Sunday, February 22, 2009

Backing the Wrong Horse in South Brisbane

Juliette Hughes. What is there to say? We've heard her before on a couple of topics (World Youth Day, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson). She self-identifies as a Catholic, but if you want to get her take on what she believes authentic Catholicism to be, look no further than this article - in which she points out that the only difference between herself and Catherine Deveny is that "she has left" and "I still belong."

Anyway, in an article today's edition of The Sunday Age ("Catholic Church must rediscover a tolerant God"), she takes up the sword on behalf of none other than that hero of the Catholic faith: Fr Peter Kennedy and the good people of St Mary's South Brisbane.

Now, a word to the wise from the very beginning: Ms Hughes is backing the wrong horse in this piece. The word is, according to someone I met this morning who had just returned from a conference in Brisbane, that even those in the Church who once felt some sympathy for Fr Kennedy are now saying he has "gone too far".

Well, how far is that? To the point of saying that he and his own personal ministry are essential for the faith and life of the parish of St Mary's. We have a term for that in the Church. It is a "messiah-complex".

This is reflected a little in the rather disquieting words reported in the Courier Mail today. He said of the priest who has been appointed administrator of the parish in his place:
"The people are not going to receive Fr Howell. He's naive enough to think he can walk in there on Sunday and the people will welcome him. Well, they won't. I know the people, I've been there 28 years - the people want me there and I've helped build that community into what it is today. And then this guy comes in, like a religious scab."
I don't know; you tell me. Does that sound like the attitude of a balanced Christian pastor to you? On the other hand, the so-called "religious scab" decided not to approach the parish today, despite his appointment by the Archbishop, partly on the grounds of a bomb threat which had been made (the police took this seriously, even though we would hope that Fr Kennedy is right in asserting it was not a member of his flock who made the threat), but more because - as a good priest - he did not want to risk an unseemly dispute to disrupt the celebration of the Eucharist.

So let's get to Juliette Hughes' piece. Remember, as you read this, that Fr Kennedy was not "sacked". "Sack" is not a canonical term. Archbishop Bathersby "terminated" his appointment as administrator of the parish (he was not "parish priest") and, as he is 71 years of age, he was offered the opportunity of peaceful and honourable retirement. Note also that the parish was not threatened with closure. No-one was excommunicated. No-one was disciplined. The Archbishop took no step other than that of replacing the Administrator. (And let's be honest about this: 28 years as "administrator" of a parish is rather odd. The term of office for administrators is usually much, much shorter than this anyway).

So, onto Ms Hughes' piece:
THE banner outside St Mary's Catholic Church, South Brisbane, reads: "Everyone has a place in the church. Every person without exception should be able to feel at home and never rejected." These are the words of Pope Benedict XVI himself. But it seems they don't apply to the community of St Mary's. [See here for Archbishop Bathersby's own comments on the irony of that quotation - quotations should always be given in context so that they don't become a pretext!]

God is good. [Ms Hughes is very certain that she knows what God is like, and what his will is.] Organised religion is often not. [The Church is dismissed as "organised religion". That is the extent of her ecclesiology. Ms Hughes prefers do-it-yourself religion.] To some in the Catholic hierarchy, it doesn't matter how much godly good you do if you don't toe the line. [Note the argument: Doing good should give you a licence to ignore due authority. Richard Pratt did a lot of good too, but that didn't give him the authority to break the law.] The past 40 years have seen a determined fundamentalist backlash against the openness and reforms of the Second Vatican Council that began so hopefully in the 1960s. [The shenanigans that Fr Kennedy got up to at St Mary's cannot in any sense be justified by the decrees of the 2nd Vatican Council.]

