“If it is a policy regarding one school..”

The BBC has an update to the story I noted previously – on the disbandment of Amnesty International Groups in Catholic schools – which, ahead of the Irish Bishops’ Conference next month, would indicate that all other schools in the Catholic Maintained sector will be advised to follow suit. The BBC report quotes the auxiliary bishop of Down and Connor, Donal McKeown

“If it is a policy regarding one school, it certainly would be a policy regarding all the Catholic schools in the diocese of Down and Connor.”

, , ,

  • joeCanuck

    Another nail in the coffin?

  • carlosblancos

    The Amnesty move follows the general trend towards the use of rape as a weapon, and use of abortion to end the pregnancies which often result from such a campaign.

    I know I speak for many Catholics when I voice my deep unease at moves to close Amnesty branches in schools (including my own) because of this. Bishop McKeown himself didn’t sound convinced on the radio this morning.

    Without doubt abortion on demand is wrong, and its apparent use as contraceptive in some European states (Easy & West) but I find it diffcult to condemn victims of rape or incest who choose to abort. As would many other Catholics.

  • bollix

    i personally know of great work being done overseas by catholic laity and clergy in the fields of social justice and human rights. Take a look at trocaire to quote just one example. I also know that many catholics working in such fields just groan when they hear such pronouncements from on high.

    The Catholic church does a lot of good work helping people in need. So does Amnesty International. It makes sense for them to work together. It is very backward looking of the church to ban Amnesty from organising in schools.

  • Dawkins

    Bollix,

    I believe that’s what JoeCanuck meant: another nail in the Church’s coffin. It’s a sad situation and they should be showing the children a better example.

  • Splurge

    We’ve already had seventy plus comments on the first story about this and still people can’t understand how the Catholic Church, which everyone knows is completely opposed to abortion, can no longer align itself with Amnesty which is campaigning for complete decriminalisation. The only scandal here is the wetness of Bishop Mc Keown’s remarks – probably why he will not be becoming the next bishop of Down and Connor.

  • Dawkins

    Splurge,

    Why can’t the Catholic Church compromise for the greater good? Ensure for instance that the abortion issue isn’t mentioned by Amnesty in the RC schools. Seems the grown-up solution to me.

  • Splurge

    Dawkins – the compromise we had for years was that Amnesty was neutral on abortion. Pro-life people even then didn’t like this cos it meant we were campaigning on the death penalty for murderers and rapists but silent on abortion. But we accepted the compromise for the greater good. Amnesty have now destroyed that compromise. What I would encourage schools to do is continue with human rights work, but not as part of Amnesty. Schools in Australia are forming the Benenson society, named after the founder of Amnesty. Respect for human life is such a fundamental for the Catholic Church, how can we compromise on it?

  • Dawkins

    Splurge,

    In much the way you compromised on Limbo?

  • gram

    >>Respect for human life is such a fundamental for the Catholic Church, how can we compromise on it?<< But they already do make compromises on their respect for their human life agenda e.g. paedophile priests. The church has always had issues with womens bodies. Not so long ago women had to be "churched" after having a child. As though what they'd got up to was somehow impure. If the church is to have any future relevance with kids it needs to work as a partner in schools rather than a dictator.

  • Dawkins

    Gram,

    Agreed. The Church could also stop being so bloody dogmatic. A little give would win it more friends.

  • Granni Trixie

    While we’re at it I offer another angle on some of the difficulties in supporting Amnesty International:
    A few years ago I found that AI were not prepared to join those of us campaiging to draw public attention to paramilitary abuses such as knee capping. Although AI in NI had a written statement as to their opposition to these human rights abuses, they also stated that they could not act on it because of their policy that AI groups not to campaign in the countries in which they are situated. For several years now this policy has changed (since the end of the troubles?)hence they are active in schools etc.(Interestingly, although the CAJ has a central interest in policing issues, they too refused to put punishment policing on their agenda).

    However because of the courageous work of AI outside NI, I continue to support them – despite the black mark of inaction within NI. I suggest that people who do not like AI policy on abortion ought also to think of the bigger picture,continue support and agree to differ.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dawkins: “Why can’t the Catholic Church compromise for the greater good? Ensure for instance that the abortion issue isn’t mentioned by Amnesty in the RC schools. Seems the grown-up solution to me. ”

    One does not, and should not, compromise on matters of principle, Dawkins. The Church believes that abortion is murder. It is a sincerely held belief. why should they have to compromise? Ammesty is not entitled to access to the RC church and is, in any case, unlikely to compromise on the point any more than the RC Church.

    AI’s feet are just as clay and just as uncompromising as those of the Church, having abrogated one compromise — neutrality on the matter of abortion. Why should it be the RC Church to give way and not AI return to the previous status quo?

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes the church should compromise and not be so dogmatic on its teaching that killing an unborn baby is a mortal sin, I mean there’s such a lot of room for compromise there isn’t there?

    Why should the church compromise? Why doesn’t AI compromise? Or at least go back to the previous compromise? And don’t give me the “it’s all because of Darfur” bollox, this is a smokescreen for the progressive hard left furthering its agenda.

    Would AI compromise on torture, or the death penalty? No it wouldn’t, opposition to these two things are sacrosanct to the entire existence of AI. Well guess what opposition to killing unborn babies just happens to be a fundamental basis of the Catholic church.

    I note the charge of hypocrisy was levelled at the church in the other thread to my mind the church is consistent, it is pro-life, anti-torture, anti-death penalty. AI on the other hand is pro-life when it comes to convicted murderers but seems to have no qualms about offing several million unborn babies every year, and of course we know the next step will be a call for the legalisation of euthanasia so that inconvenient oul’ wans can be bumped off by their impatient relatives as a “human right”. Believe me that will be the next item on the agenda once abortion is bedded in.

    No it’s not the Catholic church that is being inconsistent or hypocritical I’m afraid.

