Slightly missing the point about being Catholic here, aren’t they?

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 Catholic leaders in San Francisco have called on Pope Francis to remove the city’s archbishop over his “intolerant” views on abortion and gay marriage.

Several heads of Catholic schools, church volunteers and former board members of Catholic charities have sent an open letter to the local paper addressed to the Holy See, asking that it replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone with someone who shares their progressive ideas.

The open letter stated that the Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened by Cordileone’s “single-issue agenda and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow under his supervision” and that San Francisco deserves a leader focused on service and diversity.

But then San Franciscans have never had all that much contact with reality, have they?

77 comments on “Slightly missing the point about being Catholic here, aren’t they?

  1. The catholic church has changed before, it can change again. The last time their abortion policy changed was in the 1880s, I don’t see why it can’t be modified in the 2010s.

  2. As we know from this blog there are angry, bitter and untruthful Catholics who hate Russians, Muslims (‘muzzies’) and ugly women, the same as there are decent, happy and honest ones.

    Merely believing that an old man in a dress can feed you Jesus’ body in bread form and absolve your sins is no guarantee of anything else.

    That said, it would be no surprise at all to find that this lot were just a bunch of SJWs posing as RCs. It’s what Gramsci would have wanted!

  3. Oh dear. If you think that taking communion is the method of sin absolution might I suggest that you need to do a little investigation into religious practices?

  4. @Matthew,

    Don’t forget that the US “progressive” position on abortion is far removed from that in any country in Europe. The most lenient European rules on abortion (e.g. that of the UK) are beyond the pale for the US left since they are far, far, far too restrictive.

  5. Yes, badly phrased by me. Iam a (lapsed) Catholic, old bean, but I concede a comma or two would have helped.

    Old men in dresses BOTH feed one the host AND absolve one of one’s sins (via the sacrament of confession).

    Either way, it’s all completely mad. Jesus didn’t say ‘The only way to the father is through me, but the only way to me is through Fr Gerard Murphy,’ after all.

  6. I’m with Matthew L.

    Being Catholic is about doing whatever the Pope says. Eat fish on Friday, don’t eat fish on Friday, and so on. The Pope might change his mind on abortion, he probably won’t, all depends.

  7. Even that’s not entirely theologically true. It’s the repentance that leads to the absolution, the priest is the aide to reaching it. But that’s off into angels and pins territory.

  8. Either way, it’s all completely mad. Jesus didn’t say ‘The only way to the father is through me, but the only way to me is through Fr Gerard Murphy,’ after all.

    Really?
    “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained..”

  9. As we’re discussing the religious views of ultra – progressives in San Francisco and their demands for ‘tolerance’, it seems just a little unfortunate to be ranting away about “old men in dresses”.

  10. @Ironman,

    we have a bunch of people who believe, with a religious fervour, that their politics represent a higher truth slating a bunch of religious people who believe that their religion represents a higher truth for having opposite views on an issue.

    And this is “tolerance”, apparently, in the modern sense.

  11. Simon Heffer, said [paraphrasing] that although he did not believe in God, he preferred to live in country which tended towards a Christian heritage. After all, Christianity had undergone the reformation and which engendered the conditions which here in Europe brought forth the great human Enlightenment and hence the industrial revolution.

    All was good, until we had too much time on our hands, if you read the Bible…………ah but no, not here.

    I am a lapsed Catholic, I never was anywhere approaching pious. Though I still attend mass when I can, the solemnity of the rite brings solace and being in a place where folk have earnestly prayed for centuries brings me closer to spiritualism – not that I ever arrive there, my innate cynicism precludes thus.

    I adhere to the faith because it brings forth good in me which passes off onto others and being a good Christian is necessarily not at all about advertising the fact.

    Christianity, the basic precepts whether you believe in God or not are eternally sound.

    Let me share a couple:

    “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
    Matt 7:12

    So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
    John 8:7

    King James, I love the exactitude of its written English – needless to say my mother doesn’t, ’tis maybe an Irish thing.

    A personal view, I would never proselytize, however I do have a problem with some of my newer ‘fellow’ country men naming me an “infidel” – “Kuffar” is the way they word it. I also have a problem with people who like to attack and constantly malign the Christian Church but never utter a peep – have a word to say about this newer creed. As they say though, like back in the day with the gay bashers, it was the ones who were most interested and fascinated [in gay sex] who did the bashing.

    Therefore, I don’t have a lot of time for selective hypocrites, and what they say or do in San Francisco – Catholic or not, they’ll always do just as the please until the Pacific plate dances hard rock heavy again and then they’ll blame it on God.