Now an entire parish of decent, spiritual people [Again, note the reasoning: "decent, spiritual people" (assuming for the sake of the argument that the "entire parish" is such) should not be required to submit themselves to lawful authority] can be threatened with expulsion from the faith [note well that no such threat has been made; the Archbishop pointed out that they were in danger of expelling themselves - his wish is to draw them back into the fellowship of the faith] because some bigot has protested to Rome that they are, horror of horrors, too tolerant and accepting of diversity [I don't think the "bigot" in question (and there was more than one complaining to Rome, I believe) would have quite put it that way; they protested that Fr Kennedy was administering invalid sacraments, blessing that which could not be blessed, allowing those with no mandate to preach the Word, and blatantly flouting the liturgical laws which the Church has given for the sake of unity and good order]. Most parishes are burdened with a tiny minority of fundamentalist obsessives who dob in priests for supposed breaches of tradition [what if they are REAL breaches of Tradition? Would that be alright then?]. They are successful way beyond their numerical strength [they are successful because they have right on their side, and, as King Arthur discovered many years ago, "might is not right" - ie. the justice of a cause has nothing to do with the numbers who fight for it]; indeed, the Vatican is notoriously deaf to anyone else in the laity, ignoring the concerns of the vast majority of those who call themselves Catholic [The Holy See listens to anyone who has just cause according to the law of the Church - for eg. it has supported laity against bishops before where bishops have overstepped their authority]. Accordingly, in August last year, the Archbishop of Brisbane, John Bathersby, wrote a letter to Peter Kennedy, St Mary's parish priest. In it he objected to the kind of prayers said at the parish's liturgies and to the style of clothing worn by Father Kennedy at Mass (Kennedy wears ordinary clothes much of the time) [Ms Hughes is being deliberately obtuse at this point, misleading her readers into thinking that the "kind of prayers" and "style of clothing" were minor issues rather than the very serious breaches that they were. If they were so "minor" why didn't Fr Kennedy, for the sake of peace, just accept to make the requested alterations to his "kind of prayers" and "style of clothing"?].

It wasn't only about clothes [you're damned right it wasn't!]. The parish was adapting some prayers, allowing divorced and gay people to receive the Eucharist and letting groups such as a Buddhist group and a gay choir use the church when it wasn't in use for Catholic celebrations. According to the letter, this was enough to put them outside the Catholic Church. [Yes, the "letter" of canon law; the law which Fr Kennedy was, as a priest of the Catholic Church, obliged to obey. Failing in this obedience, he was failing in his ordination oath. Flouting the law of the Catholic Church, he was, in effect, putting himself outside the Catholic Church.]

"The question for me," the archbishop wrote, "is not so much whether St Mary's should be closed down, but whether St Mary's will close itself down by practices that separate it from communion with the Roman Catholic Church." [Precisely: he wasn't going to do it. If anyone was doing it, they were closing themselves down.]

Now Kennedy has been sacked [his term of office - which he held only by the authority of the Archbishop in the first place - was terminated] and yesterday a new, Vatican-approved parish priest ["Vatican-approved"!?? What a howler! I have a "Vatican-approved" priest in my parish. I expect you do too (if you are Catholic). Every priest is "Vatican-approved" by virtue of his ordination and incardination into a diocese or belonging to a recognised religious order! Even Fr Kennedy is a "Vatican-approved" priest - until such time as he goes so far in his rebellion that he is dismissed from his priesthood altogether!] was shoehorned ["appointed" - and Fr Howell isn't parish priest either - he also is an "administrator" appointed by the will of the Archbishop] into the place. Kennedy has said that he intends to offer the 9am Mass today, and many are expected to attend. [Fr Kennedy said that he expected 1000 to turn up - news reports say "hundreds" did.]

In the meantime, the Pope is battling on another front: the public relations disaster he incurred when he rescinded the excommunication of four dissident hyper-conservative bishops [Oh yes, thank you for reminding us of that. How helpful. And relevant.]. These chaps, so much more acceptable to the Vatican than the gentle people of St Mary's [who was it that made the bomb threat again?], belong to the Society of St Pius X. The SSPX adheres to a form of liturgy that was rejected by the Second Vatican Council as anti-Semitic: it includes a disgraceful Good Friday prayer for the conversion of "the perfidious Jews". [Ummm. A) the Second Vatican Council did not reject the liturgy of Pope John XXIII - which didn't have this phrase in it, B) Anti-Semitism had nothing at all to do with the request for the reform of the liturgy. Good Grief. You see how the hostile media strings ideas together into a noose with which to hang the mean old nasty Church?]

Unfortunately, Richard Williamson, one of the four bishops, went further, stating on Swedish television that no more than 300,000 Jews perished under the Nazis, and that he did not believe there were gas chambers in Auschwitz.

It is baffling that the Vatican machinery that can sniff out a recalcitrant liberal in Queensland did not pick this up. [You see the argument here, don't you? Pope favours anti-Semitic conservatives over against decent, spiritual liberals. As the Monty Python skit puts it so well: "This isn't an argument"...]

For those who adhere to notions of papal infallibility, it wasn't a good look: either the Pope didn't know and blundered into this, or he knew and didn't care until the international fuss. In damage control, the Pope stated that Holocaust denial was "intolerable". And then he had to go and threaten to excommunicate Williamson again. [He never made any such threat. Good double grief.]

