Saturday, July 30, 2011

Catholic News Roundup 07-29

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Anglicanism: a case study in moral relativism

The modern Anglican Church accepts openly gay bishops who live with their "lover", gay marriage, and the use of contraception within marriage. That's not to mention female priests and bishops plus many other issues.

But how did they get here? I was just looking back at some of the Lambeth Conferences that they've had over the years. This is roughly equivalent to an ecumenical council in the Catholic Church. After splitting from Rome, the Anglican Church managed to uphold most Christian doctrines, but suddenly in 1930 that began to change, and very quickly.

The change is truly astonishing and just goes to show the destructive power of moral relativism. It also shows the veracity of the statement "stand for something or fall for anything." Sadly, that's what happened to the Anglicans.

So what happened?

At the 1920 Lambeth conference, they completely rejected all forms of contraception even within marriage. Look at the uncompromising language used:

We utter an emphatic warning against the use of unnatural means for the avoidance of conception, together with the grave dangers - physical, moral and religious - thereby incurred, and against the evils with which the extension of such use threatens the race. In opposition to the teaching which, under the name of science and religion, encourages married people in the deliberate cultivation of sexual union as an end in itself, we steadfastly uphold what must always be regarded as the governing considerations of Christian marriage. One is the primary purpose for which marriage exists, namely the continuation of the race through the gift and heritage of children; the other is the paramount importance in married life of deliberate and thoughtful self-control.

It's shocking and hard to believe that just 10 short years later, the Anglican communion would disavow their previous comments and break from their own tradition, so clearly laid out so recently. In 1930, they became the first mainstream Christian church that accepted birth control, although at the time it was limited to married couples for certain reasons.

How could they be so clear in 1920, then reverse their position a decade later?

From there, it was a free fall of moral laxity. In 1958, the reaffirmed the use of birth control.

In 1968 there were more big changes. They began recommending women to the priesthood and the diaconate. They also endorsed "open communion". This is interesting because it seems their doctrines were so shaky and minimized that any less than open communion would appear illogical.

In 1988, they began accepting women to the role of bishop, although this continues to be debated in the various autonomous churches.

In 1998, something odd happened. The conference declared that homosexual actions were incompatible with Scripture. This was voted on and only succeeded narrowly. However, after this statement was issued, many Anglican bishops around the world issued apologies to their gay and lesbian parishioners. This shows the inherent division the Anglican communion is currently experiencing.

Of course, it must be noted that many priests and bishops in the Anglican Communion are far more traditional than others. Often these more conservative leaders come from Africa, and there is a huge split in the church.

I think the goal of the Anglican Church has been to please people, to become popular, but this strategy has backfired. The Anglican Church is not growing. I think the reason is that people either want the truth or they don't. They don't want an accommodated truth which cannot offend anyone. If someone is against the Christian faith, they will not accept a watered-down version of it. Conversely, someone who wants real Christian meat and potatoes will not settle for anything less than the real thing. The Anglican Church is trying to appeal to a group of people that really doesn't exist.

A few years ago, Pope Benedict created a way for Anglicans to make the transition to Catholicism easier and many thousands have taken up the offer. Let's hope more Anglicans are able to find a home with Rome.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Intelligent Design vs. Creationism

Revealed Theology, Natural Theology, and the Darwinist Concoction of “ID/Creationism.” | Uncommon Descent

Friends Don t Let Sociologists Do Theology | Blogs | NCRegister.com

Article by Mark Shea

World Youth Day organizers say Michael Voris catechesis not approved

Article by Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Disobedient women...

I like this article. Not because it is showcasing disobedient women who care nothing about legitimate authority in the Church, but because it presents both sides, and seems fairly objective. I also find it funny that this so called Roman Catholic Womenpriests has only 120 members in the whole world. It's barely worth talking about. You could find a group of 120 or more people who believe virtually anything.

The Catholic Church is not "forbidding" women from being priests because they are backward and outdated, it's because Jesus Christ did not ordain any women to the priesthood. He could have chosen his own mother as an apostle. She certainly was devoted enough to him, perhaps more than anyone up until he was crucified. Also, when the priest lifts up the Eucharist and says "This is my body", he is acting in Persona Christi, in the person of Christ, and Christ's maleness was essential to him.

The priesthood is not about power, as some wrongly believe. It's about being a servant and going even to death to serve others. Some people classify the Catholic Church as male-dominated or something along those lines, but really the priests have the hardest job. Even if a man thought the priesthood was about power, he would seem unfit to be a priest himself. Plus, not all men can be priests either. Like one of the women in this article, many of the people who disobey the Church when it comes to female ordination, also oppose the Church on many other topics, such as a celibate clergy or on sexual matters.

