Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading Between the Lines? At Least Someone Read the Text...

There is an answer to my letter to the editor in today's edition of The Age. Someone at least was annoyed enough by what I wrote to go to the bother of finding an English translation of the Pope's address and READING it!
Pope's message between the lines

DAVID Schutz (Letters, 29/12) is either trying to deceive people or needs to brush up on his reading comprehension skills. While there is no official English translation of the Pope's address to the Curia, there are English translations available. The one I found while searching for a translation was on Schutz's own blog.

In this translation, the Pope clearly refers to homosexuality even though the word itself is never used. If anything, it is the reference to climate change that was taken out of context.

Nevertheless, the media reports and subsequent commentaries got the underlying meaning correct. Before telling people to check their facts, maybe we should learn to read between the lines.

Alex Carnie, Brunswick West
Hmmm...

"Trying to deceive people"? Nooo... not exactly. By pointing out that there was not even an official english translation available yet, I was simply trying to draw attention to the fact that the critics were generally relying on journalist reports of the speech rather than reading the primary source document. If Alex was able to find an English translation via my blog as he said he was, that means that a) he at least now has a copy of the source document, b) my blog has served a useful purpose!

Need "to brush up on [my] reading comprehension skills"? Nooo... I don't think I have a problem there either. I wasn't, of course, denying that the Pope "clearly refers to homosexuality [inter alia] even though the word itself is never used". I was pointing out that to describe the Pope's address as a "diatribe against homosexuality" was clearly inaccurate, since such a "diatribe" would at least have required the use of the word "homosexuality". "Diatribes" do not usually require "reading between the lines".

In fact, no deception exists nor is reading between the lines necessary. His meaning was plain enough to all who read the text as it stands. And anyone who does so will realise that it was NOT a "diatribe" against homosexuality.

11 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:53:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

i think this bloke Carnie gets a frequent letter or 2 in THE AGE and they are normally anti-religious in content,epsecially being of an anti-papal bent. Perhaps an unhappy Presbyterian childhood??. if i am wrong then I apologise and again claim a lack of Guiness ,
God Blog entry :
When Alex Carney arrives must arrange reading and linguistic lesson for 1000 years with Venerable Bede and William Tyndale in attendance"

 
At Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:58:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

Oh yes and for mispelling Carnie I will volunteer to sit alongside him in the millenial pedagogy session.

 
At Tuesday, December 30, 2008 5:06:00 pm , Blogger Paul said...

Hi David,
my letter to the Herald actually got published today:
http://www.smh.com.au/letters/?page=4
I wonder if anyone will bother to reply? If they do, I suppose it means that at least they own a copy of the Catechism.

IMHO, I think you were correct to say that Pope Benedict did not mention homosexuality. He was talking about creation as a dimension of the Holy Spirit, and then went on to say this means creation of men and women as well as of rainforests. He did then mention matrimony as a sacrament between a man and a woman, but he didn't say anything about a union between 2 men (whatever that actually means). There are already enough issues with real, sacramental marriages before going onto other topics. He might have been thinking of a lot of other issues, apart from homosexuality when he wrote this.

The fact that people are so quick to read more things into the Pope's words must show that they are very sensitive to what he says. I wonder why? Why are they so eager to bend the Church to fit into what they have already decided is a valid lifestyle? In doing this, why do they get so emotional and angry?
Dare I say a guilty conscience has something to do with it?

For what it is worth, my letter was:

"Fred Jansohn (Letters, December 29), says the Pope is defying the catechism and he quotes from it. But the references are not relevant to the point he is trying to make. Paragraphs 1202 and 1204 talk about liturgical practices based on symbolism and social organisation of the surrounding culture. I would be amazed if Mr Jansohn intends to say the gay community has arisen from a cultural practice in some specific region.

Of course, there are many other texts in the catechism that are relevant to the Pope's speech, but we need to get away from legalistic arguments. I have read the speech; it covers many subjects. The couple of paragraphs people are talking about are a thoughtful and charitable statement of his reasons for believing that the natures of men and women are different in some aspects.

If you disagree, that's fine, let's have the discussion, but I don't see any justification for anger and resentment."

 
At Tuesday, December 30, 2008 5:57:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Congrats, Paul. Well done.

Yes, we could ask ourselves why it matters to these blokes what some old bloke in Rome thinks.

Of course, it DOES matter, because what that old bloke says matters to a hell of a lot of us.

Everytime someone attacks the Pope or the Catholic Church it shows that

a) the Catholic Church matters
b) the Pope matters
c) we're on the right track...

 
At Tuesday, December 30, 2008 11:17:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

But Matthias, what will you do for misspelling "misspelling"?

 
At Tuesday, December 30, 2008 11:19:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Yes, David, we only have to worry when people stop hanging him in effigy.

But well done and at least Mr Carnie read the speech.

 
At Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:32:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

The only thing obscuring Ratzinger's excellent comments on the order of creation is the Roman dung surrounding it. Absent that, it's fine.

Only when you a priori assume you are right, always right, do your three points follow.

There are many attacks upon the Catholic Church, AND ALL OTHER RELIGIONS, that are born of misinformation and other motives.

That is not to say ALL of them are. Maybe it's also that:

1) The Catholic Church matters because it is among the biggest purveyors of error in the world

2) The Pope matters because he is the head of the Catholic Church

3) Maybe, just maybe, there is something in some of these attacks that show the Catholic Church and its Pope is NOT on the right track.

 
At Wednesday, December 31, 2008 8:21:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

Louise thanks for pointing that mistake out. perhaps an extra 25 years in Eternity listening to Celine Dion records.

 
At Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:37:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

PE: Of course, I was just being facetious.

"Maybe, just maybe, there is something in some of these attacks that show the Catholic Church and its Pope is NOT on the right track."

But didn't you just say he was? Despite all the "Roman dung" that surrounded his statement? Is not a dung heap a strange place to find a pearl? How can a good fruit grow from a bad tree?

This is my difficulty with your pronouncements, my friend. You are quite able to see the value, wisdom and truth in Joseph Ratzinger's teaching on matters of ethics and morals (in fact, I could ask, do you hear such teaching from Lutheran pulpits?), yet you fail to value this because of the context in which you find this teaching, ie. The Whore of Rome.

Either it is some fluke that such great teaching has managed to survive among such great evil, or you really must reassess the way in which you evaluate the said "evil".

It might be that that "dung heap" is in fact fertile manure for truth!

 
At Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:43:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

perhaps an extra 25 years in Eternity listening to Celine Dion records

Ouch! that's a bit harsh!

 
At Thursday, January 01, 2009 4:04:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

God bless me sideways. Even a broken watch has the right time twice (or once if digital) a day. Even a blind squirrel bumps into an acorn once in a while.

And who said the RCC was a broken watch or a blind squirrel. The catholic faith, the Scriptures and the Sacrament can be found within it (something I did not know until I was Lutheran and still expected Catholic to be Catholic).

That being the case, why should not some correct teaching proceed from it? Even from one who occupies an office bearing the marks of Antichrist. Ratzinger is not Antichrist.

The problem you have is you think the Catholic Church IS the tree. It isn't. But it is part of the tree and continues to bear some of its fruit.

 

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