Monday, September 26, 2011

Notes: Thursday, September 15-Monday, September 26, 2011

1. Some figures on abortion in South Australia
According to the latest figures released by the South Australian government, abortion rates dipped slightly in 2009.

The number of abortions fell to 15.3 per 100,000 women of childbearing age from 16 a year earlier.

The highest abortion rates were among women aged 20 to 24 (30 per cent) followed by those aged 25-29 (22 per cent) and under 19s (18 per cent).

Labels: abortion, S.A.

2. In 2010, "a joint commission was set up, with experts of the commission “Ecclesia Dei” and of the congregation for divine worship, for the “updating” of the commemorations of the saints and the “possible insertion of new prefaces” into the preconciliar Roman missal of 1962", according to The activity of the Holy See for 2010, printed by Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Labels: liturgy, Roman Curia, T.L.M.

3. "Despite reports, Ireland not backing down on forcing priests to break seal of confession"

Labels: Ireland

4. On the latest development in Vatican-S.S.P.X. relations

OP/ VIS 20110914 (450)

Also, AQ has had several threads on the matter.

Labels: Roman Curia, S.S.P.X., T.L.M., theology, Vatican II

5. "ADL Urges Vatican To Ensure Anti-Jewish Sect Accepts Teachings Of Vatican II Before They Are Welcomed Back"

Keep in mind the relationship between the A.D.L. and B'nai B'rith, and the relationship between B'nai B'rith and the Vatican (see here and item 3.2 here); there might also be a direct relationship between the A.D.L. and the Vatican.

Labels: A.D.L., B'nai B'rith, Freemasons, Jews, S.S.P.X., Vatican II

6. H.H. The Pope on religion as a basis for social coexistence

From a recent edition of the Vatican Information Service's daily e-mail bulletin:

... "We are witnessing a growing indifference to religion in society, which considers the issue of truth as something of an obstacle in its decision-making, and instead gives priority to utilitarian considerations.

"All the same", he added, "a binding basis for our coexistence is needed; otherwise people live in a purely individualistic way. Religion is one of these foundations for a successful social life. 'Just as religion has need of freedom, so also freedom has need of religion'. These words of the great bishop and social reformer Wilhelm von Ketteler, the second centenary of whose birth is being celebrated this year, remain timely.
[...] PV-GERMANY/ VIS 20110922 (630)
I agree with the comment by Mr. Keener in the combox at Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog post on that Papal address.

Labels: Benedict XVI. Ratzinger, Confessional State

7. An interesting "CathBlog" and combox comments on metaphysics (or, perhaps more precisely, Natural, and Dogmatic, Theology)

Labels: philosophy, theology

8. The latest, and presumably most controversial, installment in Catholica's serialisation of Fr. Dresser's God is Big. Real Big!

That's the chapter in which one reads, among other things, that "[n]o human being can ever be God. And Jesus was a human being. It is as simple as that!"

Labels: Peter Dresser, theology

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, Martyrs, A.D. 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Notes: Tuesday, September 6-Wednesday, September 14, 2011 (part 2 of 2)

9. Dr. Tighe on what makes a Council Ecumenical

Labels: Church Councils, Eastern Schism, Hierarchy, Papacy, theology

10. More from Dr. Brown on the notion of "the Eucharist [as] a memorial of the Last Supper"

Point 3 of this blog comment, in which there is a link to the text of one of Paul VI.'s General Audiences:

Labels: liturgy, Paul VI. Montini, Sacraments, theology

11. "it has now become a constitutional convention that [the British] Parliament does not interfere in the internal affairs of the Established Church"

Labels: Anglicans, U.K.

12. A very short, but very interesting, biography of St. Robert Bellarmine

(I first read that biography in the Sydney Catholic Weekly last Sunday.) These are the parts which were of most interest to me and for which I log that biography here:
His most famous work is his three-volume Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V.

[...] ... The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.
Labels: Papacy, political science, St. Robert Bellarmine, theology, William Barclay

13. Two recent opinions pieces from Mr. Steyn

13.1 "Using rights to gag free speech"

(Needless to say, I reject that 'freedom of speech' is a true moral freedom; I mainly log that web-page for its information on examples of anti-'hate-speech' action.)

Labels: hate speech


Labels: abortion

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, A.D. 2011

Notes: Tuesday, September 6-Wednesday, September 14, 2011 (part 1 of 2)

1. A couple of recent posts from Mr. Muehlenberg:

1.1 On the latest initiative for propagating multiculturalism

Labels: education, multiculturalism

1.2 On his new book, on the challenge of homosexuality

Labels: G.L.B.T.

