Friday, March 27, 2009

The Glamour of Suicide

The Devil wasn't going to let Lady Day (March 25) go by without having a swipe at the Culture of Life that day so gloriously celebrates. The Age ran a front page story called "Angie's choice: a death with dignity", glorifying a suicide as a "death with dignity". (See also:Angie's choice and Police investigate Angie's lonely death, as well as letters to the editor here and here).

This is nothing new for The Age. A google search of "euthanasia" on will turn up 1,020 articles. Compare this to a google search on The Herald Sun's website (which turns up only 256) and it is hard not to get the impression that this is a subject the Editors at The Age are especially interested in. In fact, the Herald Sun seems happy to carry a different line from one of their most popular columnists (Andrew Bolt, Philip Nitschke 'leaves trail of lonely dead').

The fact is that The Age certainly knew that this illegal suicide (suicide is illegal, you know - it is just very hard to prosecute!) was going to take place.
Senior-Sergeant Allen said Ms Belecciu, who told her story to The Age last week in an effort to stir debate about euthanasia, had been found by a motel worker who reported her death to police on Tuesday.
In the light of Senior-Sergeant Allen's comment, I don't think it would be inaccurate to call the story (not the actual death) of Ms Belecciu either a "protest action" or a "media stunt" (depending on your point of view) jointly carried out by Ms Belecciu and The Age.

The letters to the editor the next day included this:
A PALLIATIVE care nurse takes her own life rather than enjoy the benefits of palliative care. This, surely, destroys the myth, created with support of the Catholic Church, that palliative care is a humane solution to the immense suffering that some people have to endure. If only our elected representatives had the courage to stand up to unelected lobby groups and do the right thing — legalise euthanasia.
Evert de Graauw, Wantirna
That reminds me of when I was a kid. If I complained of a sickness or a pain that wouldn't go away, my mum would sometimes joke "We'll just bong you on the head - that'll fix it."

Anyway, now to the reason why I am blogging on this a few days after the event. The Archdiocese has released a public response to this sorry episode. Here it is:


Bishop Christopher Prowse, Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, said today that he was deeply distressed by the suffering and death of Angie Belecciu (The Age 25 March 2009).

The Bishop said however that he does not abide ‘glamorising’ story telling about her particular circumstances. “Nor do I condone efforts taken by some to assist people in Angie Belecciu’s situation to take their own lives,” he said.

“I wish more could have been done to ease her suffering. My prayers and sympathy are with her family at this time,” he said. “I see nothing ennobling, no validation of human dignity, in suicide. We must do all we can to make the benefits of palliative care accessible.”

The Bishop said that palliative care gives tremendous comfort and support to the terminally ill.

Mr Larkins, Chief Executive Officer of Palliative Care Victoria, told The Age recently that feedback from loved ones of palliative care patients showed a 98% to 99% satisfaction with treatment.

Bishop Prowse said, “Further resources from Government and elsewhere are required to further advance palliative care in Australia. For Christians, life is a gift from God. It is not ours to dispose of.”

The Bishop said the Catholic Church, and many others in the community, regrets any bias towards a euthanasia option that Australian society has long condemned. “May it continue to outlaw euthanasia in all its insidious expressions. Euthanasia is never to be a choice for a healthy society that protects life from beginning to end.”

“Our prayers go out to Angie Belecciu. May she rest in peace. May her family be comforted at this time of sadness,” the Bishop said.


At Friday, March 27, 2009 3:28:00 pm , Anonymous Carlo said...

All we really need to do with these people is to explain to them what will happen to them after death if they commit suicide, and there would be no problem. No-one would even contemplate it if they knew the consequences. We are just too frightened to tell them, for fear of being labelled fundamentalist.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 3:36:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is that people can top themnselves any time. It is not to be encouraged, but the push for "euthanasia" is just about trying to make suicide more socially acceptable. Whereas, really, it just sucks.

No, Carlo, we could tell them, but they would still go ahead. Lots of people choose to believe there's no Hell. Having said that, we should tell them anyway. I have already told my elder children that suicide is a grave matter (and therefore Mortal Sin, if the person is culpable).

At Friday, March 27, 2009 3:54:00 pm , Anonymous Carlo said...

The person is ALWAYS culpable, unless he is a moron, imbecile or idiot.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 4:33:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


Your last comment is both distasteful and wrong.

A person by virtue of diminished mental capacity may in fact be culpable of sin, but the culpability may be lessened by virtue of their diminished capacity.

Moreover, intellectual disabilities are not the only grounds for diminished capacity. The Catechism teaches, in its section on suicide, that "Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide."

Only God knows what happens to someone after they suicide. So, it is very difficult for us to tell them "what will happpen to them."

At Friday, March 27, 2009 4:44:00 pm , Anonymous Carlo said...

Suicide is a mortal sin, so they will go to hell. Simple. The terms moron, imbecile and idiot are technical terms, not terms of abuse. Tastefulness does not come into it. Read "New Lights on Pastoral Problems" by Father Paul Hanly Furfey, Ph.D., a recognised expert in the field and a True Catholic.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 4:59:00 pm , Anonymous Sharon said...

Carlo, the book you suggested was published in 1931. I think a few newer lights, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church, have been published since then.

2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal.
Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:08:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I'm glad you are not God, Carlo. Even if we were to take the story of the woman described in this article at face value, in which, to our eyes, there could hardly be greater evidence of intention to commit what you and I know to be a mortal sin, yet she was embracing what she truly believed to be a good and not an evil. For full culpability in mortal sin, full knowledge of the grave evil of an act must also be present.

Now, it is true that Ms Belecciu could hardly NOT have been aware that the Church teaches suicide to be a sin against God, but as Louise pointed out, she (as with many others) are not persuaded. Our task is not just to "tell" them - to preach at them - but to "persuade" them that euthanasia is indeed a grave evil. This requires a firm but winsome manner - the tone of voice which Bishop Prowse strikes in this media release is spot on. We must present the case against euthanasia rationally, and not as dictates. Otherwise, by failing to persuade people of the seriousness of this evil, we may be allowing them to commit grave sin without full knowledge of their error.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:08:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Well, good to know that Carlos has spared God the bother of making this particular judgment.