Now that puts the excommunicated Kennedy [KENNEDY ISN'T EXCOMMUNICATED!!!!] and the St Mary's folk in some unpleasant company. But we have to realise that to the mindset of fundamentalists [nB. Ms Hughes uses this word "fundamentalist" a lot - she means people who are religious but not "decent" and "spiritual" like her, and Fr Kennedy, and the "entire parish" of St Mary's; she especially means people for whom submission to lawful authority is a virtue], all deviation from the party line is intolerable [no, Ms Hughes: insubordination to lawful authority is intolerable], so Holocaust denial is only as bad to them as some other things that wouldn't bother you or me [What? There's an argument in there somewhere trying to break out, but I don't get it.].

Let's see: allowing women to preside at the Eucharist and preach homilies; that'll get you into heaps of strife. Bless the loving union of gay or divorced couples? Ouch. Wear ordinary clothes to celebrate Mass? That's it, you've done it now: the vestment police are at your door. [Aha! The Church Police again. Must be the same blokes giving Bishop Morris a hard time...]

Fundamentalists are so afraid of freedom [Read: "People who believe that submission to lawful authority is right and just and good are fundamentalists - they need to be "set free" like us "decent, spiritual people"]. The deity they believe in is one whose morals are like any sociopathic despot's: toe its line, obey, don't commit a thought-crime or it will chuck you into a lake of fire for all eternity [correspondingly the "deity" that Ms Hughes and the "decent, spiritual" folk believe in is a God who throws your soul into the air and says "Fly! Be free!", leaving you to your own devices (and presumably utters the word "Shuzbut!" when your soul falls to the ground and cracks due to the undeniable and inescapable law of gravity]. Do these worshippers ever think how they would judge a human who was such a sadistic tyrant as this nightmarish torturer-god? [What? Archbishop Bathersby beieves in a God who is "a sadistic tyrant"? A "nightmarish torturer-god"? Where did that come from?]

But for the majority of Catholics (only 13 per cent of us even bother to go to church these days [I guess by this arguement (majority rules) the "real" Catholic - the one you can rely on for having a really good understanding of the faith and of God etc. - is one of the 87% who don't go to Mass anymore?]), their God does not sit there devising horrible punishments and scourging the unbeliever, but is infinitely, unconditionally loving and kind [which is why they don't go to Church anymore. God understands if I don't bother with him or his Word anymore...]. That's the God I can believe in ["the one I made up in my own imagination"]. The one who understands failure, suffering and frailty [Memo to Ms Hughes: My God understands failure, suffering and frailty too. He gives me grace and power in my weakness to overcome this. He doesn't glorify it or leave me wallowing in it.]. I hope the hierarchy of my church can rediscover the God of all creation, with the gentle son of a humble Jewish woman as our guide. [That would be the same gentle man who made a whip and cast the money-changers out of the temple, I guess.]
If you are still reading this - good luck to you! Despite all the inaccuracies and downright errors in this piece, the upshot of the whole thing is that for Ms Hughes, the "real" God is the God who has brought us freedom by abolishing all laws and "organised religion" and leaving it up to us to decide for ourselves as individuals how we want to worship him (or indeed whether we want to worship him). There is no place in her theology for authority and submission, despite the pretty important place these have in the scriptures, and not the least in the preaching of Jesus Christ himself.

26 Comments:

At Sunday, February 22, 2009 10:59:00 pm , Anonymous Mary said...

I wish you would send this comment to the paper that published Juliette Hughes piece.

 
At Sunday, February 22, 2009 11:03:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Mary (Welcome, by the way - I don't think you've posted before?),

I would send it to The Age, but at the moment, I am trying to work out how to say all this succinctly enough for it to stand a snowflake's chance in Hades of being published. Please suggest an abbreviation!

 
At Sunday, February 22, 2009 11:40:00 pm , Blogger Paul said...

One thing I wish the media would do is give us more details of what sort of ceremony Fr Kennedy organises. I think I heard on TV tonight that he "did not offer holy communion today". Does that mean the Eucharist is an optional extra in South Brisbane? Does he say the Creed at all? So far I have heard him say he is not sure about life after death and definitely does not believe in the virgin birth, so I would imagine the Creed would be a challenge to him.
Anyway, we are probably all preaching to the choir here. (I don't think they have choirs in St Mary's any more!!!!), but what is to be done?
I can certainly understand Fr Howell's reluctance to get involved in a circus, especially when the police warn him that it would be a bad idea. He would also be concerned to look after the flock there, so he would want to be gentle in explaining to them what they are missing by creating their own (not very original) heresy.
I'm afraid that it has to be said that whatever Bishops have been in this Diocese haven't done much to address issues that have been going on for a long time. The papers have said Archbishop Bathersby has only visited them once in 28 years. Is that true??? And as you say, 28 years is a mighty long time for a priest to stay in one parish.
I suppose one approach would be to state publicly that faithful Catholics should assist at Mass only at other parishes because of the heretical teachings at St Mary's, and also to insist that St Mary's remove any reference to Catholic from their publicity. This would isolate the argument to one about property, and give Fr Kennedy and his 1000 a chance to think more clearly about how they want to support themselves. Despite the logic of doing it this way, it would be a pity to abandon the whole community of St Mary's because although there would be a considerable number of Catholic haters among them who are set in their ways, there will also be some lost souls who need guidance.