2. The latest evidence for a link between abortion and mental health problems

Originally I wasn't going to bother logging that AQ post, since anyone who opposes abortion--myself and, presumably, my readers among them--would regard the findings as unsurprising, but then I saw the print-edition version of the article to whose on-line version I link above here taking up about a quarter of page twenty-five of the Sydney Daily Telegraph of Friday, September 2, 2011, and so I thought that I'd better log it, since it's so rare for one of the mainstream media to highlight the adverse consequences of abortion (needless to say, the mainstream media tend not to regard the death of an unborn baby as a necessarily adverse consequence) that the findings must be important. Here are the key excerpts from that Tele article:
The research by American academic Priscilla Coleman, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, said abortion was linked with a 34 per cent greater chance of anxiety disorders and a 37 per cent higher possibility of depression.

This was more than double the risk of alcohol abuse, three times greater risk of cannabis use at 220 per cent and 155 per cent greater risk of attempted suicide.

[...] "Overall, the results revealed that women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81 per cent increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10 per cent of the incidence of mental health problems were shown to be directly attributable to abortion."

The study was based on an analysis of 22 separate projects, which together analysed the experiences of 877,000 women, of whom 163,831 had had an abortion.
Labels: abortion, mental health

3. Dr. Sammut on, among other things, "the disturbing significance of the controversial [recent] NSW birth certificate decision"

Worth reading in full, but the final paragraph is what I want to log here:
This is the disturbing significance of the controversial NSW birth certificate decision. That no gay spokesperson has expressed concern for the father and child stolen from each other speaks volumes about their priorities. Traditionalists have long argued in defence of marriage that the institution is fundamentally about the rights of children and that advocates of gay marriage just don't get this. Based on the "sperm donor dad" case, they appear to have a point.
Labels: birth certificates, child-rearing, families, G.L.B.T., marriage, parenthood, youngsters

4. "THE well-being of Australia's children and young adults has declined sharply in the past decade - and sliding marriage rates are partly to blame"; "marriage makes a difference, not just the characteristics of a child's parents, because of the commitment involved"

Labels: child-rearing, families, marriage, parenthood, youngsters

5. "A member of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government is calling for a ban on marriages at Christian churches if they refuse to also perform same-sex unions"

Apparently, such a ban would involve adopting the system, which is used in some Continental countries, in which prospective spouses who intend to wed in a religious ceremony have to get a 'civil marriage' as well.

Labels: G.L.B.T., marriage, U.K.

6. "Irish government backs down on confessional bill"

Labels: Alan Shatter, Ireland, sexual abuse

7. "Lesbian foster couple put six year old boy in girl's clothes and post photos on Facebook"

I wonder whether there has been any scholarly research into the phenomenon of one of the members of a same-sex couple undergoing a 'sex change'?

Labels: child-rearing, families, G.L.B.T., parenthood

8. "MEN'S bodies hardwire them to become caring fathers by dropping their testosterone levels after a child is born, a landmark investigation has found"

Labels: families, medicine, parenthood

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, A.D. 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Notes: Wednesday, August 24-Monday, September 5, 2011 (part 2 of 2)

8. Dr. Soutphommasane on Federal funding of State school chaplains

I'm logging that opinion piece because of this excerpt:
What is really at issue is the state's neutrality. As American legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin wrote, liberalism says "political decisions must be, so far as possible, independent of any particular conception of the good life".

This isn't an argument about whether religion is good or bad; it is about the proper limits of government power. The liberal state should generally aim to be neutral on matters of the good life.
The problem is that Dr. Soutphommasane describes himself as "one who believes in a value of national solidarity based on the common good" (source), and the importance to him of the common good has been evident in his previous "Ask the Philosopher" columns, such as when he wrote that a "politics of a common good, conducted by enlightened representatives and citizens, is unimpeachable in theory" (source). The common good is indeed the end, or purpose, of the State, but how can a State form the right understanding of the common good of its populace when the common good of a society is to that society none other than what the proper good of an individual--his corporal and spiritual well-being--is to that individual, yet we are, so liberals would have us believe, supposed to refrain from taking "any particular conception of the good life" as normative?