But, to get back to what David wrote, the issue is here is not the intrinsic morality of suicide or the eternal fate of Angela Belleciu or any other suicide, but rather the position of the rest of us; our attitude, as a society, to suicide.

When approached by Ms Belleciu, the editor of The Age was faced with an obvious ethical dilemma. If Ms Belleciu wants her suicide, and the reasons for it, to be publicised, is he co-operating with her suicide, and therefore sharing in the responsibility for her death, if he gives her what she wants?

This issue arose about twenty years ago in Ireland, where I was living at the time.

There was a character well-known in the pubs abound my university. A few years older than the student crowd that mostly drank there, he would tour the pubs on Fridays and Saturdays reciting his poetry. The poetry itself was mostly awful – it dealt with subjects like safe sex, and the blandness of children’s television – but the man himself was well-liked, and could usually count on someone buying him a drink and inviting him to join their group after he had finished reciting. He was slightly socially awkward, and had some of the mannerisms of people who have been in psychiatric care, but he didn’t seem unhappy. I lost sight of him when I left college and found other pubs to drink in.

About ten years later, I read of his death in one of the trashier newspapers. He had broken into a long-abandoned mental hospital and hanged himself. The newspaper was remarkably well-informed about the fairly miserable course of his life through various institutions, and the reasons for his suicide. It was clear that they had interviewed him at some point.

It then transpired that, over a period of many months, he had been hawking himself and the story of his impending suicide around several different newspapers and magazines. In every case, the editors had (1) told him that they would not run the story, and (2) contacted the social services authorities about him.

In every case, that is, except the last. And when he found a newspaper which would run the story, and so draw attention to the scandal of institutional abuse, he carried out his plan.

Now, it could be that he was known among journalists as a man who had cried “wolf” many times before, and that the editor who agreed to run his story did not believe that he would commit suicide. I’m not really interested in passing judgment on the editor concerned. I also don’t want to suggest that his case is on all fours with Angela Belleciu’s; she may have wished her suicide to be publicised, but quite clearly publicity was not her primary motive for suicide. The fact remains, though, that when someone involved you in their suicide plans, you’re not just a reporter any more.

[PS: Carlos, “idiot”, “imbecile” and “moron” ceased to be technical terms many years ago. They are exclusively terms of abuse now. If you could bring yourself to read anything published since about 1945 you would know this.

PPS: They were at one time used to describe people with an IQ in a particular range. There is, however, nothing in Catholic teaching – not even in the writings of Fr Paul Hanley Furfey PhD – to link moral responsibility with IQ.]

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:10:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

"Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law."

Methinks that The Age was sailing close to the wind on this matter.

Can a newspaper be guilty of mortal sin?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:17:00 pm , Anonymous frank said...

Mr Schutz,

No only a man can do a mortal sin. And that as Fr Ott says is Catholic dogma.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:20:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Our BlessedLord was born in AD zero.(modernists will tellyou he was born say 6years before Christ. In respect of 1931 let me say this: Truth is eternal and has no use-by date.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:20:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Perry said: quite clearly publicity was not her primary motive for suicide.

Could it be a co-equal primary motive? I'm trying to work out what the policeman meant about the involvement of The Age in the story.

Lets try an hypothetical.

If I had no fear of death, and knew I was going to die anyway - but didn't much care whether I died naturally in a few weeks or by my own hand now (in other words sparing myself future pain was neither here nor there as a motive); and if I wanted to make a point about my right to die by my own hand or by the hand of another if I so chose; then might I not possibly choose to take my life now and make a statement that will be heard rather than wait until I die a natural (and un-newsworthy) death? And then would publicity not be my primary motive?

I'm not suggesting this WAS the case, Perry, with Ms Belecciu, but it isn't really "clear".

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:22:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Fr damian Almighty God has told us that suicide is a Mortal Sin and furtermore no Requiem Mass or those appaling white coloured funerals or burial in consecrated ground may occur. I cannot think of a better deterrent, can you?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:24:00 pm , Anonymous Son of Trypho said...

"Our BlessedLord was born in AD zero.(modernists will tellyou he was born say 6years before Christ."

-oh dear.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:29:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Perergrinus tyou seem to misunderstand carlo's point, only someone like a moron, imbecile or idiot (technical meaning) would NOT be culpable. I hope that clears the matter up. ANd ny the way the rather cheap shot about older Catholic books is sadly typical of many modernists who think that only modern men understand their religion. Well they wouldn't have any religion if it wasn't for our ancestors.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:44:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Our BlessedLord was born in AD zero . . . Truth is eternal and has no use-by date.

Speaks for itself, really.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:46:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


There is no law that prohibits funerals for catholics who have committed suicide.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:47:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Thanks peregrinus, a rare compliment for me :-)

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:48:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Fr damian, wer were always taught that the Church could NEVER offer a Requiem Mass for a suicide. Is that the case still? In these days "funeral" may not mean Requiem Mass.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:52:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Fr damian, I truly hope that you are not one of the white vestments type priests who bang on about entry into eternal life . I seem to think that you have knowledge of the dogma regarding the soul after death but that like many these days find it hard to preach the Truth of that dogma. I stick with the Saints and the teachings of the Church on this...if we only knew the real suffering of the Holy Souls we would do more for them. Give me a Requiem Mass with the black vestments anyday. In fact I've taken the precaution of including that in my final instructions.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:56:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Hi David

Could [publicity] be a co-equal primary motive?

It doesn’t look like it. As best as I can see it, she was suffering from a terminal disease, and she wanted to avoid the particular experience of death that that would entail. We might not agree that that’s a good motive, but it’s a perfectly understandable one, and a sufficient one to explain her decision.

I think the publicity was something extra. Her anger was not that she had to commit suicide, but that she had to do so alone, because anyone who stayed with her and supported her would face legal problems. That was her motivation for seeking publicity. But if she lived somewhere where assisted suicide was legal, that wouldn’t have been an issue, and she would have had no reason for seeking publicity. But, it seems likely, she would still have killed herself.

