who persist with the myth that dying from a terminal disease can be dignified are wrong.

What an insult to the many people who have courageously and dignifiedly obeyed the natural law's prohibition of euthanasia.

2. Leo XIII. on religious error as "the main root of all social and political evils"
(second-last sentence of the last paragraph in the quote block in the thread-starter)

3. Bizarre justification for womenpriests
(nicely refuted in the first comment after the thread-starter)

4. Mr. Rabich on the difference between identity and behaviour (in connection with 'gay rights')
(second of the thirteen combox comments)

5. Council of the European Bishops' Conferences communiqué regarding the 2nd Catholic-Orthodox Forum (Rhodes, Greece, October 18-22, 2010, main theme: "Church and State Relations: from Historical and Theological Perspectives"),1,0,0,e,126134,0,0,
(brought to my attention by Mr. Schütz in this comment of his at his blog)

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Ember Wednesday in Advent, A.D. 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Monday, December 11-13, 2010

1. "Israeli rabbis back ban on renting property to Arabs"

See also this AQ thread:

2. Mr. Muehlenberg on how legalisation of so-called gay marriage affects (adversely) people other than the gay 'husbands' and their respective 'wives'

3. A few interesting books reviewed/mentioned over the weekend

3.1 "In Your Face: The New Science of Human Attraction
"By David Perrett Palgrave
"Macmillan, 305pp, $42"

3.2 "Peter Leithart, Defending Constantine. IVP, 2010"

3.3 "Edward Feser, Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide (Oneway Publications, 2009)"
(also metioned in comments at the web-page linked in 3.2)

4. "AUSTRALIA'S culture of long work hours is putting at risk children's early learning opportunities"

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lucy, Virgin, Martyr, A.D. 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Notes: Friday, December 10, 2010

1. "WikiLeaks acts 'illegal': Gillard government"

2. Cardinal Pell represented at launch of revised version of B'nai-B'rith-produced and -supported anti-racism/-bigotry handbook for schools

From the Sydney Catholic Weekly of several Sundays ago (bold and italics as in the original):

‘Inspired initiative’ to fight racism, bigotry

By Kerry Myers
21 November, 2010

THERE must be constant vigilance against racism and prejudice, warned the chairman of the Community Relations Commission of NSW, Dr Stepan Kerkyasharian.

[...] Dr Kerkyasharian was speaking at the launch of Without Prejudice – Towards a Harmonious Society in the Strangers Lounge of NSW Parliament House on Tuesday, November 9.

The book is a further initiative to combat prejudice in classrooms and is a revision of an earlier project produced and supported by B’nai B’rith, the world’s oldest and largest Jewish community service organisation.

Guests included parliamentarians and community representatives, including Anthony Cleary, the CEO’s director of religious education and evangelisation, who represented the Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell.

“What an inspired initiative by B’nai B’rith . . . to enlighten children at this most influential point in their young lives,” Dr Kerkyasharian said.

“How better to do it than to provide their teachers with such a practical guide which can so easily be implemented in the classroom .... so easily dipped into and out of.

“This handbook is so well designed that just one exercise of 30-40 minutes could have an impact on a child’s life forever. [...]

Without Prejudice is available here. The Archdiocese of Sydney and the Catholic Education Commission of N.S.W. are listed here, along with bodies such as the Education Task Force of B’nai B’rith (N.S.W.) and the Alfred Dreyfus Unit of B'nai Brith (sic), as community groups by which "Moving Forward Together is supported and endorsed".

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Melchiades, Pope, Martyr, A.D. 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Notes: Thursday, December 9, 2010

1. "Princess Di's relative on sainthood path"

2. Sr. Pilcher on Australia's dying congregations of religious

3. "MORE than half of Canberra's lesbian and bisexual women surveyed report having been in an abusive relationship"

4. Mr. Muehlenberg and Ms Kirkman on polyamory

Reginaldvs Cantvar

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Notes: Tuesday-Wednesday, December 7-8, 2010

1. "Fire wardens be alarmed - you could get burnt"

Until recently the Australian Standard for emergency evacuation procedures - the ''best practice'' guide for all Australian workplaces - contained an explicit exemption from liability for the wardens, as long as they ''acted in good faith''.

