Where faith and politics meet

While one local politician has firmly nailed his colours to the mast on the morality of homosexuality, Cardinal Keith O’Brien is demanding Scottish politicians do likewise on the issue of abortion. In a sermon to mark the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act, he will instruct his members not to vote for pro-abortion politicians and the Church may exclude Roman Catholic politicians from Communion if they vote for pro-abortion measures. The BBC correspondent claims that past Church criticism of the Labour Party on the issue may already have had some electoral impact (Realplayer reqd). The comments have been described as “threatening” and “inflammatory”.

  • Given the amount of lapsed Catholics in Western Europe nowadays, and the fact that Church-initiated fear no longer has the impact it used to I find this “you won’t get holy communion” bullshit so stupid.

    Besides the fact that people are no longer afraid to question their religion, more people now than ever realise that religion isn’t defined by how many times you go to mass and how many times you eat a piece of blessed bread.

    Frankly the fire and brimstone would work better.

  • Are the SNP anti-choice? Nope. So what exactly is the Catholic Church playing at in Scotland? And why to the SNP just kind of acqueisce in it? It’s highly dodgy stuff. For all Anglicanism’s faults, it just makes me glad I flew the coop to the Church of Ireland years ago.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Astounding that anyone would wish to listen to the RC church burblings given their appalling lack of moral fibre concerning their own priests.
    Apparently it’s fair game to abuse children but not to allow women the choice of producing them.
    This nonsense should be roundly ignored.

  • Philip

    If all were atheist would these comments be wrong or right within the context of his job remit?

  • smcgiff

    Priest tries to encourage morals shocker!

  • Joe

    Is this the same Catholic Church that allowed Franco, Pinochet and Salazar to be buried with full rites?

  • kensei

    Pointless whataboutery. Baby Doc is entitled to hold whatever private views he likes. The problem is that he stated these views publicly and they directly contradict his role and his ministerial oath.

    The problem isn’t his views, as abhorrent as they are, the problem is that they call into question his ability to do his job. In the case of the Cardinal, that is his job.

  • Maggot

    Encourage or enforce smcgiff?
    Will the excommunicaton of Mexican politicians have any effect and is it right that threats should be made to politicians?

  • smcgiff

    ‘Encourage or enforce smcgiff?’

    There’s a difference? Remember the priest will think you’re going to hell fire, forced to listen to Daniel O’Donnell music etc for all eternity if you don’t follow his church’s thinking, so is obligated to try to stop this from happening. Therefore threats to politicians doesn’t even register considering.

    today is interesting, because we see both a priest and a politician moralising. Personally I’ll happily ignore both and make up my own mind.

  • Maggot

    There’s a difference?

    Of course – I can quite properly advise you but I cannot threaten you.

    After all, as we have discussed, the politician is acting on behalf of all his constituents – How can a catholic politician represent his protestant and atheist constituents if he as an individual, not as an MP, is being strong-armed ?

    How would we feel if when MPs were voting on Banking matters their banks contacted them and said vote against these reforms or we’ll bankrupt you ?

    Is it legal to issue threats to politicians to influence their voting?

  • Wilde Rover

    “the Church may exclude Roman Catholic politicians from Communion if they vote for pro-abortion measures.”

    There was a time when they would pull out the excommunication stick, or a good old fashioned inquisition before that.

    The snap of the Universal Church is weakening as it fades into oblivion.

  • Truth

    The Real Ian Paisley and Democratic Unionist Party

    Ian Paisley has made a name for himself as one of the most bigoted and controversial people to emerge in the Six Counties of Ireland. For decades he has preached the bible of hate and yet today he is the leader of the DUP, the largest party in the Occupied Six Counties.

    The Good Reverend

    In 1956, Rev. Paisley abducted a 16-year-old girl, Maura Lyons, who was in a dispute with her parents about joining the Free Presbyterian Church. He attempted to use her as an anti-Catholic propaganda stunt and would not inform police where she was. Paisley was later ordered in court never to go near the girl or her family again.

    In 1959, the Presbyterian Moderator of Ireland was on tour of churches and visited a Catholic priest, the Rev. J. Wilson, whom he had befriended. Rev. Paisley described this act of human friendship as an act of “blasphemy”.

    On June 17, 1959, at a Belfast rally, he publicly chastised “the men of the Shankill for allowing papists, pope’s men, and papishers” to live on the Shankill Rd. Angry crowds went to the addresses called out by Paisley, burned out the occupants and looted their homes.

    He called Pope John XXIII a “Roman anti-Christ” and his Church the “Harlot of Babylon”. On June 3, when the Pope died, Paisley roared, “This romish man of sin is now in hell.”

    Paisley, the DUP & Para-militarism

    Ian Paisley rants and raves about, in his words, Sinn Féin/IRA however people should look a bit closer to the big man himself when they listen to his words. Ian Paisley has founded, supported and acted as a Paramilitary leader several times in the last 40 to 50 years.

    The jewel in Paisleys paramilitary career has to be the foundation of Ulster Resistance on November 10th 1986. His fellow founding members are none other than Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster. To make sure this is clear – the current leader and deputy leader of the DUP helped to found Ulster Resistance. Their aim was to bring down the Anglo-Irish Agreement and throughout the north Ulster Resistance was split into 9 battalions. Ian Paisley has been photographed in the traditional red beret and he was very proud of himself sitting up in Ulster Hall indeed. In 1988 a former DUP election candidate was arrested after an arms find in County Armagh which sent the DUP public relations officer into full flow declaring all links with Ulster Resistance ended in 1987. Two conclusions must be drawn from this, the first being the DUP have acknowledged they were linked to Ulster Resistance and secondly why do people believe the DUP when they say the links were broken in 1987? The British Government has turned a blind eye to Paisley’s involvement in Ulster Resistance. In April 1987 two members of Ulster Resistance were arrested in France attempting to procure weapons from a South African diplomat, was this before or after links were supposedly broken off? Paisleys private militia, Ulster Resistance has yet to decommission its arsenal. The DUP and Ian Paisley have run away and hid from this issue for too long and it is time both communities, both Governments and all parties pushed Ian Paisley on it.

    Ian Paisley has also threatened violence on several occasions during his career. His speeches have incited sectarian hatred and he has been at the head of mobs to rid Catholics from their homes. In 1981 he appeared on a hillside with over 500 men brandishing firearms licences.

    William Beattie, a loyal lieutenant of Rev. Paisley, addressed a DUP Youth Group after the Anglo-Irish Accord was signed by the Dublin and London governments in 1986: “We must hire assassins to kill Catholics and pay them when the job is done.”

    Paisley in his own words

    After a Loyalist rally in 1968 – “I will kill all who get in my way”

    After Terence O’Neill held a meeting with Sean Lemass, Paisley shouted “No mass, No Lemass”

    After a Loyalist rally in 1968, Ian Paisely justified his violent anti-Catholic pleas by saying, “Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners; and the massive discrimination in employment and shortage of houses for Catholics were simply because they breed like “rabbits” and multiply like “vermin”.

    In reference to the Unionist party’s Jewish candidate, Harold Smith, he said, “The Unionist party are boasting he [Harold Smith] is a Jew. As a Jew, he rejects our Lord Jesus Christ, the New Testament, Protestant principles, the Glorious Reformation and the sanctity of the Lord’s day. The Protestant throne and the Protestant constitution are nothing to him.”

  • Truth

    In a debate with Bernadette Devlin in 1968 he responded to her accusations of his unfair assumptions by saying he, “would rather be British than be fair.”