In your hypothetical, you postulate someone who kills themselves purely to assert the right to kill themselves. Such an assertion is of course pointless if no-one hears it so, in that instance, some degree of publicity is necessary, and withholding publicity will avert the death. I think the Irish case that I mentioned comes close to that, but I don’t think the Bellucio case did.

That’s not to say that I think the Age editor is morally off the hook. If I co-operate in an evil, I don’t excuse myself by saying that the evil would have happened anyway.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 5:58:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Thanks peregrinus, a rare compliment for me :-)

I hate to disappoint, Frank, but it wasn't intended as a compliment. My point was that the statement "Our Blessed Lord was born in AD 0" is, in point of fact, untrue.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:02:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


The current Code of Canon Law does not expressly forbid any funeral rites for those who have committed suicide. Funerals are to be denied apostrates/heretics/schismatics (there was a case of this in Ireland recently), those who wish to be cremated because of opposition to church teaching, and those who are manifest sinners whereby granting them a Christian burial would caused grave scandal (can 1184). The latter has been exercised in Rome with regard to a pro-euthanasia advocatte who ended his own life. In each of these cases, the decision rests with the bishop.

The Order of Christian Funerals includes a prayer for those who have taken their own lives:

"God, lover of souls, You hold dear what You have made and spare all things, for they are Yours. Look gently upon Your servant (Name), and by the Blood of the corss forgive his/her sins and failings. Remember the faith of those who mourn and satisfy their longing for that day when all will be made new again in Christ, our risen Lord, who lives and reigns with You forever and ever. Amen."

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:03:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Ok Peregrinus thanks for clearing that up, can you now tell me when you think He was born?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:08:00 pm , Anonymous frank said...

Fr damian like much of the new missal material it is fairly vague and does not get to the point. It asks Amighty God to "look gently..." can you find an earlier prayer form the Church that says the same for suicides? I think you won't be able to, and I reckon that our nuns and priests knew what they were talking about when they taught us about suicide. This prayer to my mind seems to go very close to endorsing suicide....I know that's not the intent but it is too weak in my opinion

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:19:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Hi Frank

Ok Peregrinus thanks for clearing that up, can you now tell me when you think He was born?

I don't know, and I don't greatly care. But I do know that he wasn't born in AD 0, because there was no year AD 0. The year after 1 BC is AD 1, the year in which Dionesius Exiguus estimated the Incarnation to have occurred. Since we do not know the date of the Incarnation, and since the Nativity occurred (presumably) about nine months after the Incarnation, even if Dionysius was correct Jesus could have been born in either AD 1 or AD 2. And, since Dionysius did not set out his calculations, or say why he thought the incarnation occurred in AD 1, we do not know that he was correct.

For what it is worth, the scriptural evidence says that he was wrong. Matthew places the birth during the reign of Herod the Great, who died in 4 BC. Luke says that it happened while Quirinius was governor of Syria; he was appointed in AD 6. Neither of these accounts is consistent with a birth date of AD 1 or AD 2.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:25:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Say he was born in December then that year from December to December the next year would be AD 0 (The Year of Our Lord) and wouldn't then AD 1 (The First year after Our Lord was born, i.e the first full year having been completed) commence in the next December after He was born? Sorry I am a little confused about this and know that is not a dogma but I would like to have it cleared up, just an interesting discussion point and for sake of simplicity I would never say Our Lord was born 4 years before Christ.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:25:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


I'll disappoint you: when celebrating the Funeral Rites in the church (requiem or funeral without mass), I wear white. At the graveside, I wear violet.

Do I "bang on about entry into eternal life"? Most definitely, but probably not as you intended by that phrase. I constantly preach that we cannot by our deeds merit such an incredible gift. I preach with great regularity on the fact that we will all one day stand before the judgement seat of God and have to account for our lives. I hold and teach that presumption wrt eternal life is a grave error.

Is the prayer for those who committed suicide too weak? All we can do in such cases is implore God to be merciful and to purify the deceased of his/her sins. That's what the prayer says.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:29:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Frank and Carlo,

Even before the Council any moralist could have told you that for mortal sin you need grave matter, full knowledge and full consent of the will: so clearly, one mentally deranged or suffering severe depression, to say nothing of other cases, could commit suicide and yet - thanks be to God! - not ipso facto commit mortal sin, which we pray is the case for those unfortunates who murder themselves. May they rest in peace.

Don't confuse the objective truth (suicide is always of itself gravely immoral) with the subjective state in a particular case (suicide may not be a mortal sin if the requisite conditions therefor are lacking). If you do so, you may drive yourself and others to despair. (Anyone who has ever been depressed should realise this.)

Of course suicide is horrendous and evil: but we should not appear to gloat about how it is in every case a mortal sin, as if to "magnify [God's] strictness / with a zeal that's not His own" (Fr Faber) but rather rejoice that God's mercy extends even to such sad and tortured sinners; and say with all faith and hope, There but for the grace of God go I.

Any one of us -but for grace - could commit the foulest acts; and any one who does so - by grace - can repent and be saved. The Gospel ought be the source of life and hope. The road to heaven is not to be narrowed further than it is, else how will any one of us ever pass by it to God?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:34:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Fr Damian may I ask why you wear Violet only at the graveside? It seems inconsistent to me, in the old days Fr wore black at all times. And we were also taugh that we began our "eternal life" as they say now at our Baptism.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:42:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


beaautifully said!


I keep a purple stole in the car!

Eternal life may begin at baptism but because of our free will, after baptism we may chose to reject this gift.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:46:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Hi Frank

The first year of the current era was AD 1; the year before it was 1 BC. There was no AD 0. We count the years from 1 for the same reason that we count apples, or people, or anything else, from 1 - it makes sense, and produces the right answer.

Dionysius estimated the Incarnation to have occurred in AD 1, but didn't mention any particular time of the year. The scriptures don't suggest any time of the year either, but they do suggest the northern spring (march-april) for the Nativity (because that's the time of the year when shepherds are lilkely to be out in the fields at night - not a lot to go on, I know, but it's all we have. If Jesus was born in the spring, that points to the previous summer for the Incarnation which, assuming a 1 January turn of the year, would be the previous year.

