RE: Catholic Church and Morality

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Tue May 21 2002 - 18:20:53 EDT

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    Hello Stuart,
    What troubles me about your post is that you make broad
    generalizations without backing evidence.

    For example, what are the repressive dictates that you mention, and
    why do you consider them repressive? I think it is not that Graham
    has misunderstood you, but that you have misunderstood the church's
    offical teachings.


            -----Original Message-----
            From: Stuart d Kirkley []
            Sent: Thu 5/16/2002 10:36 AM
            To: Graham Morbey
            Subject: Re: Catholic Church and Morality

            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
    >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,
    >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
    >> >"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
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >
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