Finally, I wonder what they said at St Mary's today about the day of mourning for the bushfire victims? Was it just the emotionalism and "let's move on" as happened in Rod Laver cathedral, or did they offer the hope of eternal salvation?

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 12:05:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

And you wonder whether Benedict XVI stuffed up on the Williamson thing, not seeing something coming that was obvious as hell?

28 years in one place or job is popularly known as "forever". When one has been there forever, it lends credence. When one has been there forever because that is how his superiors handled it, it lends further credence.

Silence implies consent.

And that is not to imply there was consent, it is to say silence will give the impression of consent whether consent is there or not.

Why is it that for forty some years now things that "cannot in any sense be justified by the decress of the 2nd Vatican Council" are so routinely and regularly, from news making situations like this to the everyday situation nearly everywhere in varying degrees, understood as "the openness and reforms of the Second Vatican Council that began so hopefully in the 1960s."

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 12:15:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

A very difficult situation. We've had our own share of them over here.

Of course, that is the goal of the Womens Ordination Conference, which is sending "ordained female Catholic priests" to set up little satellite organizations on college campuses and other sites to attract Catholics who are disatisfied with the official church, to form a "parallel" church.

San Francisco is another area where the local hierarchy has taken far too long to address heterodoxy.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 12:33:00 am , Blogger Jeff Tan said...

I was in the process of addressing Ms. Hughes in this opinion piece, but I confess that I gave up after a few paragraphs. Can someone just please contact her parish priest and bishop? Someone needs to help her! She's horribly trapped in a nirvana of no responsibility, no truth, no justice, no forgiveness (for there is only "infinite" acceptance and tolerance), and really, no healing -- no salvation!

And this truly is where things have been going wrong. People like Ms. Hughes have been abandoned by their pastors if the latter have not been addressing her errors at all. And then she spreads her errors. I cringe at the thought of what she teaches her children.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 8:26:00 am , Blogger eulogos said...

So what comes next in this situation. The duly appointed pastor (administrator=pastor, right?)
was afraid to show up this week and Fr. Kennedy, who has been relieved of his duties, nevertheless stayed on.

What about next week?

Why are the police warning Fr. Howell to stay away, instead of escorting Fr. Kennedy off the property which is owned by the archdiocese? I think it is time for the bishop to request that they do this.

It sets a hopelessly bad precedent if this is allowed to go on.

Susan Peterson

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 8:39:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

Well Kenendy is in bad company when the Socialist Alliance-always looking for trouble- support him.
What Hughes is saying shows a total disregard for church discipline under the guise of being tolerant.
Perhaps Kennedy should come to the church i go to,he might feel at home as we do things differently
except
-we preach the gospel
-we celebrate communion according to the precepts of the Baptists Union
-there is no accomodation to the gay and or lesbian agenda,nor is their condemenation,except that people who join must be committed to Following Jesus and living the Gospel. Just as would be expected of him in his own Church but Kennedy is a law unto himself.He reminds me of the church leader St John criticised in his Third letter for sinful and behaviour.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 9:16:00 am , Blogger Aussie Therese said...

great job David. Even though chances of the Age publishing it are as likely as hell freezing over, it is at least here for others to read.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 9:44:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

Schutz publish but you will not be damned. Juliette Hughes needs to get a reality check at least once this side of Eternity

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 10:36:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

and further more perhaps you should suggest that she join that section of High Church Anglicanism that favours all that she stands finds wanting in the catholic church,however if she were really honest she should do the Groucho Marx test " i would not join any club that would have me as a member".

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 10:44:00 am , Blogger Kiran said...

I wonder whether someone like Frank Devine will say anything.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 11:10:00 am , Blogger Tony said...

I think we need to have another competition: howlers of the week!

Now, a word to the wise from the very beginning: Ms Hughes is backing the wrong horse in this piece. The word is, according to someone I met this morning who had just returned from a conference in Brisbane ...

