Re: Catholic Church and Morality

From: Stuart d Kirkley (
Date: Thu May 16 2002 - 13:36:09 EDT

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    Would not the Roman Catholic faithful, by
    >definition, support Catholic policy and doctrines?

    In recent weeks there have been numerous instances where the RC
    faithful have openly protested the policies of the church (re: the
    crisis in the priesthood) In recent years there has been a growing
    number of RC faithful who have grown disenchanted with the more
    repressive dictates of the RC church and have mounted oppostition to
    them. Therefore I feel no guilt or sense of wrong from making the
    statements I made. They are not malicious charges, but, if read
    objectively, constructive criticism. Like I said, if one criticises
    the government, he is not criticising the citizens. This is exactly
    the same thing, and if anyone is offended then they are being a bit
    over sensitive and taking it as a presonal attack when it is not. To
    this end I would have to say that yes, Graham, you have misunderstood

    ALso, I took the time to respond to your series of questions, will
    you do likewise?

    Stuart Kirkley


    On Thu, 16 May 2002 07:41:52 Graham Morbey wrote: >Hi Stuart, > >You say that your argument is with Roman Catholic policy and doctrines, >not with the Roman Catholic faithful. Well, then, how do you define the >Roman Catholic faithful? Would not the Roman Catholic faithful, by >definition, support Catholic policy and doctrines? Consequently I don't >see how your explanation would soothe any faithful Catholic. > >But perhaps I have misunderstood you? > >Grace and peace, >Graham > >Stuart d Kirkley wrote: >> >> Adrian, >> If I offended you or anyone else with my post, I apologise. I don't >> think my entire post was as anti-catholic as you claim. I admit that >> my tone and choice of words in the first answer may have been >> inflammatory, and I regret that. My argument is not with Catholics, >> but with the policy and doctrines of the Catholic church in this >> instance. It is not meant to be offensive. I liken it to being the >> same as criticising a countries government foreign policies. You may >> be critical of the government but you are not condemning the >> countries citizens. Since this was my intent, I make no apology for >> the content of my answer, just for the tone I employed. I think that >> my allegation is not without foundation or merit, and, as I said, it >> is not directed towards the Catholic faithful, but to the policy of >> the Catholic Church in general and the Catholic school board in >> question. >> -- >> >> On Mon, 13 May 2002 22:41:37 >> Adrian Teo wrote: >> >Hello Stuart, >> > >> > -----Original Message----- >> > From: Stuart d Kirkley [] >> > >> > >> > Stuart: Yes, it was not only an attack, but it was >> >essentially a condemnation >> > of that lifestyle, something the Catholic church, the moral majority >> > and conservative Christians are especially good at. >> > >> > AT: This is the most antiCatholic post that I have seen on >> >this forum. Please explain to me what is so wrong about condemning >> >an immoral behavior? With your argument, one would also have to put >> >Jesus into the same category. >> > >> > SK: You are quite wrong, Jesus never condemned immoral >> >behaviour, he rebuked it, and it is a profound and important >> >distinction. In the case of the adulterous woman, he rebuked the >> >hostile crowd for their lack of compassion. After they dispersed >> >(because his rebuke was pointed and cut to the quick) he showed the >> >benefit of presenting compassion and mercy rather than condemnation. >> >"Neither do I condemn thee" (John 8:11). One cannot hold out both >> >condemnation and mercy at the same time, they are antagonistic >> >opposites and mutually destructive. WHich way is the better >> >approach? Jesus clearly demonstrated that mercy is the divine way. >> >Also please note that he also instructed the woman to "go, and sin >> >no more". If one is to find mercy, one has to repent of sin. BUt it >> >is not conducive to those who are suffering from sinful behaviour to >> >expect mercy when those who would give it are instead holding forth >> >condemnation. This has been my argument all the way through this >> >thread, ! >> and >> I firmly maintain that it is not only the true Christian way, but >> that it is also divinely principled, whereas the human bent on >> condemnation is not divine and is destructive. Divine justice will >> prevail in the end regardless of what human will attempts. >> >> > Stuart: No, absolutely not. I strongly hold that individual >> >action should be >> > tempered by how it impacts on society at large. THe exercise of Free >> > speech and Free association, if untempered by a social >>conscience, is >> > socially irresponsible and self serving. My question is, >>who get's to >> > determine what the social ethics are? The Catholic Church? THe >> > Government? It is up to the individual to determine what is right or >> > wrong in their own way, and God himself will lead everyone to this >> > determination throught his infinite wisdom and care for all his >> > children. >> > >> > AT: The flaw in this line of reasoning is that even Hitler >> >himself (and his supporters) could have used it for his defense. >> >> SK: The only flaw is that I should have said 'who gets to determine >> what the personal ethics and morality are?' I probably should also >> have stated that the individual 'that is desiring a God governed >> life' will find their way, because God will inevitably lead him to >> righteousness. I don't think Hitler was seeking a God governed life, >> he was seeking self righteousness. >> >> > Stuart: FOor any institution to try and ram morality and ethics >> > down the throat of the people is tyrannical and not in the spirit of >> > Christ's charity, which states" Whatsoever ye would have >>done to you, >> > do it also unto others" >> > >> > AT: Come, let us reason, Stuart. Does the official >> >pronouncement of an institution or group constitute coercion? Do >> >conservatives hold guns to people's