  12. @DrC

    You’re entitled to your view. As someone steeped in Catholicism (and there are some lovely people who believe in this stuff, and it’s done a lot of good, I’m not Dawkinsian about it), I think much of it, and particularly the priesthood, is ridiculous. So I ridicule them.

    If you believe you need some geezer to not retain your sins so as to go to heaven after your death, I’m cool with that. Knock yourself out.

    Ten Hail Marys should do it for the anger in your reply to me. We can deal with the implied blasphemy in ‘FFS’ – the ‘fuck’ is standing in for someone! – by way of an Our Father.

    @Tim – yes absolutely, I was talking for the purposes of a brief blog comment.

  13. Ironically I agree with Dr C re Edward (and with Edward about the civilising effect of Christianity on Europe). I adhere to the Theodore Dalrymple brand of atheism rather than the Dawkins version.

    But a word of warning Edward – you’re opening yourself up to abuse by one particular narcissistic maniac for ‘Islamophobia’ and your hatred of all ‘muzzies’ with talk like that.

    🙂

  14. Catholic England always used ribald language, and no, I’m not angry with you. “Old men in dresses” is just a bit juvenile.

  15. The take that “Catholicism means doing whatever the Pope says” is in itself a very English Protestant way of looking at things – it’s a view that was propagated in order to paint British Catholics as inherently seditious.

    In practice there’s a lot of dissent within the Church, and the concept of selecting clergy to match their congregations’ values is well-understood and followed.

    (I know Tim is RC, but the English-non-Irish-descent strand of RC is quite odd by Church standards and does define itself somewhat with reference to the CoE stereotype of how Catholics act.)

  16. @Interested

    If pointing out a factual error in your reading of Christian scripture (the justification of priestly absolution) is perceived as anger, if suggest you reset your sensitivity.

  17. “The take that “Catholicism means doing whatever the Pope says” is in itself a very English Protestant way of looking at things – it’s a view that was propagated in order to paint British Catholics as inherently seditious.”

    Aah, the CofE. “Protestant” in English terms, but which a Swiss Reformed minister trying to provoke a theological argument with a friend of mine referred to as “Anglo-Catholic” 🙂

  18. @Cromars

    It was the ‘FFS’ ‘Grow up’ stuff.

    It sounded angry to me, but if it wasn’t no harm no foul.

  19. @Interested

    No harm or foul intended. Language I’d use over a pint which, if we met, I’d happily buy you.
    Cheers!

  20. Actually Edward I would be more impressed of you had offered this yesterday when we were all happily calling Richard Murphy a hypocrite. So, in the spirit of the blog we all frequent: there is nothing in any Christian doctrine that prevents you from expressing an opinion and joining in debate.

    “Men in dresses”. That is the stand-out moment of the morning so far. Perhaps the individual who offered this little gem could explain head – on what he meant, when in dresses presents.an problem for him and what it adds to this discussion.

  21. I’ll have a pint of Uley Pig’s Ear, then please, and a bag of scratchings.

    (I ought to say, you were right really – men in dresses was a bit pathetic. Pretty much all the priests I’ve known have been good eggs.)

  22. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
    Matt 7:12

    “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.” – George Bernard Shaw 1903

  23. it’s surprising – on here of all places – that some of you are getting a bit drippy about an expression as harmless as “Old men in dresses”…

    In the context it was perfectly illustrative? And as Ironman pointed out, it worked well with the geography…

  24. Shaw was famous for leaving a “a trail of virgins across the West End”. Combined with his celibate marriage, he seems to have had some sort of problems in that department.

  25. Shaw was a Fabian arsehole who advocated the mass murder of “defectives”. Glad to hear about his sex problems.

  26. Most of the good bits in the Christian moral code were nicked from older traditions. I’m very fond of the “love thy neighbour” bit though. I think Jesus would be horrified at many of his followers today.

  27. Once again, a religion is not just a set of beliefs; it is a group of people. Unsurprisingly, San Francisan Catholics are behaving as a group of people.

  28. I’m very fond of the “love thy neighbour” bit though.

    So am I, so long as her husband doesn’t find out.

  29. “The take that “Catholicism means doing whatever the Pope says” is in itself a very English Protestant way of looking at things.” It had never occurred to me that English Protestants were behind the 19th century triumphalism of formalising the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Well, well.

  30. Mark – Being Catholic is about doing whatever the Pope says.

    No, it’s not.