But under changes announced in the past two weeks, the exemption is gone, replaced by a warning that employers and building owners should seek legal advice about the level of indemnity their fire wardens face.

The warning also applies to the members of emergency procedure committees - those charged with making sure the different evacuation plans of companies in large office blocks are consistent.


2. "Bridle on outspoken charities was wrong"

A High Court decision last week provided a big win for charities, and another big loss for the Tax Commissioner. At issue was whether an organisation can retain its charitable status and tax benefits while engaging in political debate. The High Court held that it could. ...

3. A Supreme Court decision about which I had not heard

Peter Saul, a senior intensive care specialist at John Hunter Hospital and the director of the clinical unit in ethics and health law at the University of Newcastle, said doctors and administrators had been forced to focus on the rights of dying patients by a Supreme Court decision last year.

Justice Robert McDougall ruled a Jehovah's Witness's written refusal of a blood transfusion had to be honoured even after he became unconscious, and that any advance care directive must be respected if it was ''made by a capable adult, and clear and unambiguous''.

Dr Saul said doctors would now be on "unsafe ground if they completely ignored [a directive], leaving themselves open to a charge [they] assaulted the patient''.

[square-bracketed interpolations in the original,]

3. Prof. Hastings on Catholicism and Nazism

4. "Terra" on "[t]he collapse of religious life"

5. Some figures on American Catholics and use of contraception

Studies suggest Catholic couples who use natural family planning, as directed in 1968 by Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, are in the vast minority. Estimates based on a 2006-2008 study by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that Catholic women were, essentially, just as likely as others to use some form of contraception, according to statistician William Mosher.

The nationwide estimate for women who use contraceptives was 61.9 percent overall, compared to 61.6 percent of women who identified themselves as Catholic. Based on the study, Mosher estimated that natural family planning is used by two out of 1,000 Catholic women in the country.


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, A.D. 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Monday, December 4-6, 2010

1. Messrs. Glover and Kelly on, among other things, so-called gay marriage

2. Mr. Muehlenberg with some new figures on euthanasia in the Low Countries

3. More from Russia

From an article entitled "Obama faces Republican resistance over nuclear deal as Russia warns of new arms race" by one Giles Whittell and which appeared on page seventeen in the "WORLD" section of The Weekend Australian last Saturday and which is apparently not available on-line:

AFTER years of negotiations with Russia and months of lobbying congress, the White House has until Monday to persuade a single Republican senator to back a new nuclear arms treaty. Failure could start a new arms race, Moscow has warned.
Mr Obama has made the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) treaty, which would slash the Russian and US long-range nuclear arsenals by a third, his foreign policy priority for this session of congress.
It has the support of the Krem-lin, the Pentagon, seven former commanders of the US's nuclear forces and five secretaries of state to Republican presidents.
[...] Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told CNN on Wednesday that if ratification stalled in Washington, Moscow "will have to react somehow".
"Russia will simply be obligated to ensure its security with different means, including the deployment of new nuclear missiles," he added. [...]

See also "Obama may give up tax rise to get missiles treaty":

4. H.H. The Pope on, among other things, marriage, the natural law, and Church-State relations

Excerpts from items from a couple of recent Vatican Information Service daily e-mail bulletins:


VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Fernando F. Sanchez Campos, the new ambassador of Costa Rica to the Holy See, to whom he expressed his contentment at the Jubilee Year the nation is currently celebrating to mark the 375th anniversary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of the Angels, the national patroness.