    During a visit from the Pope, Ian Paisley yelled “I denounce you. Anti-Christ” several times at the European Parliament. The whole affair can be heard online at the following web address, http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=&sermonID=6842

    June 1959. A rally at the corner of Percy Street and the lower Shankill Ian Paisley ranted, “You people of the Shankill Road, what’s wrong with you? Number 425 Shankill Road – do you know who lives there? Pope’s men, that’s who! Fortes ice cream shop, Italian Papists on the Shankill Road! How about 56 Aden Street? For 97 years a Protestant lived in that house and now there’s a Papisher in it. Crimea Street, number 38! Twenty five years that house has been up, 24 years a Protestant lived there but there’s a Papisher there now.”

  • Joe

    In reference to the Unionist party’s Jewish candidate, Harold Smith, he said, “The Unionist party are boasting he [Harold Smith] is a Jew. As a Jew, he rejects our Lord Jesus Christ, the New Testament, Protestant principles, the Glorious Reformation and the sanctity of the Lord’s day. The Protestant throne and the Protestant constitution are nothing to him.”

    This was actually from one of his wife Eileen’s election leaflets, at least according to Ed Moloney & Andy Pollak’s Paisley biog. I understand she now sits in the House Of Lords.

  • notmeg

    Truth,

    And your point is? Ball/man? Relevance?

  • Sam Hanna

    Why do you all not address the real question – why does the Catholic Church threaten excommunication for abortionists yet refuse to do to those of the IRA who blow to pieces innocent Protestants? When was the last time the BBC asked a priest this question?

    Talk about selective hypocrisy!

    So ripping a child to pieces in the womb of a mother is called civilization?

  • Priest tries to encourage morals shocker!

    No, it’s Archbishop directly interferes in election shocker, Seamus. It couldn’t happen in Ireland these days, thankfully, but it’s pretty disgraceful stuff. What’s worse is that the SNP are happily acquiescing in all this. I thought their people were made of better stuff.

  • Pounder

    Seems more like the Catholic Church kicking and thrashing on it’s way out. Christianity is dying out and fading into irrelevancy, and not before time. The Church should get it’s own house in order before it starts dictating to others.

  • Leo

    And what’s wrong with an Archbishop reminding Catholics about Catholic teachings? Calling it election interference is just hyperbole.

    And don’t worry Sam, the IRA terrorist who blows up innocent Protestants is still guilty of a mortal sin, and any time he received communion while still in a state of mortal sin he’s committing another one. So unless he repents, he gets to see all the fire and brimstone he could possibly wish for.

    Maggot, a catholic politician can represent everyone in his constituency. If he was honest about his beliefs before being elected, then the atheists, protestants, jedis etc. can’t complain if he votes according to his conscience.

  • And what’s wrong with an Archbishop reminding Catholics about Catholic teachings? Calling it election interference is just hyperbole.

    Not calling it ecclesiastical interference is just denial. Thankfully it’s likely to backfire these days.

  • Prince Eoghan

    The church aint what she used to be in Scotland, but she still packs a mighty punch. For too long we have been coasting along with only small outcries against the increasing abortion rates. With the Church speaking out, hopefully it will act as a focus for opposition, a place to rally if you will for all that believe abortion is wrong regardless of religion or none.

    The Church has been leading up to this kind of effort for a while, beginning with the late great Cardinal Winning. Let’s hope O’brien is made of similar stuff.

    Let’s be honest now. Far, far, far to many just use abortion as another form of contraception. This is morally abhorrent.

  • Leo

    If it’s interference then nobody should be allowed to advise anyone to vote for anyone.

    Catholic teaching is clear – abortion is wrong, voting for it is wrong, and voting for someone who would vote for it because they would vote for it is also wrong. The cardinal is merely reminding his flock.

    It’s not like he’s sending the albino monks to the polling stations to make sure that people vote correctly.

  • Ziznivy

    Speaking of faith, where is the post on Nigel Worthington’s impending appointment as Northern Ireland manager?

  • fair_deal

    Ziznivy

    Waiting for confirmation rather than speculation

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    To be a Catholic one must respect and obey the Canon Law and the Churches teachings on everything. The Popes judgements on life and law are infallible. If one does not adhere to such laws and beliefs then one will be excommunicated. There are no half measures. Therefore, as most people in Ireland today no longer strigently believe in such hocus pocus they are not Catholics…… and isn’t it great that we are no longer fettered by the religious mumbo jumbo yoke.
    I doubt very much if people were ever fully aware of Catholic Canon Law; they just went along with the flock.
    One can be humanitarian decisions without religion.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    One can make humanitarian decisions without religion.

  • Jocky

    Which is one of the nice quirks about Scottish a politics, the big pro-choice, pro-union Labour party Labour get’s a big chunk of it’s core vote from Catholics in West of Scotland, that is it’s power base. Go figure.

    Must be an awful lot of people being ex-communicated.

    Does the Catholic church ex-communicate families that have had an abortion? or would that cull the numbers too much?

  • Teach

    Scotland has a long tradition of opposing church and state interfering with one another,to the extent we even have laws to prevent it.Cardinal Keith O’Brien is entitled to his opinion but he has no right to try and impose catholic values on our whole state or to use the church to interfere in the civil state,which represents all the people in this country not just catholics ! Church and State should always remain separate !

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Church and State should always remain separate !<< I completely agree. However we have had a situation for many years where abortion (especially amongst the young) is growing and no-one is speaking out against this. I think the Church could be used as a focal point to rally those of all religions and none to provide a coherent opposition to this infamy. The Church is quite correct to point out that those who are complicit in voting for abortion shouldn't be taking communion. I personally don't take communion for entirely separate reasons.

  • BOM

    Abortion is wrong and anyone who agrees with it as a quick fix is wrong too!!

    People cannot call themselves Catholics if they agree with the killing of an unborn child or anyone!!

    Not all Catholics murdered for the cause so labelling them as murderers as wrong and has been done on a number of occasions by those who do not have the same faith.

    There was a petition for prolife in my church recently and I was told by one girl who was asking for signatures that I would have been surprised who wouldnt sign.

    I was disgusted at this and see more and more people eating the altar rails who are hypocrites!!

    Roll on the day when only those who are practising their faith as it is supposed to be practised can have the joy of receiving the sacraments. I am sorry but I do not think that those who chose to take away the choice of life of an unborn child to save face or to let them get on with their lives should be allowed to get away with it when they pretend to repent! And any politicians who say they are Catholics but support abortion do not deserve anyone’s vote!!

    PS The Catholic church does not support abuse – they have had to suffer it and deal with it – there are bad apples in every bunch!!

  • Pounder

    I believe in a womans right to choose, within reason. As pointed out young couples have used abortion as a form of contraception. However there are times when an abortion is the best way, such as if having the child will threaten the mothers life, if the woman as been the victim of a rape etc.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    BOM: ‘The Catholic church does not support abuse – they have had to suffer it and deal with it – there are bad apples in every bunch!!’

    An extremely naive view BOM if I may say so. A few ‘bad apples’ are indeed understandable, but the unremitting litany of clerical abuse pervades virtually every news bulletin.
    But the real clincher is not the staggering numbers of abusive clergy, but the way the church dealt with it. Denial, lies and moving abusers to other parishes is about as low and immoral as any organisation can stoop. Even now the RC church have put nothing like enough safeguards into place and continue to show breath-taking arrogance. Don’t let anyone tell you that this is a moral organisation.
    They are in no position to lecture anyone on anything.