Pope John Paul II said we should not even discuss the topic of women ordination, and many theologians believe it is an infallible teaching of the Church. We would be better off putting our efforts elsewhere.

Article:
Women called to the priesthood » Ventura County Star

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unwilling to Care

People just want comfort these days, and I'm probably no different. One area where this is manifested is in confronting struggles of others, including the loss of a loved one. It's quite popular these days for people to downplay someone's death or to simply explain it away. They do not allow themselves to even be shocked, let alone grieve.

A couple of days ago, the singer Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27. A told a friend about it on an internet chat service. His immediate reaction was surprise, but quickly after he simply said it was expected. It was no longer a sad event to him or even something he should care about. He simply brushed it off as being "expected" and that was that.

Same thing happens often times when a loved one passes away. Instead of grieving, the whole process is quickly dismissed by using some easy explanation. Often after the first few minutes of surprise, the person will simply explain it away as "the person was old, they lived a good life" or something along those lines. The individual no longer feels the need to grieve, because well that's just how things are.

I don't really know what the root cause of this is. It could be a couple of factors. One is that people see the gravity of things as being connected to their emotions. If their emotions tell them to be sad, they will be sad, but if not, then they dismiss the event as "not that important".

But more importantly I think people really fear sadness. They would rather just have fun and not have to worry about big topics. They want the world to be orderly and they don't want their daily routine to be altered.

Despite the fact that Amy Winehouse was a drug and alcohol user, her death is still tragic and ought to be responded to with sadness rather than a complete lack of concern.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'Facebooking Father' to become Canada's youngest bishop

That's the headline from CBC. Tonight on the National they did a surprising story on this priest, soon-to-be-bishop, discussing how he will become the second youngest bishop in the world and youngest in Canada.

Fr. Thomas Dowd is only 40 years old and is highly involved with social media such as Facebook. He wants to reach out to younger generations, which really would include his own in the Catholic Church.

Of course, the usual riff-raff is back with their vitriolic comments. At the mere mention of the word "Catholic", many are sent into a frenzy of insults, each trying to outdo the other in the negative things they can say about the Catholic Church. It has become an absolute fixation. There's a positive, inspiring story about a Catholic man and people can't even see the good in it. All they can do is don their judgment hat and lash out at the Church. It's really a sad state of affairs.

We all know abuse occurred in the Catholic Church and its a great tragedy, but at some point people go from concern for victims to declaring all out war on a large, visible religious institution. Logic can take a back seat to this anger. This is despite the fact that abuse in Catholic Churches is certainly no worse than in other places, especially of late. Very few cases have emerged in the past 25 years. Yet, we never hear the same vitriol concerning an article about teachers or swim coaches.

Imagine if there was a story about a 40 year old man who was going to become the superintendent of a school district. I seriously doubt anyone would be lobbing insult-cocktails at this article. No one would imply that this man was somehow responsible for abuse in schools.

Is it possible that people react so strongly to stories about the Catholic faith for a deeper reason? Perhaps they are trying to undermine the moral authority of the Church so they don't have to feel bad about sinning? They attack the Church thinking if they can hate the Church enough, their consciences will not bother them as much. I could be barking up the wrong tree, but I do wonder about it.

Like I said, bringing up statistics about other groups of people and the fact that they commit acts of abuse does not seem to change the tone of the Church-bashers. I know a lot of evil occurred in the Church, but it also did in many other places, yet none of these places are attacked. I'm not saying two wrongs make a right, I'm just wondering why people are focusing solely on the Catholic Church. I think once people admit their reason, we will gain great insight.



Article here

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bishops praise injunction continuing Catholic foster care in Illinois

Article

Catholic News Roundup

It's sad to see that even though this Catholic News Roundup segment is produced in the US, half the articles are focused on Canada. The most recent one is the NDP trying to shut down Christian charities that let people with same-sex attraction know there is another option, and that is to live a virtuous life and that they don't have to accept homosexual propaganda. The NDP wants to shut down all such groups. I'm glad the NDP has no real power.

Consequentism and Sin

Consequentialism is the belief that an action or omission is not sinful in and of itself, but can only be considered morally wrong based on its external effects.

Although the term consequentialism is not an everyday one, the philosophy is dangerously common. In fact, in common parlance, this perspective is employed most of the time when decrying the evils of an act. However, our Christian faith makes it impossible for us to logically hold such a point of view.