Someone you 'met this morning' constitutes a 'word to the wise'? And then you go on to deconstruct a journalist?

I don't know; you tell me. Does that sound like the attitude of a balanced Christian pastor to you?

No, it doesn't. But are you 'balanced' to make a point of it and not include his later apology?

On the other hand, the so-called "religious scab" decided not to approach the parish today, despite his appointment by the Archbishop, partly on the grounds of a bomb threat which had been made (the police took this seriously, even though we would hope that Fr Kennedy is right in asserting it was not a member of his flock who made the threat)

'We would hope?'!!


Remember, as you read this, that Fr Kennedy was not "sacked". "Sack" is not a canonical term. Archbishop Bathersby "terminated" his appointment as administrator ...

This is straight out of the 'Corporate-speak manual of spin'. Heres a list for the next time:
career alternative enhancement, career change opportunity, career transition, constructive discharge
constructive dismissal, decline a contract extension, decruit, defund, dehire, de-select, downsize, early retirement opportunity, employee transition ... (but wait, theres more: http://grammar.about.com/b/2007/10/17/50-ways-to-say-youre-fired.htm).

There are plenty of silly things being said about this issue from all sides and, yes, Kennedy is clearly upset, but do you ever ask yourself, 'how am I contributing to making this situation better?'.

garkw: A lawned area in a large garden that, for very big occasions on the weekend (hence the 'w'), is used as a car park.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 11:44:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

Mark Shea's blog site has a very relevant You tube upload " Bill Maher talks to Jesus" ,must have had the South brisbane situation in mind

Auroaaustralisbrisbani: south brisbane catholic

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 12:05:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Tony,

the person I "met" yesterday morning is a colleague I have known for years in interfaith work. Not just "someone I met" that morning. I trust the source and the report given that the conference mentioned not the sort that is usually attended by Catholic conservatives.

I didn't know Fr Kennedy had issued an apology. I am glad to hear it.

Yes, I "hope" that the bomb threat was not from one of Fr Kennedy's followers. But who can say? All that can be said is that the threat was against the Archbishop for taking the step he did.

I contributed my comments on Ms Hughes' piece because it was so full of inaccuracies and falsehoods. I hope that it was constructive. Are you alleging that her piece was constructive?

And again in this morning's Age, Fr Kennedy was saying: "He has unjustly sacked me, and in sacking me he has sacked the community." Once again, he identifies his own ministry as essential to "the community". That is not healthy in any pastor.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 12:06:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Eulogos asked: "administrator=pastor, right?"

No, it doesn't. Parish Priest = Pastor. Neither Fr Kennedy nor Fr Howell have this status in the parish of St Mary's. Both are "administrators", that is, appointed to the pastoral care of the parish for a temporary period, but not appointed as "parish priest".

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 1:10:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

See Jeff's take on this at: Tolerance ain't love - not even close

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 1:51:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Well said, Tony... blogs need non-sychnophant posters, even in the face of a full-on Rant, who can give some even-handed comment.

David the Zealot is entitled to his opinion It is HIS blog, after all. But he does his 'cause' little good with some of the rebuttal used. He does seem to have some gender-specific issues, does David.
Further to what Tony pointed out:

"God is good."
[Ms Hughes is very certain that she knows what God is like, and what his will is.]

"Organised religion is often not." [The Church is dismissed as "organised religion". That is the extent of her ecclesiology. Ms Hughes prefers do-it-yourself religion.]

Two pieces of unjustifiable extrapolation in response to two accurate statements made by Ms Hughes.

"These chaps, so much more acceptable to the Vatican than the gentle people of St Mary's"
[who was it that made the bomb threat again?]
Direct accusation, David?
You should be ashamed of that crack. And of pretending the opposite position, as pointed out by Tony.

Further,
I must admit surprise at your intolerance of "divorced people" attending the Eucharist...yet alone you making judgements on
ordination oaths. (Pot, Kettle..etc )

..and of you invoking the image of Jesus as whip-weiding tyrant. Is what Hughes has to say so offensive? She identifies as a Catholic. Is she then not your sister in the Church?
Or doesn't your "ecclesiology" extend that far?
Jesus did meet with prostitutes, tax-xollectors, and sinners. Ate with them. In their homes. You might even say they attended the Lord's Table.

I'm sure you have got a lot of the facts right, David. Men are good with facts. Mostly... Quite often...(if it suits)..

But I wonder how the status quo in the Fortress Church you so keenly promote will lead to an increase in "13% attendance"

What do you think?