    As regards the abortion debate, the only sane option is the middle way. A complete ban on abortion as demonstrated in Ireland merely leads to exporting the problem to British clinics. Further draconian measures will lead to back-street abortions and suicides.
    Abortion needs to be available in certain circumstances — rape, incest, severe handicap and in cases where women sincerely wish to terminate a pregnancy for their own reasons.
    The overwhelming majority of abortions are not taken lightly by the women involved and hysterical outbursts from male-dominated religions certainly aren’t going to improve matters.

    ‘Roll on the day when only those who are practising their faith as it is supposed to be practised can have the joy of receiving the sacraments.’

    On this issue I would agree BOM. The number of Catholics who pay mere lip service to the church is growing steadily and there really is little point in belonging to any organisation if you don’t respect it’s rules, however archaic, sexist, homophobic or illogical they may be.

  • BeardyBoy

    Entirely reasonable and to be expected and encouraged.

    if you are a Catholic its teachings must instruct all your decisions. you cannot separate yourself. You do not be a catholic at sunday mass and then be something else the rest of the week.

  • Harry Flashman

    The last time I checked membership of the Roman Catholic church was entirely voluntary, no one is forced to be a member and if you disagree with its teaching you are absolutely entitled to leave and find a church that conforms to your beliefs. This situation is not new believe it or not, it’s being going on for a while now and those who choose not to follow the teachings of the RC faith are actually quite numerous, they’re called protestants.

    But here’s the thing if you choose to remain in communion with the church of Rome then their regional managers wish to remind you of certain basic rules.

    It’s a free country folks, you join the army you wear the boots, you wanna be a Catholic well listen to your Cardinal, what’s all the fuss about?

  • abucs

    Seems sensible Harry !!!

  • [i]”The Popes judgements on life and law are infallible.”[/i]

    Wrong! The infallibility of Papal pronouncements is very strictly limited and there has been only ONE Papal infallible statement in the 130+ years since the doctrine was defined by the First Vatican Council in 1870 or so.

    Papal judgemnts as expressed in encyclicals and such like public statments are NOT infallible. The obligation of Catholics is to listen, but then make their own judgements because, according to the Second Vatican Council and long-standing Catholic doctrine, individual conscience guided by such teachings and one’s own belief/opinion is the final arbiter of sinfulness for the individual.

    Here in the US where the federal courts have made abortion legal under almost any circumstances, many of those who fought the issue up to the US Supreme Court in “Roe v Wade”, including the anonymous Roe have called for some limitations on “abortion on demand”.

    BUT, when it comes to matters of individual conscience, the honestly and carefully thought out decision of the individual trumps Papal statments.

  • eodon

    Great to hear that a Cardinal has spoken up for the Unborn Children. If you dont want to be a Catholic then dont, if you do then abide by Gods laws and desist from murdering the unborn. Is it to much to ask?

    These comments along with those of the Pope and Bishops worldwide against the atrocity of abortion should make our so called catholic politicians sit up and think.

    There is a definate backlash against abortion. In England last week a woman was convicted of Child Destruction (illegal abortion). In a parallel situation here a midwife is currently being inestigated by the police for her admitted involvement in illegal abortions……

    I pray that these crimes will stop and our children can be safe.

  • Justin

    “However there are times when an abortion is the best way, such as if having the child will threaten the mothers life, if the woman as been the victim of a rape etc.”

    Pounder,. when do you believe “life” begins? At what point do the rights of an individual come in to effect? At birth? 1 week before the birth? 15 weeks after conception? At conception? And though I direct these questions to you, I think they are more general. Does one person have the right to decide whether another person lives or dies? If so, how would such a person “obtain” that right? I find the “best way” justification for abortion very worrying in deed.

    BOM: ‘The Catholic church does not support abuse – they have had to suffer it and deal with it – there are bad apples in every bunch!!’

    GLS: “An extremely naive view BOM if I may say so.”

    It is acknowledged that pedophiles are not “stupid” people. They are often clever and chillingly calculating people who search for ways that will allow them to target their victims; in this respect, the Church was targeted. I agree that the denial, the moving around of priest was wrong and I also agree that the Church could and should have done much more and more quickly but it is wrong to infer or insinuate that it (i.e. “The Church”) set out to orchestrate the heinous behaviour within it’s ranks. Let’s not forget, “The Church” is the people. All Catholics are not pedophiles by association and nor are all priests.

  • DK

    Harry F.:”This situation is not new believe it or not, it’s being going on for a while now and those who choose not to follow the teachings of the RC faith are actually quite numerous, they’re called protestants.”

    I think you’ll find that all protestant churches are anti-abortion too. In fact, they are the ones leading the charge against abortion in the USA. So if you are pro-choice, Christianity is a dead-duck religion for you.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘but it is wrong to infer or insinuate that it (i.e. “The Church”) set out to orchestrate the heinous behaviour within it’s ranks.’

    I never suggested this Justin.
    However what actually occurred was a perfect example of the famous saying; ‘evil can only triumph if good men do nothing.’
    Firstly there was obviously little or no vetting of priests’ backgrounds prior to their appointments.

    Secondly, when children and parents voiced concerns they were fobbed off or lied to. At this point a full investigation should have taken place of the individual concerned. Instead they were moved to another parish to abuse other children.

    There are only two possible explanations for this behaviour — arrogance or deliberate deception. I suspect a mixture of both. The RC church had arrived at a position where they considered themselves literally infallible. Their grip on society was no less than a dictatorship. No-one in the media dared to publish or broadcast allegations, no-one in the church dared to speak out publicly.

    The correct course for any organisation to take would be an initial internal investigation, then liason with local police accompanied by a full dosier of evidence and relevant facts.
    This would not only have been the correct thing to do, it would have been the moral thing to do.

    By failing to even approach this basic standard of behaviour in not one, but thousands of cases, the RC church entirely negate any authority they may have had to moralise on any issue, particularly sexual ones.

    ‘At what point do the rights of an individual come in to effect? At birth? 1 week before the birth?’

    It may be a moot point but if men were the sex who gave birth, I have absolutely no doubt that abortion would be a routine procedure worldwide.

    Thanks to the scientific community which the churches take so much pride in castigating, premature babies can survive at much earlier terms than even a few decades ago. However very early term babies still stand no realistic chance of survival and if the woman / girl sincerely wishes to terminate at this early stage, there should be no objection.

    The recent RC argument that abortion is equivalent to ‘two Dunblanes a day’ is entirely wrong-headed. Would the good bishop prefer to see dozens of unwanted children born to young teenagers and rape victims or see dozens of grossly handicapped children with no quality of life?

    Religious belief is for the individual — it is not for the individual to impose on others.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘So if you are pro-choice, Christianity is a dead-duck religion for you.’

    Interesting point DK. Perhaps you can show us the parts of the bible where abortion is condemned. Did Jesus mention it? Is it mentioned in the Old Testament where everything from shellfish to associating with a menstruating woman is condemned?

    Could it perhaps be that the abortion issue, as with contraception, is a ‘bolt-on’ issue added after the Christian holy book was completed? In other words, a ‘man-made’ extra.

    Like it or not, abortion under certain circumstances, as with homosexuality between consenting adults, is legal in this and most other western countries. Therefore if as a consequence of your religion, you feel that these practices are not for you, then don’t do them. Otherwise let the rest of us get on.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Is it mentioned in the Old Testament?”

    Yup it’s mentioned very early on Exodus 20:1-17, I think you’ll find it comes in at number six in the list of the ten basic rules, check them out.