    As for the San Franciscoites, and their “Dear Pope, stop being Catholic” letter, I feel their pain. It must be annoying pretending to be Catholic when some guy in a dress keeps reminding you that you’re not.

    They’d be better off starting their own church. There’s no shortage of weird and wonderful religious cults in the US – one more won’t do any harm. It’s not as if these SJW-Catholics are replacing themselves anyway, so they may as well have fun with their abortions and whatnot before they die out.

    In a couple of generations all Masses in California will be in Spanish, and the pews will be full of spicy hot Latina babes who get pregnant at the drop of a sombrero. Now that’s a religion I can believe in.

  31. Is it just me, or does anyone else have an instinctive dislike for the pope on the basis anyone who stands up and starts telling everyone else what to do because he is ‘Christ’s Vicar’ (and incidentally that he is also completely infallible) is a bit of a cunt?

  32. Well, yeah, except Papal Infallibility has been asserted just once. To say that the Pope, when stating that he is being infallible on matters of basic doctrine, is in fact infallible. That one expression of infallibility is thus of the fact that he’s infallible.

  33. Jim,
    That’s pretty harsh. If Pope Francis is a believer, then “telling everyone else what to do” is actually his duty and burden. The aim being the saving of souls don’t forget.

    If he’s not a believer, then he has a very tough choice indeed. I can’t see that it would be in anyone’s interests to bring the whole thing crashing down all at once.

  34. Steve,
    The Latina babes are also modernising, so don’t expect them all to be at home producing youngsters.

    The San Franciscan Dissenters may be either,

    a) Getting in quick before the Synod on the Family reconvenes, or,
    b) Simply being San Franciscans. Not being in tune with anyone else is there way of conforming.

  35. Because of their zoning laws, San Francisco is also known as ‘The world’s largest gated community’.

  36. @Jack C: I have no problem with the ‘telling everyone else what to do in order not to go to hell’ religious types, I have a problem with the ‘I’m a better and more important human being than you so listen to me when I tell you what to do’ types.

    Which ironically covers all Muslims, plus the pope.

  37. Fair enough.

    The Pope is God’s representative on Earth don’t forget.

    Imagine what Rifkind would have been like.

  38. Jim – Is it just me, or does anyone else have an instinctive dislike for the pope

    Ian Paisley Jr?

    I keed. 😀

    and incidentally that he is also completely infallible

    What Tim said above, but also, papal infallibility doesn’t mean what you think it means. It’s not just incredibly rare for a pope to use his super infallibility powers, but they also only apply to a very narrow sliver of situations.

    If Pope Francis were to say “One Direction are the greatest band in the world” that is not something Catholics would be obliged to go along with.

    Similarly, if he said “Abortion is great and everybody should have one”, that wouldn’t be infallible either.

    The Catholic Church is not the religious equivalent of North Korea. It is not a spiritual dictatorship. The Pope isn’t Il Duce. He’s closer to Queen Elizabeth’s position as a constitutional monarch.

    The Queen can’t order people’s heads chopped off, and the Pope can’t rewrite centuries of Catholic doctrine at a whim.

    Catholics believe in all sorts of strange and unlikely things. They think God sent his son to die on a cross for our sins, for example. They think all humans possess an immortal soul, that death isn’t the end, and that even the worst sinners can be redeemed in Christ.

    But believing everything the pope says or does is infallible isn’t one of them.

  39. I don’t think the Queen should be able behead people, and I don’t suppose Her Majesty would welcome the temptation.

    I wouldn’t mind a Royal department able to dish out pomposity-pricking punishments at whim, perhaps under the leadership of Prince Harry.

    Who wouldn’t like to see Jack Straw debagged in public, or Official Raspberries blown at Jeremy Hunt?

  40. Jack C – I find myself conflicted on the whole beheadings debate.

    On the one hand, I don’t like the other idea of me being beheaded, but on the other hand, there are some people who are not Steve who could use a close shave.

    Did you know that when Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded, they found out she was wearing a ginger wig to hide her short grey hair? And a poor little dog that had been hiding in her skirts stayed with the body, refusing to be parted from his mistress.

    And the morning Charles I had his head chopped off, he insisted on wearing an extra shirt. It was a cold day, and he didn’t want to shiver and be thought a coward:

    “the season is so sharp as probably may make me shake, which some observers may imagine proceeds from fear. I would have no such imputation.”

    It is hard to imagine a modern man displaying such eloquent courage while facing the chop. I think the last generation of Englishmen with that sort of stiff upper lip are the few old soldiers remaining from WW2.

    My inclination would be to say “look over there!” and then leg it.