You can attach too much importance to this. Dionysius wasn't actually all that bothered about working out the date of either the incarnation or the birth, and put it down as a rather casual throwaway remark that Jesus had been born 525 years before the year in which he was working. (Dionysius was working in the year we know identify as AD 525). His main preoccupation was actually determining the date of Easter.

. . . and for sake of simplicity I would never say Our Lord was born 4 years before Christ.

If you really believe that truth is absolute, then isn't it important to speak the truth, even if it's not simple?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:50:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Thank you for helping this old brain understand this.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:52:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...

Absolutely on topic:

Whilst the newspaper is not guilty of mortal sin nor capable of being judged culpable of cooperating in a gravely evil act. What would Catholic teaching say about those who work in a newspaper that takes such a seemingly ardent pro-euthanasia line. Can a Catholic, opposed to euthanasia, in good conscience work for a paper with a clear editorial line in its favour?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 6:57:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...


Your real problem is the fact that even by 1 BC, Herod the Great was dead.

Unless you want to deny the historical veracity of the Nativity accounts in the Gospels, you have a problem.

There is a quote on my blog from the esteemed Dr Terry Pratchett (an authority somewhere equivalent to Dr Ott?) which says: "The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head."

At Friday, March 27, 2009 7:29:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

You dare to compare the bunkum Pratchet writes with the Dogma that Fr Ott so studiously presented to the Catholic people? Tell me plainly; what have you got against the great Bavarian Fr Ludwig Ott? A faithfulk priest who offered his life inservice to the Church and who gave us a work that is in the opinion of many second only to Denzinger. You need to actually go and READ Ott before you criticise or compare hiim to some book of the month trashy writer of demonic fables.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 7:54:00 pm , Anonymous Carlo said...

Joshua, didn't I say that imbeciles, idiots and morons would not be capable of committing a mortal sin? I even got in trouble with Fr Damian for that and had to explain my meaning. But why are we so scared to tell people the truth about sin and its consequences? Why do we faff around with all these ifs, buts and maybes? How are young Catholics supposed to develop a sense of right and wrong without clear guidance?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 9:04:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

fr damian can you tell me if Fr Tattersall wears white at funerals and what is Bishop Elliot's idea on all this? The last time I saw His Excellency was at High Mass and he was dressed like a real bishop and had the most beauful gloves on....I remember seeing dear old Dr Mannix laid out with his brass buckle shoes on and beautiful gloves, we paid our respects to him and have never forgotten how beautiful he looked....

At Friday, March 27, 2009 9:25:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

The usual suspects are again arrayed as white knights-Nitschke and Brown. The next step that these blokes cannot see is the slippery slope of the frail elderly,the disabled and the neonate with difficulties,all facing euthanasia .It may take time but i believe it will occur.When the son of Jewish Holocaust survivors has these views as a part of his philosophy ,then that shows the collective amnesia of society. of course I refer to Peter Singer

At Friday, March 27, 2009 9:35:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...


I once met an old Jesuit who had seen Mannix just after he died, still on his bed where he had expired. On the bedside table was a good pile of the latest theological works - Mannix kept abreast of theology right till the end. The old Jesuit told me he has always regretted not having stopped to write down the titles of the last books Mannix read.

(For those not in the loop: Dr Daniel Mannix was the great Irish Archbishop of Melbourne; he reigned - yes, that is the right word! - from 1917 till 1963, dying on the 6th of November - Melbourne Cup Day - aged 99. To this day, Catholic Melbourne still tells and retells tales of the great Dr Mannix, and there is a larger than life statue of him outside the front doors of the Cathedral.)

Frank, remember that Dr Ludwig Ott was a good man and a good scholar, but his work is not in fact the be-all and end-all of all theology: it is clearly intended as a useful vade-mecum for beginners, not as a tome from which to presume to lecture all and sundry... I would have thought you would have noticed Fr Damian quoting Ott in the original German, translating it himself, and then comparing it with the Tridentine definitions, criticizing Ott where necessary: this is real learning at work.

Beware of the tendency common to some, when they quote Conciliar definitions in the same way that wild-eyed Protestants quote random verses of Scripture: both are in fact caricaturing the Magisterium and the Bible, rather than "rightly dividing the word of truth".

At Friday, March 27, 2009 9:44:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Frank (one of my favourites) wrote:
I stick with the Saints and the teachings of the Church on this...if we only knew the real suffering of the Holy Souls we would do more for them.

Why so?
I'm reading on here (variously) that purgatory ISN'T a place of torment.
How can that be?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 10:11:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

I will give the Dogma from Denzinger this time as Fr Ott has failed to impress some here, mid you it DID impress Bishop Cornelius who gave the Imprimatur!

"693 [ De novissimis] * It has likewise defined, that, if those truly penitent have departed in the love of God, before they have made satisfaction by the worthy fruits of penance for sins of commission and omission, the souls of these are cleansed after death by purgatorial punishments; and so that they may be released from punishments of this kind, the suffrages of the living faithful are of advantage to them, namely, the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, and almsgiving, and other works of piety, which are customarily performed by the faithful for other faithful according to the institutions of the Church. And that the souls of those, who after the reception of baptism have incurred no stain of sin at all, and also those, who after the contraction of the stain of sin whether in their bodies, or when released from the same bodies, as we have said before, are purged, are immediately received into heaven, and see clearly the one and triune God Himself just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another. Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kind"

As can be seen the dogma speaks of "purgatorial punishments" Now that aint no parish picnic is it?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 10:35:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Obviously, we are meant to so grow in godliness on earth, that we may fly direct to heaven at death. Purgatory is the provision that God makes for slack and sinful backsliding unheroic Cross-shirking Christians who are not purified of all the lingering traces of sin.