  • gram

    >>I note the charge of hypocrisy was levelled at the church in the other thread to my mind the church is consistent, it is pro-life, anti-torture, anti-death penalty.<< Harry you forgot about "pro-paedophilia and anti-contaception". I don't think anyone on this thread is asking for the church to change it's stance on abortion just that they should agree to disagree with AI on this issue and work together on other areas where they have broad agreement.

  • Dawkins

    Harry Flashman,

    “… to my mind the church is consistent…”

    You obviously missed my post on Limbo. Churches by their nature are not consistent. How could they be?

    I’m asking the RCC to be less dogmatic in this case, and for once have a little respect and human feeling for the women victims.

  • abucs

    If Amnesty International said that it was not appropriate to have Catholic sub groups in their branches, would the same level of criticism and accusations of dictatorship apply ?

    Or would we simply say, well it’s the AI group, it’s up to them, the church should but out.
    If people want to be catholic they are free to do it outside of AI if they wish.

    The underlying agenda here is the Catholic Church should not have any say in anything, including outside organisations organising in their own schools.

  • Dawkins

    Abucs,

    Straw man. Amnesty is open to all religions. The RCC is a single religion.

  • abucs

    Dawkins, i do not believe Limbo was ever dogma.
    It was however a philosophical development that may still, or may not be true. The churches move was to clarify that it is not dogma.

    It’s like Buddha sitting under his tree. One perceived bit of information allows you to ponder on what else is likely to be true.

    It’s like saying if there is a realm outside of this universe it makes sense to think our origins come from there, it then makes sense to think there is intelligence there that creates, it then makes sense to say that intelligence has some sort of relationship with creation, it then makes sense to say that we can enter that other realm, it then makes sense to say that there is a criteria or process for entering, it then makes sense to say there are stages of processes for different situations ……. limbo.

    The concept of limbo was along these philosophical lines, not a matter of church dogma to my knowledge.

    To my mind it was a major theme and development of western rationality and logic played out under the guise of religion as so much of our western thought was. It is part of our history.

    Of course you can disagree with its initial assumptions, but the exercise of rationality and logic from given assumptions leads to many many hypothesies. Limbo was one of those.

  • abucs

    Dawkins,

    i’m not talking about individual Catholics in AI, i’m talking about an organised sub group of Catholics in AI. The same as an organised sub group of AI in Catholic institutions.

    I don’t think the Catholic Church has said members of AI cannot attend their schools ?

  • Harry Flashman

    *I’m asking the RCC to be less dogmatic in this case, and for once have a little respect and human feeling for the women victims*

    The number of abortions which are carried out as result of rape is miniscule and you know it. AI isn’t calling for abortion in the case of rape to be legalised it is calling for abortion to be classed as a human right.

    The Catholic Church has an extremely consistent and unyielding stance as regards rape and incet, it condemns these sins and condemns them in the gravest possible way, it has done so for nigh on two millenia, it’s nice to see AI catch up. The Catholic Church has the deepest sympathy for victims of rape it just believes that abortion is not the appropriate response.

    Let me put it another way, many people are traumatised by the fact that the murderers of their loved ones can get out of prison and be free to walk the streets a few years after they commit murder. I am sure AI sympathises with these victims but it does not believe that the death penalty for murder is the appropriate answer to this situation.

    People ask whether the Catholic Church should compromise on abortion in the case of rape and incest, to which I ask in reply would Amnesty International compromise on torture and the death penalty in cases of men convicted of rape and incest?

    No, I don’t think so either.

    PS I am no theologian but I understand that Limbo was never actually a fundamental tenet of the Catholic faith, I am open to correction on that point.

  • Dawkins

    Abucs,

    Limbo may not have been dogma to you but it was to countless unfortunate parents throughout history, lied to by their Church that their unbaptized children would languish there. This is why I’m suggesting they lighten up now on this issue.

    Why on earth would a group of Catholics organize within a nondenominational organization like Amnesty? It’s a straw man.

  • Pounder

    This isn’t a thread on aboution or the morality behind it. Personally I think it’s a disgrace that women have to go all the way to Liverpool for an abortion, but I don’t agree with using abortion as being used as another form of contraception.

    Once again I point out the RCC are “advising” that schools stop facilitating young people who want to hold an AI meeting after school. Times change as do trends, unfortunately the RCC seems content to live in the past and try and enforce that on their young people.

  • Splurge

    Gram – what is the point of continually mentioning paedophile priests? We all know that individual priests, bishops and parents failed to protect children. But it was never a teaching of the Catholic Church to do so, quite the contrary. Just throwing it in everytime there is a discussion about Catholic issues is tiresome and fruitless.

    As for limbo, it was a notion to comfort parents whose children had died without baptism, that they would not be going to hell. Now in a great act of revisionism it’s presented as keeping them out of heaven. The Church seems to have moved to a more agnostic position now – we don’t know where they end up but hopefully God has a way of reconciling the need for baptism and his infinite loving mercy.

  • abucs

    My understanding of the concept of limbo was not that it was a permanent place of residence.
    It was more like purgatory in that beings must be a certain way to enter Heaven. Part of this thought came from the belief that this universe is also a place for us to grow spiritually before entering the other realm.

    It is interesting that Buddha under his tree came up with similar thoughts. Only his version of purgatory and limbo was re-incarnation.

    The underlying ides of purification and illusion of this universe seperated from Heaven / Enlightenment / Nirvana are very similar.

    It all flows from the acceptance of spirituality and the existance of a realm outside of our universe.

    My comments on the theoretical idea of catholic organising in AI was to contrast peoples reactions if AI was to turn around and say – it is inappropriate. My question is to ask would such a wide ranging attack on AI be the justified response. I think it is very evident that it wouldn’t. In that case i suspect sensible reaction would prevail.

    OK, time for me to go.

  • Dawkins

    Pounder,

    “using abortion as being used as another form of contraception.

    FFS, et tu Pounder?! On the other thread two peeps insisted abortion was contraception when it patently is not.

    Write out 100 times:

    Abortion is a form of birth control.
    Abortion is a form of birth control.
    Abortion is a form of birth control.
    Abortion is a form of birth control.
    Abortion is a form of birth control.
    Abortion is a form of birth control.