  41. What I like about this blog is how often it gives me new insights. For instance, by the time I’d finished reading this thread I found myself surprisingly in favour of beheadings, so long as only the Queen gets to order them.

  42. @Steve –

    It is hard to imagine a modern man displaying such eloquent courage while facing the chop. I think the last generation of Englishmen with that sort of stiff upper lip are the few old soldiers remaining from WW2.

    How unlike his Royal Highness’s executioner and the executioner’s assistant, eh? They both wore wigs and false beards to protect their anonymity for fear of reprisals for having killed the Almighty’s representative.

  43. All religions have elements of the dotty about them, but I would have thought that orthodox Catholic doctrine on abortion is something that is much easier to argue about in good faith than whether ‘men in dresses’ think Jesus’s mum was free of original sin or whathaveyou. I mean, it’s arguable from a purely moral standpoint outside the confines of any particular religion, as is the opposing viewpoint. Personally, I hold the rather schizophrenic but probably quite common view that abortion is almost always distasteful and in some cases outright wicked, without wanting to outlaw it (I have little problem with making it fairly hard, mind, and would happily support restricting it to foetuses that are non-viable outside the womb or horrendously handicapped.) As an atheist, I don’t have a doctrinal backstop from which to argue this, but I also don’t have to adhere to any dogma, either.

  44. Matthew L – “Most of the good bits in the Christian moral code were nicked from older traditions.”

    No they were not. When Jesus blessed the poor it really was revolutionary and there had been nothing like it before.

    “I think Jesus would be horrified at many of his followers today.”

    Yes. I am always impressed by Social Justice Warriors telling Christians what their founder *really* thought. Amazingly it always turns out Jesus was a bit of a Social Justice Warrior. On what basis do you make any pronouncements on what Jesus would or would not have thought?

  45. Bloke in Costa Rica –

    Well, quite.

    There is an odd idea both in Britain and in the States that the only objection to abortion is a religious one. As a result, anyone who does not consider himself ‘religious’ must, by the same standard, also be in favour of abortion.

    The problem is that religion is not the only the argument against abortion. It would take more than a post comment to lay out the argument, but it is possible to argue, in good faith and from a libertarian, i.e., non-religious, point of view, that abortion is wrong.

  46. Tim Newman – “Probably the only sensible article on economics ever penned by an Australian politician.”

    There used to be a sensible Australian Labour politician called Peter Walsh. Also a finance minister. So it seems the Australians may be luckier in their ministers than most.

    Tim Worstall – “Well, yeah, except Papal Infallibility has been asserted just once.”

    Well no. It has been used more often than that although no one seems able to agree on where and when it has been used.

    Catholic theologians agree that both Pope Pius IX’s 1854 definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Pope Pius XII’s 1950 definition of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary are instances of papal infallibility, a fact confirmed by the Church’s magisterium.[69] However, theologians disagree about what other documents qualify.

    Jack C – “The Latina babes are also modernising, so don’t expect them all to be at home producing youngsters.”

    That is to assume the embrace of Marxism and the West’s own particular moral degeneration is “modern”. I think this is entirely debatable. Every civilisation thinks that its path is the One, True, Historically Inevitable Path of Destiny.

    Until it is not.

  47. “it is possible to argue, in good faith and from a libertarian, i.e., non-religious, point of view, that abortion is wrong.” Does it make much sense to be against capital punishment but pro-abortion?

  48. I don’t care about religion, whether Catholic C of E or (in my part of the world the loathsome American envangelical churches) because I’m not religious, but when they try to tell me how to live my life I fight back.

  49. dearieme – “Does it make much sense to be against capital punishment but pro-abortion?”

    Sure. If you use higher cognitive function as a measure of humanity. Adults can think. A foetus does not, or if it does, it doesn’t complain a lot when you suck its brains out.

    Naturally intellectuals, who define their self-worth by their higher cognitive functions, tend to like this definition. Even though, or perhaps because, it tends to down play the humanity of the less bright. See Peter Singer’s willingness to kill children if they are retarded.

  50. Peter S – “but when they try to tell me how to live my life I fight back.”

    But it is not the Churches trying to tell you how to live your life is it? Ignoring the fact that you, your neighbourhood and your country would all be better off if you listened to them. It is the Social Justice Warriors that boss you around.

  51. “See Peter Singer’s willingness to kill children if they are retarded.” That’s in line with a western (and perhaps universal) tradition: if a newborn was obviously badly defective it was often allowed to die.

    But we are perhaps wandering away from the subject of the polytheistic, idolatrous church of warmongers and heretic-burners.

