Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Tuesday, August 28-31, 2010

Death of H.R.H The Duke of Parma and Piacenza (a.k.a Charles Hugh I. Borbón-Parma, pretender King of Spain), wedding of T.R.H. Prince and Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark



His late Royal Highness's brother H.R.H. Prince Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma was present at the Episcopal Consecrations of the S.S.P.X. Bishops (it is mentioned here that Prince Sixtus Henry was the first to congratulate Msgr. Lefebvre after the Consecrations, and though I can find no mainstream media news source on-line to back this up, I seem to remember that there was something about it in Marcel Lefebvre: The Biography).

Mr. Thompson on Australian Labor, self-styled progressives, and the working class (meanwhile, at the Herald: Exhibit A: Mr. Carlton)


Long and not perfect (e.g. some of its generalisations are unsubstantiated (though they ring true), though perhaps they were documented in the book from which the article presumably draws), but a very interesting read. Of particular interest to readers of a Catholic blog is this excerpt:

A favourite tactic for driving home supposed working-class moral inferiority and for undermining its confidence is to discredit the institutions its members grew up believing in. Three examples of this tactic will suffice: sport, the church and the Anzac tradition.

[...] A recent front-page report in The Courier-Mail revealed that "[m]ore than 300 Queensland teachers are under investigation for inappropriate behaviour [and] almost all 26 teachers who had their registrations suspended or cancelled in the past year were cited for sexual misconduct."

It further revealed that a "state-employed teacher went from school to school, leaving a trail of complaints about indecent behaviour to young children, before losing his job", and it "also highlighted an issue with teachers leaving private schools under a cloud and being re-hired by Education Queensland."

There was no such coverage in the media further upmarket. But if the report had revealed that Catholic priests rather than public school teachers were the subject of investigations into alleged pedophile behaviour on such a scale, they without doubt would have given the investigation blanket coverage, at least until such time as the clergy were punished and removed, compensation paid, and apologies made to the victims, or charges laid and convictions entered, to be dragged up again at the first opportunity.

See also Mr. Muehlenberg's post on the article:


The article appeared in last Saturday's edition of The Weekend Australian. On the same day, Mr. Mike Carlton at the Herald unwittingly supplied himself as a splendid specimen of what Mr. Thompson was talking about:

Apparently the DLP is b-a-a-a-ck in the person of one John Madigan, a Ballarat blacksmith - whoa, there Neddy - who, if he stands true to party form, will be fish on Fridays and a fan of the Spanish Inquisition. Again, the cold, dead hand of Bartholomew Augustine Santamaria, progenitor of the DLP, rises from the crypt to give us the one-finger salute. The same bony claw can be blamed for shoving the Mad Monk into frame as a putative prime minister, of which there is more below.

[...] To the disappointment of George Cardinal Pell, no doubt, the Greens were the big winners this time, picking up a swing of 3.59 per cent for nine Senate seats and one in the Reps, only the second they have had there. By any sane reading, the country came out last Saturday for what you might call the progressive centre-left. On first preferences Labor and the Greens combined got 49.9 per cent of the vote. The Coalition chalked up just 43.3 per cent.

Abbott's failure is probably not all his own fault. The Liberal Party machine in NSW, neutered by the ongoing war between its so-called moderate wing and the Opus Dei nutters, did him no favours. Properly managed, the Libs might have picked off another three seats here, enough to have snuck them into government. That flop will be giving Barry O'Farrell a few sleepless nights as we head towards the state election in March.


Note the contempt for Mr. Madigan's trade and for Catholic culture and history. (Note also the nonsense about the late Mr. Santamaria "shoving" Mr. Abbott "into the frame as putative prime minister", when, as is well known, Mr. Santamaria declined from the very beginning to support Mr. Abbott's career in the Liberal Party.) Then Mr. Carlton has another go at Catholics--of all the people who would have been disappointed at the Greens' successes at the recent election, why single out Cardinal Pell? And then he takes one more gratuitous swipe at Catholics, this time the albino monks who, in Mr. Carlton's simple world, are in a battle for N.S.W. Liberal supremacy (Not that I support either Opus Dei or the Liberal Party, though). So there you go: 'Progressivism', anti-Catholicism, and disdain for manual workers, all in the one neat package for Mr. Thompson to add to his research files.

Reminder: N.S.W. Parliament to debate same-sex adoption legislation later this week

Brought to my attention in an article in The Australian yesterday:

MPs return from the winter recess this week and the bill is due for debate in the lower house on Thursday.

And here's the latest, in today's Herald:

"Churches get opt-out point on same-sex adoption bill":

Upcoming event for The Diocese of Wollongong:

Seen in last Sunday's Sydney Catholic Weekly:


[...] 29 Extraordinary Meeting of Council of Priests

Anyone know why the Council of Priests is meeting extraordinarily, and what such a meeting involves?

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Notes: Thursday-Friday, August 26-27, 2010

""New and Improved" Novus Ordo Mass Retains Most Grievous Abuse"


On the authority of the Bible, and 'arriving at one's own response' thereto

A Herald letter which hints (presumably unwittingly) at why private interpretation of the Bible (Protestantism's first principle) will end up meaning as many Christianities as there are Christians:

No wonder church's future is at stake


Anyone who still wonders why the church is in decline need only read the Reverend Kevin Murray's letter (August 25). Requiring men (women are not ordained into the Presbyterian church as ministers) to sign a statement saying they recognise the authority of the Bible, but not allowing them to arrive at their own responses to this authority, says it all. I respect and revere the Bible, but I worship the God of the Bible, not the Bible itself.

Pam Connor Mollymook Beach

On numbering more than one Senate ballot sheet box above the line

The second sentence of the second paragraph mentions how it would work (not that I have formed an opinion one way or another on the merits of such a proposal, though):

Law of unintended consequences


I agree with the thrust of Alex Stitt's letter (August 26) about the inability or unwillingness of folk to number to 84 on the Senate ballot paper. It is quite a daunting task, and can easily lead to errors, thus resulting in an informal vote. But the "above-the-line" system is inherently undemocratic as it allows political parties to control preference flows.

So why can't we number all the boxes above the line? That way the voter controls the preference flow and the parties control only the order of their candidates.