Our life on earth, and our mystical life of yearning for God with every fibre of our being, yet being all too aware of our sinfulness, left astonished and ashamed at our vileness, ought be purgatory (cf. the great mystic writer St Catherine of Genoa, whose celebrated treatise on purgatory is online, and is a wonderful read).

St Augustine says somewhere, that the greatest earthly pain is less than the least pain of purgatory: not that it is an insane torture house of an evil deity, no! but that what we should accomplish here by penance and asceticism and prayer and all good deeds of self-sacrifice must in purgatory be burned away (cf. St Paul - "he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire" - I Corinthians iii, 15), and because the souls in purgatory are certainly saved, but for the moment detained before they can pass into the presence of the Lord, they burn with such eager longing for God that their very detention is severest pain to them...


St Paul prayed for the dead! In II Timothy i, 16-18 and iv, 19 he prays for and greets the "household of Onesiphorus", speaking the praise of Onesiphorus for his kindly help, but in the past tense - and says "May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day [i.e. the Day of Judgement]." Now, if "after death comes judgement" (Hebrews ix, 27), what is this day?

The Catholic view is that every soul immediately upon being separated from the body at death is judged, either condemned to hell for reason of being in unrepented mortal sin, or welcomed into eternal life by the grace of Christ - but that such a soul may require some purgation before entering heaven ("saved as through fire" - I Cor. iii, 15). Purgatory is thus a temporary state, a transition, a liminal state, which shall not endure for ever. Of its nature, it is the anteroom to heaven, where one is cleansed of all trace of filth and grime before entering the palace of the King.

It must again be noted that purgatory is not cleansing one of original sin - baptism washes that away, as well as all actual sins committed before baptism (so one baptised at the moment of death goes straight to heaven). Purgatory purifies one of any unrepented venial sins, and of any traces of the aftermath of sins repented of: for instance, a murderer who repents on his deathbed would most probably endure purgatory; yet, such is Divine grace, that if a penitent burn with so great a love of God as to repent truly from the bottom of his heart, then such fiery charity enkindled by the Holy Ghost would burn away all stain of sin, leaving one fit to enter heaven forthwith. Remember, sin is fundamentally a lack of love of God, and a disordered love of things other than God - if in the process of repentance one is by grace entirely transformed into a saintly lover of the Lord, purified of every incorrect attachment to other things, then one by definition has been purged indeed.

At the end of time, when all souls shall be reunited with their bodies, when all the dead shall rise again, there shall be held the General Judgement, when before all angels and all men each and every one is judged and the whole universe shall behold how God's judgement is just and how His Divine Providence is vindicated once His dealings with all are disclosed - thereupon the just shall rejoice in everlasting joy of soul and body in the presence of the Lord, while the impenitent wicked, proven to have spurned God's mercy and grace, shall be made fit subjects of His just punishment in everlasting hell.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 10:56:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Well spoken in so many words Joshua. here is a briefer yet potent Truth; Saints go to Heaven after death, the remainder of faithful Catholics go to Purgatory and for the rest, well it is as you state clearly they are made "fit subjects of His just punishment in everlasting Hell." This is the Catholic Faith! This is the Faith we profess! This is the Faith of our Fathers! Deo Gratias!!!!!

At Friday, March 27, 2009 11:07:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Why did you spend all that time writing that rubbish Joshua? Is it your job?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 11:17:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...

Having spent a cuople of hours driving, I've been mulling over this last line from Laetentur Coeli:

"Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kind"

I'm finding it difficult to reconcile with the teaching of "baptism of desire" and with the tradition of the salvation of the Patriarchs (or St Joseph).

At Friday, March 27, 2009 11:26:00 pm , Anonymous Carlo said...

BoD is heresy.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 11:33:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


"BoD is heresy"

Then the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches heresy as did the Baltimore Catechism. And, St Alphonsus Liguori must be burning in hell as an obstinate heretic.

At Friday, March 27, 2009 11:35:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Fr damian I think that it's better to think of the Patriarchs and St Joseph as Catholics don't you?

At Friday, March 27, 2009 11:40:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


Why do you say/ask that? I'm not sure that I understand what you mean.

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 9:28:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

SJ - I do wish you could be polite in your comments. To call what someone writes "rubbish" is cruel and mean.

I wrote all that because I believe it with all my heart, mind and soul, and cannot do otherwise than assent to this truth.

I suppose in a sense it is "my job" because as a Catholic Christian I am instructed by St Peter in his first Epistle to do so: "Be ready always with an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do so with gentleness and fear..." (iii, 15f)

If you wish to read any more about me, feel free to visit my blog; but of your charity refrain from unpleasant and hurtful comments, which I detest.

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 1:13:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did you spend all that time writing that rubbish Joshua? Is it your job?

It is Joshua's job to give a reason for the hope he has in him at all times. And it is lso my job and the job of every Christian to do this.

Don't like it? Go away. Easy.

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 4:56:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Frank: I think that it's better to think of the Patriarchs and St Joseph as Catholics don't you?

Wrong category, Frank. Prior to Pentecost we are dealing with the old dispensation, under which not only the Patriarchs, but all faithful Jews were saved through their faith in the promise. Cf. Gal 3:

"6 Thus Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 7 So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith."

Interestingly, Paul's concern was less whether someone was "Catholic" or not and more as to whether they were "Sons of Abraham". While the Church to which Paul belonged (the only Church there was) was certainly the Catholic Church, Paul himself did not have a concept of "Catholic Church" over against any other kind of Church. The claim in his day was the Jewish claim that only "sons of Abraham" could be saved. Paul sought to demonstrate that by faith all who believed in Christ were "sons of Abraham".

Of course, those who were "sons of Abraham" by faith were members of the Catholic Church, but it is perhaps anachronistic to work the argument backwards and say that all true and faithful "sons of Abraham" were "Catholics" since the new dispensation of the Age of the Church had not yet begun.

Note that this encompasses not only Abraham, the Patriarchs, and the faithful of Israel in the Old Testament, but also St John the Baptist, St Joseph, and the Thief upon the Cross. Even though the last three actually came to see Christ himself and thus to live upon the dawn of the new dispensation, yet they did not see its fulfillment in the resurrection, in the outpouring of the Spirit, in the Church and in Baptism.

