- Feb 15, 2004
- Reaction score
- Perth, Australia
But I'm not talking about opinions held be those outside the Church. I'm talking about the expression of opinions within the Church--among those who consider themselves to be believers. And there has been, historically, debate within the Church regarding God's directions--insofar as there has been debate regarding how to interpret the Scriptures. As Walter points out, when someone claims to be reporting God's word it doesn't necessarily follow that they are actually doing this.Mrs. Maggott said:If one is a Christian, there is no question that God's "directions" regarding His worship in the Old Testament represents in fact, God's directions and not simply some writer's invention. Therefore, there is no sense in questioning that fact within the context of a discussion regarding believers and the Church. Of course, for those outside the Church, that is something else again. But you cannot mix the two. You cannot take opinions held by unbelievers relative to Scripture and Tradition and apply or attempt to apply them to believers.
In any case, I don't think it is necessary for the Vatican to preclude an exchange of ideas--within the Church--on any topic: if the Vatican line represents the Truth of the matter, then it should hold up under any rational inquiry (in other words, rational argument should "reveal" this).
So, if you do think it necessary for the Vatican to limit the free exchange of ideas among its members, does it follow that you believe that a free exchange of ideas is not a good thing in itself (that is, in all contexts), but is good only in certain contexts? If so, why those contexts, and not others? And do you similarly believe that democracy is not a good thing in itself (that is, in all contexts), but is good only in certain contexts? If so, why those contexts, and not others?
It's obvious that the Church isn't a democracy. Does it need to be a dictatorship?
It's not a matter of offending anyone, per se. Rather, it's a matter of making a hasty generalisation about what "liberals" think, based upon anecdotal rather than statistical evidence. That may be offensive to some, but more importantly it's logically fallacious--and therefore the message is unreliable. I'm not calling you a liar or disputing the information that your traditional Roman Catholic friends have passed on to you; but such information cannot be reliably applied to the population of "liberal" Catholics as a whole. There are 66.3 million Roman Catholics in the United States alone, according to this estimate; you may have many traditional Roman Catholic friends, as you say, but I doubt you have enough to provide you with a sufficient sample of the 66.3 million Roman Catholics in the US (and if they're all traditionalists, you're presented with the problem of a biased sample). A further problem is that you haven't defined what "liberal" means in the context of the Church, and whether that definition accords with or differs from how the term "liberal" is understood in other contexts. For instance, you insist that the issue of married priests is an exclusively "liberal" concern, which is puzzling: I don't see why it would be impossible for people who consider themselves to be "conservative" (at least in other contexts) to be concerned with this matter also. Are there not married priests and pastors in other "conservative" churches? So if you're going to talk about "liberal" Catholics and Catholics who think the Church should change its policy on married priests in the same breath, you need to explain what "liberal" means.I am well acquainted with what many at least American "liberals" have tried to do in the Catholic Church in this country - and it was not simply a discourse on the possibility of married priests. This is a matter of knowledge on my part, not speculation. I have many traditional R.C. friends who are very active in their parishes and so I am well aware of what has been going on for a long time in the American Church. I'm sorry if that offends anyone, but you cannot change the truth of the message by becoming annoyed at the messenger.
The interview to which you refer does not dispute that. It points out that the closer one gets to the centre of power in the Catholic Church, the less freedom one has. And bishops and priests who "go their own way" do so at the risk of being disciplined or even excommunicated (e.g. Sri Lanka's Tissa Balasuriya and Brazil's Leonardo Boff)--whereas I think it would be better for the Vatican, if it believes these figures to be in error, to demonstrate this by means of rational argument.For every interview with someone who believes that the Pope is the "be-all-and-end-all" in the Catholic Church (at least in the US), there are hundreds - no thousands - of examples that can be brought to the fore which show that far too many bishops and priests "go their own way" in these matters. They pay "lip service" to the authority of the Pope, but quietly go about remaking that Church in their own (usually liberal) image.
I suppose that this serves to demonstrate that Church rarely pleases everyone. "Liberals" may be unhappy with its position on contraception, women's rights, homosexuality, and so on. "Conservatives," as you suggest, are unhappy with its position on welfare and social justice. (You might have also mentioned the war, asylum seekers).What more clear example of that can there be than the "seamless garment" criteria regarding an American Catholic politician's "overall" sanctity of life rating. In this "test", American bishops created a list of "pro-life" categories on which politicians were judged. Yes, abortion was one of the categories - but it was of no more importance than any of the others. The rest were mostly about "helping the poor and needy". Of course, the correct stance on all of these issues is/was liberal/socialist.
You're not guessing; but your information is based upon anecdotal evidence, and thus cannot be used to make reliable generalisations about Catholics, liberal or otherwise.To imply that I am "guessing" about these matters because I am not a Catholic myself is simply wrong.
Actually, he was speaking about both.As for the Pope's statements on the homosexual "movement" - and make no mistake about it, he was not speaking about the actions or inclinations individual persons but of advocacy groups which are pushing their own agenda
This is where the wording of the document becomes ambiguous. The inclination itself is not a sin, but is nonetheless a "strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."It is behavior that condemns or elevates, not proclivities.
We can, however, expect the Pope to listen to those who feel marginalised by the Church, and to try to appreciate matters from their perspective. Is it necessarily "politically correct" to walk a mile in another man's moccasins? A spokesperson for Rainbow Sash recently said the following in a forum on Catholicism:Still, you cannot expect the Pope to be politically correct when he speaks for the Church.
There are those within the church who do seek dialogue with gay Catholics: Archbishop Flynn, according to this Catholic News Service report, allows Communion to be given to Rainbow Sash members. In the same article it is reported that "[font=Arial, Helvetica]at one Mass a group of lay people tried to block the aisles to prevent sash-wearers from receiving Communion." [/font]Is that a demonstration of the "respect and love" people are supposed to show each other?I'm one of those people who has come forward honestly and openly within the church, and said I am a gay Catholic and I seek dialogue, I seek openness, I seek the ability to work together with the church for a new understanding of sexuality and homosexuality and because I do that, I have not only lost my job as a Catholic teacher and educator, I'm also refused communion on a regular basis, for doing that. Cardinal Law has moved around priests over decades to the extent where he more or less had to get out of town because he could have been sent to jail. He is now the archpriest of one of the major basilicas in Rome and a major, major figure of what's going to happen in the conclave. How can you possibly explain that difference . . . ?