Bill Young Greenwich


Another interesting voting-system proposal

One which I had not considered before reading this, the first letter in the "short & sharp" column in the Sydney Daily Telegraph's "your say" section last Wednesday, p. 33 (and, again, with which I don't necessarily agree, but find interesting):

IT SEEMS to me that a far better system than people not knowing where their preferences are going would be if each voter was allowed to mark two Xs for the Upper House and two Xs for the Lower House. Whoever gets the most Xs wins. Even if that person is your second choice, if they have the most Xs then clearly they are supported by most of the community in that area.
Chris Roberts Engadine

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Notes: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Herald letter proposing preferential voting with discounting of the value of distributed votes:

Half measures

While we have a preferential voting system that values the second preference vote the same as a primary vote, we will rarely get a result that reflects the true will of the people. Preferences should be transferred at a lesser value - say half that of a first preference. This would reduce the horse-trading in preferences among parties and give us a more accurate assessment of what voters want.

Rob Hurdwell Bowral

"Toleration, Ascendancy, Democracy"--article on the history of religious toleration in the British Isles


Long but interesting article. It begins thus:

Tolerance, according to the apostle of English Liberalism, John Stuart Mill, was the outcome of the failure of intolerance. The different factions of English Protestantism had a go at suppressing each other, including a civil war, and failed. They were therefore left with no option but to tolerate each other.

So religious pluralism appears as the unavoidable consequence of Protestantism--once public judgement (i.e. judgement by the Magisterium) has been replaced with private judgement, religious unity will inevitably break down, making toleration of any and all sects the only tenable policy.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Louis IX., King, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Tuesday, August 21-24, 2010

Msgr. Williamson on the Vatican-S.S.P.X. doctrinal discussions

An important piece from His Lordship, which I quote in full here (copied and pasted from the e-mail):


While the Rome-Society of St Pius X discussions are, by accounts from both sides, running into a doctrinal brick wall, reports from France and Germany together with a rumour from Rome spell danger for Catholics. That danger is a political deal which would simply go round the side of the doctrinal blockage. Politics threaten to circumvent doctrine.

From France and Germany, I was told me a few weeks ago that a large proportion of Catholics attending SSPX Mass centres are only hoping and waiting for some agreement to come out of the discussions. If - repeat, if -- this is true, it is very serious. Such Catholics may get full marks for wishing not to be cut off from what appears to be Rome, but they get low marks for not grasping that as long as the discussions remain doctrinal, there is no way in which the neo-modernist teaching of Vatican II can be reconciled with the Catholic doctrine of the true Church. Such Catholics may venerate and love Archbishop Lefebvre as they see him, but they have not understood what he was all about. They had best wake up if they are not in one way or another to fall into the arms of the neo-modernist Romans.

Agreement in front of doctrine means politics before religion, unity before truth, man before God. God before man means truth before unity, religion before politics and doctrine being more important than any non-doctrinal agreement. Only dreamers could not foresee the Rome-SSPX discussions running into a doctrinal brick wall. Only politicians can wish for any non-doctrinal agreement to come out of them.

Alas, to all appearances Benedict XVI sincerely believes in the Newchurch of Vatican II which is to unite in its bosom all men absolutely, regardless of whether they believe or not in the one true doctrine of the Faith. Therefore he sincerely wishes to gather in the SSPX as well - and he does not normally have too much longer to live ! So the blockage of doctrinal discussions should not unduly worry him. He must be looking to cut a political deal with the SSPX, in order to unite it with the rest of the Newchurch. It follows that he must ask of the SSPX neither too much, or it would refuse the deal, nor too little, because then the rest of the Newchurch would rise up in protest.

The rumour from Rome is precisely that he is thinking of a "Motu Proprio" which would accept the SSPX "back into the Church" once and for all, yet require from the SSPX no explicit acceptance of Vatican II or the New Mass, but only, for instance, the acceptance of John-Paul II's 1992 "Catechism of the Catholic Church", which is substantially modernist but in a quiet way. Thus the SSPX would not appear to its followers to be accepting the Council or the New Mass, yet it would be softly, softly, beginning to go along with the substance of neo-modernism.

Thus all seekers of unity would be content. Only not believers in Catholic doctrine.


Kyrie eleison.

See also here and here for discussion on these matters.

Democratic Labor Party (D.L.P.) candidate to become Victorian Senator?

I was interested to read the following in Mr. Malcolm Farr's column in yesterday's Sydney Daily Telegraph:

The word extraordinary is not out of place to describe an election which it seems will put a member of the Democratic Labor Party (revived version) into the Senate for the first time in more than 40 years. The emergence of Tony Abbott and the DLP - it seems fitting to many.

Further investigation found a news report of August 22nd referring to the possibility of a D.L.P. win as an "outside chance":

But the DLP remained an outside chance of creating a huge upset.

"If the DLP get knocked out before us the preferences will go to us and we'll win, but if we get knocked out before the DLP our preferences will go to them and they're a very good chance of getting up," the spokesman said.

At the close of counting early on Sunday, Family First had 65,423 votes, or 2.69 per cent of the votes cast, while the DLP had secured 54,490, or 2.24 per cent.

Mr Madigan, a Ballarat blacksmith, would be the first DLP senator since Vince Gair in 1974 if he secures he wins.

while a report of the 23rd had the following to say:

But the Victorian [Sen. Steve Fielding] may be replaced by a philosophically like-minded newcomer in John Madigan from the socially and economically conservative Democratic Labor Party.

Mr Madigan, a blacksmith from Ballarat in Victoria, is tipped to take the final Senate seat even though he received only 2.2 per cent of the vote. The Greens will now hold the balance of power in the Senate, with new senators expected to be elected in Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Queensland.

But their ACT candidate, Lyn Hatfield Dodds, fell short of a seat, with ACT voters sticking with traditional voting habits to re-elect Liberal senator Gary Humphries.

The new Senate will not be formed until July but at this early stage, it appears there will be 34 Coalition senators, 31 from Labor, nine Greens, the South Australian independent Nick Xenophon and possibly the DLP senator.


(Interesting that Mr. Madigan is a blacksmith, after last week's report that there was "not a single tradesperson among ["today's federal parliamentarians"]".) The most recent mainstream media news item I found referring to this possibility (dated the 24th) mentioned the following:

At presstime it looked like [Anthony Thow] had been pipped for a seat by a Ballarat blacksmith representing the Democratic Labor Party, ...

The A.B.C.'s website listed Mr. Madigan as one of the "Elected Candidates" for the Victorian Senate (apparently the only elected candidate not to come from Labor, the Coalition, or The Greens, judging by the "Senate Results - Summary" page and inspection of the results for all the States and Territories).

