Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A little recommended reading...

I just wanted to highlight a couple of articles I've come across recently that I think are worth a good read  - I may come back to them and blog on them further if I have time, but in the meantime, do take a look.

1.  Understanding secularism/liberalism - The puzzzle of intolerant tolerance.  A really excellent article on Mercatornet by Dr Michael Casey of Sydney.  I'll probably come back to this one, but in the meantime, savour this short extract.

Dr Casey makes an interesting (and very plausible) distinction between relativism, which has been the driving force of liberalism up until recently, and what he dubs 'decisionism':

"Decisionism is an ugly word for a very impoverished idea of authority. In its simplest form it means that, in the absence of truth, authority derives solely from the decision to assert one set of values over all others. It agrees with relativism that there are no values which are universally true, but completely rejects relativism’s conclusion that therefore all values must be treated as no more and no less than equally valid. Decisionism is a “solution” to relativism, with the decision—an act of will—taking the place of truth to justify one set of values as supreme over others. "

2. On thinking with the Church - Fifteen criteria of Authentic Catholic Thought.  Like most traddies, I'm not a great fan of the late Cardinal Dulles, but this article highlights some useful criteria he set out.  Maybe we would put some different emphasizes in there, add a few things, drop a few!  But still, if the liberals took this on board I doubt we'd have a heresy problem...

3.  On the abuse scandals - Seven Myths About the Catholic Church and Clergy Sex Abuse: An American Journalist’s View.  Not sure that I agree with everything in it (need to go back and reread some of the claimed evidence for various propositions), but a useful attempt to look at what is and isn't true in the myths that have grown up around this subject.

**And on the abuse scandal comes the news today that two Melbourne priests have been laicized.  Good.  I've heard the argument about keeping them under continued ecclesiastical supervision, but remain totally unconvinced that proper supervision is possible these days - if they chose to retire to a strict monastery and do penance that would be one thing, but...


R J said...

Excellent, and long overdue, news about the laicisation of the priests.

Now all we have to do is wait for the Melbourne archiepiscopal bureaucracy to admit what many of us have known for ages. Namely, that when successive Melbourne archbishops between 1968 and 1996 were naive enough to assign the "psychological evaluation" of priests to a "therapist" who openly defied Catholic sexual doctrine - and whose attempts at thinking were a mishmash of Freud, Nietzsche, Frankfurt School Marxism, "Sufi mysticism" (don't ask) and Allen Ginsberg - then it is unsurprising that substantial numbers of the priests who emerged from such "evaluation" would think sexual depravity to be OK.

As Fulton Sheen explained in his book Peace of Soul (which appeared fully 62 years ago), the very idea of the Church being dictated to by "therapists" - whether for employment policies or for anything else - is utterly illegitimate. The Church preaches Original Sin. The Therapeutic State denies this. So what good can come from that Christ-and-Belial unity ticket?

Let's not get started on the proportion of therapists who are themselves sex abusers. (Hint: this proportion leaves the priesthood's levels of debauchery for dead; 25% is the rate that the profession admits to):

Allowing therapists into Church governance for any reason whatsoever except target practice, makes the policy of appointing foxes to hen-house management seem the epitome of reasonableness.

PM said...

Said therapist, interestingly, was also for many years one of the DLP's tame intellectuals.

R J said...

Pace "PM", said therapist was not one of the DLP's "tame intellectuals", as I have just had confirmed in a letter today from the NCC's current president Peter Westmore, who disliked the therapist greatly. Oh yes, and BTW, the DLP/NCC alliance, though it had intellectuals, didn't have any tame intellectuals. Two NCC-involved generations of my own family (both intellectuals ourselves, if we may say so) can attest to this.

The therapist was tolerated for some years in the pages of News Weekly because he was obviously clever and because Bob Santamaria was too virtuous and trusting a man to believe that the rumours about the therapist (in the 1990s they abounded not only among Catholics but among non-Catholics) could be true.

During the Cold War the Communists were so busy telling lies against anti-Communists, and numerous Protestants so busy telling lies against Catholics, that any accusations against the therapist could have been plausibly ascribed to political or sectarian malice. And suppose hard evidence had been adduced, what could have been done back then about it? The therapist would simply have sued for libel, lied his head off in the courtroom, and won his case: just as Jim Cairns lied about his own sexual shenanigans and won lots of money.

It's a pity that "PM", when flinging around his or her charge, hasn't dared to give a full name. My own name is R. J. Stove, and I have discussed the whole sordid matter - having researched it for months, unlike, I should imagine, "PM" - in the March 31, 2011 issue (not yet online) of Minnesota's Remnant.

Kate said...

RJ - I think you are overreacting a little.

First, I don't insist on names. People are free to argue the case with evidence and reason, not on the basis of who they are.

Secondly, give PM a chance to respond before going for the throat!

OK so you've done the research, share it with us and let's see where the debate goes...!

R J said...

I apologise if I have given offence. If I have indeed over-reacted, as might be the case, then I dare say that months of enforced research upon the topic at hand have resulted in a greater level of bitterness - and a greater preoccupation with the Church's vulnerability to openly depraved saboteurs, lay and ordained - than would be desirable.

Rod Dreher, the talented American Catholic journalist, broke down so completely when confronted with year after year of purposeless, pathological US diocesan lying and stonewalling about sex-abuse outrages that he left Catholicism altogether (and became Greek Orthodox). It is impossible to read Dreher's writings on the subject of this departure without wondering if one can avoid a similar destiny for oneself.

Kate said...

I can certainly sympathize with all that RJ!

But I just want to try and keep the conversation civil and the focus on the real enemy.

It may just be that I don't know enough about the context and issues, but PM's comment seemed to me fairly mild, and certainly not asserted aggressively. He or she may well have been open to taking a different view with further information. And there is in any case room for different views and perspectives on some issues, and the DLP is one of them.

So it is really not helpful to suggest that anyone who says anything critical of Santamaria/DLP is necessarily a sabateur!

That said, all of our nerves are sensitive when it comes to the abuse scandal.

And please, don't do a Dreher! It could be worse, much worse....

PM said...

I'm not sure if my previous comment get through - I received an error message - so here is a brief recap.

First, apologies if I gave offence - in hindsight, the tone was indeed too flippant.

My point was that Conway might have been trusted - and people would have been afraid to criticise him - because of the association with BA and News Weekly. They still had a lot of influence even after the death of Dr Mannix, and to take them on was to risk ostracism in Melbourne.