    See, I’ve made a start for you :0)

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Pounder: “Once again I point out the RCC are “advising” that schools stop facilitating young people who want to hold an AI meeting after school. Times change as do trends, unfortunately the RCC seems content to live in the past and try and enforce that on their young people. ”

    Which, frankly, last I checked, is their perogative at this point in time.

    If it is the Church’s physical plant, should they not have the right to use it as they see fit? If the teacher-advisors for these clubs are Church personnel, either through vows or paycheck, should not the church have a say in how they spend their time whilst on the clock and on-site?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dawkins: “FFS, et tu Pounder?! On the other thread two peeps insisted abortion was contraception when it patently is not. ”

    If we we must be precise, Dawkins, there are a number of women who are using abortion in lieu of using contraception, as, in fact, ex post facto contraception.

    Just as a matter of curiousity, do you consider the “morning after” pill to be contraception or an abortifacient?

  • Dawkins

    Cthulhu,

    You’re not still about that? Give it up, mate.

    Or maybe acquaint yourself with the meaning of “conception”.

  • Gum

    This is a sad case – these two organisatiosn really should be working together. My main fear is that kids in schools won’t understand the reason for the boycott of Amnesty and will have some shadowy concern over it for many years. I doubt they’ll educate themselves as to what the current row is, or have the interest (or balls) to stand up in school and to demand to know ‘why’?

    Banning Amnesty is a backward step – I say this as a Catholic who believes abortion is murder.

  • gram

    >>Gram – what is the point of continually mentioning paedophile priests? << I continually mention the cover up of paedophile priests and the teaching of contraception in schools as example of where the Church has been prepared to compromise it's principles.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dawkins: “You’re not still about that? Give it up, mate. ”

    And I said, to be precise, there are a large number of women who are having abortions who are noth the victims of rape, not the victims of incest, not at any risk of physical harm and are carrying babies. These women are having abortions in lieu of using contraception, making it, in their minds, a suitable substitute. As such, they are aborting healthy babies for no other reason than they and their partner couldn’t be bothered to take responsibility in the form of birth control.

    Now, as to my question, do you consider the “morning after pill” to be contraception or an abortifacient?

    Gum: “Banning Amnesty is a backward step – I say this as a Catholic who believes abortion is murder. ”

    So the church should, in your mind, aid and succor Amnesty, knowing that the organization is facilitating abortion, which, in your mind, is murder?

    What was the path to hell paved in again?

  • Gum

    Dread, this is tiresome. What you imply just doesnt follow from my statement and you know that mate.

  • Dawkins

    Dread Cthulhu,

    “These women are having abortions in lieu of using contraception, making it, in their minds, a suitable substitute.”

    Well at least they’ve realized it’s a substitute for contraception, not contraception, which would be illogical and contrary to the laws of physics. Perhaps you could learn something from them.

    “Now, as to my question, do you consider the “morning after pill” to be contraception or an abortifacient?”

    Depends, doesn’t it. If conception has already taken place it’s the latter, if not it’s the former.

    BTW are you one of those chaps who believe in the Immaculate Conception?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Gum: “What you imply just doesnt follow from my statement and you know that mate. ”

    You said that banning Amnesty (presumably meaning banning Amnesty from church schools) was a backwards step. Now, is not providing those facilities and teacher advisors — in short, allowing them to organize in schools, a form of support? Free meeting space, access to students… it certainly sounds like a form of support to me. Then there is the matter of the implied endorsement of allowing the organization this access.

    It is a binary equation, Gum, with little gray area. Amnesty chose to move from a neutral position to one that is pro-abotion. If Amnesty changes their stance, what is inappropriate about the RC Church changing their in response?

  • Splurge

    Gram – every instance of paedophilia or cover up or promotion of contraception is in direct contravention of Catholic teaching. It makes the individuals concerned sinful, doesn’t make the Church hypocritical. No Catholic school – repeat none, should be promoting contraception.

    Gum – not a question of “banning Amnesty” – just saying it’s not compatable with Catholic teaching and therefore can’t operate within Catholic institutions. In the same way that a Rangers Supporters Club mightn’t want to ban Celtic, but wouldn’t exactly want them to operate within the Supporters Club.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dawkins: “Depends, doesn’t it. If conception has already taken place it’s the latter, if not it’s the former. ”

    Now you’re the one being illogical, Dawkins. Had they used contraception, there would be no need for the morning after pill, which is, definitionally, an abortifacient — since you seem to prefer a simple, literal-minded interpretation of terms.

  • Gum

    It is dangerous to suggest to thousands of school children that there is something bad about Amnesty International. I understand fully where the church is coming from, but I think such a tragic issue as rape as a weapon of war needs a subtler response. I am very concerned that by going to the extent of banning an organisation that fights against injustice the church risks sending out a very dangerous message to some kids that this organisation that argues for an end to torture is somehow bad.

  • Dawkins

    Dread Cthulhu,

    How does it work?

    It’s believed Levonelle [the morning-after pill] works by:

    * preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg

    * altering the lining of the womb, so a fertilised egg can’t embed itself there.

    In Britain and many western countries it is regarded as an emergency contraceptive, not an abortion-causing drug – it won’t work if you are already pregnant.

    Ergo if it causes the death of a fertilized egg it’s an abortifacient.

    So what about the Virgin Mary? Did she or didn’t she flout the laws of physics?

  • Splurge

    Gum – regretfully, and I say this as someone who was a member of Amnesty until last month, it is now a bad organisation. This represents a useful opportunity for helping children in schools come to understand the issues – on torture, death penalty, rape and abortion – and the importance of having a consistent life ethic which Amnesty doesn’t. You want a subtle response to dealing with pregnancy after rape – what does that mean? As I said elsewhere, who is more defenceless than a child conceived in Darfur. The reason rape is used in war is because the victims are often shunned by their own communities. We should be trying to end this, not be killing the children but by supporting the mothers and saying clearly, no matter what the circumstances of your conception, you have a right to life. In the same way that Amnesty traditionally says, no matter what you have done the State has no right to torture you or execute you. No subtletyy in that stance.