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 2:38:00 pm , Anonymous Sharon said...

Remember, as you read this, that Fr Kennedy was not "sacked". "Sack" is not a canonical term. Archbishop Bathersby "terminated" his appointment as administrator ...

This is straight out of the 'Corporate-speak manual of spin'. Heres a list for the next time:…


Tony I don’t know why you are so concerned about the use of the word ‘terminated’ in preference to'sacked'. IMO ‘terminated’ expressed more accurately what has been the Abp’s action re Peter Kennedy. If a person is ‘sacked’ he is no longer an employee of the company – security stands by your desk while you load your belongings into a cardboard box and escorts you from the building and the person has to find another job. When a person’s position is terminated, on the other hand, it means that you are no longer required to do your present job for the company but you are still an employee. I think this pretty well describes Peter Kennedy’s status.


Vicci
Further,
I must admit surprise at your intolerance of "divorced people" attending the Eucharist...yet alone you making judgements on
ordination oaths. (Pot, Kettle..etc )


Vicci, David didn’t say that Canon Law did not allow divorced people and gay people to attend the Eucharist . As the opinion piece says The parish was adapting some prayers, allowing divorced and gay people to receive the Eucharist. It was the changing of the words of the Mass and permitting practicing homosexuals and civilly remarried people to receive the Eucharist which is not permitted by Canon Law. Divorced people who aren’t remarried and who are living chastely according to their state in life or divorced people who have received an annulment and are remarried in the Church, people with same sex attraction who are living chastely according to their state in life are as entitled to receive the Eucharist as the rest of us.


She identifies as a Catholic. Is she then not your sister in the Church?
Or doesn't your "ecclesiology" extend that far?
Jesus did meet with prostitutes, tax-xollectors, and sinners. Ate with them. In their homes.


Jesus did indeed do that but He didn’t confirm then in their error.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 3:00:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Vicci said: I must admit surprise at your intolerance of "divorced people" attending the Eucharist...yet alone you making judgements on
ordination oaths. (Pot, Kettle..etc )


Just for the record, Vicci - since you may not know this: I spent two and half years attending Catholic mass without communing and even being prevented from receiving the sacraments of reconciliation and confirmation because I was a divorced and remarried person. Had my application for an annulment of my previous marriage not been granted, I would have continued in that state in obedience to the Church's law. Been there. Done that.

And further to what Sharon says, in fact, gay and divorced (even divorced and remarried) persons CAN not only attend but RECEIVE the sacraments - so long as they cease to engage in serious sin (ie. sex outside of valid marriage). The problem is that so many people want to "have their cake and eat it too". Ie. They don't want to give up the sin to which they are attached (or even recognise that it is sinful) but still want to receive the sacrament that is given for them for the remission of sin.

As for my sister in Christ, Juliette, it is precisely because she is a self-identifying Catholic that I gave time to her piece. It is precisely because (not unlike Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden in the states) she sets herself up as a Catholic writer that I reacted in the way that I did.

Believe me, Vicci, the likes of young Ms Dickson (see the other blog you liked so much) are not impressed by such displays of unfaithful discipleship. When Catholics make pronouncements in the way that Ms Hughes did in this piece, they become a scandal and a stumbling block to the weak in faith.

 
At Monday, February 23, 2009 9:11:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft" (KJV) - or, according to the Douay:

"Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey." (I Kings/Samuel xv, 23a)

 
At Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:37:00 am , Anonymous Tom said...

Tony, I think you've got it wrong.

The word deconstruct means something entirely different to the way in which you used it. A better word would have been that David analysed what Julie Hughes said. Deconstruction is a refutation of the argument as invalid per se because of structural bias resulting from a cultural distortion. This is NOT what David has done. Were David not the gentleman that he is he ought to be MOST put out. Deconstructionism is the height of intellectual sloppiness and laziness, and the most ugly of all the forms of post-modernism. The difficulty with deconstructionism is that it leaves NO-ONE capable of propounding what is actually true. Julie Hughes would have no more right to the truth than you, or David, or I.

What David actually did in this post was point out factual errors in Ms. Hughes article. And she made alot of them. More importantly, as part of his analysis, he looked at the use of her language as a tool that she had used to give credence and a weight to her statements that was belied by that lack of cogency and valid argument forms.