Dr. Feser and Mr. Muehlenberg on 'legislating morality'



"Growing trend against church weddings"

From the Geelong Advertiser (brought to my attention by CathNews):

A recent survey by Australian Marriage Celebrants found just one in four Australians tying the knot go for a traditional church wedding.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle, A.D. 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Notes: Friday, August 20, 2010

A letter reminding us of one of the benefits of voting for a minor party, even if one doesn't expect that party to win

From yesterday's Herald (I forgot to post this in yesterday's edition of Notes):

Value for $2.31

Voters who are disappointed at the lacklustre performance of the main parties (Letters, August 18) must realise their vote is valuable. Each time you give a primary vote to any party that gets more than 4 per cent of the vote, it gets $2.31 of taxpayers' money. For those who feel the urge to lodge a protest vote, don't waste your $2.31. The answer is simple: vote first for one of the many minor parties.

It needn't be the Liberal Democrats (although it would be appreciated). Any minor party would be grateful for your "donation" if it gets above 4 per cent of the primary vote. The added benefit is that voters then starve the larger parties of electoral funding and send a clear message that they need to lift their game.

Peter Whelan Liberal Democratic Party candidate for Macquarie


At the Australian Electoral Commission website: Group Voting Tickets (Senate preference flows) for New South Wales (NSW) Tickets Q to AF (of Tickets A to AF), 2010 federal election

This might be useful for you as you work out how you're going to vote in the Senate ballot (see elsewhere on the A.E.C.'s website for the preference flow arrangements in other States):


Excerpt from a lecture by then-Cardinal Ratzinger on the Mass and Christ's Sacrifice:


"Expert: Prop 8 Trial Based on False or Dubious Statements about Homosexuality"


"Medical Journal Confirms Abortion Associated With Increased Premature Birth"

Also posted at AQ:

Washington, DC -- A new report in a prestigious medical journal confirms what previous studies have shown: abortion is associated with an increased risk of premature birth in subsequent pregnancies. Although the link is well-established, women are not normally informed of the risk when they are counseled at abortion centers.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Bernard, Abbot, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Notes: Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bl. Mary of the Cross (Mary MacKillop) on voting

In today's Herald:

The soon to be canonised Mary MacKillop wrote in 1903 to the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart before Australia's second federal election when women won the right to vote for the first time. ''Find out who are the members proposed for election and vote for those who are considered most friendly to the Church and Religion,'' she said, before adding a cautionary note.

''Every so-called Catholic is not the best man.''


On the respective past careers of today's Federal Parliamentarians

Also in today's Herald:

... 97 per cent of today's federal parliamentarians come straight from careers as ''managers, administrators or professionals'', figures from the Parliamentary Library show. ... There is not a single tradesperson among them.

H.H. The Pope's three 'non-negotiables' in public morality

I was reminded of these by the political party fact sheet which The Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage and Family Centre published in last Sunday's Sydney Catholic Weekly, and I thought that I'd like to keep them for future reference, and bring them to your attention, since they're quite good:

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

- protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

- recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

- the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself.

[Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Members of the European People's Party on the Occasion of the Study Days on Europe,

Fr. Flader on morality and voting (mostly good article) and usury (bad article)

The Rev. Fr. John Flader had a mostly good "Question Time" piece in the Sydney Catholic Weekly two Sundays ago on voting:

http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/article.php?classID=3&subclassID=59&articleID=7261&class=Features&subclass=Question Time

but unfortunately followed it up with a lamentable one last Sunday on usury:

http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/article.php?classID=3&subclassID=59&articleID=7278&class=Features&subclass=Question Time

Emily's List: Pro-abortion, of course, but all the way up to and including full term?

A writer to last Sunday's Sydney Catholic Weekly said the following:

To have the financial and political support of Emily’s List, a candidate must support the abortion of a full term baby right up to the moment of birth.

Emily’s List won’t tolerate any restrictions on abortion, even for viable full-term babies.


I checked the Emily's List official website, and though, as we know, Emily's List is pro-abortion, I couldn't find out whether this support is unconditional. Could any of my readers provide any evidence for this?

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. John Eudes, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Notes: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Herald letters regarding informal voting:


Coptic Orthodox Pope escalates (or at least continues/renews) hostilities between his Church and the Egyptian government?

In The Australian today:

Pope Shenuda III [sic--though should be II., I understand] warned Egyptian Copts - who often use the telephone to maintain contact with their local parish priest when they are abroad - that the security services were tapping calls, the independent Al Masri Al Yawm newspaper said.

Shenuda III said: "Beware not to admit your sins over the telephone, because all phone conversations are recorded by the state security services.

"Otherwise, you will have to go seek absolution in prison, from the police, rather than from your local priest."

The cleric reportedly issued the warning to hundreds of worshippers during a sermon in Alexandria on Sunday.

Copts are the Middle East's largest Christian community and make up about 10 percent of Egypt's largely Muslim population of 80 million.

The article fails to make the connection to Egypt's highest court's recent ruling (see this blog's "Coptic Orthodox Church" label) that the Coptic Orthodox Church is required to have divorce and remarriage, a ruling which the C.O. Pope and C.O. Church intend to disregard. I wonder whether the C.O. Pope's warning ties in with this feud (perhaps not the best word, but you get my drift)?

Dr. Hamilton on The Greens as 'the party of moderation' (and apparently of prudence, justice, and fortitude, too)

Amusing to see Dr. Hamilton positioning The Greens as a centrist via media between 'religious extremism' and sexual libertinism (no mention in the article of abortion or euthanasia and The Greens' policies thereon, though):


Dr. Collins on the religious and social/political views (in a word, "integralism") of Mr. Abbott and the late Mr. Santamaria


A weak article, one whose weaknesses Mr. Gerard Henderson points out here. No mention in either opinion piece, though, of the Social Kingship of Christ, which is the cornerstone of integralism in the sense in which I regard myself as an integralist.

A telling answer to an 'F.A.Q.' at the website for the re-opened programme for a Sydney Archdiocese Permanent Diaconate

(Last Sunday's Sydney Catholic Weekly had a couple of articles which brought Sydney's Office of the Permanent Diaconate and its website to my attention.)

If a married man is ordained a deacon do he and his wife have to refrain from sexual activity?