    Dawkins, what are you trying to do, cause trouble? Mary flouted several laws. She herself was conceived free from original sin (the Immaculate Conception), though with two human parents, Anne and Joachim, and she conceived Jesus without the intervention of a human father. Fairly simple.

  • Gum

    [i]The reason rape is used in war is because the victims are often shunned by their own communities. We should be trying to end this, not be killing the children but by supporting the mothers and saying clearly, no matter what the circumstances of your conception, you have a right to life.[/i]

    Hey Splurge, I’m right there with you. I just feel thatremoving Amnesty from our schools means that evils such as torture, unlawful detention etc will be ignored. I know they werent taught in my school. With so many tv shows and books and films depicting acts of torture and vigilanties we need to ensure that our kids are taught that these acts are evil. I’m 100% opposed to abortion, but we risk abandoning people to these horrors I have mentioned if we adopt a knee-jerk reaction to the issue of abortion.

    I think a way of saying we fundamentally disagree with their abortion stance but support their efforts in speaking out against torture, rape and other abuses is the best way to ensure our kids are fully rounded responsible adults.

  • Nevin

    “Another nail in the coffin?”

    And there’s more, Joe.

    Allister meets EU Ambassador to Vatican

  • Dawkins

    Nevin,

    Will Jim fix it? Wonder what his real motives are.

  • Nevin

    Dawkins, will the Vatican fix it? On this occasion, it appears that the initiative has been taken by the EU ambassador not the MEP:

    “Jim Allister MEP has held a meeting in Brussels with the EU’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Dr Luis Ritto. The meeting was held at the Ambassador’s request and follows a long-running campaign, through parliamentary questions, by the Ulster Euro MP to have the Commission formally protest to the Vatican over its handling of clerical child abuse cases.

    For 2 years Mr Allister has been pressing the EU to challenge the Vatican on the incompatibility of its infamous document, ‘Crimen Sollicitationis’ with its obligations as a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).”

    PS Is there an EU constituency called Ulster?

  • Dawkins

    Nevin,

    “Is there an EU constituency called Ulster?”

    I dunno. But there’s a coat that’s so called.

  • The Catholic church seems to think that it is impossible to endorse Amnesty without endorsing the whole package, yet it survives because it includes a la carte catholics who do not accept the whole doctrincal package. If every compromise catholic left their schools the schools would collpase. So why not allow Catholic school pupils to be a la carte members of Amnesty, supporting the prisoners and saying nothing about abortion? I had a piece on Talkback about this yesterday: Script below:

    There is a Christian injunction to visit the prisoner. It is not like some of those other religious laws which are extrapolated from convoluted Augustinian reasoning by head scratching theologians. No it’s in cold print.
    The catholic bishops need reminding of their responsibility to the prisoner because they are currently busy shutting down branches of Amnesty International in Catholic schools, certainly in Northern Ireland, perhaps all over the world.
    If anyone has taken the concerns of the prisoner seriously it is Amnesty International.
    Thousands of letters are sent by Catholic schoolchildren every year to people who have been banged up in prison cells, in ghastly conditions, in countries that ignore international human rights standards.
    Those letters get delivered.
    Imagine how a prison governor responds when one of his charges starts receiving bags full of mail from around the world. He reports it to the government and the government starts treading gingerly around this formerly unnoticed celebrity. And imagine how you would feel if after years in a cell wondering if you were ever going to get a trial or even a visit, and suddenly you get postcards telling you to keep your spirits up and that you’ve not been forgotten,. And these postcards are not coming from some consular official or a party ally. No. They are from a wee girl in Twinbrook.
    If Bishop Donal McKeown and others who are ordering the closure of school amnesty groups would take a little time to think about the broader range of Christian responsibility that they proclaim to bear, they might devote their energies to finding some kind of compromise that would enable Amnesty’s work to continue instead of sweeping it out of the schools with righteous moral vigour, content that they are standing up to the devil.
    The Catholic Church has turned on Amnesty because Amnesty has decided to support the right of a raped woman to terminate a pregnancy.
    This is Amnesty’s business because rape is a weapon of war, particularly in interracial war, where you can impose a victory by seeding your own kind among the enemy.
    Amnesty has decided that a woman who has been impregnated as an act of violence against her has the right to insist that that violence shall not stand.
    The Catholic church is appalled. It regards the abortion of a foetus as an act of violence equivalent to the murder of a child.
    Well, that has been argued out for decades and it is an argument that is not going very far. But the church should at least have noticed that not all those who endorse a woman’s right to choose are evil people to be shoved away from them.
    Amnesty knew that the Catholic church could not endorse its new policy. It also knew that it was dependent on support groups in Catholic schools.
    Bishops don’t get pregnant, so they don’t change their minds on abortion. Sometimes their lovers get pregnant, and then sometimes they do.
    But there is no prospect at all of the Catholic Church agreeing with Amnesty International on how to help a raped a woman who is pregnant.
    So the collapse of all these services to the prisoner is inevitable?
    What next? A fissure between the Catholic Church and Amnesty in its campaigning against capital punishment in the United States? And more lives lost there?
    Or a we a bit of human savvy your eminences.
    The search for a compromise, in which the hundreds of schoolchildren who have been lifting the spirits of prisoners across the world are not simply stood down on a point of principle that is already clear to everyone.

  • feismother

    Thanks to all the considered responses from both sides on this topic. I’m writing as a governor of one of these schools whose own children were members of its Amnesty group while pupils there. I need to gather my thoughts if this is going to come up in the school and I’ve already done some internet research. I’m probably nearest to GUM’s POV at the moment and thank you Malachi for posting that because I didn’t hear Talkback yesterday.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dawkins: “So what about the Virgin Mary? Did she or didn’t she flout the laws of physics? ”

    I keep science and faith seperate. I would no more proclaim the Earth to be 6000 years old — applying religion to science — than I would apply science to religion.

    Besides, I think, technically, it would be biology she violated, not physics.