BTW, that is why the salvation of the thief on the cross really has nothing to do with a "baptism of desire" (which I understand is an orthodox idea but it can only really be called a "baptism" by analogy, sort of like when we talk about the "baptism" of the Spirit). The thief did not require Christian baptism since he lived before its institution.

One more BTW: I will not tolerate anti-Semitism on this blog. You are warned.

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 5:01:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

It is interesting that the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not actually refer to a "baptism of desire" although it does recognise a "baptism of blood" and that Catechumens who die while preparing for baptism are assured of salvation because of their desire. cf. below.

This rather supports my claim that we can really only speak of a "baptism of desire" by analogy. But this term has a strong tradition in the Church, and can hardly be labelled "heresy".

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.
1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 6:59:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...


Is not the reference in CCC 1258 to "desire for Baptism" itself an explicit reference to what is often called "baptism of desire."

At Saturday, March 28, 2009 11:52:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Point taken Joshua, but you have to do your bit too. When I am confronted by tendentious verbiage, I get irritable and tend to lash out. I know I shouldn't, and I have given myself a severe penance for yesterday's outburst, but like I say, you have to do your bit as well.

Louise, stop hoping and start doing.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:28:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Thanks, SJ - yes, I am an offender as well, often getting all steamed up when I read something and then writing down angry thoughts... at least we realize and try and do better; and any opportunity to grow in charity and compassion is indeed a blessing.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 12:49:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

"One more BTW: I will not tolerate anti-Semitism on this blog. You are warned."

I think you may be referring to me here. And I think thats unfair because I don't belive I have posted any anti-semite remarks. I can understand how some Europeans are a little too touchy on the antisemite business but that was NOT my intention. I am very pleased that Pope Benedict has reintroduced the prayer for the conversion of the Jews as this is the Catholic Faith. Do you think it is "antisemitical" to pray for the conversion of ther Jews and actively seek the same so that they can go to Heaven?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 12:53:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Joshua unlike SJ you have the inestimable advantage of being a Catholic. Let's offer up a 15 decade Rosary for that end.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 1:04:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Frank, I think David was referring to another commenter, who had the hide to mention conspiracy theories involving "Jews and Freemasons" - which is highly offensive and intolerable madness of the most vile and repugnant kind.

I would say that the term "deicide" which you - correct me if I'm wrong - used of the Jews is also rather offensive to say the least. Jewish people today and in all ages are not guilty of Christ's death - it was a minority of Jewish leaders back in AD 33 who connived at it, and as the Apostle said, if they had known Who Christ was, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory: all this was permitted by God, that great good might be brought out of evil (the Acts of the Apostles says as much).

As the Catechism of the Council of Trent rightly put it, it is sinners who are guilty of Christ's death, and Christian sinners worst of all, since they know the truth, and yet by their sins recrucify the Son of God.

As many commentators have said, the cry of the crowd "His blood be upon us" does not signify any imagined drawing down of collective punishment (how could such words of a minority of all have such a dread effect?), but rather, given what we know of God's mercy, it may be considered to have been answered by the flood of grace after Christ's Sacrifice, whereby many thousands of Jews in Jerusalem and surrounds became Christians, thus truly washed in the Blood of the Lamb; estimates have it that 40% of all Jews in the Roman Empire ended up becoming Christian in the first few centuries.

Quite understandably, given the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, Jews are very frightened and upset by any words that seem to imply a resurgence of anti-Semitism.

Christians need to realize that this gratuitous giving of scandal will not help convert anyone to Christianity: no one is converted by Christians who rave with anger and condemnation, as should be obvious to anyone.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 1:06:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

I haven't even started on Lauds, and you want that I should say a fifteen decade Rosary?

I'm having a nice quiet lazy Sunday!

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 1:24:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Joshua, which statistician provided that 40% figure?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 1:26:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Joshua, I hope compacting Offices as that may lead to spiritual indifferentism. And your comment on a lazy Sunday, does this mean to put it in the words of a lot of modernists you got Mass out of the way last night?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 2:55:00 pm , Anonymous Carlo said...

Fr Damian, of course I accept the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on BoD. What I was referring to as heresy was the modernist interpretation that would have us believe that virtually anyone - pagan, Mohammedan, Hindu, atheist, Lutheran, Jew - can go to heaven. So why would anyone bother to submit to the disciplines of the Catholic faith?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 3:11:00 pm , Anonymous Carlo said...

Those who glorify suicide and encourage those poor suffering people to place their immortal souls in peril should take heed of this cautionary tale from the great St Alphonsus:

"In the year 1611, in the celebrated sanctuary of Mary in Montevergine, it happened that on the vigil of Pentecost the people who thronged there profaned that feast with balls, excesses, and immodest conduct, when a fire was suddenly discovered bursting forth from the house of entertainment where they were feasting, so that in less than an hour and a half it was consumed, and more than one thousand five hundred persons were killed. Five persons who remained alive affirmed upon oath, that they had seen the mother of God herself, with two lighted torches set fire to the inn." (The Glories of Mary, p. 659.)

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 3:17:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Now that's the Our Lady we were taught to believe in! I still believe She was the first fully fledged Catholic! Mater Dei de Montevergine Ora Pro Nobis!

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 4:31:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Far be it from me to support Frank, whose views on religious matters I find as repugnant as any I have seen on this blog.

But David, aren't you exposing yourself to a charge of outrageous hypocrisy with this warning to Frank: "One more BTW: I will not tolerate anti-Semitism on this blog" when in a previous post, you have been arguing for the rehabilitation of Luther, the man responsible for the following:

"What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

"First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly (and I myself was unaware of it) will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know...." and so on ad nauseam.

Are we supposed to presume he was only joking?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 4:58:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

Are you sure this was wqritten by Luther? It reads like Gobbels or one of the Nazis, I was very aware of the heretic Luther's violent temperament and anti Catholic stance but this shows us how extreme he was. My question is this; can pure water ever flow from such a fetid stream? Luther stands condemned and no amount of justifying him will reinstate him to Catholicism. he died unrepentant "married" to a nun and in a state of mortal sin. That much is absolutely clear.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 5:42:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...