Examples of the consequentialist belief system are all too common in our world. Here are just a few:

1) Pornography is considered bad by some because of its potential to breed rapists and to cause men to treat women poorly. However, many would contend that without these ill consequences, there is nothing wrong with a man who engages in viewing such material. This is a consequentialist point of view. Pornography is bad in itself, not because of some negative effect it may have. The effects only make it worse. It is bad because it distorts the marital act and turns it into something selfish, when it is meant to be something which is shared between spouses.

2) In-Vitro Fertilization is considered a good thing by many because the consequence is the birth of a child. This is despite the fact that many babies often must die for this one to be born. The evil is overlooked because of a good consequence. But to bring this point even further, even if in-vitro fertilization did not involve the killing of one or several embryos, it would still be evil, because it separates the procreative aspect of the marital act from the unitive one.

3) Gay marriage and children is often debated on the basis of how well the kids are raised in this type of relationship versus a traditional family. It is argued that if the kids end up okay, then same-sex parents should have the same right to raise kids as opposite-sex parents. But once again, this is a form of consequentialism. The same-sex couple is inherently infertile and is at odds with natural marriage which is life-giving. Plus, a parent deserves to be raised by his parents. This is his natural right. By allowing children to be raised with possibly one parent and a same-sex lover, we are denying a child his right to be raised in a life-giving and natural environment.

These are three among thousands of examples of how people employ consequentialism in everyday life. A much stronger argument does not use this faulty logic, but rather relies on objective good and evil.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

BioEdge: IVF child to have grandma, but no pa and no ma

This is a very disturbing story which highlights our society's obsession over personal fulfillment and going to any length to achieve it.

A 44-year old woman whose son died, decided to have his sperm extracted from his dead body and then used to fertilize the egg of some random woman and then the zygote implanted into yet another woman, a surrogate. This frankensteinian mix-and-match project was done to provide this woman with a grandchild. Forget the dignity owed to a corpse, or the immorality of using sperm and ova in this way, this woman wanted a grandchild and by golly she'll get one.

I'm sure it'll be such a touching moment when this baby is born and asked where she came from. Instead of the tried and true story of "mommy and daddy love each other a lot and came together and through a miracle, you were born". The baby is then given some chocolate chip cookies and goes to bed with a smile on her face.

No, her story will be far different.

"Come over here and let me tell you how you were born: You daddy died, and without his permission, I had sperm from his corpse removed. Scientists in white lab coats then took his sperm and fused it together with a strange woman's (who you don't know) egg. This was then implanted into another woman, who you also don't know, and you grew inside her. Every day she fed you through your umbilical cord. But once you were born, you were ripped away from this baby-making-factory of a woman and given to me. Thus my goal of having a grandchild was accomplished. Thank you for letting me put a check mark next to that goal on my list. You asked if your mommy and daddy love you. Well, your daddy had no idea you would ever be born, he never intended it, and he wasn't involved in any way. Only his corpse was, involuntarily of course. As for your mommy, well we have no idea who she is. She got paid a few hundred dollars to give us her ova which we used to conceive you in a laboratory. The main thing is you give me a personal sense of fulfillment."

Children are a gift from God, not a commodity or something you "order" like a new car or a cheeseburger. Why don't we try to have more respect for life.

BioEdge: IVF child to have grandma, but no pa and no ma

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ireland attacks confessional secrecy after Catholic sex abuse scandal | FaithWorld

In an article from Reuters, they are contending that the Irish Prime Minister wants to revoke the right of secrecy for priests in the confessional. This is obviously a major violation of religious freedom in the country. All over the world, laws are in place giving a priest special permission to withhold information disclosed during a confession.

Forcing a priest to reveal information given in a confessional will fall flat on its face for a number of reasons.

1) People tell priests all of their sins. Part of the reason they are so open and honest is that they know they're not going to be ratted out to the police if they've done something wrong. If the secrecy was threatened, people would just avoid going to the priest to confess their sins. They would probably wait until they were in another place where the secrecy was maintained.

2) A priest is under oath to never reveal anything heard in a confessional, EVER. There are no exceptions to this rule. Even if his life is threatened, he cannot spill the beans on a penitent's sins. Therefore, no threat from the government or anyone else will make priests break this commitment. If they do, they will be defrocked and only the priests who can keep a secret will remain in ministry.

3) A priest, upon hearing about a serious crime, can advise a penitent to go to the police. He can hold a penitent to this promise or withhold absolution if he does not. Therefore, the priest often will act in favor of the police. However, by not enforcing secrecy, penitents won't even make the first step and so the priest will have no influence.

4) The connection between a priest and a penitent is very intimate. A person tells the priest his innermost thoughts, things he would tell no one else. Forcing a priest to repeat what he hears in a confessional is the same as forcing a person to reveal their thoughts or feelings under threat of penalty. This kind of thing only happens in barbaric states.