    Gum: “It is dangerous to suggest to thousands of school children that there is something bad about Amnesty International. I understand fully where the church is coming from, but I think such a tragic issue as rape as a weapon of war needs a subtler response.”

    Ah, but they are not responding to rape as a weapon — that would require criticizing the Koran.

    ““It is not lawful for you (to marry other) women after this, nor to change them for other wives even though their beauty attracts you, except those (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses. And Allah is Ever a Watcher over all things.” Surah 33:52 ”

    What the West calls “rape,” their religion deems to be a divine right.

    Gum: “I am very concerned that by going to the extent of banning an organisation that fights against injustice the church risks sending out a very dangerous message to some kids that this organisation that argues for an end to torture is somehow bad. ”

    Save for the obvious fact that the Church fights the same injustices, Gum. And I am certain the Church can find the time and words to explain that AI is “bad” because it promotes abortion rather than leave the children perplexed.

  • feismother

    But for the most part they aren’t “children” they’re young adults with lively, enquiring minds who’ll need a little bit more than being told by the Church that AI is “bad”.

    This time last year my youngest was still at school, a member of AI but also preparing for university interviews, involved in the school Politics Society, inter-school debating and so forth. The level of debate amongst her peers is infinitely more mature than some of the whataboutery and pointscoring we sometimes see here.

    They deserve a fully-engaged debate on this issue rather than just being “told”.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    feismother: “But for the most part they aren’t “children” they’re young adults with lively, enquiring minds who’ll need a little bit more than being told by the Church that AI is “bad”. ”

    And will no doubt use those inquiring minds to ask questions. The long and the short of it is that AI has no right to access either the physical plant or the students in the Catholic school. Likewise, Gum’s argument was that if AI was banned from the schools, they would beileve there was something “wrong” with AI. The argument that “some kids” might think “that this organisation (AI) that argues for an end to torture is somehow bad” if the RC church maintained an internal consistency in what they believe and the organizations the support / tacitly endorse.

    If the young adults are as Gum describes, then maybe there is a risk, but that should not prevent the RC Church from excercising its perogatives. If they are as you describe, then there should be nothing to worry about and Gum’s fears are overblown.

    feismother: “They deserve a fully-engaged debate on this issue rather than just being “told”. ”

    No, they should (and do) have the right to organize elsewhere, if that is their want.

  • Garibaldy

    Abortion is debated in Catholic schools. Just as artificial forms of contraception are (not the same thing as being taught them however).

    The Catholic Church has schools. I’d rather no churches had schools but there you go. If however we are to allow religions to have schools then it is entirely consistent that they should ban the organisation of groups advocating positions contrary to the religion’s principles. Whether it is political parties, Amnesty, Pagans or whatever.
    Pupils can still organise these if they want. They just can’t have access to the schools facilities and support for these groups.

    I really fail to see why people are getting so upset.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Garibaldy: “I really fail to see why people are getting so upset. ”

    Some are “upset” because it gives them a free swing at religion.

    Some are “upset” because it gives them a free swing at the RC Church.

    Some are “upset” because they subscribe to positions that require they be upset when their social / political / metaphorical “sacred cows” are not kowtowed to.

    Let’s face it, there is a segment of the population that is not “happy” if it is not “upset”

  • Dawkins

    Dread Cthulhu,

    Thanks for your reply re the Virgin Mary. I asked only to establish how you define conception. You say you keep science and religion separate but how does this work with the Immaculate Conception?

    Do you believe Mary conceived as a virgin? And do you believe she flouted the laws of physics when she was assumed bodily into heaven? Your answers would help me to understand where you’re coming from on contraception.

    malachi,

    “Bishops don’t get pregnant, so they don’t change their minds on abortion. Sometimes their lovers get pregnant, and then sometimes they do. But there is no prospect at all of the Catholic Church agreeing with Amnesty International on how to help a raped a woman who is pregnant.”

    Exactly so. There’s a little too much pontificating on this blog and elsewhere on the position of women raped during warfare. One does indeed wonder what the case might be if the Catholic Church had female bishops and one was to find herself in this horribly distressing situation.

    But I might as well discuss my grandmother’s hypothetical testicles.

  • In an ideal world people who are not committed, practising catholics would not be sending their children to catholic schools. They would feel they had alternatives. But we live in a society in which the interface between church and society is blurred and porous. We go to catholic funerals for our atheist friends, and parents who ‘kind of’feel themselves to be cultural catholics assent to an education system governed by hierarchs who preach strict dogma. Fortunately the teachers in those schools are a la cartes like most of the parents.
    Now the same hierarchs say they subscribe to the view that the church is the people, and if they really want to push their power they will lose the people they claim to speak for. In other words, the marriage between people and church in Catholic Ireland is a marriage of convenience, with occasional flashes of intimacy. It is not the kind of marriage that can bear one side geting dogmatic and uncommunicative.
    What I do, as a baptised catholic, is declare that I am not a catholic any more at all and opt out. Obviously I think that position has more integrity than trying to muck along with a church in a relationship in which that church perceives itself to be the boss and doesn’t notice that it has to muck along with the people too.
    But the a la cartes stay in and it is understandable why. Theologically most of them are, at most, protestant, but they want to access the school system and to feel integrated into a community.

    The tragedy is that the church does not notice how accommoating the people are to its oddities. Priests do. Most of them. Bishops don’t, because priests of good sense aren’t promoted.

    Now feismother notices that there is a problem, that Paddy Walshe thinks he can conduct himself with this generation they way McQuaid did with the people of Ireland fifty years ago.
    Will Walshe get away with it?

    Probably. Because most poeple don’t take the church seriously enough even to protest against it.

    But for hundreds of young people who have been doing fantastic work for prisoners this will be the breaking point in their relationship with the church. A cynic would regard that as good news.

  • Harry Flashman

    Actually Malachi I feel that the Church standing by its principles is far and away the best course of action, if the “a la cartes” fall away then so be it, they can join a protestant church or they can renounce religion all together.