[...] "In this context", the Pope continued, "the public authorities must be the first to seek out what is of benefit to everyone, working principally as a moral force that augments each individual's freedom and sense of responsibility. This must not undermine the fundamental values which support the inviolable dignity of the person, beginning with the unswerving protection of human life. In this context I am pleased to recall that it was in your country that the Pact of San Jose was signed, which expressly recognises the value of human life from conception. Thus it is to be hoped that Costa Rica does not violate the rights of the unborn with laws that legitimise in vitro fertilisation or abortion".

The Holy Father then turned his attention to a new legal agreement which will, he said, "reaffirm the long history of mutual collaboration, healthy independence and mutual respect between the Holy See and Costa Rica", helping to guarantee "their traditional and fruitful understanding - more stably and more in keeping with current historical circumstances - with a view to the greater good of the country's religious and civil life".

[...] "A great contribution in this direction will be made if one of society's fundamental and irreplaceable pillars is strengthened: the stability and union of the family. This institution is suffering, perhaps like no other, the effects of the broad and rapid transformations of society and culture; nonetheless, it must not lose its true identity. ... Thus, no measure will be in vain if it favours, safeguards and supports marriage between a man and a woman". [...] CD/ VIS 20101203 (680)


VATICAN CITY, 2 DEC 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Gabor Gyorivanyi, the new Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See.

[...] "Without doubt the Catholic faith is one of the fundamental pillars of Hungarian history", the Holy Father added. "When, long ago in the year 1000, the young Hungarian Prince Stephen received the regal crown sent to him by Pope Sylvester II, this gift included the mandate to give faith in Jesus Christ a space and a home in that land. ... Of course we do not expect the State to impose a particular religion; rather, it should guarantee the freedom to confess and practice the faith. Nonetheless, politics and Christian faith do meet. ... This does nor mean imposing norms or codes of behaviour upon people who do not share the faith. It means, quite simply, purifying reason with the aim of helping to ensure that what is good and just may be recognised and put into practice, here and now".

The Pope then went on to refer to the important role played by Hungary following the fall of the Iron Curtain, to its entry into the European Union six years ago, and to its forthcoming presidency of the Council of Europe. "Hungary", he said, "is particularly called to act as mediator between East and West. The Holy Crown, the legacy of King Stephen, by uniting the circular 'corona graeca' with the arched 'corona latina', ... shows how East and West must support and enrich one another on the basis of their spiritual and cultural heritage, and on the living profession of faith".

Speaking them of the project for a new Hungarian constitution, the Pope expressed the hope "that it will be inspired by Christian values, especially as concerns the position of marriage and the family within society, and the protection of life".

He went on: "Marriage and the family constitute an essential foundation for the healthy development of civil society, of countries and of peoples. ... Europe would not be Europe if this basic social building block disappeared or was substantially transformed. ... The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives which involve the acceptance of alternative models of marriage and family life, as these would contribute to weakening the principles of natural law and thus to relativising legislation and society's understanding of values".

Finally Benedict XVI highlighted how the Catholic Church, "like other religious communities, plays a significant role in Hungarian society ... through her institutions in the field of education, culture, and social assistance, in this way she makes a useful contribution to the moral edification of your country. ... May the collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in this field grow in the future and bring benefit to everyone".
CD/ VIS 20101202 (560)

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Nicholas, Bishop, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Notes: Thursday, December 2, 2010

4. Cardinal Bertone on religious liberty

I would be interested to learn what the ellipsis in the third paragraph replaced:


VATICAN CITY, 1 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the address delivered by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. before the summit meeting of heads of State and government of the fifty-six members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), being held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 1 and 2 December.

Cardinal Bertone affirmed that the Holy See "does not cease to reiterate that the aim of States should be to protect and respect that human dignity which unites the entire human family. This unity is rooted in four fundamental principles: the centrality of the human person, of solidarity, of subsidiarity and of the common good. These principles harmonise well with the overall concept of security, which is the foundation of our organisation, and are a constant reminder which the political community must bear in mind".