Married deacons and their wives do not surrender any rights or responsibilities resulting from their married state of life. Marriage and orders are not incompatible sacraments; rather, there is a great mutuality between them.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Agapitus, Martyr, and of St. Helen, Empress, Widow, A.D. 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Facts and Figures: On abortion in Australia ("with some caveats") (plus the respective histories and policies of Ms Gillard and Mr. Abbott on it)

The following comes from an article which appeared on what was presumably page ten of the "Health" section of the "Weekend Professional" supplement of last Saturday's edition of The Weekend Australian:

Weekend Health recently obtained government data on pregnancy terminations. It's not the full picture but a valuable snapshot of trends and comparisons in abortion supply and demand.

In 2008-09, 69,026 patients had 72,203 services under a Medicare item number the Department of Health and Ageing nominates as the most accurate indicator of abortion numbers, albeit with some caveats. That item number may cover services for other conditions but does not include abortions conducted in public hospitals or under third-party insurance arrangements.

The number of patients identified under that item number increased by less than 2 per cent since 2004-05. Numbers were down in NSW-ACT, Western Australia and South Australia-Northern Territory but up in other states.

The age group using the most services was the over-35s, with 16,592, followed by the 20 to 24age group with 16,049, the 25 to 29 group with 13,982, the 30 to 34 group with 12,821, and the 19 and younger group with 9841.

More women have those services in large cities (54,614) than inner regional (10,516) and outer regional or remote areas (4158), and the cost to Medicare in 2008-09 was $11,338,880.

Abortion and the issue of embryonic stem cell research have sparked some of the most emotive and divisive debates in federal parliament.

When he was health minister, Abbott handed $22 million over four years to an outspoken critic of ES cell research to establish an adult stem cell institute, bypassing National Health and Medical Research Council review. He also labelled the abortion rate a "national tragedy" and an "unutterable shame", and vowed to reduce the number of pregnancy terminations conducted in Australia.

"Somehow up to 100,000 abortions a year is accepted as a fact of life, almost by some as a badge of liberation from old oppressions," Abbott told parliament.

"We have a bizarre double standard in this country where someone who kills a pregnant woman's baby is guilty of murder, but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice."

In that debate, Gillard felt the need to tell Abbott the discussion was "not about you, Tony," as Labor accused the conservative Christian of putting religion before policy. She suggested the debate take into account the broader issues around contraception, pregnancy and the treatment of women.

"If we were to truly live in a world where abortion was safe, legal and rare, then we would need to live in a world where there was no sexual violence against women . . . where contraception never failed," Gillard said at the time.

"I wish we lived in that world, and we should all be striving to attain it, but the stark reality is that we do not."

Abbott lost ministerial control of the RU-486 drug, and the hotline he established to dissuade women from having an abortion last month became a broader parents' helpline.

Yet, even though former leaders such as John Howard and Kevin Rudd have actively pursued the Christian vote, Abbott isn't using abortion as leverage.

He was uncharacteristically brief this week when asked if he would block RU-486, list abortion as a separate Medicare item number to aid research or ban Medicare funding for terminations.

"The answer is no, we're not going to do any of those things," he said. "We have no plans whatsoever for any change in that area."

Gillard hasn't been drawn on the issue, but a spokesman for Labor's campaign echoed Abbott, saying no changes were planned.


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Hyacinth, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Facts and Figures: On marriage in Australia

From thepunch.com.au last Friday:

The bipartisan group, led by David Blankenhorn, developed a set of indicators to track the health of marriage in the United States. The indicators chosen were: the percentage of adults married; the percentage of married persons ‘very happy’ with their marriage; the percentage of first marriages intact; the percentage of births to married parents; and the percentage of children living with their own married parents.

By tracking the data since 1970, they were able to construct a marriage index.

On all of the measures, the index fell over four decades. The average of the measures declined from 76.2 per cent in 1970 to 60.3 per cent in 2008. The only variation in the downward trajectory was a slight rise in the percentage of first marriages intact in the past few years.

Using similar data, it is possible to construct an Australian Marriage Index and compare the trends over the past few decades.

The Australian Index of Leading Marriage Indicators has fallen significantly over the past three decades. The measurements of married adults, births to married parents and children living with married parents have seen a 30 per cent decline since the 1970s.

The average score fell from 86 in 1971 to just 61 in 2006. This mirrors the decline in the US from 76 in 1970 to 60 in 2008.

There is only incomplete local data for the other two measures used in the US. However, the available data about these measures is consistent with the overall downward trend.

For example, the percentage of happily married persons fell, according to the National Social Science Survey between 1986 and 1996.

And although the data is incomplete, it appears that the percentage of first marriages intact has also fallen.

While the marriage rate has risen slightly in recent years, and the divorce rate has fallen marginally, the overall downward trend remains.

As a large body of research suggests that the status of our marriages influences not only our well-being, but also our productivity, both as individuals and as a nation, this is significant for the future of our society.
See also the graph at the web-page to which that U.R.L. links.]

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Hyacinth, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Notes: Saturday-Tuesday, August 14-17, 2010

More on the morality and legality of voting in Australian Federal elections

From yestereday's Herald:

In an anti-climactic ‘journalistic’ debut, former Labor leader Mark Latham revealed he will be lodging a protest vote this Saturday — and is urging others to follow suit.

[...] Mr Latham revealed his intention last night to place a ‘‘totally blank’’ ballot in the box as he posed as a journalist for a special report on the federal election for 60 Minutes.

According to the transcript for Mr. Latham's report for 60 Minutes, he said that

When it comes to good ideas for Australia's future, Gillard and Abbott have given the voters a blank piece of paper. I say let's give them a blank piece of paper in return. They say voting is compulsory in Australia, but it's not compulsory to fill out the ballot paper. You can put it straight into the ballot box totally blank - that's what I'll be doing next Saturday, and I urge you to do the same. It's the ultimate protest vote.

Mr. Latham (the former Member for Werriwa, to which electorate I belong) is incorrect to say that it is "not compulsory to fill out the ballot paper"--a particularly disappointing error to hear coming from a former Leader of the Opposition. As I said recently at Terra's blog,

Section 245(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 gives the following command:

"It shall be the duty of every elector to vote at each election."

(The same Act (Section 101) also commands us to apply "forthwith" to become electors if not electors already. Also, Sections 239 and 240 prescribe the manner of voting for Senate and Lower House elections, respectively, thus ruling out the possibility that an informal vote could satisfy the obligation to vote.)

