Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Paul Collins' Christmas message: Forget absolute "truth" and stop having babies

Ex-priest, Canberran Fr Paul Collins has a think piece up at the ABC's Religion and Ethics site, and highlighted, naturally enough as an opinion piece by Cath News.

It's another heretical rant, this time claiming that 'fundamentalism' (meaning anyone who believes what the church teaches about truth being an absolute and not relative) is more dangerous to the faith than aggressive atheists.

Nature and the human imagination?

The piece is in fact by way of promotional material for his latest book, whose key theme one gathers from this and other news items I've seen, is a curious form of nature worship where the human imagination replaces God as the thing to be worshipped:

"The real threat that religion faces in our world is that our imaginations will dry-up and atrophy. This is intimately linked to environmental destruction and population growth.

If present species extinction rates continue and environmental destruction is exacerbated by the pressure of more and more human beings, we will soon end-up in a kind of feed-lot world where everything is subsumed to human survival.

People in a world where all wildernesses have been destroyed, most species driven to extinction and nature driven out, would lose touch with the possibility of the development of culture, art, religion and spirituality. For there would be nothing beyond the self to stimulate, challenge and feed our imaginations.[Because God doesn't exist in this scenario?  Is this why Collins no longer sees atheism as a threat - because he is one?]

Deprived of nature with its beauty, multiplicity, mystery, complexity and otherness, our imaginations would shrivel up, and we would lose our ability to perceive and experience the deeper feelings and intuitions that give real meaning to our lives.[Again I ask, where is God in all this?]

For nature is the source of our origin and the context of our continuing evolution and spiritual development. [Call me fundamentalist but...actually isn't it God that the Catholic religion points to responsible for our origin, continued existence and spiritual development?] Without imagination we would lose all sense of ourselves as human beings.

The result: the poetic, mystical core of our religion, spirituality, art and culture would atrophy for there would be nothing to renew and nurture it. Our imaginations need the inspiration of natural beauty, ecological diversity and the otherness of nature with its non-human species."


This is scandalous stuff. 

Sufficient, I would have thought, to warrant withholding communion under Canon 915.

I urge Archbishop Coleridge to take appropriate action. 

Fortunately Mr Collins' parish priest is the archdiocese's Chancellor and canonist...


Joshua said...

I should have thought this was par for the course, and winked at by most Aussie bishops (I use the term advisedly) - look at Ms Milne, made some sort of Green guru by the ACBC, to the scandal of the few remaining Catholics who would get scandalized!

This sort of God-less religion, a morphing of residual social-justice-only Catholicism into sentimentalized nature-worship (panentheism?) with full acceptance of the Deep Green agenda (humanity as a blight on Gaia), is more ubiquitous than many perceive, I'll warrant.

Note that to Collins et al. (Coyne and friends would no doubt heartily agree), even militant atheism is to be preferred to "fundamentalist" (i.e. believing) Catholicism. If push came to shove, they would gladly carry wood to the fire in order to put believers to death - though nothing so crude would be their chosen instrument. Instead, they are glad of the creeping secularism that has vitiated most Catholic institutions, not excluding parishes and dioceses.

Terra said...

Yes I suppose you are right Joshua, we should be used to this by now. But somehow each time I see one more manifestation of the malaise in the Church at the moment, my righteous anger grows stronger!

And perhaps its the proximity factor in this particular case.

But hopefully a few nice Masses over Christmas away from here will soothe my soul! Or not as the case may be...

Kate said...

the Masses will do much more than soothe your soul Terra.

Padre Pio said, "We could more easily live without the sun than without the Mass"

Please dearest God bring back the Mass.

We need to pray seriously for this desperate Mr. Collins - he is in deep strife.

Terra said...

Kate - perhaps I should have said nicer masses!

We have the mass readily available. I'm just looking forward to the chance to hear a solemn (sung) mass well performed in accordance with the proper rubrics and with a competent choir....

And yes do pray indeed for Mr Collins. I actually found a lot to agree with in the books he wrote twenty or so years back. But he has steadily gone further and further off the rails. Still, I guess we should be grateful he isn't talking with the authority of a priest any more.

homo iniquus said...

well he is also on the record in favor of immediate merger with the Lutherans, married priests, female ordination and so on and so forth. Paul is the main one who takes himself seriously (except for the TV stations when they need a talking head to compere a "religious" event and Ray Martin is otherwise occupied). I see him as more of a misguided would be entertainer.

Louise said...

I nearly fell out of my pew when PP mentioned part of this rant in his homily at Midnight Mass. I thought surely the beautiful and poetic carols we sang were the "fundamentalist" ones, while the modern song (couldn't possibly call them carols) were banal, cynical and heretical wherever they weren't simply meaningless. So, I would have thought that "fundamentalism" was more conducive to poetry and imagination etc.

Besides, who is arguing that the new atheists are a threat to the Faith? They are just throwing their tantrums.

Louise said...

Further to this comment, Terra, my PP is pretty liberal. However, he doesn't necessarily give his own opinions on things - he often just "puts it out there" and that could mean anything from the newspapers, internet, Paul Collins or even the Pope. He's pretty open to the Pope, in fact, which I take as a good sign.

This is in the Church of Hobart, btw.
But while I generally liked his homily, it went downhill with the mere mention of Priest-forever Paul Collins. He really only mentioned the bit about the "real threat" being "fundamentalism" and how it's allegedly opposed to poetry/imagination etc.

As I say, I would have thought that "fundamentalism" (ie orthodoxy) was far more conducive to both poetry and imagination and every other good thing, in fact!

Louise said...

I had an amusing exchange with a fellow ("AD2000") parishioner afterwards. I said I thought his wife read well. He thought she had paused too much. I considered this for a moment and then conceded that mostly I was just enjoying "the non-heresy that was coming out of her mouth"! He laughed his head off. :)

Aelred Patrick said...

Following your link, I left a comment on the ABC site - not terribly deep, I know - but basically saying Collins ain't Catholic so he should stop parading as one. Will they post it? Hard to say.

I do enjoy your blog. As fer me, EF any day & definitely Gothic, not Roman (vestments, that is!!).

Keep up the good work Kate.