"The CSCE and the OSCE have always had the promotion and protection of human rights in their respective agendas", said Cardinal Bertone. "These fundamental freedoms include the right to religious freedom. ... Developments of recent years and the progress made in drafting the various texts adopted by the OSCE show, with increasingly clarity, that religious freedom can exist in different social systems".

"Closely related to the denial of religious freedom is religiously-motivated intolerance and discrimination, especially against Christians. It is well documented that Christians are the most discriminated and persecuted religious group. Over 200 million of them, belonging to different denominations, live in difficult conditions because of legal and cultural structures".

[...] Finally the cardinal underlined the ongoing validity of the "ten principles" of the Helsinki Conference, stressing that "the commitments agreed by the OSCE are strong and noble. They are supported by a robust mandate and by the principle of consent. The Holy See reaffirms these commitments and encourages the organisation to stand firm on them".
SS/ VIS 20101201 (420)

5. More from Prof. Altman on gay strategy: The nexus between 'gay rights' and 'multiculturalism'

On several occasions, Mr. Muehlenberg has quoted at his blog the following observation by Australian 'gay rights' activist Prof. Dennis Altman:

The greatest single victory of the gay movement over the past decade has been to shift the debate from behavior to identity, thus forcing opponents into a position where they can be seen as attacking the civil rights of homosexual citizens rather than attacking specific and (as they see it) antisocial behavior.

In a book review in late 2008, Prof. Altman elaborated a little, in passing, on how that "shift" occurred successfully:

Sharman was of the generation [the person to whom Prof. Altman refers "[grew] up gay in the '50s"] that saw homosexuality move from a hidden and illegal activity to a social movement and now as yet another identity within multicultural Australia. He stood aside from gay politics and his autobiography rarely mentions the political explicitly. Yet his work has always been of political significance in the broader sense and Blood and Tinsel reminds us how much of his work helped us reimagine sexuality and gender.
[my emphasis,]

Interesting the way in which the rise of the Sodomites' League ties in with 'multiculturalism'.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Bibiana, Virgin, Martyr, A.D. 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Wednesday, November 27-December 1, 2010

1. The Spirit of Vatican II, home Masses, and child abuse

From an article in today's Herald:

From January 1981 Spillane joined a "renewal team" led by the provincial of the order, Father Keith Turnbull, which visited Vincentian parishes around Australia promoting what Spillane called "the teachings and the spirit of the Second Vatican Council". ...

[...] The day after the friend was killed in a car crash, Spillane turned up uninvited at T's house to celebrate a home Mass for the distraught young woman and her friends. ...

2. Classic Atheist straw man

In a letter in yesterday's Herald:

I am disturbed by the lack of logic in Cardinal Pell's view that atheists are ''frightened by the future'' and that our lives are ''without purpose, without constraints''.

Pell's religious faith is based on the idea that no evidence is required. In fact evidence, or reasoning contrary to religious ideals, is considered a challenge to faith. As such the rejection of that evidence or reasoning is treated as a virtue.

Unfortunately, by religious logic, reason and faith do live in an ''ideological apartheid''. I assume that when Pell says atheists have ''nothing beyond the constructs they confect to cover the abyss'', he is referring to the evidence-based logic of scientific process that I applied in coming to the conclusion that the God of the Bible does not exist.

Is he really asking me to replace my hard-fought epiphany with the vacuousness of faith? I wish he'd told me earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time and money on education.

Bill Bannister Castle Cove
[bold type in the original, my italics,]

Why would an Atheist erect such an obvious straw man as "Pell's [or any believer's] religious faith is based on the idea that no evidence is required"? (A similar thing was discussed in recent issues of Sydney Alumni Magazine.) I always want to put the best construction possible on whatever anyone of presumably good will says, so while on the one hand I don't want to infer that it's a lie (i.e., a falsehood which he knows to be false, which would require abandoning the presumption of good will), on the other hand the ignorance involved in thinking that "Pell's [or any believer's] religious faith is based on the idea that no evidence is required" is so gross that it seems not that much less an insulting alternative to the first possibility. Or is there a third possibility which I haven't considered? (And I don't ask that rhetorically. Can anyone think of a third possibility?)

