Re: Catholic Church and Morality

From: Stuart d Kirkley (
Date: Thu May 16 2002 - 22:56:34 EDT

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      Thanks Graham,
    Yes, there may have been some frustration. I am always a bit
    flabbergasted when people refuse to be objective. I am sometimes more
    mystified by the unchristian approach some people take when
    responding to posts. Not that this has occurred with you, but I was
    being assailed on several fronts for the claims I made, which, if you
    look at it fairly , all boils down to asking for some compassion and
    understanding. The repression of civil liberties and human rights is
    worrisome, so also is the abuse of civil liberties at the expense of
    the greater good. A balance is needed, but I don't think we are
    going to see supreme harmony and peace on this earth if everyone is
    fighting each other and saying "I'm right, you're wrong". All I know
    is that moralising to people only tends to make them more adamant
    about their position and more resistant to change. I also feel quite
    strongly that 'casting the first stone' is not the divine way, and
    even if you think you are on the straight and na!
    w road, this action will only land you in the ditch.
    As for the problems in the Catholic church, I really don't want to
    get into that right now, I am finding the posts a bit too adversarial
    and contentious right now and I think it is time to just chill out. I
    meant no disrespect to the Catholic faithful.
    Finally, what I meant by responding to your questions was that I
    would be interested in hearing your own answers to the questions you
    posed. I won't hold it against you if you decline though. I'm just
    really a little tired of it all. OK thanks for being forthright.
    Stuart Kirkley


    On Thu, 16 May 2002 14:58:27 Graham Morbey wrote: > > >Hi Stuart, > >I detect an amount of frustration in your responses to my questions. It >seems that you have answers to everything I ask and miss what I feel is >inconsistent in some of your declarations. In the question at hand, from >your reply, I gather that "faithful Catholics" are those who agree with >your own protests against some Catholic things you don't like! My meaning >of faithful Catholic is closer to what the Catholic Church would hold: >those of the flock who hold to the teachings and traditions of their >church. Obviously, there is considerable leeway among Catholics and >instances of faithful protest on certain issues has always been the case, >as in other denominations. So I can't see how your examples really >answered my question. I also think that it is not helpful to consider a >country or nation the same as a church. Democratic counties can allow >different freedoms of criticism because their task is to protect the >freedom of the church (religions) and not particular religious doctrines >and traditions. The task of the church/different religions is to oversee, >defend, and encourage the meaning and truth about God and world as they >are expressed in their teachings. > >I don't think you have asked me any specific questions to respond to, so I >take it that you meant "to respond to my email." My questions have to be >taken in their socratic intention, to draw you out on some statements you >made that puzzled me. I do not think that you intend to demean anyone nor >do I. But the reality is, that even when we say this, others may take >offence at us. I commend you for a pretty even and fair tone in your >discussions. > >Best wishes, >Graham > >On Thu, 16 May 2002, Stuart d Kirkley wrote: > >> 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 me. >> >> ALso, I took the time to respond to your series of questions, will >>you do likewise? >> >> Regards, >> 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. >> >> >> > >> >> >> ________________________________________________________ >> Outgrown your current e-mail service? >> Get a 25MB Inbox, POP3 Access, No Ads and No Taglines with LYCOS MAIL PLUS. >> >> > > >****************************************************************************** >Graham E. Morbey, Chaplain || Wilfrid Laurier University >tel. 519-884-1970 ext.2739 || Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5 >fax 519-885-4865 || >****************************************************************************** >

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