RE: Catholic Church and Morality

From: Stuart d Kirkley (
Date: Thu May 23 2002 - 13:27:39 EDT

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    On Tue, 21 May 2002 15:20:53 Adrian Teo wrote: > >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. > >Adrian

    Stuart Kirkley replies:


    I am not sure that this is the right forum for this kind of discussion, but you asked and it is a question which demands an answer. You may find much of what I am about to say offensive, if so, I'm sorry, but you asked and I intend to be blunt and honest in relating my views, which I certainly am not the only person to hold. I would first like to say that I think the Catholic Church has done a lot throughout it's history to further the cause of Christianity, and that it still does, and I am grateful for that, but at the same time it has done much to hinder Christianity and damage it's reputation (although true Christianity can never be hindered or damaged because it is a spiritual force and a righteous cause). Still, the Catholic church deserves a thoroughly penetrating hard look and constructive criticism of it's history and policies. It's reputation for sluggishness on efforts to reform is abysmal. It deserves a stinging rebuke for this and the demand for it to overhaul i! t's archaic doctrines and policies should not relent until palpable progress is made.

    Suffice to say that there are a lot of people, and a lot more recently, who are increasingly disenchanted with organised religion. The Catholic church is not alone to blame for this public malaise, but if it hopes to regain respectability and credibility amongst not only the public, but other religious organisations, then it has a lot to do to put it's house in order. I don't see how any progressive thinking individual could not view the Catholic Church's banning of women from the clergy as being anything less than repressive. To begin with, there is no biblical authority for such a policy, in fact the Bible clearly denounces this repression. Paul stated: 'there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Gal 3:28) The policy which disallows women from entering into the clergy is a refutation and disobedience to the apostles statement of fundamental spriritual rights. This alone is enough indication that the church's policies are outdated, outmoded, arc! hai c, and unprogressive.

    This policy alienates over half the worlds population. If I was a woman in this current day and age, the last thing I would want to do is be associated with an organisation which prohibits my sex from attaining a higher status let alone disallowing them from freely pursuing the blessed ministry. Don't you think this might be a fundamental reason why a lot of people have contempt for organised religion? And now, we have this scandalous crisis, which seems to be broadening every day, and which, to the average lay person, would seem to indicate that a good percentage of the Catholic church clergy are either sexual predators or are in contempt of common justice.

    I don't know about you, but I am not alone in thinking that the prohibition of marriage among the priesthood and clergy, and the alleged vows of celibacy, are pretty repressive. I do agree that celibacy is, by itself, not a repressive action, but I maintain that it is repressive if it is not arrived at by free choice. The church dictates this policy, and those who enter the priesthood may blindly accept this without thinking it through carefully and arriving at the decision to be celibate of their own volition. When one makes the decision to do something themselves, then it is a healthy decision and has merit. If their lifestyle is dictated to them by some alleged higher authority, then they are being subjugated by tryannical dictates, and there can be no individual merit accorded them. The policy of dictating lifestyle choices to anyone is repressive, dictatorial and tyrannical.

    The same can be said about the church's policies regarding contraception and abortion. If the faithful are led to believe that these are mortal sins, and that eternal damnation will follow their use, without an intelligent rationale being given, and they are not afforded the freedom to intelligently and informatively think things through themselves, then they are being dictated to and are allowing themselves to be subjugated. But the church maintains that it is the ultimate authority on these things, and that disobedience to it's decrees are not tolerated, if not condemned, so the faithful feel guilty if they question these policies. These are moral decisions, and the only way an individual can understand their merit is to think things through for themselves and determine for themselves if these actions are right or wrong in their own lives. Morality has to be a personal choice. If they are not given the freedom to think and choose and decide on these moral issues for the! mse lves, but simply accept the doctrine of the church heirarchy, then they are not being allowed to exercise their own intelligence and discretion. I don't see how any thinking person could not perceive this as being repressive, dictatorial, and even tyrannical.

    It is no wonder that in this evolving and increasingly sophisticated world, that educated and thinking people are rebelling against any repressive or tyrannical authority. Man has to have his individual freedoms and if he is repressed or subjugated, he will eventually rebel. That is human nature and it is the result of our higher spiritual nature which demands individual freedom. Is it any wonder then that people are disenchanted and have open contempt for organised religion? And unfortunately, for those religions which are more progressive and liberal in their teaching, this impacts on all religion. People are sceptical of organised religion in whatever form it takes, because of the perceived repression of fundamental individual freedoms it entails. This is unfair to any religion which actually advocates individual growth and fosters the individuals unrepressed formation of a higher spiritual character. We all get painted with the broad brush of public opinion because of th! e f ailings of others. I don't state that the Catholic church is alone in the blame for this, but it is certainly one of the most visible elements of organised religion, and many probably (wrongly) consider it to be the benchmark for all organised religion.

    To make matters worse, the Catholic authorities pronounced that Catholicism was the only true religion and the only sure route to salvation a few years back. When I heard this, I couldn't believe it. What outright arrogance and contempt for other religions! That decree probably set the cause of Christianity and all organised religion back to the dark ages. I don't know by whose authority they felt they were justified in by making that pronouncement. It certainly wasn't God, because as Paul stated: 'God... dwelleth not in temples made with hands;... and hath made of one blood all nations of men... that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him... For in him we live, and move, and have our being;...' (Acts 17:22-31). I'm sorry, but this pronouncement was arrogance of the first order, and by it, revealed the churches lust for power and its depraved need to subjugate and repress all other religions and proclaim itself as the one true religion. IT is ouright arrogance. I'm sure that any right thinking individual would have only one reply to this grand and pompous edict:


    And you wonder why people have contempt for the Catholic church? I would say that the Catholic church is a major millstone about the neck of progressive Christianity. They wouldn't listen 500 years ago when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto the church door, calling for much needed reform. And judging by the lax approach that the latest council of Cardinals and the Pope took towards rectifying the systemic problem affecting their priesthood, and their reluctance to acknowledge the wholly justified public outcry and demand for accountability, I would say that it looks like they are turning a deaf ear to reform once again. The Catholic church is seen by many as the ultimate 'old boys network' and it is plain that they do not want to loosen their tight grip on their perceived reigns of power. Unfortuantely, all of Christendom suffers as a result. Fortunately, God is the only true power and authority, not the Catholic church, and the redeeming power of Christ and Christ! ian ity are not fettered by any Churches edicts, or decrees or doctrines or policies when the individual realizes and exercises his God given spiritual rights and dominion over repression of any type or form.

    OK, I'm finished. I hope you can forgive my righteous indignation and protest.

    Sincerely, Stuart Kirkley

    > -----Original Message----- > From: Stuart d Kirkley [] > Sent: Thu 5/16/2002 10:36 AM > To: Graham Morbey > Cc: > 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 > 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. > > >

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