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Many priests have met their end refusing to disclose a confession to some authority, including Fr. Andreas Faulhaber, Fr. Francis Vernon Douglas, St. John Nepomuk, and many others. If you know of other priests in this situation, please list them in the comments. We join our prayers to their that the persecution of the Church ends.

Here is the article for more information:

Ireland attacks confessional secrecy after Catholic sex abuse scandal | FaithWorld

What did the Pope really say about Harry Potter?

Free Colorado: The Pope and Harry Potter

The Associated Press: Vatican adviser urges tougher stance with China

Article

The Satanist on the path to sainthood | CatholicHerald.co.uk

The Satanist on the path to sainthood | CatholicHerald.co.uk

UN finally reverses its position on "overpopulation"

The United Nations Population Fund is admitting that overpopulation is not the problem, and that in fact, the greatest fear is that fertility rates are declining everywhere in the world, except for 16% of places, such as Africa. Elsewhere, there are issues with not enough population.

I'm very glad to see this change of tone from the UN.

Article here:

Friday Fax: Unfounded Population Fears Result in New UN Campaign Messaging

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

The latest from Fr. Corapi: July 11, 2011

End of An Era « The Black SheepDog

Irish 'Catholics"

Ok, so Michael Voris made this movie about Catholicism in Ireland. In it, he interviews a large number of people, two dozen according to him, on the topic of their faith.

I would like to respond by saying I think it is overly pessimistic. For example, at the end of the video, he says that was in Ireland in terms of religion "for 1500 years has been nearly totally destroyed in less than 40." He says it appears at the current rate, the faith will be extinct in Ireland soon.

But one of the interesting things is that at the beginning he says only one person actually goes to Mass by their own volition out of the 24. But in fact, more like 3 said they would keep going. And many others were sort of infrequent attendees to Mass. Probably about half or more maintained some connection with the Church. However, if you were to just listen to Michael Voris, you would get the impression every single person is atheist.

Some did say they were atheist, but I think Ireland presents great opportunities for the spread of the faith. Many people may not have been die-hard evangelists, but many were open to different things. These people need to be invited to go to Mass, events, and other gatherings. These things can strengthen faith.

Michael does say people have to act now to make sure the Catholic faith in Ireland grows, and I agree, but I think he has a tendency to be overly negative.

Catholic News Roundup 07-11

Discrimination of lower caste Christians in India

To sum up this article, in the Indian caste system, which has officially been eliminated but continues to be a part of life in India, there is a group of people known as the Dalits or untouchables. They fall outside the four main castes and are usually forced to perform the most menial or degrading of jobs.

Anyway, in an attempt to help Dalits, the government created a special program where Dalits could take advantage of various societal programs such as healthcare and education. This was first extended to Hindu Dalits, and also to Sikh Dalits, and Buddhist Dalits, but it has not been extended to Christian Dalits. This forces them to make some rather unpleasant choices. I.e. Either renounce their faith or renounce societal benefits.

There's a massive rally to demonstrate against this scheduled. Let's hope it works out.

Discrimination forces Dalits to leave church, says Catholic bishop | Ekklesia

Important news about Medjugorje

I know some people who are interested in Medjugorje, but I think there are some issues that need to be addressed. The apparitions and the information surrounding them are very suspect. Although the Vatican hasn't issued a general ban from the site, it has issued many cautionary edicts for people. It certainly hasn't received the Vatican's stamp of approval. I know it's an extremely popular site, but my advice for what it's worth is to focus on approved apparitions, of which there has been over a dozen. Check out the article:

Pope suspends Medjugorje priest amid complaints that Virgin Mary sightings were faked - Beliefnet News

Homosexuality and the Bible–Twisting the Truth

Article here

Shocking article about single motherhood

Casey Anthony — Single Mom of the Year! (by Ann Coulter) - Watchwoman on the Wall

Keep in mind that the views expressed by Ann Coulter are not necessarily mine. I just think she brings out some important information in her article.

Catholic Church explores Crystal Cathedral bid

This is pretty amazing. The Crystal Cathedral is a very large church and is quite nice. So now the Catholic Church has put a bid in on it after it went bankrupt. They put a bid of $46 million. After acquiring it, if that's what happens, the Church will probably do a lot of renovations to include statues, a proper altar, etc.

Catholic Church explores Crystal Cathedral bid – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

Great refutation on a stupid CNN article about Catholics and Abortion

CNN Contributor: Catholics Don't Think Abortion is 'Much of a Sin' | NewsBusters.org