Labels: liberalism, morality, political science

9. Earliest Papal reference to 'healthy secularity'?

As you know, I'm no fan of talk of 'healthy secularity/secularism'; leave secularity and secularism to the secularists, I say. So it dismays me whenever I see that diction coming from the Holy Father, whose fullest treatment of the notion/s of secularity and secularism can be found, to the best of my knowledge, in his "Address to the participants in the 56th National Study Congress organized by the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists (December 9, 2006)", available in English here and in what I presume is its original Italian (since it was given to an Italian audience, though I can't find it in the A.A.S.; if any of you can find it there please let me know) here. (That Address came to my attention via this AQ post.) Now I had thought that Papal use of the term 'healthy secularity' only began with the present Pope, or perhaps with one of His Holiness's Conciliar/post-Conciliar predecessors, but reading Msgr. Lefebvre's They Have Uncrowned Him the other week I was surprised to learn that Pius XII. had spoken of 'the legitimate and healthy secularity of the State' in His late Holiness's Allocution to the inhabitants of the Marches, March 23, 1958. The text of that Allocution is available in AAS 50 [1958], p. 216, here and also here, and in both those sources we see, in the fourth-last paragraph, the words "la legittima sana laicità dello Stato"; perhaps it was with that very expression of Pius XII. in mind that the present Pope put the words "sana laicità" in quotation marks in that December 9, 2006 Address. But while the teaching of Benedict XVI. on the distinction between Church and State seems to be the same as that of Pius XII., distinction does not mean, and should not imply, separation, and whereas Pius XII. spoke approvingly, on at least two occasions before that Allocution, of the kind of union which existed between the Church and history's Catholic Confessional States, Benedict XVI. has, to the best of my knowledge, never done so, and indeed seems to favour the kind of 'union' in which Church and State co-operate but without any priviliging of the Catholic Church over non-Catholic sects; see item 6.2 here, for instance.

Anyhow, is the Allocution to the inhabitants of the Marches the earliest Papal use of the term 'healthy secularity' (or any equivalent expression), or are there earlier ones? If the latter, then what and when were they, and which is the earliest?

Labels: Benedict XVI. Ratzinger, Church and State, morality, Pius XII. Pacelli, political science, secularism

10. Leo XIII. on, among other things, the formal cause, analogically speaking, of the State

This is a quotation from Libertas, praestantissimum as found in the on-line version of ASS 20 [1887], p. 604 (the text of that Encyclical begins on p. 593) (there is at least one, quite obvious, typographical error in the quotation, as in the proximate source from which I quoted it):
... Etenim dubitari non potest quin sit Dei voluntate inter homines coniuncta societas, sive partes, sive forma eius spectetur quae est auctoritas, sive caussa, sive earum, quas homini parit, magnarum utilitati! m copia. ...
The Vatican website's English version of that sentence is as follows:
21. ... For it cannot be doubted but that, by the will of God, men are united in civil society; whether its component parts be considered; or its form, which implies authority; or the object of its existence; or the abundance of the vast services which it renders to man. ...
But in the translation in Msgr. Lefebvre's They Have Uncrowned Him, the section corresponding to "which implies authority" is give as "which is authority" (my emphasis in both quotations). I don't speak Latin, but judging by a critical use of Google Translate, the latter translation would seem to be the more accurate one. Would any Latinists reading this be so kind as to suggest their own translation?

Labels: Leo XIII. Pecci, morality, political science

11. Yet more evidence of the Sodomites' League's success in diverting public discourse on homosexuality away from a focus on behaviour and towards a focus on 'identity'

These are excerpts from a letter by Josie (no surname given) of Andrews Farm which was published under the heading "Live and love" on page thirty of the Sydney Daily Telegraph of Thursday, August 25, 2011:
To deny humans the right of identity and companionship is inhuman. ...
... We cannot stop biology/chemistry, we can only control behaviour and mutual consent.
[...] Marriage is for people who seek to share family identity in the formal bounds that marriage gives.

[I include the second paragraph excerpt there solely in order to avoid being accused of implying that the letter contained no reference at all to behaviour; clearly Josie does mention behaviour, but she fails to show any understanding of its significance to marriage.]
But marriage is not just about sharing 'identity'; it is about sharing a certain kind of behaviour; it is not merely some kind of Platonic relationship, but a conjugal relationship. Hence any discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual disorientation involved in upholding the natural law's design for marriage is only indirect, since the direct discrimination is only against those who cannot consummate their respective putative marriages, and this discrimination applies equally to opposite-sex couples in which one (or both) prospective spouse(s) is (are) absolutely or relatively impotent and to same-sex couples.