So given that the requirements imposed in the Act are, as far as I know, just, possible, and properly promulgated, the Act is a valid law and thus its commands are binding in conscience (I have no reason to think that they are purely penal) and it would therefore be a sin not to vote (properly).

To sum up:

1. Australian law commands non-electors to become electors.
2. Australian law commands electors to vote (and not merely informally).
3. A lawful command by a competent authority (which is what the preceding commands are) binds on pain of sin, so informal voting is sinful, as is obstinate non-enrolment.
(Obviously there are also exceptions.)

Meanwhile, according to a report, apparently not available on-line, on page five of yesterday's Sydney Daily Telegraph entitled "Latham's informal vote call" by Nathan Klein and Alison Rehn,

While [1] it's not illegal to vote informally, [2] it is an offence to encourage others to do so.
[my square-bracketed interpolations]

(See also here for another instance of 2). I was interested to read that, because those two propositions were also raised in the blog comment which elicit my own blog comment quoted above:

One correction - since Australia has secret ballots the requirement is to attend a polling station. One can then voting informally. The candidates are usually so shameful it is surprising that the informal vote is not higher - never high enough to invalidate the poll.

What is wicked is that it is illegal to encourage informal voting - which is often the only moral choice.

I've shown that 1 is mistaken, and as for 2, I was interested to read the following in that Herald article:

It was not illegal for Mr Latham to promote the casting of blank votes, Australian Electoral Commission spokesman Phil Diak said.

"There's no explicit provision in the electoral act against someone telling someone else to cast an informal vote as an opinion or a view," he said.

However, it was an offence to publish information that could cause people to cast an informal vote, such as a misleading election ad.

It seems that 1 and 2 are something of an urban myth, then. As for 2 though, although there might not be any explicit prohibition against "telling someone else to cast an informal vote as an opinion or a view", any command implicitly forbids its contradictory, and it hardly seems becoming of a conscientious elector to tell others, even if only "as an opinion or view", to shirk their duties.

Mr. Gurries on Msgr. Gherardini's book The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion


An amusing joke, told by Dr. Brown, on France's (and, by extension, the West's) demographic prospects

From a comment by Dr. Brown at Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog:

You know the old joke. If Lefebvre wins, the liturgical language of France will be Latin. And if he loses, it will be Arabic.

Comment by robtbrown — 16 August 2010 @
8:18 am

The beliefs and non-beliefs of a man who has spent "forty six years involved in Catholic education"


(In related matters, see here for some of Mr. Coyne's opinions on the "real Jesus".)

Cardinal O'Brien on the death penalty and related matters

His Eminence The Cardinal Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh has written a dreadful opinion piece for Scotland on Sunday. The column came to my attention via a Catholic News Service article which appeared in last Sunday's Sydney Catholic Weekly under the headline "Cardinal attacks US 'vengeance culture'" (see here for a copy of the article at the C.N.S.'s own website). When I saw that headline I thought of St. Thomas Aquinas on the virtue of vengeance in the Summa, IIa IIæ, q. 108. If I had time I'd write I thorough rebuttal of His Eminence's article (a quick look at it indicates that it is even worse than it seemed in the C.N.S. report on it), but I don't at the moment, unfortunately (though there's a chance that I might write a confutation later.)

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Hyacinth, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Notes: Friday, August 13, 2010

Coalition health (abortion) policy: 'Guaranteed' continuation of Medicare funding for abortion, no other abortion law changes either

The last four paragraphs of the on-line version of an article by Ms Sue Dunlevy which appeared on page eight of yesterday's Sydney Daily Telegraph:

[The Hon. Peter] Dutton [M.P., Opposition health spokesman] gave a "guarantee" he would not move to ban Medicare funding of abortions if he became health minister after the election.

Mr Dutton and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott both voted in 2005 to ban the abortion pill RU486 and some women's groups are concerned about their conservative attitudes .

"We don't propose any change in relation to the abortion laws," he said.

"I can provide an assurance today we don't have any plans and I think Tony has been very clear about that." Dutton said.

"Safe drinking is not a right"

Interesting opinion piece dealing with rights:


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of Sts. Hippolytus and Cassian, Martyrs, A.D. 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Notes: Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Tony Abbott backs Henry tax reform - but that could mean income tax slug"

From the expanded on-line version of a short article which appeared on p. 5 of yesterday's Sydney Daily Telegraph:

MORE than five million taxpayers who earn between $36,000 and $94,000 would be slugged with a higher tax bill under the tax plan endorsed by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at his campaign launch.

An analysis of the shows middle income earners would pay up to $500 a year more in tax while millionaires would get a $15,300 a year tax cut.

Mr Abbott said the Henry plan for a simpler income tax system "should be the foundation of Australia's next round of tax reform".

[...] Mr Abbott told The Australian on Monday that he would to cut Australia's overall tax burden when the budget returned to surplus adding that his "instinctive priority" had always been for more personal income tax cuts.

But ACTU analysis shows that under the Henry plan, workers would pay no tax on their first $25,000 and 35c in the dollar until they earned $180,000.

A worker earning $40,000 a year would pay $200 a year more while someone earning $60,000 would face a tax rise of $100.

A worker earning $80,000 would pay $500 a year more.

Low income earners would receive substantial tax cuts under the reforms.

Those on $20,000 a year would pay $751 a year less in tax.

The biggest tax cuts, however, would go to the wealthy.

Those earning $200,000 a year would make a tax saving of $3300 while those on $300,000 would save $4800.

On the other hand, though:

Economist Posted at 9:23 AM August 11, 2010
OH please - ACTU analysis? What government is going to put up taxes on the levels you describe? Answer - none. A story where the author is not even proud enough to put his/her name to....

Comment 6 of 9

Robert of Pennant Hills Posted at 9:48 AM August 11, 2010
Rather than trust the ACTU calculation people might like to go the the Australian Taxation site and check the above figures. Income $40000 -Abbott tax- $5250. ATO calculation for present tax on $40000-$5668. Saving $418. Looks like a typical Labor con to fool the public.

Comment 7 of 9

On the inadequacies of modern men

NEARLY every man on the planet is an inferior version of men that have come before, a visiting author says.

Peter McAllister believes modern man fails to live up to his legacy because his predecessors had to be faster, stronger, smarter and fitter to survive.

[...] McAllister argues that most men fall short of their genetic potential.

Others are pre-destined to have poor eyesight, simple minds, and weak muscles and bones.