    As I mentioned earlier if you’re not a practicing Christian you’ve nothing to worry about, so just ignore the Cardinal if you don’t like what he says.

  • darth rumsfeld

    I think we should all step back for a moment’s reflection on the truly staggering aspect of this thread….

    Bob McGowan has posted without ONCE mentioning the number of people killed by the vast Proddie-Unionist-Brit conspiracy……

    We must be living in the Last Days

  • Sam Hanna

    It is ironic that SF support the murder of Catholics – in the womb!

    It is odd that we are told that Scotland has a declining population and needs to import thousands of immigrants to compensate and on the other that it is a necessity to bludgen to pieces thousands of babies in great agony to them.

    Yes, we really have progressed well since the Canaanites burned their children to their gods Molech and Ashtaroth. What a wonderfully progressive civilisation we now have. Thanks liberals.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    ”Yes, we really have progressed well since the Canaanites burned their children to their gods Molech and Ashtaroth. What a wonderfully progressive civilisation we now have. Thanks liberals.”

    This is hilarious stuff!

  • [i]”Bob McGowan has posted without ONCE mentioning the number of people killed by the vast Proddie-Unionist-Brit conspiracy…… “[/i]

    Oh, I see you’ve read and digested the facts of what I posted. And yet, you continue to post your nonsense about the “thousands” murdered by the PIRA.

    It’s a lie, of course, BUT……..

    None so blind as those who will not see.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Harry:

    “Is it mentioned in the Old Testament?”
    Yup it’s mentioned very early on Exodus 20:1-17, I think you’ll find it comes in at number six in the list of the ten basic rules, check them out.

    Can’t you find a vaguer reference Harry?

    ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ can be applied against the death penalty, suicide, participation in war, self defence and even murdering fluffy little lambs. As with most holy book references, it can fit neatly into anyone’s chosen prejudice.

    There is no mention whatsoever in the bible of abortion, despite the fact that it is an ancient practice.

    ‘if you’re not a practicing Christian you’ve nothing to worry about, so just ignore the Cardinal if you don’t like what he says.’

    Fair enough Harry but if he’s trying to interfere with the political process then it’s a bit difficult to ignore.

  • BeardyBoy

    “And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

  • Justin

    GLC, I accept your point of evil occurring “if good men do nothing’ but with regards to the non-vetting of priests’ backgrounds, I suspect that few organizations, of any kind, were doing that during the 50s, 60s or 70s.

    I am not attempting to defend the indefensible here. The closed-door approach to sorting out problems, a head-in-the-sand view of the problem at large and yes, a considerable degree of arrogance was wrong but it was not restricted to the RC Church. Other religions and organizations were targeted specifically because of the ease by which such people could come in to contact with children without any suspicion of their true motives.

    ”The correct course for any organisation to take would be an initial internal investigation, then liason with local police accompanied by a full dosier of evidence and relevant facts.”
    Of course we say that now but society was a very different place in the 50s/60s/70s to what it is now. Hindsight is a great thing.

    ”By failing to even approach this basic standard of behaviour in not one, but thousands of cases, the RC church entirely negate any authority they may have had to moralise on any issue, particularly sexual ones.”
    Wrong. The player who commits the fowl receives the red card, not the whole team. In this respect, players stand alone as individuals, accountable for their own actions. Are we to castigate all teachers because of those who abused their authority? Do all of the various youth movements need to be stopped? Of course not. The inaction of those in authority should not be seen as a rewriting of what the RC Church is.

    ”…if the woman / girl sincerely wishes to terminate at this early stage, there should be no objection….”
    So I’ll ask again, at what point do the rights of an individual come in to effect? All men are born equal ipso facto, abortion is wrong.

    ”Would the good bishop prefer to see dozens of unwanted children born to young teenagers and rape victims or see dozens of grossly handicapped children with no quality of life? “
    It is a very chilling argument to suggest a person is better dead than born unwanted, better dead than handicapped or better dead than not know your father. “Life”, in these circumstances, is only valued as a commodity where an individual with a God complex, makes a judgment based on their “prediction” of another’s likely life choices.

    ” it is not for the individual to impose on others”
    Which “individual” are you referring to?

    As has already been suggested, if you don’t play for that team you are at liberty to ignore what the manager says! However, organised religions deal with how like-minded people choose to live their lives and as there are many who share the views of the RC Church, the bishop is right and has a right to speak to them.

    Sniping at organized religions is of little benefit to any discussion and, IMO, misguided. Similarly, if people of faith were to retort with equally cutting jibes at supporters of relativism, no good would come of it. This one-size-fits-all mentality has given us a society where arrogance rules and notions of “right” and “wrong” are entirely fluid.

    All men are born equal ipso facto, abortion is wrong.

  • Harry Flashman

    **Fair enough Harry but if he’s trying to interfere with the political process then it’s a bit difficult to ignore.**

    Does this apply only to Roman Catholic cardinals?

    If OutRage! or the Countryside Alliance or the CBI or the TUC or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors give advice to their members on a particular political issue are we going to get all hot and bothered about their comments as if somehow they’re a threat to democracy?

  • Yes, we really have progressed well since the Canaanites burned their children to their gods Molech and Ashtaroth.

    Well, so say the Israelites anyway. You have to remember that the Book of Joshua is basically an apologia for the ethnic cleansing of the Caananites – yes, God told us it was our land, I’ve heard that one before.

    If OutRage! or the Countryside Alliance or the CBI or the TUC or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors give advice to their members on a particular political issue are we going to get all hot and bothered about their comments as if somehow they’re a threat to democracy?

    The separation of church and state has always been seen as somewhat different; but depending on the issue, I might get hot and bothered. It’s not like it’s a secret that I think that in an era of post-ideological politics, the power of pressure groups to set the terms of political debate can be worrying.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Other religions and organizations were targeted specifically because of the ease by which such people could come in to contact with children without any suspicion of their true motives.’

    Fair point Justin but it’s the manner in which the RC church dealt with these people that is the issue. They were tested and found to be not only wanting, but entirely corrupt.

    Can you seriously imagine the trauma faced by an abused child who is not even believed by his supposed moral guardians? Whose parents are condemned for even suggesting that such practices occurred?

    It is fairly clear that much of this appalling behaviour sprang from pure arrogance — the knowledge that such a powerful and unquestioned organisation could get away with virtually anything, and the notion that as ‘the one true church’ they somehow had spiritual right on their side. To coin another phrase; ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ It is up to all citizens and govts to ensure that NO religious organisation commands this level of power, and that is precisely why religion must be seperated from politics. The sorry and miserable tale of 20th century Catholic Ireland is but one example.

    I can appreciate you not wanting to defend the indefensible, but with judgements and behaviour as widespread and wrong-headed as this, the entire hierarchy and moral fabric of the organisation has to be called into serious question. I doubt anyone can be blamed for taking any subsequent RC statements on morality with a very large pinch of salt.

    ‘The inaction of those in authority should not be seen as a rewriting of what the RC Church is.’

    Not only inaction but in many cases action deliberately designed to thwart the legal process, spread the problems to other areas and treat members with complete contempt. I would contend that this behaviour was the logical result of an entirely undemocratic and unregulated patriarchal organisation.

    ‘All men are born equal ipso facto, abortion is wrong.’

    Your statement is a contradiction. It merely states that men are BORN equal. Abortion occurs before birth. See my 11.46am post yesterday for clarification of my viewpoint.