heads? Please explain the way in >> >which you perceive the actions of conservatives to be an act of >> >ramming morality down someone's throat. >> >> SK:In this case they were trying to prevent the exercise of a >> citizens civil liberties, the right to free speech, the right to free >> association. NO one has the right to do this. You say Let's be >> reasonable. Censuring civil liberies is not reasonable, and the dire >> effects of Nazism and fascism point to that. Furthermore, and this is >> a very important point, the decision to allow this kid to take his >> boyfriend to the prom was not any kind of endorsement of homosexual >> behaviour, and anyone who believes that is only fooling themselves. >> The decision was made to show that individual civil liberties are >> fundamentally more important than any institutions censure of those >> liberties, for whatever reason. >> > >> > Stuart: The Catholic church is not being asked to give up >> >it's values. They >> > are simply being asked to recognise the rights of the individual to >> > free expression, free speech and free association. >> > >> > AT: Does the Catholic Church not have a right to free speech >> >also? Why is it wrong to pronounce condemnation on what she believes >> >to be immoral behavior? The Catholic Church has been one of the most >> >ardent defenders of human rights, especially that of the weakest >> >members of society. There are numerous encyclicals and letters which >> >have condemn various attacks on human freedom and dignity. Have you >> >read any? Where do you get your data from? >> >> SK: You can write all the encyclicals and letters you like. It is >> action which is judged. In this case, my opinion and that of many >> others, including the judge in this case, was that the Church's >> action was an infringement of basic civil liberites. I do not dispute >> that the Catholic church has done much to advance human rights and >> advocate liberty and advance the cause of Christendom. At the same >> time there are elements of the Church which are very repressive and >> the current priest/pedophilia scandal is testament to this. THis is >> very much yesterday's news also, it has been going on for years, >> probably centuries, and shows that the problem is systemic to the >> church policy and it is not going to be fixed by the cosmetic patch >> up job the Bishops and Pope worked out recently. This is not just a >> black mark on the Catholic church, it is detrimental to all >> Christendom, and the Catholic Church has a lot of rectifying to do to >> regain the respect and honour that Christianity rightly ! >> des >> erves. >> > >> > Stuart: They are being >> > asked to participate in democracy and honour the civil liberties of >> > the individual. They don't have to agree with the lifestyle of that >> > individual, but they should consider the morality of censuring human >> > rights and civil liberties as their statement against any immorality >> > of homosexuality. >> > >> > AT: Again, I would ask you to explain how the Catholic Church >> >has "censured human rights and civil liberties". >> >> SK: I just answered that. HOw can you deny that this is not censuring >> civil liberty. >> > >> > Stuart: Only the individual can determine if their actions >> > are right or wrong, and they do this by being honest with themselves >> > and searching their soul for the right ideas, which God will provide >> > when they are honestly sought. No institution has the right or moral >> > authority to force anyone to do this. God is the only power and >> > authority. As I said before no one has the right or moral authority >> > to judge or condemn other people, unless their actions are criminal. >> > IN this case, there is nothing crimi! >> > nal >> > about this, and like I said, if people don't learn how >>to 'live and >> > let live', then there will always be division, strife, discord and >> > war in the world. >> > >> > AT: By this reasoning, it appears that only governments are >> >allowed to define moral standards since no other body has the >> >authority to define criminality. What is wrong is whatever is >> >criminal. Thus one can readily accept abortion on demand, premarital >> >sex, adultery, viewing pronography etc. But when one travels to >> >another country, the standards may change. This is a blatent denial >> >of the absolute morality. >> >> SK: In western democracies only the constitutionally elected >> representatives of the people are allowed to create laws. In most of >> these democracies, the SUpreme court has the right to determine the >> legality of these laws with respect to the constitution and the BIll >> of RIghts. THe CHurch is no doubt a huge moral force in persuading >> the public and the lawmakers with moral guidance. But the church does >> not get to dictate how the government governs, that is the principle >> of the separation of Church and State and that is fundamental to >> democracy. If you have read all of this thread, you will see that I >> have argued that the government must be very careful that it is not >> infringing on the rightful jurisdiction of the church to conduct it's >> affairs without government intrusion, unless that Church is doing >> something that is deemed unlawful. That is why I argued that if same >> sex marriage were legalised, then the government must provide >> safeguards to protect the church form exercising! >> it >> 's moral imperative to disallow same sex marriage ceremonies, or to >> disallow church membership to a person if they do not meet the moral >> standards set by that church. >> >> As for this being any kind of denial of absolute morality, I guess >> you must have skipped over the part which states that 'God is the >> only power and authority'. Don't let your personal opinion and bias >> cloud your objectivity. It isn't very scientific. >> >> Regards, >> Stuart Kirkley >> > >> > >> > >> > >> > >> > >> > >> > >> >> ________________________________________________________ >> Outgrown your current e-mail service? >> Get a 25MB Inbox, POP3 Access, No Ads and No Taglines with LYCOS MAIL PLUS. >> >

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