Labels: G.L.B.T., marriage, morality

12. "Almost 20,000 of South Australia's 48,783 Catholic school students are not members of the church"

Labels: Catholic schools

13. Some recent AQ posts regarding the Russian Orthodox Church

Labels: R.O.C.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lawrence Justinian, Bishop, Confessor, A.D. 2011

Notes: Wednesday, August 24-Monday, September 5, 2011 (part 1 of 2)

1. On the Department of Defence's Understanding Transitioning Gender in the Workplace document

One of The Weekend Australian's recent columns (warning: The column's name is blasphemous, and there is a picture of a bra at the top of its web-page) featured an amusing excerpt from a recent publication by Australia's Department of Defence. Here are some other points of interest from that document:
  • In the course of their duties, commanders and managers may not encounter any Defence people who wish to transition gender. It is important however that commanders and managers are aware of their obligations and responsibilities with regard to the support and management of people who are transitioning gender.
    [p. 3]
  • It is also important to use the correct pronouns such as ‘she’ or ‘her’ in the case of a male transitioning to a female or ‘he’ or ‘him’ in the case of a female transitioning to a male. ... The continued deliberate use of pronouns and names relating to the previous gender identity will be construed as sexual harassment.
    [p. 7]
  • Should the situation arise where open communal same sex showers are the only showers available (i.e. field exercises/deployments), the transitioning person and their commander or manager should discuss and agree upon an appropriate arrangement to ensure the needs of all people are met. This situation would only apply prior to the transitioning person undergoing gender realignment surgery.
    [p. 7]
  • Note that the use of the term ‘sex change’ may be perceived as derogatory.
    [p. 12]
  • The precise definition for transgender remains in constant flux.
    [p. 13]
  • Approximately one in 11,000 males and one in 30,000 females have the condition. Note that the prevalence of the condition is often understated as most statistics only look at those people who have completed surgery.
    [p. 16]
Note those figures on the rate of incidence of Gender Identity Disorder ("the condition" to which that last quotation refers): So in a randomly-selected sample of 60000 people, with a male:female ratio of presumably roughly 50:50, there will be roughly three "transgender women" and roughly one "transgender man" (see p. 13 for the terminology). Even if you want to double that in order to take into account the fact that the prevalence is supposedly understated, that's still only six men who feel that they're women and two women who feel that they're men. Now according to the Defence Annual Report 2009-10,
At 30 June 2010, Defence had 73,490 permanent employees (headcount) comprising 57,799 permanent ADF members and 15,691 APS staff.
and the Defence Materiel Organisation will employ, in 2011-2012, "over 7,000 people" (source), so that one would expect that the entire Defence workforce will contain, at most, a mere ten "transgender people". Why, then, would the Department even bother putting together a whole booklet on Defence employees' 'gender affirmation' (destroying the gender in order to affirm it?) and tell its commanders and managers that it "is important" that they "are aware of their obligations and responsibilities with regard to the support and management of people who are transitioning gender"? Could it be that there is an ideological motive involved here? I see that one of the websites listed under the heading "Additional Resources" on p. 17 is that of "Pride in Diversity"; I've blogged on "Pride in Diversity" in item 6 of this edition of Notes, and you'll see at its website that it "was established as a collaboration between" Stonewall, "a London-based LGBT advocacy group", and two other organisations.

Labels: A.D.F., Defence Department, G.L.B.T., Pride in Diversity

2. On The Australian's attitude towards so-called gay marriage

That link leads to what is, to date, the fullest statement of The Australian's official editorial attitude towards so-called gay marriage. Its author writes that
The Australian leans towards libertarianism on social issues, believing the state should tread as lightly as possible around personal issues. It is not our role to pronounce one way or another on same-sex marriage ...
Yet in that editorial and this earlier one The Australian puts inverted commas around the word "marriage" when speaking of polygamous ones without ever, as far as I can recall, doing so for same-sex unions.

And that editorial, after noting some of the problems involved with gay 'marriage', says that "[n]one of [those] difficulties are insurmountable" (which indicates that The Australian has no in-principle opposition to the notion). But how does The Australian propose to 'surmount' a same-sex marriage's constitutional incapacity for consummation? And how does it propose to 'surmount' the deprivation of a mother for those children procured by Gay 'husbands' and their respective 'wives' and of a father for children procured by Lesbian 'husbands' and their respective 'wives'?

Labels: Australian, families, G.L.B.T., marriage, parenthood

3. "approximately 24 percent of [American] children are born to co-habiting couples"

Labels: families, parenthood, U.S.A.

4. "the Holy Father does not allow Girl Altar Boys within his own Diocese of Rome"

Labels: Diocese of Rome, liturgy

5. "Why mothers matter"

(That came to my attention via the LMF News e-mail of August 2011 from The Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage & Family Centre.)

Labels: families, parenthood

6. "The statistics on women in Victoria having terminations from 24 weeks into pregnancy are incomplete, badly presented and out of date - but they still allow us to estimate the number at slightly fewer than 138 women a year"

Labels: abortion

7. Mr. Magister on, among other things, then-Fr. Ratzinger's involvement with the Neo-catechumenal Way in its early days

Labels: Benedict XVI. Ratzinger, Neo-catechumenal Way

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Lawrence Justinian, Bishop, Confessor, A.D. 2011