    You mention the hoary old chestnut of John Charles McQuaid, funny enough his tenure as archbishop coincided with the period when the Irish Catholic Church was at its most popular, with millions of weekly communicants. Ah but you say that was then in old pig thick Ireland when we didn’t know any better, we’re all too sophisticated for that oul’ bollocks now.

    Fine, if you believe there is no room in our new squeaky clean, gee whizz, high tech, tigerish Ireland for musty oul’ churches and awkward teachings about morality feel free to reject them either join the nice progressive happy clappy protestant churches with their lesbian bishops, (you know like the ones in America whose congregations are dropping like stones as they are rejected en masse by bible believers enlisting in droves for the evangelicals) or simply decide there is no room in your life for religion, no one is stopping you.

    If I was a Catholic I would see that the future does not lie in “kumbaya”, “whatever yer havin’ yerself” religious teaching because curiously enough that is what has been happening for the past thirty years and this has coincided with the precipitous decline in church attendences.

    The future of the Catholic Church is to sit tight, stick to their guns, if they preach their message consistently then the congregants will come back, if they don’t, well so be it, continue preaching the message and hope they’ll listen, you’ll be surprised how many will. You cannot base the teachings of a great religion on apppealling to the emotions of adolescents. They may well reject the Church in their youth but it’s amazing how as they get older, get families and meet with life’s problems they suddnely feel a need to return to the solidity of their previous faith.

    There’s one thing that the Catholic Church knows how to do and that is to play the long game. For two thousand years its demise has been predicted, I recall how Stalin sneered when told of criticism from the Pope; “How many divisions does the Pope have?”, hmmmm, anyone know the name of the general secretary of the Russian Communist Party these days?

    Irish Catholics turning en masse against the Catholic Church might be a novelty, but in the very long history of the Catholic Church impassioned sixth form debaters, a few withering Irish Times editorials appealling to Dublin’s nouveaux riche or droning phone in contributors to Talk Back or the Joe Duffy Show ain’t about to set the Vatican aquiver.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Limbo was a belief taught by the Church, more in my parents generation, though I don’t remember it being mentioned much when I was at school, although I clearly understood what it meant.

    To be honest I do not see how the church could find common ground between its position on abortion and that of Amnesty, and there is nothing surprising about what they have done here. That does not mean that I think the church is right. The church is strangling itself with it’s own dogma, and I hope it keeps doing so; it’s useful that people are reminded of the dangers of the dogma of organized religion.

    Everyone knows that the RC church is a blatantly hypocritical organization; the issue of abortion, no matter how horrifying it might be, is nothing compared to other matters. For example why was Tony Blair, whose illegal war in Iraq has seen thousands of people killed, given an audience with the Pope to discuss his own conversion to Catholicism ? The RC church have no sense of perspective.

  • Aquifer

    Is this story anything to do with abortion? I read a story in the Observer on Sunday I think, that irish immigrant children were not being admitted to catholic primary schools, which seemed to be demanding catholic baptismal certificates. A non or multi-denominational school which opened up for 30 pupils had 120 show up so that they had to close again. Could amnesty collude with the hierarchy in a situation that looks like racial and religious discrimination?

  • You’re right Flashman. The church should take the gamble and lose the numbers. And we should have a local reformation. Paddy Walshe was appointed by Rome and elected by nobody to make decisions for the running of local schools. He should be overthrown. It’s amazing that a population that so disdained the brits cans accept a foreign dictatorship.
    If the mass of catholics still revered Rome’s rules, then things would be fine, but they have changed. I don’t see that a la carteism as Kumbaya religion. Young people who join amnesty groups may not be religious at all, but they are motivated by conscience and principle in a wholesome way.
    Maybe Paddy Walshe, like yourself would be happy to see the Catholic church find its own real mass (no pun intended) and to lose thousands – perhaps millions. It will happen anyway. The indications are that the church does not want that to happen. How often does Sean Brady complain about the catholics of Ireland not being represented in the media, as if he sees them as a coherent body of people separate from the secular world. There is no such separation, except for the purists.
    There are two big things that Irish Catholics don’t like, and they are now in tension with each other. they don’t like abortion and they don’t like bishops telling them what to think.
    I’m not entirely convinced they’ll stand up to Walshe on this. A precedent was the disciplining of Iggy O’Donovan for inviting a CoI minister to co officiate at mass with him. The a la cartes thought that was lovely and wrote letters to the Irish Times supporting him and poo pooing Sean Brady for saying it wasn’t allowed. But when Brady humiliated O’Donovan and forced an apology, the a la cartes were nowhere to be see.

  • abucs

    It’s not a matter of taking a gamble Malachi.
    It’s about professing what you think.
    Some churches have a policy now of saying absolutely nothing.

    In that world, yes, there is no seperateness from secularism and as such there is no role for religion and they are losing numbers at a faster rate than anyone.

    That is the goal of what many posters want.

    I’m sorry, but the Church you left has no plans to be silent and irrelevent.

    Do you honestly believe that anyone inside the church will listen to someone who wants to see it destroyed regarding on how it should conduct itself. Does that make any sense to you at all ?

    If letter writing to prisoners by Catholic students is such a big issue for you Malachi i’m sure the Church will be very receptive to your suggestions to keep that continuuing.

    But you have made no moves to seperate that part of your posts (the sensible part) from the other part, of a continuation of your criticising an organisation you left on behalf of its members, whom you also left that don’t have your (quote) “integrity”.

    You have that choice, but at some stage you should realise that people have made other choices. Those choices are just as valid as yours and they are not going to curtail their principles in their own organisation just because they disagree with you.

    Comrade, i could be wrong, but wasn’t the meeting between the Pope and Blair reported as a criticism by the Pope of Blairs activities in Iraq ? Isn’t that fair enough ?

    The Pope has been one of the leaders that has consistently been against military involvement in Iraq and from what i hear re-enforced that to both Bush and Blair personally. Good on him.

  • Splurge

    Dawkins – despite my previous best efforts you keep confusing the Virgin Birth (Mary conceving Jesus without a human father) and the Immaculate Conception (Mary being conceived in the womb of her mother Anne with the sperm of her father Joachim through normal sexual intercourse but without original sin). Both involved a direct and particular intervention by God – I don’t think I would call it flouting of the laws of physics or biology since God established those laws and can therefore over-ride them.