  52. It’s easy to be anti-abortion without a religious grounding: you just have to think that killing babies is wrong. The pro-abortion lot have just convinced themselves that abortion is not killing babies.

    Although, all those ultra-orthodox lefty American ladies giving names to, buying clothes and decorating rooms for their supposedly “parasitic lumps of uterine tissue” does rather indicate revealed preferences though, doesn’t it?

    Oh well, if they didn’t have double-standards they wouldn’t have standards at all.

  53. Steve,
    Apologies if I misunderstand, but you seem to be advocating public execution as a means of finding People With The Right Stuff.

    The flaw is that immediately after identifying these heroes, the heroes are rendered irrevocably dead. Wasteful.

    On the other hand, my Office of Debagging Responsibility will not only take power away from our politicians, but will be an ever-present threat to them.

    The concept of country-by-country Debagging – which I invented – will mean that non-doms will be equally at risk.

  54. Ok, let’s try a thought experiment. Imagine the 100 San Franciscans are football coaches of minor league teams who petition Sepp Blatter (or whoever) to change the rules of Association Football. They want 15 players aside, the ability to pass the ball backwards by hand and score points by putting the (now oval) ball over the end touch line by hand or by kicking the ball over the crossbar.

    Sepp might say, well I can see minor changes to the offside rule or passing back to the keeper or goalline technology but if you change to that game it’s no longer soccer but another game. Sepp would only be doing his job (corrupt, venal tosser that he is) by saying no, can’t do that as it would destroy football as we know it. Play that game if you like but it won’t be Association Football. He will appoint officials, committees etc, to ensure that the rules are kept.

    So, should Sepp say “Sure, that’s fine, I mean it’s still football” or would he say “Sorry, no can do. Go play rugby if you want but FIFA can’t endorse you”.

    At which point the SF coaches bitch and moan about “authoritarians” or “old men in blazers, stuck in their ways” or “not knowing what it’s like at the grass roots”.

  55. Both Catholicism and football have both incorporated a great many rule changes over the years.

    Many non-Catholic Christians would tell you that Genesis is central to the whole affair, and that if you stop believing in it as literal truth you might as well be playing rugby on Sunday morning.

  56. Many non-Catholic Christians would tell you that Genesis is central to the whole affair, and that if you stop believing in it as literal truth you might as well be playing rugby on Sunday morning.

    They would. They’re wrong.

  57. Because Genesis is a religious text not astrophysics or biology, anymore than Christ using the Parable of the Mustard Seed was teaching about agriculture.

  58. I’m not sure what your point is.

    Genesis is part of the Word of God, and therefore literal truth.

    Or not, depending on what you believe. Some, or many, Christians do indeed still do believe this, the rest no longer do. What’s your basis for deciding that one side is right and the other wrong?

  59. I can’t help you if you don’t understand the distinction between scripture as allegory or historical record. If you want to read The Tale of the Three Little Pigs as a building manual, good luck, but I doubt it will help you in a career as an architect.

    Better minds than mine have dealt with the issue a millennium and a half ago, I suggest you read St Augustine:

    http://college.holycross.edu/faculty/alaffey/other_files/Augustine-Genesis1.pdf

    The fact that some latter day literalists think otherwise is their problem.

  60. Catholics are still allowed to believe in the creation story.

    if the Church is unsure, then you mat wish to revise your sense of certainty.

    Besides, what’s your proof that you’re right?

  61. I can’t prove I’m right because this is a matter of faith, though I’d suggest my view across better with reason (cf St Augustine). I’m not sure we can agree, so I leave you with the Catechism of The Catholic Church:

    115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

    116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”

    117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

    1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.

    2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.

    3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly

    118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:
    The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
    The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.

  62. But the point of this discussion is not whether religion is metaphysically correct, but what a religion consists of and who decides its priorities. Those latter-day literalists who believe that literal belief in Genesis is central to their religion are right: it is cental to their religion.

  63. That’s sort of the point.

    Catholicism has changed many times, and grey areas remain. Priests are at liberty to question aspects of their faith, unless they’ve been specifically told not to.

  64. I don’t doubt it. The key point is that of Tim’s article is that 100 San Franciscans or any number of literalist Protestants don’t get to decide what the Catholic Faith is. Even the Pope can’t change it’s fundamentals. His job is to maintain its faith and practice. That’s pretty much his job description. He can decide whether Pentecost has an octave or not or whether a maniple may be licitly worn. He may not abrogate, for example, an article of the Nicene Creed.

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