    ‘“Life”, in these circumstances, is only valued as a commodity where an individual with a God complex, makes a judgment based on their “prediction” of another’s likely life choices.’

    The final choice on any termination lies with the mother. In cases of rape, incest, severe handicap etc, what she needs is practical medical advice, not hysterical religious outbursts.

    ‘This one-size-fits-all mentality has given us a society where arrogance rules and notions of “right” and “wrong” are entirely fluid.’

    That’s a rather rich statement given your robust defence of the RC church, perhaps the most arrogant organisation in history.
    Do you seriously believe that this church has the monopoly on right and wrong? Were they right about the sun orbiting the earth? Were they right to condemn pain control during birth? Are they right to condemn contraception? Are they justified in their fear of women priests? Is divorce really wrong in all circumstances? Is child abuse to be an issue of expediency? And is abortion really wrong in all circumstances?

    Justin all issues are open to change and debate. Something that may be considered infallible in the 6th century may be entirely irrelevant in the 21st. The RC church are the perfect example of supposed moral guardians falling very far from grace. Religious ideas should certainly be introduced to the mix of any moral debate, but they must not be allowed to dictate it’s outcome.

  • Justin

    GLC,

    “…They were tested and found to be not only wanting, but entirely corrupt…”
    Who were? Every priest, bishop and cardinal? Did the declared theological basis of the Church openly condone such actions? Of course not. “They” the individuals were in deed corrupt but “it” the Church was not.

    “Can you seriously imagine the trauma faced by an abused child who is not even believed by his supposed moral guardians?”
    Yes.

    “..such a powerful and unquestioned organisation could get away with virtually anything…”
    Precisely why it has been targeted by such chillingly calculating people.

    “It is up to all citizens and govts to ensure that NO religious organisation commands this level of power…”
    Is it not hypocritical to suggest that religious organizations should be restricted yet tell “citizens” what they should do? The Church IS the people and it is the people who have come together in their shared belief. There is arrogance in telling people what they should believe and what they should do! The Church declares it’s beliefs and invites people who share those beliefs to listen and adhere to what it says. It is not alone in this respect. Most religions operate this way. If you don’t share those beliefs, people know what they can do.

    If “Abortion occurs before birth” does “life” begin after birth?

    “The final choice on any termination lies with the mother.” Why?

    Hysterical anti-religious outbursts will not benefit the mother either. Clear information about all the options available to the mother will help her make an informed decision. When determining if a person should live or die, the mother should be understand all shades of opinions, if she is to be able to make an informed decision herself.

    I do defend the RC Church as an organization but the vigor of my argument would be equally robust if we were discussing the FPC, the Brownies, the Scouts, teachers etc because society has suffered equally as a result of secular thinking. It’s holier than thou attitude has left people afraid to challenge anything they view as wrong. People of the third generation are left fearful of the young. Nobody dare tell parents that their children are behaving incorrectly. Everybody is “right” and nobody is “wrong”. In short, everything goes!

    “Do you seriously believe that this church has the monopoly on right and wrong?”
    The Church is a made of people with shared beliefs. People say “this is what we believe” and if they disagree, they are free to go in a different direction. In this respect, the Church does not claim a monopoly on right or wrong but it does acknowledge the notion of “right” and “wrong”.

    Were they right about the sun orbiting the earth?
    Who are “they”?

    Were they right to condemn pain control during birth?
    When did “they” do this?

    Are they right to condemn contraception?
    For the people who share the RC belief of a life giving GOD, yes.

    Are they justified in their fear of women priests?
    The issue of women priests is not based on fear.

    Is divorce really wrong in all circumstances?
    No.

    Is child abuse to be an issue of expediency?
    Why would you need to ask such a question?

    And is abortion really wrong in all circumstances?
    Yes.

    I agree that religious ideas should not be allowed to “dictate” the outcome of any political debate but all the major religious views deserve and have a right for their voice to be heard. Their voice is the voice of the people. Any organization can become infiltrated to the core with corrupt self-serving officials but not even they define that organization. What they do in secret is just that, “in secret”. This is because it does not reflect the core beliefs of that system. All organizations should learn from what went wrong within the RC Church but I am sure it is not the only organization to have, with hindsight, acted without the best interests of the abused.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘The final choice on any termination lies with the mother.” Why?

    Because it’s her body Justin — she is the incubator. The medical profession is the realist. The church is merely the dogmatist.

    ‘Were they right to condemn pain control during birth?
    When did “they” do this?’

    I suggest looking up Wikipedia for exact dates. Trust me it happened in the mid 19th century.

    ‘The issue of women priests is not based on fear.’

    What else would you base it on? The old chestnut about the 12 disciples being men? Get a grip. I would suggest that had women priests been in place 50 years ago, the church would not be in half the mess it’s in over never-ending clerical abuse cases.

    ‘And is abortion really wrong in all circumstances?
    Yes. ‘

    Sorry Justin I don’t have time to answer all your points, fascinating though some are.
    I chose this one in particular as it demonstrates the main thrust of your thinking.

    To deny abortion in ALL circumstances can only be described as entirely inhuman.
    Let’s just take a couple of examples:

    A woman is informed that if she continues with her pregnancy, both her and the baby will die. If she has a termination, she will live. Where’s your right to life in that scenario?

    A 12 year old girl is raped by her father and becomes pregnant. In addition to rape, incest and loss of parental trust, you’re asking this child to go through with a full-term pregnancy.

    Your total inflexibility on this issue will inevitably lead to:

    A. Back-street abortions, many resulting in death and serious injury, including infertility.

    B. Severely handicapped children, many institutionalised for life, in physical and mental conditions which would be deemed cruel when applied to even a household pet. Do you really think that bringing a person into a world where they will have no quality of life whatsoever is a humane thing to do?

    C. Suicides of women trapped in situations beyond their control.

    I’m not an advocate of abortion on a whim or as a form of contraception, but neither would I dictate to every woman in every circumstance that an abortion is out of the question. To do so is frankly unspeakable.

    On a side issue, do you ever find it curious that the churches (with the RC church in particular) seem to have such a fascination with sexual matters? Homosexuality, abortion, contraception….

    Do we find such a stance being taken against, say, army recruitment? Most army personnel are expected to take life as part of the job description — do we find the RC church citing ‘preservation of life’ as a reason for not joining? Or if we’re honest, is it just women and gays they have a downer on?

  • Teach

    I think Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society,made a good point about the cardinal’s remarks.

    He said: “The cardinal is entitled to make his views known but there is an implied call to Catholic politicians and health workers to place Catholic doctrine above the wishes of the electorate. This is undemocratic and unacceptable.”

  • eodon

    Teach

    I think that Saint Thomas Moore, ex Lord Chancellor of England and saint of the Catholic Church, made a good point when he said;

    “God save us from men who can act against their own conscience”.

  • Justin

    GLC,

    “Because it’s her body” is not a logical justification for a mother to terminate a baby. Such a specious argument would, in theory, allow a mother to take the life of her child if the mother was in need of a major organ and it was possible to transplant it from the child to the mother.

    “The medical profession is the realist. The church is merely the dogmatist.”
    This is purely opinion and not “fact”. You own criticisms of the RC Church might lead many to view you as being the dogmatist. The medical profession is no better placed to express views on morality than any other profession.

    I don’t doubt that the Church condemned pain control during birth, however I would question who and when this was as I imagine it occurred quite some time ago. Few would (or could) argue that atrocities were carried out in the name of the RC Catholic Church, however, it is my contention that these wrong doings do not redefine what the Catholic Church is. The atrocities carried out in the name of German Nationalism during the Second World War does not, in itself, define the German people of today.