    Malachi – usual old rant from you. I hear you managed to infiltrate a Catholic school in Bangor this week -how’d that go? Did the teacher discover who you were and throw you out. Was she some old dear who thought you were a poet or something?

  • Dawkins

    Splurge,

    I’m an idiot. When you put it that way of course it all make perfect sense.

    BTW why are you answering for Mr. Cthulhu? Are you and he one and the same peep, a result of God’s overriding his own laws of biology?

    And your ad hominem attack on Malachi may not be against God’s laws but does contravene Slugger’s. I’d be interested to know why you call his post a “rant”.

  • Splurge

    Dawkins – definitely not Cthulhu. I came back in on this cos I explained yesterday that Immaculate Conception and Virgin Birth weren’t the same but message slow getting through.

    As regards Malachi – no way could you call my comment an “ad hominem attack”. Do you not realise that anyone who disagrees with me “rants”. and lapsed Catholics (probably hates that term) tend to rant more than others. But I enjoy Malachi – good way with words and his description of a la carte Catholics and their relationship with schools and church was spot on. His solution is for everyone to become a la carte – mine is for everyone to be honest and take the consequences.

  • Dawkins

    Splurge,

    Read my posts again. Nowhere did I confuse the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth. In fact I referenced three separate mythological occurrences, the third being the bodily Assumption.

  • Harry Flashman

    Malachi, you and others refer to “a la carte” Catholics, ie those people who wish to pick and choose their theological and moral positions according to their own individual consciences, as if they are a relatively new phenomenon.

    Believe it or not such people have existed for centuries now, they are curently numbered in their millions and hundreds of thousands of them already live in Ireland they even have their own churches, schools and religious institutions, they are called ‘protestants’.

    If an individual member of the Catholic Church feels in all conscience that they cannot live with certain aspects of the Vatican’s teachings then they are under no obligation to follow them however they need to stop deluding themselves that they are Catholics, they aren’t, and the sooner they own up to this and realign their place of worship on Sundays the better it will be for all concerned.

  • Splurge

    Dawkins – you said “You say you keep science and religion separate but how does this work with the Immaculate Conception?

    Do you believe Mary conceived as a virgin? And do you believe she flouted the laws of physics when she was assumed bodily into heaven?”

    I drew a connection between your reference to the Immaculate Conception and your immediate follow up question on the Virgin Birth. Clearly you didn’t intend to connect them in this why, hence the new paragraph. As regards Assumption, same answer as before, God made everything so he can do what he wants so long as not logically impossible (like making someone older than himself or a stone too heavy for him to lift).

    Flashman – mostly agree with you but the problem is that there aren’t protestant chuches/ecclesial communions that give them what they want – bit of the Pope when they want, First Communions and Confirmations with no questions asked and no hard requests for money.

  • Pounder

    It definately was an ad hominem attack on Malachi. You went completely off topic to have a needless swipe at him regarding his personal life. It would be similar to be saying that you are the biggest idiot I’ve ever seen posting here and thats one fecking hell of a horse race considering my interactions with crumb and others.

    I’m genuinely currious about the RCC position on this, do they have a lot of say in other after school clubs D&D for example and what about classes, do they allow evolution to be taught in science?

  • Splurge

    Pounder – wise up wee lad. A “needless swipe at him regarding his personal life”. That sounds like a said something about his wife or drinking or gambling instead of which I referred to his visiting a school. Hardly an attack and I’m sure he wouldn’t remotely regard it as an attack. He’s a big fella you know, wears long trousers and can tie his own laces.

    Catholic schoools follow the curriculum and only make adjustments as allowed for ethos – which means they do not have to promote contraception (though clearly some teacher do). In science they will study the theory of evolution if it’s on the curriculum and in Religious Education they will study Genesis if it’s on the curriculum.

    All clubs and societies within the school should be compatable with the ethos of the school. So no Gay and Lesbian Societies.

  • Pounder

    But doesn’t the science of evolution contradict the RCC teachings far more than AI do for not having a comment one way or the other on abortion?

  • Dawkins

    Pounder,

    If I may? My reading of the RCC is that they’re not as fundamental as say the Evangelicals, who take the Bible literally.

    I believe a Catholic will say something like: “OK, God created the world in six days but of course those weren’t terrestrial days, and the Creation story is largely allegorical.” This is a far healthier approach that leaves the way open to the teaching of evolution.

    Jeeze, never thought I’d see myself defending the RCC :0)

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dawkins: “Thanks for your reply re the Virgin Mary. I asked only to establish how you define conception. You say you keep science and religion separate but how does this work with the Immaculate Conception? ”

    Y’know, as a lapsed Episcopal, I don’t really think about it much. Since you don’t, why do you worry so that someone else might?

    At issue in this story are rights — the right of the RC Church to hold a position and act on those beliefs, regardless of the antics of those tribalists lining up for some free shots and those agony aunts wringing their hands about the perceived injustice of it all.

    If you don’t like the role the RC Church has in education, agitate to have the system changed. If you want the youths to have someplace to organize the AI chapter, get involved and volunteer.

  • gram

    >>Catholic schoools follow the curriculum and only make adjustments as allowed for ethos – which means they do not have to promote contraception (though clearly some teacher do). << So if the ethos of the school is to encourage free and independent thinking of its pupils it can tell the RCC to butt out and allow it's pupils to organise an Ai group.

  • Splurge

    Gram – the ethos of the school is set by the owners, patrons and management authorities of the school. If it’s a Catholic school then it has a Catholic ethos. It may also encourage free and independent thinking by its pupils – this does not translate into free and independent action such as having institutions within the school which are contrary to Catholic teaching such as Amnesty.

  • gram

    >>It may also encourage free and independent thinking by its pupils – this does not translate into free and independent action such as having institutions within the school which are contrary to Catholic teaching such as Amnesty.<< But I don't understand. You said they are allowed to make their own decisions around the teaching of contraception. Is this not contrary to catholic teaching?

