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

1 comment:

Cardinal Pole said...

Sorry, I was wrong to write, in item 5, that

"Fr. Kelly seems to call [the object of an act] the intention involved in an act"

In fact, in Fr. Kelly's analysis, the object of the act corresponds to what he calls "[t]he act itself".