He is in town for science week, promoting his book Manthropology, the Science of the Inadequate Modern Male. Tonight's free public event at the RiAus Science Exchange is fully booked.

"Men in the past were challenged very much more than men are today and they developed to a much higher level in all sorts of ways," he said.

"Even though we have a view of ourselves as being very highly developed, we're not anywhere near as developed as what we think. We don't challenge ourselves as much as men throughout even our recent history did."

Our male ancestors were bigger and stronger. Their lives depended on their ability to hunt and defend their territory. Modern males drive to the local shop, eat more than they need and avoid hard labour.

But as palaeo-anthropologist McAllister knows, the human body is designed to respond to stress. "That happens with your bones. The more mechanical load is placed on them, the more robust they become," he said.

The fossil record is filled with bigger bones, which suggest bigger muscles. Few people alive today have the strength of people from ancient times.

"If you look at the arm bones of elite tennis players, they have bone shafts nearly as thick as (the human ancestor) Homo erectus," he said.

"They have placed a lot of stress on their bones and they have developed quite strongly. That goes to show you that in ancient times everybody was equivalent to elite athletes."

Roman soldiers were fitter than elite solders of today and aboriginal people have better eyesight, four times better than those with a farming culture.


"Non-Catholics influenced Vatican II liberalization of Catholic church, new Penn study says"


I found the following paragraphs particularly interesting:

The researchers found that the relationship between the church and state as well as changes in the institution's situation in relation to other institutions, particularly a loss of dominance and the presence of and relationship with other religious institutions, were crucial factors in predicting whether religious leaders would be open to change and also what kinds of change they would prioritize.

They concluded that in places where the Roman Catholic Church enjoyed a stable monopoly as the state church, religious leaders were almost impervious to outside influence and opposed to most kinds of change. In areas in which Catholicism was not the established faith but where the religious field was stable, however, leaders of other religious institutions were a crucial source of influence on Catholic bishops who attended and voted at Vatican II.

Here we see some benefits of Catholicism being a country's State religion and the Catholic Church its established Church, which (benefits) vindicate the perennial Magisterium's teachings on the social rights of Christ the King.

On political developments in The Kingdom of Tonga

In today's Herald:


Tonga is nothing if not counter-cyclical. Its prime minister, Feleti Sevele, was in Sydney yesterday and looking forward to stepping down at the country's elections on November 25, which will also mark the surrender of a large portion of royal power by King George Tupou V. Into the bargain, Tonga is preparing to send 55 marines from its small armed forces to Afghanistan, at a time when many nations are looking to pull out. ''It's quite something after 175 years,'' Dr Sevele said, referring to Tonga's stretch of unbroken absolute monarchy. ''But His Majesty has been the driving force.'' The 50,000 voters among Tonga's 104,000 residents, augmented by the 160,000-strong diaspora who return to vote, will elect 17 of the 26 members of the new parliament, leaving only nine representatives who are elected by Tonga's 33 hereditary nobles. The next PM will also be appointed by the parliament, not the king. Meanwhile there's an election issue to be mined among the 30,000 ethnic Tongans here. An import limit imposed by Tony Abbott when he was health minister on kava - the mildly euphoric root product - remains in force. ''It's still there,'' Dr Sevele said of the import limit. ''The reply has always been that medical issues have yet to be cleared up.''

[Bold type in the original,

Yesterday in history: The colony of New South Wales upgraded

From the "on this day" section of yesterday's Sydney Daily Telegraph's history page (p. 69):

London upgrades NSW from penal colony to crown colony-a milestone on the road to democracy and nationhood.

It's interesting to learn about the different classes of colonies in the British Empire.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Clare, Virgin, A.D. 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Notes: Saturday-Wednesday, August 7-11, 2010

T.R.H. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark are expecting

From Amalienborg Palace:

The Crown Prince Couple is expecting twins

Issued Friday August 6, 2010

Amalienborg Palace, August 6, 2010

Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and The Crown Princess are happy to announce that The Crown Princess is expecting twins.

The birth is expected to take place at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen (Copenhagen University Hospital) in January, 2011.

Lene Balleby
Head of Communication
Tel.: +45 30 40 10 10


Discussion on H.H. The Pope's dropping of the Papal title of 'Patriarch of the West'


Why (among other reasons) women can't be priests (and shouldn't be altar servers, either)


Another web-page on that disgraceful L'Osservatore Romano article:


"Mexico's Separation of Church and State"


"Judge’s anti-Prop. 8 decision ‘finds as a fact’ that Pope Benedict’s teachings are harmful to homosexuals"


"NSW to consider adoption agencies right to reject gay couples"


Interesting books reviewed/mentioned in the weekend papers:

Reviewed in The Weekend Australian:

"Legend's makeover gives thieving hero a licence to kill"
"Holy Warrior
"By Angus Donald
"Sphere, 344pp, $29.99"

"Do worry and don't always be happy"
"The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope
"By Roger Scruton
"Atlantic Books, 232pp, $35"

Reviewed in The Sydney Morning Herald:

Griffith Review 29: Prosper or Perish
(It was only one of the short reviews, presumably not available on-line, so here's the U.R.L. for the book's official web-page:

And I was interested to see that ranking at no. 8 on the Herald's list of the top ten "Political/social science" bestsellers was, would you believe, The Communist Manifesto.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of Sts. Tiburtius, Martyr, and Susanna, Virgin, Martyr, A.D. 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Facts and figures: On sexual activity by high school pupils

From an article entitled "Students as young as 12 to get free condoms at school under new plan":

Recent research showed a quarter of year 10 students reported having had sex, and this rose to half by year 12.

A La Trobe University survey of 3000 students found they were also having sex with more partners than previous research suggested, with many having had sex with three or more partners in the previous year.

Sixty per cent of the young men and just 46 per cent of young women always used condoms.

About 5 per cent of female students became pregnant.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, A.D. 2010

Notes: Friday, August 6, 2010

Fr. Donovan on conscience and predestination


The Rev. Fr. Daniel Donovan writes that

Predestination teaches that God has pre-ordained those who will be saved and those who will be condemned and the individual cannot alter his/her fate. Needless to say, Catholic teaching has always condemned any form of predestination as heresy.

In fact it is Fr. Donovan who is in error here. The correct teaching is that the Elect are indeed predestined, while the Damned are reprobated (see The Catholic Encyclopedia's article "Predestination" and Dz. 316, 320-22, and 348). It's disturbing to see this kind of doctrinal illiteracy from a priest and "former lecturer in religious education".