    You ask what else would the issue of women priests be based on if not fear. From accounts in the bible, the person “Jesus” was not afraid to challenge the norms of society. There is a strong argument to which questions why women were not chosen, particularly when other social norms were being challenged. This is just one reason. I have to say that I personally don’t accept it though it does show that the role women play in the Church is not based simply on “fear”.

    To deny abortion in ALL circumstances can only be described as entirely inhuman.
    Wrong.

    “A woman is informed that if she continues with her pregnancy, both her and the baby will die. If she has a termination, she will live. Where’s your right to life in that scenario? ”
    I do not have the time at present to look for the figures (though I will make time in the coming weeks) but I have read many times over that the percentage of times a “life and death” situation has been used for an abortion is almost nil. I will post further on this particular point when I have the figures to quote but I know even the pregnancy advisory centres now acknowledge that this number is diminishing due to medical advances.

    “A 12 year old girl is raped by her father and becomes pregnant. In addition to rape, incest and loss of parental trust, you’re asking this child to go through with a full-term pregnancy. “
    A person’s view or opinion of when a unique life begins lies at the heart of this point. For many people, there are two potential tragedies in this situation. The harm done against the girl and the potential for that resulting baby to be denied it’s right to life. All men are born equal, ipso facto, all life is of equal value; a point I made on a previous post.

    ”On a side issue, do you ever find it curious that the churches (with the RC church in particular) seem to have such a fascination with sexual matters? Homosexuality, abortion, contraception…. “
    No. Sadly such matters are now commonplace in this ever-increasing secular society we live in.

    I would be happy to continue writing but it is late! To sum up, firstly the RC Church (or any other organization for that matter) is not defined by it’s rogue, self-serving members, no matter how numerous they may be. Secondly, life is an ageing process that begins as a unique entity, at conception and no one has the right to take the life of another

  • BOM

    Well said Justin!!

    I couldnt put it better myself!!

    Abortion is wrong – it is the destruction of a life no matter what and noone has the right to determine differently!

    I know alot of people who when choosing who to vote for in recent elections voted in accordance with the parties stance on abortion and I know alot of organisations who actively sought by way of writing to all the leaders of the parties (in the South) the parties views on the subject in order to decide who to support.

    Even if the Cardinal doesnt advise Catholics not to vote for a Party or individual who supports abortion – the voters themselves – if they are true to their Catholicism – will make the decision not to!!

    It is heartening to see that this subject is of such interest/importance to some of you Politicos!

  • Maggot

    “If OutRage! or the Countryside Alliance or the CBI or the TUC or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors give advice to their members on a particular political issue are we going to get all hot and bothered about their comments as if somehow they’re a threat to democracy? ”

    Advice is one thing – issuing instructions is rather different. Depends on whether they use threats. Is it even legal to threaten MPs?

    What happens if the hierarchy starts telling Catholic Judges and catholic members of juries they will be excommunicated if they don’t make “acceptable” rulings and verdicts?

  • Justin

    Maggot,

    “What happens if the hierarchy starts telling Catholic Judges and catholic members of juries they will be excommunicated if they don’t make “acceptable” rulings and verdicts?”

    I see two aspects to the point your raise. Firstly the right of self-governance for an organization and secondly, an organisation’s right to offer a critical analysis of actions carried out in the public domain.

    It must be remembered that an organised religion like the RC Church is made up of people who subscribed to a set of fundamental shared beliefs. If an individual is unable to share in that believe system, it is not primarily a mysterious hierarchy that is excludes them from that organisation but the person’s own conscience. I might buy all the jerseys and go to all the matches of a team but if, in the privacy of my own heart, I don’t ever want them to win, am I really a supporter? Of course not, as my outward support is merely superficial. In this respect, there is nothing intrinsically wrong in the RC hierarchy telling or rather “advising” people of how a particular difficult issue is viewed. This is particularly important when difficult social and moral issues are being debated in public or when any actions taken by public figures are viewed to be representative of the broader public view.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    ”Abortion is wrong – it is the destruction of a life no matter what and noone has the right to determine differently!”

    I take it then that anyone who holds the above view would also hold the view that war and capital punishment is wrong.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Justin — I don’t get much time online during the week so that explains the delay in reply.

    ‘The atrocities carried out in the name of German Nationalism during the Second World War does not, in itself, define the German people of today.’

    It would if the Nazi regime were still in place, undemocratic and unregulated.

    ‘Homosexuality, abortion, contraception…. “
    No. Sadly such matters are now commonplace in this ever-increasing secular society we live in.’

    Hello? These ‘matters’ have been commonplace for centuries, and well before biblical times.
    Homosexuality (an entirely different debate I’ll accept) is, contrary to what many religionists assume, not a ‘lifestyle choice’. Many many people suffered and were unjustly persecuted and even murdered for the sexuality they were born with. Fortunately being gay is considerably more acceptable in many enlightened countries today, and it is vitally important that superstitious dogma is not allowed to turn back the clock on this, and other issues.
    As for contraception, being ‘commonplace’ today, why on earth shouldn’t it be? Do we really want a return to huge poverty-stricken families, women chained to the kitchen and massive overcrowding?
    And that’s before we mention the condoms and AIDS debate (again an issue for another day).

    I note you side-stepped the issue of army recruitment being a ‘non-issue’ for the RC church.
    Why for instance do the RC church not regard it as a sin for there to be ‘free movement’ of people throughout countries — surely denying asylum to many Africans is tantamount to a death sentence through starvation?
    The more RC diktats / teachings / advice (delete as applicable) are studied, the more obvious it becomes that they are aimed primarily at women.

    And why not? The Bible itself features some real crackers, including a raped woman having to marry her attacker and a father expected to give his daughter over for the sexual pleasure of others.

    Should we perhaps be surprised that the RC church expects women to be baby machines, to refrain from abortion in every circumstance and to remain in abusive and miserable marriages for life?
    Meanwhile, men get off pretty damn lightly. Unless they’re gay, there’s no particular problem with ‘wasting precious life’ by having one off the wrist as often as required for instance. I’d wager a few quid that if men had the babies and women did the ‘five knuckle shuffle’, they’d be the ones in the dock for ‘spilling seed.’

    ”but I have read many times over that the percentage of times a “life and death” situation has been used for an abortion is almost nil.”

    You may well be right Justin, but your inflexible stance still prevents abortion even in this rare case.

    ”A person’s view or opinion of when a unique life begins lies at the heart of this point.”

    Well actually it’s the law of the land that determines the times and circumstances for legal abortion, but if there are no documented cases of a foetus surviving outside the womb at less than 12 weeks, it’s fair to assume that at this point the foetus remains part of the mother’s body as opposed to a viable seperate entity.

    How far do you want to take this scenario? Surely RC clergy are depriving children of life by abstaining from marriage? Surely mastrubation is a heinous sin — spilling God’s seed for selfish pleasure? Surely even using the rhythm method is cheating God of more children?

    From a purely common-sense perspective, the planet’s population is rising at huge and clearly unsustainable levels. China did not introduce a one child per family policy for the fun of it.
    Ireland for one has only very recently emerged from a poverty-stricken 10+ children per family scenario into a present where children have an immesurably better quality of life. Would you prefer a sustainable prosperous way of life or an over-populated nation teetering on the brink of collapse?

