Friday, October 22, 2010

"Progressive, rational, independent"... and wrong

Tony Smith (who "holds a PhD in political science. He has taught at several universities including the University of Sydney"), in the October 15 edition of Eureka Street writes a piece about the religious beliefs of New South Wales Premier, Kristina Keneally. I wouldn't know Ms Keneally from Eve, so what I say here is no reflection on her. It is a reflection, rather of Dr Smith's praise for a kind of "Catholicism" which has one main fault: it isn't Catholic.

Dr Smith says that "Keneally's faith makes an interesting study". He contrasts her "Catholicism" with Tony Abbott's "great enthusiasm for Catholic orthodoxy" (although, it should be said, for all that "enthusiasm", Mr Abbot is no less of a politician than Ms Keneally). He writes that "by contrast Premier Keneally represents a growingly assertive Catholicism which might be described as progressive, rational and independent".

So, what are these "progressive, rational and independant" beliefs? Let's look at them (please note, I am commenting on Dr Smith's assessment of what comprises "progressive, rational and independant" beliefs - I am not judging Ms Keneally's faith):

1) "Keneally has stated plainly her belief that Catholic women should not be excluded from ordination." Progressive? Depends what you mean by "progress", I guess. Rational? Depends what your premises are. Independant? Independant of the Catholic Magisterium, that's for sure.

2) "In explaining her decision to support a bill to remove anomalies from the Adoption Act so that same sex couples would be eligible to adopt, Keneally noted the importance of allowing all MPs a 'conscience vote'. She described how her conscience was informed by Catholic teaching about the 'primacy' of conscience and the importance of actively developing the conscience." Is the example here her ideas about "same sex adoption" or her ideas about what "primacy of conscience" might mean? If in regard to "same sex-adoption", again it depends on what you call "progress" and what your premises are. In regard to "primacy of conscience" this isn't an accurate application of the doctrine.

Dr Smith says that "Keneally has not compromised her religious faith". Fair enough. But if what Dr Smith says is true, her witness to her faith cannot be held up as a shining example for Catholics to follow. (Not that I am saying that Mr Abbott's example can be). It is possible to be "progressive, rational and independant" AND wrong at the same time.


At Friday, October 22, 2010 9:20:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

Schutz,we have had to out up with thsi type of crap in protestantism for along time. Look at St michaels uniting and the psychobabble that is pedalled from there. appeals to people's belief that sin is really negative thinking,God is fun Guy and that tolerance replaces the Ten Commandments

At Friday, October 22, 2010 9:25:00 pm , Anonymous Schütz said...

Yes, and this is just another version of "protest-ism" - only it goes under the name of "dissent".

At Saturday, October 23, 2010 11:55:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

As a Catholic, she must be open – genuinely open – to being taught by George Pell.

I get this. I really do. But I'm with Matthias and David on this one.

I saw only too well what "progressive" Christianity wrought in the ELCA, which once held the beliefs common to all Lutherans.

It seems as soon as women's ordination comes in a whole host of other situations arise. More than one parishioner left my ELCA parish when they discovered that the money they were putting in the collection plate was funding elective abortions for women clergy. Now, that seems almost old hat as the "progressive" ELCA is busily redefining what it means to be Christian at all.

Nope, I'll put my stake in the historic Christian teaching of Christ the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Church. Which, I think, aligns very much with magisterial teaching.

At Monday, October 25, 2010 12:02:00 pm , Anonymous Schütz said...

If being a “magisterial Catholic” means deciding to vote as George Pell suggests she should vote then, no, that is neither positive nor mature.

++George, bless his little pink cotton socks, is not (on his own) the Church's magisterium (although he participates in it). Being a "magisterial Catholic" means accepting the dogma of the Church as defined by the Church's bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

At Monday, October 25, 2010 11:31:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

++George, bless his little pink cotton socks, is not (on his own) the Church’s magisterium (although he participates in it).

George, as I said explicitly, was mentioned purely as an e.g.

Being a “magisterial Catholic” means accepting the dogma of the Church as defined by the Church’s bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

I look in vain for a defined dogma to the effect that gay people may not adopt children.

At Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:10:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I have been thoroughly heartened by the election of Matt Harrison as the President of the LCMS, as it gives a real chance for an authentic historically valid Lutheranism to exist, which can dialogue with the Catholic Church. . . .

David, I couldn't agree more.


At Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:26:00 pm , Anonymous Gareth said...

Pere: I look in vain for a defined dogma to the effect that gay people may not adopt children.

Gareth: That is a pretty stupid thing to say Pere.

If God has outlayed for us that he finds homosexual acts as being gravely sinful and abominable, it follows that I dont think He would take very kindly to gay adoption or that Catholic dogma would express otherwise.


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