Fr. Donovan's understanding of conscience also leaves much to be desired. For the process of decisions of conscience he gives a convoluted and verbose eight-stage sequence, when the process is really quite simple. Judgements of conscience are acts of the intellect, so the process is the simple three-stage one by which the minor premise is referred to a major premise, from which is inferred the conclusion. In the case of moral reasoning, the major premise gives some law commanding, forbidding, or permitting certain acts, the minor premise is the fact of whether the act under consideration is one of those acts, and the conclusion is the judgement of whether the act under consideration is therefore commanded, forbidden, or permitted.

There are other problems with Fr. Donovan's article but I don't have time to go into them all here.

More from Mr. Coyne on "Home Masses"

At the Catholica forum:

I don't know if you'd call it a "house church" but we've been thinking of running an ad up here in the Blue Mountains for a while to see if we might find a few like-minded people to get together occasionally for a simple meal, a bit of prayer and reflection, and basically just seeing if we can form some sort of community to explore this further. I do know of a few established small groups around Australia that follow and pass around amongst themselves some of the commentaries from Catholica. I pick up a sense that there is a hunger for "small communities" (as opposed to the "big communities" of a parish). I have really fond memories of the Home Masses and many inter-Church get togethers I was involved with when I was active in the Hawthorn parish in Victoria in the 1970s.
[my emphasis,

It amuses me how those of Mr. Coyne's ilk will berate Traditionalists for wanting to 'turn the clock back' when the 'ageing-hippie'-types themselves want to relive a bygone era. (For more on Mr. Coyne's religious opinions, see this Catholica Forum thread, where he writes that

Ultimately I think I am searching for "truth". I'm not searching for "authority figures" who provide me with some kind of emotional comfort. I sincerely want to know what the truth is — about the meaning of my life, what is the end objective of my life, is Jesus the one 'with all the answers', on what 'authority' we can have confidence in his answers.


There are things in that which I can agree with and other things I disagree with or I am sceptical about. For example I am not sure that Jesus founded Christianity, or was intending to found "a church", or "the church" which subsequently came to bear his name. From your own commentaries on Catholica I am more of the view today that Christianity as it came to be known was founded more by Paul and Peter and their disciples and, importantly, the "tension" between the contrasting perspectives put forward by Paul and Peter and their disciples. Certainly they and their disciples each drew their inspiration from Jesus but as you yourself have pointed out despite the common source for the inspiration they came up with ways of understanding, and implementing, the Jesus' message that were at times in complete opposition or at least deep contrast.


I am particularly interested in seeing what Vynette has to say from her explorations of what view Jesus had of himself concerning his divinity. My own view is that Jesus had no concept of "the Trinity" as that concept was subsequently developed or in the way many Christians think of that concept today. I don't believe though that that invalidates either Jesus or the concept of a Trinitarian God. Jesus certainly "planted the seeds" for the subsequent Trinitarian picture of the Godhead that emerged with his differentiations between himself and "my Father in heaven" and the spirit that would remain after he had gone. Was his view though as "theologically elaborate" as what was subsequently developed by the later Church Fathers?

and most strikingly:

As I argued in another post my sense is that the Jesus we are invited to worship and follow is something much greater than the mere historical figure.

Recall condemned error no. 29 of Lamentabili, the anti-Modernist syllabus:

It may be conceded that the Christ whom history presents, is far inferior to the Christ who is the object of faith.

Mr. Gooley on Scripture, liturgy, and the Traditional Latin Mass

http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/article.php?classID=3&subclassID=75&articleID=7228&class=Features&subclass=Bite-size Vatican II

The Rev. Anthony Gooley, a deacon in The Archdiocese of Brisbane, writes that

“The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body” (Dei Verbum 21).

This is such a profound image of the two tables yet the truth of it has been obscured historically by the use of Latin and the narrower selection of texts used in the pre-Vatican II liturgy.

The faithful did not receive enough from the table of the word.

[my emphasis]

In other words, for Mr. Gooley, the Traditional Latin Mass deprives the Faithful of a due good. Which makes the T.L.M. ... evil, I take it? But I would contend that it is the T.L.M, not the N.O.M., which leaves the Faithful better acquainted with Scripture anyway. Towards the end of his article Mr. Gooley ask a few rhetorical questions:

To what extent are ordinary Catholics familiar with the Scriptures and use them for daily prayer?

Are Catholics immersed in the Scriptures and more able to meditate on them and read them with confidence?

Is there a repertoire of Biblical texts which Catholics know by heart as they know familiar traditional prayers or the responses at Mass?

Yet by having three readings each Sunday, with a three-year cycle for those readings, the N.O.M. guarantees that only those Catholics who go out of their way to memorise parts of the Bible will be the ones to know much, or even any, of it by heart, not to mention the N.O.M.'s suppression of the Last Gospel.

And Mr. Gooley uses an odd comparison at one point:

We can find in Scripture proclaimed in liturgy food for our spiritual nourishment just as we receive food from the Eucharist to transform us into the Body of Christ.

But hearing Scripture readings produces its effects in us in quite a different way to that in which Holy Communion produces Its effects in us.

"The APA's Biased Paper on Same-Sex Attraction and Therapy"


"The Sybil" on the situation in The Diocese of Wollongong


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, A.D. 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Facts and figures: On Australian working mothers feeling "pressed for time"

Here's a counterpoint to yesterday's Notes item "There's no harm done being a working mum"--supposedly 'no harm done' to the child, but what about the working mum? In today's Herald:

Despite a 7 per cent decline in total hours worked by Australians between 2008 and 2009, researchers from the University of South Australia have found the proportion of workers dissatisfied with their work-life balance is growing.

The survey of about 2800 workers, which has been taken annually since 2007, found about a quarter of women working full time and a fifth of full-time men to be unhappy with the balance.

''We see no letting up … and we see quite a significant deterioration for full-time women,'' said Barbara Pocock, the director of the university's Centre for Work and Life.

The survey found seven in 10 working mothers felt ''often'' or ''almost always'' pressed for time. ...
[my emphasis,

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Dominic, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Notes: Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mr. Baker on the relatio to what became Dignitatis humanæ


This is a detailed and vigorous rebuttal of the arguments which Dignitiatis humanæ's relator, Msgr. de Smedt, offered in defence of that document's theses.