Pray that I be delivered from spiritual indolence! I certainly am a sinner in need of prayers.

However, do not ever compare me to a modernist - I find that highly offensive. (As an Ethiopian monk of the early centuries said, criticise me howsoever you like, but never call me a heretic, for if I were I would be cut off from the Lord.) Have you perchance visited my blog? I don't think you'll find much modernism there, thank you very much!

Normally, I go to the 7.30 am Sunday Mass at the local Carmelite chapel, since it has the most acceptable and bearable Novus Ordo; but - being tired from a busy week - I had a good sleep-in and will instead hear an evening Mass tonight.

I must admit, the idea of having to attend this evening Mass, which may well feature banal antics, fills me with repugnance; but I must fulfil my duty of attendance at Divine worship. It is very hard, having had the luxury in Perth, W.A., of going to the Latin Mass every Sunday and on weekdays too, to have to bear the inanities of the (very) Ordinary Form. (Yes, I know Our Lord is truly made present, offered up, and received; if I didn't have the eyes of faith I'd never go, however.) At least next Sunday I will drive down to Hobart for the monthly Latin Mass there...

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 5:52:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...


May I ask are you a convert? I would also add that the vast bulk of Ethipians throughout history are outside the Church and persist in their Monophysitism. I have not seen your blog, please link me to it. I take it that in Perth you did not attend the sedevacantist chapel or the SSPX conventicle. Pardon me for my directness but I think you would have done better by getting up earlier offering it up and hearing the Mass of all time. Indolence affects even the best of us, at times. Slackness vis a vis the Sacraments; never. God bless,


At Sunday, March 29, 2009 6:29:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Yes, Jacky, that was Luther...

He wasn't a saint. I wasn't arguing for that. He had some views that were heretical - eg. the bondage of the will. He had other views that were pretty abominable - eg. his views on the Jews. He had political views that are hard to understand from this vantage point - eg. the aforementioned call to the authorities to put down rebels during the 1525 Peasant rebelliion. And I might add that he had ideas about the Pope that I certainly would never endorse!

All these things are very unpleasant and one would not want to endorse them in any way what so ever. Luther was a 16th Century German. He had some views that should remain firmly in the 16th Century and never be let out again. But then he had these views in common with a lot of others of his age, so a bit of historical perspective goes a little way towards understanding (but not excusing) them.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 6:47:00 pm , Anonymous patrick55 said...

Siddha Jacky a cynical arrogant"enlightened" person ,from the postings I have seen elsewhere,if you find the people's views here repugnant ,then just hit delete;however if you get close to blasphemy,just remember the blog host perhaps can exercise his right and block your comments

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 8:09:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...


You certainly are not backward in being forward! Do you normally offer reams of unsolicited advice to all whom you meet; and what is the response you generally get?

I am indeed a convert (I converted aged 12); I have a degree in theology; and I would identify myself as a Traditionalist Catholic, if any such terms be needed; I have no truck whatsoever with modernism.

I had thought you would react adversely to the tale of that Ethiopian who, living as he did in the days of the Desert Fathers, hopefully was a Catholic not a heretic; the story comes from Fr Jurgens' three volume "The Faith of the Fathers", a massive collection of patristic quotations gracing a bookshelf near me in my study (I keep all my theology books here, on five bookcases - with the overflow running along the shelf above the blocked-up fireplace).

Hopefully you would realize that clicking on the icon next to my comments would lead you to my blog, but here is the url:

What do you take me for? When in Perth I attended the Latin Mass offered by Fr Michael Rowe and other priests in good standing in that archdiocese; I could not in conscience attend an SSPX chapel, let alone a sedevacantist one - the latter deny the Pope himself!

The Mass at Carmel is also Novus Ordo, just rather more reverently done (the dear nuns sing the Kyrie, Sanctus, etc. in Latin; they read the first two readings behind the screen, etc.). I found the evening Mass I perforce attended a bit drab, but consoled myself by catching up on today's Office - I use the 1962 Breviary, by the way. Only Compline to go!

Frank, I think it really rather rude for you to presume to lecture me as to when I should arise from slumber. Do you wish me to critique your every move also? Send me a list of your actions and works, and I will pick at them so as to be a pest.

God bless, but please, lighten up. It's sort of unpleasant to read comments of yours that appear so sanctimonious. Belloc said that Catholics should be humorous, not purse-lipped.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 8:40:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Patrick555, you can call me cynical and arrogant if you want to get in touch with your inner bastard, but I draw the line at being called enlightened, even in inverted commas. The cheek of it!

Now that we've got that little bit of unpleasantness out of the way, perhaps you could tell me how I can delete comments I don't like, and show me some examples of where I have blasphemed. Really, I'm interested.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 8:53:00 pm , Anonymous Frank said...

I'm very sorry Josh if my comments offended you. I didn't expect you to set me up with that Ethipian tale but I suppose I had angered you. You converted at 12 that's marvellous and I wonder if you've ever considered a vocation to the Priesthood or the Religious Life. A man with your understanding of Theology and the Mass would have an advantage if he chose that life. Now you can critique me too Joshua as I sometimes nod off before I finish a decade or sometimes my mind wanders during the Sermon. I've been told I'm many things but never sanctimonious, I guess the older Catholics who had their catechism training before Vatican II are just more direct.

God bless

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 9:10:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Given that Luther had so many deeply unpleasant opinions David, not to mention his personal conduct and character, I'm confused about why you think his legacy needs to be re-evaluated in a positive light, and I suppose I also have to confess to a certain puzzlement as to how someone who seems to hold him in high regard gets so agitated over some comparatively mild and oblique anti-Semitic comments from Frank. After all, what Frank has to say is not far removed from centuries of church teaching and practice, much of which has never been emphatically repudiated.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:12:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

the point of 'de-criminalising' Luther is not for Luther's sake. It's all about Catholic 'concience'.