  • Splurge

    Gram – you misunderstood me on contraception. what I meant was that a Catholic school using a State curriculum on, say Social, Personal and Health Education or whatever it’s called, should talk about sex in the context of the Church’s teaching and not promote contraception and sex outside marriage. clearly based on other comments some teachers in some Catholic schools DO promote contraception. this is against the ethos of a Catholic school and the teacher does not have the freedom to do this. of course contraception can be discussed without being promoted. A good teacher might explain the difference between natural family planning and contraception and the reason for the Church’s teaching. this isn’t the same as showing a class how to use a condom or neglecting to tell them the failure rates for contraception when used by drunken teenagers – very high in case you were wondering.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gram: “But I don’t understand.”

    To break it down to simplest terms, its why you you don’t find Pepsi coupons on Coca-Cola six-packs.

    Those that contol the podium get to set the message. They are under no obligation to dilute their own message, not provide implicit endorsements or assistance to organizations whose policies are not in line with their own.

    If you do not want the RC Church involved in education, feel free to agitate to change the system. If you are afraid the youths will not have a place to hold their meetings, volunteer and help organize.

  • Dawkins

    Dread Cthulhu,

    I introduced the issue of the Immaculate Conception simply because you seemed a little unclear on what actual conception entails. It wasn’t at all my intention to deviate from the topic.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dawkins: “I introduced the issue of the Immaculate Conception simply because you seemed a little unclear on what actual conception entails. It wasn’t at all my intention to deviate from the topic. ”

    Dawkins, if you didn’t understand a metaphorical or colorful turn of phrase, you should have felt free to ask. I would cheerfully explained the parts you didn’t grasp. You would have saved yourself ever so much typing.

    Seriously — you haven’t been the same since the Spiderman joke blew up in your face.

  • gram

    >>To break it down to simplest terms, its why you you don’t find Pepsi coupons on Coca-Cola six-packs.

    Those that contol the podium get to set the message. They are under no obligation to dilute their own message, not provide implicit endorsements or assistance to organizations whose policies are not in line with their own.
    << To continue your fizzy lemonade comparison. Do you not think that a coca-cola employee putting pepsi coupons in six packs would be fired? I don't see catholic schools firing teachers who they know teach contraception. I would enjoy seeing them try to defend that in court. I now look forward to the bishop's future messages preventing pupils from wearing Nike sportswear, made by underage workers and instructing catholic priests not to use aeroplanes that contribute to climate change?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    gram: “Do you not think that a coca-cola employee putting pepsi coupons in six packs would be fired?”

    Writ small and in the short term, maybe not… but it will go into his file and be a part of the proceedings against him at a later date. But, writ large, an act that would undermine the product’s integrity — not merely fired but subjected to legal proceedings.

    gram: ” I don’t see catholic schools firing teachers who they know teach contraception. I would enjoy seeing them try to defend that in court. ”

    Ah, but my analogy had nothing to do with contraception, but permitting AI access to the school. However, its a slow day.

    As a rule, just about any worker can be fired, if the boss is willing to jump through enough hoops. Teaching about contraception, with the possible exception of health class, is readily filed under “insubordination.” I’d be curious to hear an English or Chemistry instructor defend teaching about contraception. It would be a neat trick.

    Oh, and for the record, the RC Church wouldn’t have to fire the teacher to make their point. If the instructor in question were clerical personnel, they could readily be re-assigned — how about a leper colony in India? If they were laity, simply move them to a grade where such discussion would be sufficiently outre.

    gram: “I now look forward to the bishop’s future messages preventing pupils from wearing Nike sportswear, made by underage workers and instructing catholic priests not to use aeroplanes that contribute to climate change? ”

    I think you’re confusing the RC Church’s agenda with AI’s.

  • Dawkins

    Dread Cthulhu,

    “Dawkins, if you didn’t understand a metaphorical or colorful turn of phrase, you should have felt free to ask.”

    What phrase was that?

    “Seriously—you haven’t been the same since the Spiderman joke blew up in your face.”

    ????

  • Dread Cthulhu

    The one that ended…

    “Shit, my spide joke misfired :0(

    Posted by Dawkins on Aug 26, 2007 @ 04:16 AM”

    Besides, if you really want to comedy, your punchline *has* to be worth the wind-up.

    There is a middle school quality to yours above, which is something of a let-down, given — its too labored and doesn’t really flow.

    Comedy, as a rule, only *looks* easy. Its a bit like boxing — your lines have to have some snap to them, like a good jab, but the punch-line *has* to be a knock-out if your set-up is going to be that long.

  • Dawkins

    Dread Cthulhu,

    Unlike you, I’m reluctant to resort to petty ad hominem remarks, so I’ll say the following and leave it at that.

    You seem to me to be a humourless individual as well as a peep who can’t let well enough alone. You also don’t seem to understand the difference between a joke blowing up in a chap’s face and a joke misfiring. I suggest you google the first. My line re the spide joke, which uncannily you remembered long after I’d forgotten I even made it, was tongue in cheek and self-deprecating. I suggest you google both of those as well.

    What is your motivation for those posts anyhow? Are you peeved that I pointed out your misconception of contraception? It’s OK. I don’t think any the worse of you. Don’t sweat it. Egos aren’t everything you know.

    Now, can we get back to the subject? If not, do let me know sometime what you meant by “a metaphorical or colorful turn of phrase” of yours I misinterpreted.

  • gram

    >>As a rule, just about any worker can be fired, if the boss is willing to jump through enough hoops. Teaching about contraception, with the possible exception of health class, is readily filed under “insubordination.” I’d be curious to hear an English or Chemistry instructor defend teaching about contraception. It would be a neat trick.<< Health Class?? Strange I was taught about contraception during Biology lessons. Obviously you weren't which goes a long way to explain the difficulty you've had understanding the subject of contraception during this thread.

  • Dawkins

    Gram,

    Perhaps Mr. Cthulhu was educated in the USA, where a different system obtains :0)