The complaint against Davids extrapolation is a poor complaint indeed. The difficulty with thinking in such a narrow field with a situation such as this is that it forgets about the consequences of such comments. For God to be Good implies several things. First of all a knowledge of what is Good. Second of all a knowledge of God. Finally a knowledge that God and Good have either a correlation or match in some way. Were these comments to be taken seriously, I might stop Ms. Hughes and ask her to explain what she means, precisely, in terms of that comment "God is Good". Not that I am objecting to the statement, but I think that she and I might have some very, very, very different idea's about it.

This is why Davids analysis was important; he has already drawn the logical conclusions of what Ms. Hughes was saying. If you might wish to defend her by saying she was drawing no logical conclusions beyond what she said, then i'm sorry, she's an idiot. I don't think she IS an idiot, she just hasn't thought this through clearly. That is the point of David's post, a reflection of the lack of clarity and cogency in her post.

 
At Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1:49:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I just want to scoop my eyes out with spoons.

 
At Tuesday, February 24, 2009 2:31:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

Tom,

'Deconstruct', 'schmeconstuct' ... the term wasn't that important. It was a throwaway word because I was more interested in comments surrounding the dec ... err ... analysis. But since you make a point of it I think it Was deconstuction. So, for example:

"God is good. [Ms Hughes is very certain that she knows what God is like, and what his will is.]"

How on earth does that extrapolation follow from such a simple, uncontroversial statement? It only does so if you're totally biased against the writer. (BTW, I don't know the writer and I'm not particularly impressed either by this article).

"Organised religion is often not. [The Church is dismissed as "organised religion". That is the extent of her ecclesiology. Ms Hughes prefers do-it-yourself religion.]"

Again, that extraordinary (and damning) extrapolation follows by a statement of historical fact? Organised religion is often not good, it's sad but true. But does agreeing with that statement, true or not, allow David to concluded that it's the 'extent of her ecclesiology'. Possibly, but only if you take a worst-case view of the words and, even then, it would have to be the most uncharitable interpretation.

"To some in the Catholic hierarchy, it doesn't matter how much godly good you do if you don't toe the line. [Note the argument: Doing good should give you a licence to ignore due authority. Richard Pratt did a lot of good too, but that didn't give him the authority to break the law.]"

And again, does the 'analysis' that her argument is 'Doing good should give you a licence to ignore due authority' follow from 'To some in the Catholic hierarchy, it doesn't matter how much godly good you do if you don't toe the line'? I really don't think so. I think the statement is weak and deserving of critical analysis, but extrapolating in the way David does is as bad as the hyperbole of the author.

"The past 40 years have seen a determined fundamentalist backlash against the openness and reforms of the Second Vatican Council that began so hopefully in the 1960s. [The shenanigans that Fr Kennedy got up to at St Mary's cannot in any sense be justified by the decrees of the 2nd Vatican Council.]"

Finally, that's not analysis, it's just opinion. I have no problem with opinion, but I think it's important to call it what it is.

Bottom line? I think deconstruction is an apt description even if stumbled on.

PS: Louise ... no ... I really don't quite know how to respond to your image of self harm.

cooth: the kid's got big fangs, but is still quite cute.

 
At Tuesday, February 24, 2009 4:50:00 pm , Anonymous Tom said...

Tony said
""God is good. [Ms Hughes is very certain that she knows what God is like, and what his will is.]"

How on earth does that extrapolation follow from such a simple, uncontroversial statement? It only does so if you're totally biased against the writer. (BTW, I don't know the writer and I'm not particularly impressed either by this article)."

Because the statement is not simple. As I explained previously, that simple statement infact contains within it two premises and a conclusion (a syllogism). Thus to claim that God is Good is to state, I have an understanding of what goodness is, or entails. A claim to know God and his will, and knowledge that the two are related. So, David's comment was perfectly correct. Not deconstructing anything.

Tony said,

""Organised religion is often not. [The Church is dismissed as "organised religion". That is the extent of her ecclesiology. Ms Hughes prefers do-it-yourself religion.]"

Again, that extraordinary (and damning) extrapolation follows by a statement of historical fact? Organised religion is often not good, it's sad but true. But does agreeing with that statement, true or not, allow David to concluded that it's the 'extent of her ecclesiology'. Possibly, but only if you take a worst-case view of the words and, even then, it would have to be the most uncharitable interpretation.

The point of David's extrapolation was quite clear; Of the comment, 'organised reilgion is often not good'. That was a reference to the Catholic Church and the heirarchy. That can very reasonably inferred from her reference to the Church generally through-out the article. Infact, if her attempt was not to dismiss the church as such, why make the point at all? If you honestly think that all she was saying is that 'organised religion, generally, at various points in history has been not good,' then you're missing something.

My point about the relevance and importance of the extrapolation was it made clear the sub-text that Ms. Hughes was delivering.

