Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Apology from Brian on Catholica

This afternoon, Brian Coyne closed that infamous thread, and posted this apology on the Catholica Forum:
Apology to David Schütz..
posted by Brian Coyne , LINDEN, NSW, 17.09.2008, 15:44

Dear all,

The discussion that erupted in this place on David Schütz has been described as a "low point for CA". I agree with that and would like to extend a sincere apology to David for the turn that this discussion took. I also apologise for my own remarks in the string which were, in truth, an attempt to correct the damage but themselves seem to have made the situation worse. I have no criticism of David's decision to convert to Catholicism and I have no criticisms of David as a person. I do have strong differences in perspective to some of his theological views and what it means to be a Catholic — and it has been those issues that I have been seeking to engage David in discussion about from time to time. My own comments concerning David's employment have been seriously misconstrued but I accept responsibility for that happening because of failings in how I expressed my arguments. My criticism was not intended to be of David but of the system and ecclesial leadership that seems to bend over backwards to support the worldview promoted, or held by, people who share the sort of perspectives put forward by David and it is seemingly uncaring of the needs of others who have different worldviews of what Catholicism, spirituality and the search for God, truth and meaning is all about. People who question are not given favourable treatment in employment in the institution today. There are many people, including myself and others who have found a home at Catholica, who can provide eloquent testimony to that. That is the point I was seeking to make. That is a criticism of the institution and its leadership. It is NOT a criticism of David.

Personally I do have respect for David in that I sincerely do believe he is one of the more articulate of the conservative voices in the Church today and he does have the guts to nail his colours to the mast in public cyberspace. I wish there were a lot more people in positions of public accountability and leadership within the institution who had the fortitude, or felt confident enough, to contribute to the public debate on these important issues of what we believe/what we are seeking and the hows and whys.

David, please accept my sincere apologies on how this matter got seriously out of hand. From my growing experience as administrator of discussion forums in cyberspace I am acutely aware of the difficulties in conducting any rational discussion across this divide between those who have a "conservative" or "political" understanding of their faith and the rest of us who approach our faith and beliefs from other perspectives and paradigms. I do hope the discussions might continue in more amicable and mutually respectful ways.

Sincerely,
Brian Coyne
Editor and Publisher

Thank you, Brian. All is forgiven and we are friends still, despite such radical differences of opinion on just about everything!

I should in fact thank all involved for raising the profile of this poor blog a couple of notches.

And let me assure you that I hold no-one in contempt for their comments. I reserve my real wrath and hatred for the Telsta/Bigpond "Help" desk and online billing system (which, I might just note, gives an entirely new meaning to the word "Help"). But that is another story...

11 Comments:

At Wednesday, September 17, 2008 5:49:00 pm , Anonymous Sharon said...

Brian: My own comments concerning David's employment have been seriously misconstrued.


An excerpt from Brian's post on his forum.

"Where I have a big problem is that David waltzes into the Catholic Church with his very conservative theology and ideology — and he is given a secure job because of the ideology he expresses…I have deep, deep misgivings of David's suitability in the position he holds publicly in the institution. Is he there because of his "loyalty" and willingness to play what I dub "the Nerny, Nerny" game where everybody runs around trying to play this game that Catholics are "king of the castle" and everybody else on earth are heretics, sinners or "the inferior" or does he occupy the position on merit and his experience and qualifications.
There is a stench in the Catholic Church in this country today of "jobs for the boys" — people who will not question."

Brian, how was the above comment 'seriously misconstrued?'

There is a stench in the Catholic Church in this country today of "jobs for the boys.

Is this Brian speak for "Some in the Catholic Church in this country today prefer to employ people who are faithful to the teaching authority of the Church and who are loyal to Pope Benedict XVI?"

Name one organisation which would employ people who, after pocketing their paycheque, spent all of their time attempting to undermine the organisation to which they should either show loyalty or resign from if they were in major disagreement with the ethos of the organisation.

 
At Wednesday, September 17, 2008 7:11:00 pm , Blogger Shan said...

It is good to see that Mr Coyne is able to apologise to you David for the...

Actually, I'm not sure what he is apologising for. His post says that other people have "seriously miscontrued" his comments, and Mr Coyne regrets this. Fair enough, but how has Mr Coyne been misunderstood?

It seems to me that he characterised your employment as due to your personal convictions and your conversion and not your competence, and in his apology he reasserts this
"My criticism was not intended to be of David but of the system and ecclesial leadership that seems to bend over backwards to support the worldview promoted, or held by, people who share the sort of perspectives put forward by David and it is seemingly uncaring of the needs of others who have different worldviews of what Catholicism, spirituality and the search for God, truth and meaning is all about."

Mr Coyne may not intend to direct his ire at you, David, nonetheless he has impugned your character and your competence.

Instead of providing eloquent testimony to the unfavourable treatment "people who question" receive from the Church, Mr Coyne has instead demonstrated that people who think with the Church are also subject to scorn from other Christians. I take Mr Coyne at his word when he says that other Christians have treated he and his friends poorly because of the views, yet this leads me to feel sadness. Having been treated unfairly, one could reasonably assume that Mr Coyne would be more vigilant in how fairly he treats those he disagrees with.

Offering an unspecified apology in which the repudiated claims are in fact repeated does not - in my opinion - satisfy justice.