As for the writings ascribed to Luther: folk can think of, and judge them as they will.
But Lutheranism isn't based on the word, or life or morality or table-manners of Luther.
So he can he 'condemned' by all and sundry. It's the Truth of what he pointed out about the disgusting practices of the Pope and 'church' of the day which stand up.
How he was able to be used to try and redirect the Church back to it's calling.
Amazing co-incidence that Gutenburg enabled the first mass circulation of the written word right at the time the Word became freely available to the people through Luther's (excellent) translation.

This is the distinctive:
The catholic church MUST believe in the 'chain' of papal authority.
It MUST believe in the Papal infallibility.

Then folk (on here and elsewhere) try to explain away the flood of inconsistencies.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

But keep attacking Luther, et al.
At least it's a diversion.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:17:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

A diversion from what?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:19:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

God bless, Frank, and good night.

SJ - well, Luther certainly wrote dreadful things; I suppose Lutherans overlook the awful bits, and enjoy his more palatable writings. Clearly he must've had good points else no one would ever have followed him!

David, your ol' pal Luther certainly looks impossible to rehabilitate given the horrors he wrote about the Jews - as Frank says, he sounds like a Nazi.

It's curious, is it not, that the Pope got attacked over his withdrawal of the excommunication against the SSPX bishops given that one of them denied the full magnitude of the Holocaust (though it must be said he did state that at least several hundred thousand had been killed - and surely as a Catholic and a bishop he deplored any such mass-murder, hence I think it possibly unfair to condemn Williamson as a Holocaust denier) - and yet Lutherans to this day venerate their founder, a man who wrote such things against the Jews that surely any Jew today, learning of such filth, would be filled with outrage and vehemently denounce Lutheranism for perpetuating the name of such a man! Note, I'm not saying Lutherans follow Luther on this point: but compare and contrast his wicked writings against the Jews with the fact that the Popes sheltered the Jews in Rome down the centuries, and that St Bernard for instance preached against Christians who attacked Jews.

David, are you not hoist with your own petard for vaunting Luther, whose anti-Semitic outbursts are of such a serious nature as to have borne evil fruit ultimately in the Holocaust?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:20:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Vicci, are you saying contemporary Catholics have an unacknowledged guilt about the legitimate issues Luther raised, and still can't admit the church's culpability in the matter?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:26:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Agree with some of that Joshua, but surely you aren't suggesting Luther's anti-Semitism contributed more to the Holocaust than the long and dishonourable tradition of papal anti-Semitism?

Also, you are quite wrong about Williamson. His anti-Semitism is no less virulent than Luther's if you have a look at some of his writings and speeches. It is tempered by 21st-century sensibilities, but I have no doubt the hatred is there.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:38:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Yes, I am, SJ.

The Popes were and are not anti-Semitic at all; the worst I can recall is that Jews in Rome had to listen to sermons (ohhh, nasty!), and that in the nineteenth century, the child of a Jewish family in the Papal States was baptized by their servant - to guard against this being done, which was against the parents' will, Jews weren't supposed to have Christian servants lest the Christian servants commit such a sin as to disobey and baptize - and the Pope had to have the now Christian child removed and raised as a Christian; the child grew up, had the chance to do whatever he wished - he became a priest. During WWII, Pope Pius XII (don't believe the crap against him, the State of Israel counts him as a Righteous Gentile for his saving Jews) had thousands of Jews sheltered in Rome and Italy.

Now, Luther's vicious anti-Semitism I do think fed into the stream of German anti-Semitism that led to Hitler and the Holocaust. Historians say as much.

After all, where did anti-Semitism reach its peak?

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:41:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Oh, and SJ - Williamson is clearly off his head: you'd think Lefebvre could've chosen a less loony man to be an SSPX bishop. I do hope he doesn't hate Jews: I don't know much about his statements, but over the years I understand he's shown himself to be a believer in all manner of cracked conspiracy theories.

My favourite Williamson story: one day he told his followers, Destroy your TV, that satanic fountain of filth! - and the next day he said to them, Did you see that interesting documentary on TV last night, I hope so, I recommend it!

Mad as a hatter.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:51:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

Some say anti-Semitism reached its peak in Catholic Austria, and neo-Nazism remains much stronger there than it is in Germany. I could debate the issue of papal anti-Semitism long into the night, but I'm too buggered.

At Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:53:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

The worrying thing is that Williamson is not alone in his views, either within the SSPX or in the Catholic Church proper.

At Monday, March 30, 2009 7:34:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

Well, at least since Vatican II and its declaration on this subject, anti-Semitism has been ruled out of court; any Catholics indulging in this are bad Catholics, going astray.

At Monday, March 30, 2009 8:15:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

Actually Joshua,there is an interesting book written by an American jewish author which details the story about the young boy being removed from his family.The author does give a link between Luther's anti semitism and that of the Nazis.
When you mention Pope Pius ,Joshua it reminds me that it was Pope John when as a cardinal ,who saved many jewish children ,whilst he was in Instanbul. However Mark Aarons in his book "The secret war agsinst the Jews" is less than flattering about Pope Paul

At Monday, March 30, 2009 9:01:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

And Siddha jacky, if you read any of the late great Chaim Potock's books ,especially 'MY NAME IS ASHER LEV' he has one of the characters-a Russian Jew -say "Vienna,where even now ( the sory set in the 1960s') they still hate Jews".Asher Lev grows up to be a hasid and a artist and is moved to tears by one of Michaelangelo's sculptures of Mary holding the dead body of Christ.Others more artistic than me may know its name .
By the way there is an article in the age about palliative care pain relief being effective,as follow on from the article that is the source of this combox

At Monday, March 30, 2009 9:45:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

And it should be story not "sory". apologies. As Omar Khayaam said the " The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it "
and he was a Sufi

At Monday, March 30, 2009 12:16:00 pm , Anonymous Siddha Jacky said...

A scientific Sufi?

At Monday, March 30, 2009 12:40:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

Well he was in the medieval era so probably as scientific as they could then be. as Wikepedia says
"He has also become established as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the medieval period."
He was also mates with the founder of the Assassins sect.


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