Further more, if this is the argument that Ms. Hughes wishes to forward as her reason for thinking that the Catholic Heirachy ought to leave St. Mary's alone, then YES, one can reasonably conclude that this is the extent of her ecclesiology, since anything else would necessarily have to be founded on the fact that the ecclesia is, 'often' not good. What do you do with that? Really, logically? If organised religion is genuinely 'often not good', why would anybody have this? The alternative is non-organised religion, or, as David put it, Do-it-yourself religion.

So the extrapolation was good. I think though, that the most important part to take away from this analysis is the way in which Ms. Hughes used language in order to emotionalise the argument by characterising the church as a wicked bully bent on controlling the parish and crushing all tolerance, while portraying Fr. Kennedy as the underdog fighter, on a just crusade against a tyrannical authority, all the while trying to save peoples lives along the way. I have a huge problem with this. Mostly because its a completely irrational mis-representation of the reality.

I'm not going to go through every extrapolation like this. It will just take too long, and reasonably, I have to do some work for my pay. I would however Tony, be very wary of accusing David of Deconstructionism. His thought is far more rigourous than that. A simple course in Logic would convince you of this.

 
At Tuesday, February 24, 2009 6:58:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

Because the statement is not simple. As I explained previously, that simple statement infact contains within it two premises and a conclusion (a syllogism). Thus to claim that God is Good is to state, I have an understanding of what goodness is, or entails. A claim to know God and his will, and knowledge that the two are related. So, David's comment was perfectly correct. Not deconstructing anything.

David's analysis doesn't say anything like your analysis, it's not even faintly implied. David's conclusion is 'Ms Hughes is very certain that she knows what God is like, and what his will is'. It could be a statement of faith not 'certainty', it could be a statement of hope not 'certainty' and it could be a statement about God's nature not about God's will. There is no sense that you could assume, in the unambiguous way that David has stated, that his conclusions follow from her statement. It's a possible conclusion, but not the only one.

The point of David's extrapolation was quite clear; Of the comment, 'organised reilgion is often not good'. That was a reference to the Catholic Church and the heirarchy.

If that's what she meant I can't for the life of me think of a reason that she wouldn't say it. She's not backward in coming forward.

That can very reasonably inferred from her reference to the Church generally through-out the article. Infact, if her attempt was not to dismiss the church as such, why make the point at all?

Because it would appear that she's supporting the proposition that the church has got it wrong in this case by citing the pretty uncontroversial truth that the church has got it wrong in the past.

If you honestly think that all she was saying is that 'organised religion, generally, at various points in history has been not good,' then you're missing something.

And that too, is your opinion which, in my opinion, is unsupported by the evidence.

My point about the relevance and importance of the extrapolation was it made clear the sub-text that Ms. Hughes was delivering.

Further more, if this is the argument that Ms. Hughes wishes to forward as her reason for thinking that the Catholic Heirachy ought to leave St. Mary's alone, then YES, one can reasonably conclude that this is the extent of her ecclesiology, since anything else would necessarily have to be founded on the fact that the ecclesia is, 'often' not good. What do you do with that? Really, logically? If organised religion is genuinely 'often not good', why would anybody have this? The alternative is non-organised religion, or, as David put it, Do-it-yourself religion.


No, the alternative is to be aware that organised religion sometimes gets it wrong. We live with it. We're aware of it. It doesn't follow that we have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Are you proposing the opposite view, that organised religion never gets it wrong? Or even that the CC never gets it wrong?


So the extrapolation was good. I think though, that the most important part to take away from this analysis is the way in which Ms. Hughes used language in order to emotionalise the argument by characterising the church as a wicked bully bent on controlling the parish and crushing all tolerance, while portraying Fr. Kennedy as the underdog fighter, on a just crusade against a tyrannical authority, all the while trying to save peoples lives along the way. I have a huge problem with this. Mostly because its a completely irrational mis-representation of the reality.

I have the same problem Tom and that's why I found Davids analysis so inadequate. He use the technique himself.

I'm not going to go through every extrapolation like this. It will just take too long, and reasonably, I have to do some work for my pay. I would however Tony, be very wary of accusing David of Deconstructionism. His thought is far more rigourous than that. A simple course in Logic would convince you of this.

No need for the patronising tone Tom, I've done logic. Many of the conclusions that David came to were not logical at all. They were unjustified extrapolations. I think the article is worthy of logical critique, trouble is David fell short in my opinion.

inglychu: many Spaniards are unimpressed by gum-chewing English tourists

 

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