Friday, 13 January 2012

What's happening in the world today...Friday, Jan 13

Feasts: Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord, Class II & end of Epiphanytide/Christams season (EF)

The School Funding debate...

Continues to rage, with an opinion piece in the Australian by Judith Sloan, and continuing claims elsewhere as to quality.

Freedom of religion...
  • Muslim man returns to Australia after Saudi sentence for blasphemy during his pilgrimage to Mecca was reduced to 75 lashes...
  • In the US, Supreme Court has upheld the exemptions from employment discrimination legislation for churches.
On criticising bishops...

In the US, the debate on what our duty of respect and obedience to bishops entails has broken out again, largely prompted by the attempts of the Archdiocese of Detroit to crack down on Michael Voris' Real Catholic TV.  It is a perennial debate when it comes to the blogosphere. 

On the one hand, conservatives typically argue for an ultramontanist attitude, maybe not quite 'pay, pray and obey', but pretty close:
  • Monsignor Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington argues that criticism from conservatives and traditionalists mirrors that of liberal dissenters;
  • Ed Peters, on his Canon Law blog: "Widespread, knee-jerk distrust of ecclesiastical authority is perhaps the most crippling legacy left to the John Paul II generation of Church leaders by the past. This distrust is, of course, unfair to that new generation—who have done nothing to deserve it..." [really?!]
On the other hand sit those who point to the continuing problems and real risks of evil continuing to go unchallenged within the Church, and the much longer tradition of the laity calling all to their duty.  No prizes as to which side I sit on! 

In my view the path to rebuilding appropriate respect and obedience is the adoption of much greater transparency and accountability.  Unexplained decisions like that to go after Michael Voris - but not liberals who also use the name catholic but clearly aren't - may (or may not, the canon lawyers are still arguing!) technically be within power, but is particularly unhelpful at a time of widespread dissent to its teachings.

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