Given that the bulk of his ongoing argument for Church reform is an appeal to the life-experience of ordinary people, I do find it surprising that Mr Coyne would be willing to dismiss or minimise the experience of those people who disagree with him.
Hopefully Mr Coyne will avoid undermining his own case in the future.

 
At Wednesday, September 17, 2008 9:30:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Sharon asks us to "Name one organisation which would employ people who, after pocketing their paycheque, spent all of their time attempting to undermine the organisation to which they should either show loyalty or resign from if they were in major disagreement with the ethos of the organisation."

Ummm, lets see... The Catholic Church?

Since coming into the Church, I have often heard complaints from orthodox Catholics loyal to the magisterium about the fact that the vast majority of Church agencies around the country seem to be completely controlled by the "Spirit of Vatican II" set.

It is surprising therefore to hear that when the "boot is on the other foot", or when "the pendulum swings in the other direction", the "Spirit of Vatican II" set are equally dismayed by the ascendancy of the Magisterial Catholics!

 
At Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:34:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said Sharon.

DS has accepted their pathetic apology so we will just have to leave it there.

Exy

 
At Thursday, September 18, 2008 8:47:00 am , Blogger Tony said...

David,

Characterisations of those you don't agree with are as easy as falling off a log. It's classic 'straw man' technique that's used by so many.

Does it ever occur to you, for example, that the 'various church agencies' that you malign are in fact supervised by the Magisterium you profess such loyalty to? How could this be?

Is the Magisterium incompetant or under some sort of 'Spirit of VatII' spell?

It may be that the Magisterium exercises a much more generous and broadminded governance than those professing loyalty to it? And, it has to be said, those who show open hostility to it?

 
At Thursday, September 18, 2008 10:46:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

What on earth do you mean, Tony? I was only making an observation about what I have heard. I could have used "Group A" for "Spirit of Vatican II set" and "Group B" for "Orthodox Catholics Loyal to the Magisterium", and that wouldn't change my observation. I don't think I was building up any "straw man".

Besides, when we use the word "Magisterium" we don't mean "the Bishops", we mean "the teaching office of the Church". The teaching office of the Church (exercised by the bishops teaching in communion with the Bishop of Rome) is quite a different thing from the governing office of the Church, even if it might be exercised by the same people.

The big difference is that while infallibility is taught to adhere to the teaching office of the magisterium, no-one in their right minds would suggest that such infallibility extends to the governing office! Bishops are just as capable as laity of making big stuff ups when it comes to how they administer a diocese.

This is an important point - on which many who set themselves against the magisterium are confused. Loyalty to the magisterium does not mean agreeing with everything the bishops do (or any single bishop does). It means assenting to the teaching of the Church.

As Fr Z. said recently, we are obliged to obey those in authority over us in the Church, and to give assent to their teaching, but we are not obliged to agree with everything they do.

And while we are at it, we could also blame the Church Police. They are getting really slack these days too.

 
At Thursday, September 18, 2008 11:11:00 am , Blogger Tony said...

No matter how you spin it David, you're talking about 'us' ('loyal to the Magisterium' or other such labels) and 'them' ('spirit of VatII' or other such labels). The labels are almost without exception imprecise and used as rhetorical weapons rather than ways of understanding legitimate differences of opinion.

Such characterisations allow Sharon's statement to be uncritically accepted.

Name one organisation? What about a democratic government? Looked at with Sharon's POV, opposition members and activists against the incumbent government are hypocritical if they accept any taxpayer funding. Yet we believe that opposition is an essential ingredient of democratic systems.

Of course it's totally unreasonable to compare a government -- especially a democratic one LOL -- with the church, but the paradox of being an active critic of an organisation to which you profess loyalty is not that rare. IMO mature, dynamic organisations make a place for dissent. They actively encourage members to ask questions and challenge the way things are done.

PS: I really like a bloke that doesn't take himself too seriously but the 'church police' remark was lost on me :-(

 
At Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:44:00 pm , Anonymous Exy said...

Tony

You need to say all that sort of stuff to Brian & Co not DS!

Strawman LOL now you are using Cliffy's old line.

DS is not the one who is responsible for the de-construction of Catholic Faith education at the grass roots level nor is he responsible for the mutilation of the liturgy over the last 40 years, nor is he responsible for the behaviour of paid employees of the Church who take it upon themselves and then attempt to re-construct what they think is Catholic.

CA was totally out of line in the recent dispute, we watched it for several days and then it was time to take action and support David Schütz.

Please don't try and re-enter thru the back door and twist things in your usual convoluted fashion.

By all means have your say but please address that to the people that REALLY need to hear it and not to David Schütz!

Thanks Tony

Exy

 
At Friday, September 19, 2008 1:01:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

My criticism was not intended to be of David but of the system and ecclesial leadership that seems to bend over backwards to support the worldview promoted

You mean, the Catholic world view?

 
At Friday, September 19, 2008 3:33:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

You need to say all that sort of stuff to Brian & Co not DS!

Why? I was responding to DS.

Thanks Exy.

 
At Friday, September 19, 2008 3:53:00 pm , Anonymous Exy said...

Exactly that is the problem: your remarks were addressed to the wrong person, you need to say all of that to those who need to hear it after their appalling behaviour and 2nd rate apology that was not really an apology and full of their usual baloney.

Next question?

Exy

 

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