3. "Wong backs SA Labor push on gay marriage"
See also

4. "Russian Orthodox Church okays use of condoms"

5. Fr. Kelly on morality

A weak article, because although factors other than the object of an act (what Fr. Kelly seems to call the intention involved in an act) influence the morality of an act, even when the other factors are good they cannot, of course, make an act with an evil object good.

6. H.H. The Pope on, among other things, the natural law, the death penalty, and the distinction (but not separation) between Church and State

Obviously it's always disappointing to see a Papal endorsement of opposition to the death penalty, but the disappointment is all the more acute, not to mention perplexing, when such an endorsement is proffered immediately after talking about the natural law:


VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Addressing them in English, the Pope referred to the close ties that for four centuries have united the Philippines and the See of Peter, highlighting the benefits the leaven of faith has brought to the Filipino people and their culture.

"To be such a leaven, the Church must always seek to find her proper voice, because it is by proclamation that the Gospel brings about its life-changing fruits", he said. "Thanks to the Gospel's clear presentation of the truth about God and man, generations of zealous Filipino clergymen, religious and laity have promoted an ever more just social order. At times, this task of proclamation touches upon issues relevant to the political sphere. This is not surprising, since the political community and the Church, while rightly distinct, are nevertheless both at the service of the integral development of every human being and of society as a whole".

"At the same time, the Church's prophetic office demands that she be free 'to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine ... and also to pass moral judgments in those matters which regard public order whenever the fundamental human rights of a person or the salvation of souls requires it'. In the light of this prophetic task, I commend the Church in the Philippines for seeking to play its part in support of human life from conception until natural death, and in defence of the integrity of marriage and the family. In these areas you are promoting truths about the human person and about society which arise not only from divine revelation but also from natural law, an order which is accessible to human reason and thus provides a basis for dialogue and deeper discernment on the part of all people of good will. I also note with appreciation the Church's work to abolish the death penalty in your country. [...]
AL/ VIS 20101129 (600)

7. "Relations between Church and State: theological and historical perspectives": Theme of Catholic-Orthodox Forum

I was very interested to read the second-last paragraph of the following Vatican Information Service daily e-mail bulletin item:


VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2010 (VIS) - As is traditional for the Feast of St. Andrew, a Holy See delegation, led by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has travelled to Istanbul to participate in the celebrations for the saint, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Every year the patriarchate sends a delegation to Rome for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, on 29 June.

This morning the Holy See delegation attended a divine liturgy presided by His Holiness Bartholomew I, at the Church of St. George at Fanar. At the end of the ceremony Cardinal Koch delivered a special Message to the patriarch from Benedict XVI.

"In a world characterised by increasing interdependence and solidarity", the Pope writes, "we are called to proclaim the truth of the Gospel with renewed conviction, and to present the risen Lord as the response to the most profound spiritual questions and aspirations of the men and women of today.

"In order to carry out this great enterprise", he adds, "we must continue along the path towards full communion, showing that we have already united our strengths for a shared witness of the Gospel before the people of our time. For this reason I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Your Holiness and to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the generous hospitality you offered to delegates of the European Episcopal Conferences who - on the island of Rhodes in October - met with representatives of the Orthodox Churches of Europe for the Catholic-Orthodox Forum on the theme: 'Relations between Church and State: theological and historical perspectives'".

Benedict XVI concludes his Message by assuring the patriarch of the interest with which he follows "your wise efforts for the good of Orthodoxy and for the promotion of Christian values in many international contexts".
MESS/ VIS 20101130 (320)

I would like to read the proceedings of that Forum (but only with the permission of its participants, of course).

Reginaldvs Cantvar