    I’m well aware that abortion is a highly emotive issue and there are powerful arguments on both sides. I appreciate that posters like yourself and BOM feel passionately on the subject.
    However adopting an Ian Paisley ‘never never’ stance will quite simply never win you the argument or the legislation. Secularism, as you disdainfully refer to it, is about choices within limits — religious dogma is about inflexible diktats without debate or hope of repeal.
    That, I would suggest, is just one reason why the RC church is becoming increasingly irrelevant. A huge portion of it’s so-called members are flouting and ignoring even the most basic rules. It must change or atrophy. Does the RC hierarchy prefer an archaic slide into oblivion or a compassionate church in touch with it’s membership?

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    Why do people rely and believe so much in the bible. It’s suppose to be the word of god but it’s riddled with historical and geographical innaccuracies, as well as the rest. Why don’t committed and devout christians check this out. Are they afraid in case doubts about their faith might be aroused?

    Life is really more about fate and less about faith.

    People should get real FFS.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Greagoir — you’re right about the ‘fate’ statement.
    Fate can be extremely random and unfair, and perhaps understandably, many people feel the need for a guidebook of sorts. The need to ‘know’ that some higher being is running things, rather than human life being a series of random events is almost universal.

    On the surface, rather like a child having an imaginary friend, there really isn’t any harm in this. But when the ‘imaginary friend’ starts to lay down rules and interfere with other people’s lives, problems begin to occur and those who prefer some actual proof behind their legislation need to stand up and be counted. The notion that morality cannot exist without religious dogma is both arrogant and nonsensical.
    The logical conclusion to unfettered religious power is the Taliban regime.

    That’s why religious dogma must not be allowed to interfere in the arena of government.

  • Justin

    GLC,

    What I have written in defense of the RC Church on this thread would equally apply if I were writing about the FPC, the Scouts, the Brownies, the teaching profession etc As a practicing Catholic myself, I have no problem debating the Church and it’s theology with you though I wonder if this is the right thread for such a big topic. You could always ask Mick to set a thread going which would look specifically at the theological and structural make-up of the RC Church?

    Your “critique” of the Church does not hold up because, with respect, you appear to be exceptionally ignorant of what it means “to be a Catholic”.

    You are confusing your own “beliefs” with “facts”.

    “…The more RC diktats / teachings / advice (delete as applicable) are studied, the more obvious it becomes that they are aimed primarily at women…”

    and

    ”…the RC church expects women to be baby machines…”

    Of course this is not the true. I forget who said “the less people know, the more loudly they’ll defend it!” People who make claims like this must only get their “knowledge” and “understanding” of RC theology from the likes of “The Sun” or “The Mirror”. Much has been written about the role of women in the Church. Like many organizations, it is dynamic in so far as it is forever changing and adapting to the times in which it finds itself and that may mean changing how it views the role women play. In “The New Testament”, Jesus was not afraid to challenge the social norms of that time. He stopped the crowd from stoning the prostitute but He did not choose a woman as one of the twelve. Why He did this is open for theological debate but it suggests that there is a deeper moral basis for how the Church views the role of women.

    ”…actually it’s the law of the land that determines the times and circumstances for legal abortion…”
    Of course it is but “who” decides the law of the land? Surely it’s us, the people and “how” or rather “why” do we decide on certain rules? Surely it’s because we want a better society for everyone to live in. This raises the issue of “right” and “wrong” and the estimated five million baptized Catholics in GB have a right to have their voice heard.

    ”…A huge portion of it’s so-called members are flouting and ignoring even the most basic rules…”
    Figures? Proof? Evidence?

    ”…the RC church is becoming increasingly irrelevant…”
    “1,114,966,000”, hardly a small figure is it? It represents approximately one-sixth of the world’s population. If the views of so many people actually are becoming “increasingly irrelevant”, it would be very worrying in deed. However I suspect you are wrong. Though I have no figures to back this up, I get the impression that there are more people of faith in the world than there are without. Either way, it seems misguidedly arrogant to adopt an “I am right and everybody else is wrong.” Kind of attitude.

    On the issue of “abortion”, I can only reiterate the very straightforward premise of my argument which is, each individual is equal and holds an equal right to “life”. As an individual’s “life” begins in it’s own unique form at conception, I feel comfortable holding the “inflexible stance “ that all abortion is wrong. I believe some things are “right” and some things are “wrong”. Abortion is wrong.

    ”…if there are no documented cases of a foetus surviving outside the womb at less than 12 weeks, it’s fair to assume that at this point the foetus remains part of the mother’s body as opposed to a viable seperate entity…”

    Wrong. This makes “abortion” sound like little more than having an ingrowing toe nail removed. The chillingly cold “logic” of this would suggest that a person’s right to exist depends on his or her own ability to function, in the biological sense, autonomously! If this were the case it would make a nonsense of the hippocratic oath. Our biology means that the foetus depends on the mother to protect it and help it develop. In the early stages of it’s existence, the foetus depends entirely on the mother. However even in those early stages, it has unique qualities that have never been before and will never be again. It is as unique then as it can ever be. I would like to know from supportres of “abortion”, when, in their view, does a person become “a person”? When do the rights of an individual come into effect? Is it as GLC seems to be suggesting, when a person, though possessing unique DNA,, can function independentlt on their own?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Your “critique” of the Church does not hold up because, with respect, you appear to be exceptionally ignorant of what it means “to be a Catholic”.’

    Heh heh oh dear Justin. I’m not about to reveal my personal details but my knowledge and experience of the RC church is considerably greater than you seem to think.

    ”…the RC church expects women to be baby machines…”
    Of course this is not the true.”

    So let’s see now. The RC church dictates that contraception is wrong, abortion is wrong and divorce is wrong. Assuming that most RC men have a normal sex drive, involving sex let’s say two or three times a week, this is inevitably going to result in pregnancy after pregnancy. And that’s exactly what happened in Ireland up until a few decades ago. Families of 10, 12 even 16 were commonplace. Very very few women would choose double figures as the ideal family size — this occured purely because of RC ‘teaching.’
    You still think RC women weren’t expected to be ‘baby machines’?

    ”…A huge portion of it’s so-called members are flouting and ignoring even the most basic rules…”
    Figures? Proof? Evidence?”

    See above — if the majority of RCs are not flouting the rules, how do you explain the much smaller family sizes these days?
    Why did Catholic ROI recently vote for divorce? Why are mass attendances so sharply down?

    ‘Like many organizations, it is dynamic in so far as it is forever changing and adapting to the times in which it finds itself and that may mean changing how it views the role women play.’

    Fascinating Justin. How has the RC church changed in say the last 50 years?
    The operative word in your statement is ‘MAY’. Are there any signs of women priests?

    ‘He stopped the crowd from stoning the prostitute but He did not choose a woman as one of the twelve. Why He did this is open for theological debate but it suggests that there is a deeper moral basis for how the Church views the role of women.’

    No it doesn’t! Jesus was around 2000 years ago — choosing a woman as a disciple would have been entirely unacceptable in those times. You could make an equally robust argument that since all the disciples had beards and were of middle-eastern appearance, that modern priests must comply with those rules also.
    The RC hierarchy simply don’t want a woman about the place.

    ‘This raises the issue of “right” and “wrong” and the estimated five million baptized Catholics in GB have a right to have their voice heard.’

    Only five million? That’s less than 10% of the population.
    If those five million decide that abortion is not for them, then fair enough, no-one is going to force them to have one. But equally they must allow the remaining 90+% to make their own choices.

    ‘Though I have no figures to back this up, I get the impression that there are more people of faith in the world than there are without.’