Prof. Lumby on sex education in high schools


Prof. Lumby writes that

The Victorian government – and let’s remember that state governments are chronically terrified of upsetting anyone about anything – recently made the bizarre decision to introduce sex education to students in Years 9 and 10 which asks them to actually discuss sex.

[...] Teachers are even encouraged to ask students to discuss their own experiences and views on sexual practices, sexual ethics and intimate relationships. Clearly, that’s ridiculously sane. On what planet do these evidence-based sex education policy makers live? Naturally there’s been an outcry.

In the first of those paragraphs Prof. Lumby is, of course, being ironic when she describes the decision as "bizarre". But bizarrely (and I am not being ironic) she is not being ironic when she describes as "sane" teachers enouraging their respective pupils to discuss their sexual experiences with the class. Does it not occur to her how easily that sort of thing could end in tears, or worse (has she forgetten last year's fiasco of Kyle Sandilands asking a fourteen-year-old rape victim, to whom a lie detector was attached, whether the alleged rape had been 'her only sexual experience'?)? Reading Prof. Lumby's article, I felt as though she and I inhabit different moral universes.

But the occasions of sin and embarrassment which such an exercise would generate are not the only problem. Another problem is that, as though 'personal development, health, and physical education' classes aren't a big enough waste of time, this would be a further dumbing down of the school curriculum and an advancement of a philosophy which evaluates schooling according to its 'relevance' and 'practicality' rather than according to how it cultivates intellectual excellence. Is it too much to ask that the school curriculum restrict itself to educating, and leave things like learning to drive (recently there was a serious proposal aired in the Sydney Daily Telegraph to teach driving in schools) to outside school hours where they belong?

Mr. Muehlenberg and others on moral obligation


Here's an interesting extract from a recent comment by Mr. Muehlenberg at his blog:

People are moral and able to be moral because they are moral beings living in a moral universe created by a moral God. So for that reason atheists can live moral lives. It is just that moral motions and obligations make no sense in the atheist’s worldview. ... As I already said in the above quote, the honest atheists even admit to this. There are plenty more such quotes. Let me offer just one further example: “The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God.” (Atheist ethicist Richard Taylor).

One of Mr. Muehlenberg's interlocuters responded with, among other things, the following:

As for that quote about “moral obligation”, did you consider that that Richard Taylor was proposing that moral obligation equates to guilt? Your priests lay an obligation on their flocks to be moral, for fear of punishment. Atheists choose to be ethical because it is the right thing to do. Therefore, moral obligation only makes sense if you’re religious; the rest of us aren’t OBLIGED to be moral – we choose it freely.

Of that paragraph Mr. Muehlenberg wrote

Sadly your paragraph on moral obligation is completely incoherent, so I cannot even attempt to reply to such gibberish. I am afraid it is you who is completely out of your depth here, and you will have to come up with something much better if you hope to convince us that atheism is somehow a coherent and rational position. We are certainly not getting that from you so far.

Now it's clear that the interlocuter is confused in his understanding of the idea of moral obligation and its importance in ethical theory. But by saying that "the rest of us aren’t OBLIGED to be moral – we choose it freely" the interlocuter unwittingly indicates the problem with a Godless, and therefore lawless and obligation-less, (a)moral world--because if we choose freely to be moral, then whyever can't we choose freely to be immoral? Without moral obligation, we have, by definition, the moral liberty to do either. And so another commenter at Mr. Muehlenberg's blog did well to write the following:

You might deny the existence of God, but you can’t escape the inevitable conclusion that without a moral law giver as a foundation for moral reasoning you are left without a philosophical leg to stand on. The older atheists understood this, which was why they embraced a very nihilistic view of the universe. Sadly the preening pretentious frauds that claim to pick up their mantle today seem to have forgotten the lessons of the much wiser intellects that went before them.

If you want to claim to push a moral law giver out of the picture then at lest be intellectually honest enough to admit that you are left with nothing but a vacuum of moral nihilism.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Dominic, Confessor, A.D. 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Notes: Saturday, July 31 to Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Probe into 54 baby deaths rejected by Victorian Parliament"


Mr. Warner on the problems with Anglicanorum coetibus


Counterpoint to "Neuroscience suggests heterosexual monogamy is best"


I link to the article in question because it's wise to be aware of the arguments which opponents of the natural law and its dictates in these matters will raise, though the article is rather weak and unbalanced--the author cites double the number of pro-polyamory/polyamory-sympathetic sources relative to anti-polyamory sources, and he fails to ask the obvious question of how even in the (false) Darwinian account of man's origins it can be the case that nature would select for behaviour which, by fuelling 'sexually-transmissible infections' (as I understand the correct term now is), is at least in that way destructive of the species. One doesn't have to be an expert for that problem to occur to him, and the journalist's apparent failure to think of it is all the more inexcusable given this extract from his article:

Rather than jealousy (which in severe cases, can be treated, Ford says, "like a phobia"), polyamorous people are said to experience something they call "compersion", which means, in simple terms, to take pleasure in your partner's pleasure. Such an arrangement is reasonably common among gay male couples, who, as Ryan writes, recognise that "additional relationships need not be taken as indictments of anyone".

Well you know what else is 'reasonably common among gay male couples'? Genital warts. Syphilis. H.I.V./A.I.D.S. (see ACON's website for more). For a more critical response (though one with which I still don't fully agree, because of its Darwinist perpective) see the letter entitled "Multiple partners may be natural, but so is arsenic" in the letters section of today's Herald.

"There's no harm done being a working mum"

"MUMS can return to work within a year of giving birth without harming their babies' development, a landmark report shows."

I want to keep that article for future reference, though as you might expect I dispute the findings (well, except for things like "[w]orking mums have higher income, ... than their stay-at-home counterparts"--they needed a thousand-child study to tell them that mothers earning money earn more money than mothers not earning money?!).

Findings of a study on I.V.F.-conceived children's health risk factors

From the Pulse column in the Health section of last Saturday's edition of The Weekend Australian's Weekend Professional supplement:

Bad week for . . . [sic]

CHILDREN conceived by IVF: Swedish research indicates they have an increased risk of cancer. The study followed 26,692 children born after IVF during 1982-2005. These children had 1.42 times the risk of developing cancer than children not conceived after IVF. That risk equated to 53 cases, compared with an expected figure of 38. High birth weight and premature delivery were among other risk factors found by the study, online in the journal Pediatrics.



(Kallen B, et al)


Reginaldvs Cantvar