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...