    You’re absolutely correct Justin. Faith is a human need for most people and that’s fine. The problem is that there are many different faiths. How can you ever reconcile Catholicism, Islam & Scientology for instance?
    Faith is by definition just that, faith. It can’t be proved, and in the case of scientology, can literally be created and grow amazingly quickly in very modern times from one sci-fi author.

    However actual laws of the land need to be formed and altered on a sober and realistic rather than archaic and one-sided basis.

    ‘Is it as GLC seems to be suggesting, when a person, though possessing unique DNA,, can function independentlt on their own?’

    That’s my personal opinion Justin. As I accepted earlier, abortion is a highly emotive subject, but slamming the door on abortion in every single case is most definitely not the answer.

    ‘Either way, it seems misguidedly arrogant to adopt an “I am right and everybody else is wrong.” Kind of attitude.’

    Absolutely true Justin, but unfortunately the church you defend does exactly that.

  • Justin

    ’Your “critique” of the Church does not hold up because, with respect, you appear to be exceptionally ignorant of what it means “to be a Catholic”.’

    “…my knowledge and experience of the RC church is considerably greater than you seem to think…”
    “Knowledge” is one thing may be but “understanding” is an all together different matter. You are, with respect, confusing your opinion of the Church with the actual facts and merely endless vituperation, constantly restating an ill informed opinion does not strengthen your argument.

    ”…The RC church dictates that contraception is wrong…”
    Wrong. The Church holds the view that contraception is wrong. There is a difference. As I have already tried to point out, “The Church” IS the people; a people with shared beliefs. If people find themselves at odds with those views and beliefs, they are able to disassociate themselves from the Church as, in that case, they wouldn’t be able to subscribe to the shared view. This is why fallacious arguments suggesting the Church “dictates” what people believe are, at the very least, wrong and at worst ignorant of what it means to be a Catholic.

    Assuming that most RC men have a normal sex drive, involving sex let’s say two or three times a week, this is inevitably going to result in pregnancy after pregnancy. And that’s exactly what happened in Ireland up until a few decades ago. Families of 10, 12 even 16 were commonplace. Very very few women would choose double figures as the ideal family size—this occured purely because of RC ‘teaching.’
    You still think RC women weren’t expected to be ‘baby machines’?

    I asked you for the figures, proof and evidence to back up your claim that ”…A huge portion of it’s so-called members are flouting and ignoring even the most basic rules…” but all you offered was supposition and bland references to changes in social behavior. How many is “a huge portion”? I doubt very much that high birth rates on the African continent and in South America are the result of people who, due to the poor availability of condoms, are just too lazy to limit the number of children they have. Clearly there are bigger socio-economic reasons for this.

    “Why did Catholic ROI recently vote for divorce?
    RC doctrine accepts that there circumstances for divorce/marriage annulments.

    ”Why are mass attendances so sharply down?”
    Now in our Western secular society, an “anything-goes” mentality seems to prevail and I would argue, society is all the worse because of it. As I have already said, I am of the opinion that some things are “right” and some things are “wrong” but the arrogance of the “anything-goes” mentality allows as many “rights” and “wrongs” as there are people on the planet! It allows people to abdicate their responsibilities. Such “relativism” allows people an easy, lazy way of taking responsibility for their actions.

    ”…How has the RC church changed in say the last 50 years?” / “Are there any signs of women priests?”
    50 years? Why not longer? It responds to the social changes of the time it finds itself in. The RC Church of 2007 is clearly not the same RC Church of 1007 and I don’t doubt that the Church of today will be very different from what it will be in 3007. Within the Church, there are many who support the ordination of women and I for one, believe it will happen. As a side point, I think the question of “married priest”, be they male or female, is a more challenging issue for the Church as I think it would challenge Catholic theology to a much greater extent than the ordination of women ever would.

  • Justin

    continued….

    ”…choosing a woman as a disciple would have been entirely unacceptable in those times..”
    My point precisely! Stepping in front of an angry crowd armed with stones and ready to attack the woman for perceived wrong doings shows that Jesus was not afraid to challenge the masse and tell them that what they were doing was wrong. So if He was prepared to risk His own safety for what He believed in this instance, surely it makes sense to ask why He saw fit to challenge this particular social norm and not that of having a woman as one of the Twelve. People will ultimately form their own theological conclusions from this but it would be hard to suggest that it was simply a matter of Him “not wanting a woman about the place” if he was prepared to challenge some of the social norms of the day that related to women – how very “Norn Iron”!

    ”…Only five million? That’s less than 10% of the population. If those five million decide that abortion is not for them, then fair enough, no-one is going to force them to have one…”
    10% of the population represents no small voting bloc when you consider the turn out is around 60% in GB elections; (just over seventeen million of all those registered to vote). It is interesting to note that in the GB general election in 2005, the turnout was “only five million” voters lower than it was in 1997! The Catholic voice has a right to be respected and heard without being belittled by those who hold a different view.

    ”…But equally they must allow the remaining 90+% to make their own choices….”
    Do you really think that all Catholics vote for the same party? Furthermore, do you think that on contentious and emotive issues, Catholics have no political allies who share the same view? Your posts on this thread might suggest you hold an over simplistic world view such as “Catholics” against “the non believing world” but the reality of the matter is somewhat different.

    ”…Faith is a human need for most people…”
    I agree, though I would go one step further and say “faith” (whatever that may be) is a spiritual need for all people.

    ”…How can you ever reconcile Catholicism, Islam & Scientology for instance?”
    Many (if not most) of the larger world religions are monotheistic and share their common beliefs.

    ”…Faith is by definition just that, faith. It can’t be proved…”
    Nor can it be disproved. (but I’m sure you guessed I was going to say that didn’t you?)

    Science and Religion are seeking the same goals of “truth” and “understanding”. Science looks for the answers in trying to tell us “how”, for example “How” the universe came in to existence. Religion looks for the answers in trying to tell us “why”, for example, “Why” the universe was created, “Why” our biology functions the way it does.

    ”…However actual laws of the land need to be formed and altered on a sober and realistic rather than archaic and one-sided basis…”
    It appears that you have little faith in mankind. I am of the opinion that the laws of the land should reflect the views and beliefs of the people it serves. There are laws that I am uncomfortable with, but if that is the majority view, then so be it. I know that moral correctness is not achieved through some kind of numbers game but that is how democracy works.

    I can respect your view, despite being diametrically opposed to it. However, people are able to accept or reject the RC Church view on anything, so it sounds bizarre that you should suggest it adopts an “I am right and everybody else is wrong.” kind of attitude.’” Furthermore, it seems equally bizarre, (and more than a little chilling) that some one would feel justified in taking the life of another person, particularly in circumstances such as abortion. If a person possesses unique DNA, it means just that, they are “unique”. I believe the rights of any individual must be upheld, regardless of how old that person is or how dependant on others they may be. “Abortion” shows itself to be the simplistic, selfish and immoral answer to a difficult issue where there are conflicting rights.

    “…it is a matter for serious concern that some people today deny the universality of human rights, just as they deny that there is a human nature shared by everyone. To be sure, there is no single model for organizing the politics and economics of human freedom; different cultures and different historical experiences give rise to different institutional forms of public life in a free and responsible society. But it is one thing to affirm a legitimate pluralism of “forms of freedom”, and another to deny any universality or intelligibility to the nature of man or to the human experience. The latter makes the international politics of persuasion extremely difficult, if not impossible.”
    Pope John Paul II,