Seems fair enough to me

A judge has ordered a father to take his children to Roman Catholic mass as part of a divorce settlement, even though he is not Catholic.

Although it does depend. If he married a Catholic in a Catholic Church then he promised, as part of that legal contract, to raise the children as Catholics.

Don’t see why people shouldn’t be held to contracts freely entered into…..

61 thoughts on “Seems fair enough to me”

  1. I don’t think aerie faerie promises made as part of a marriage are actually legally binding, otherwise you could get sued for failing to love (or honour, or obey) the significant other. They’re not to be taken seriously as promises, they’re just words that sound soothing and nice, like party manifesto commitments.

    As to a court being able to order this kind of nonsense, it shows just how far down the rabbit hole we are.

  2. What does it have to do with a secular judge then. Shouldn’t it be a priest making the judgement and so if the judgement is ignored the priest can use all his priestly powers to punish the father by say excommunicating him?

  3. “The man, who can only be identified as “Steve” because of reporting restrictions…”

    It would be a very different story if the man turned out to be called Mohamed.

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    If he married a Catholic in a Catholic Church then he promised, as part of that legal contract, to raise the children as Catholics.

    I could be wrong but if he married a Catholic in a Catholic Church then one or other of them, and perhaps both, also promised not to get divorced.

    Not quite sure where a non-Catholic (and technically probably not secular) court is going to start and finish with that.

    Besides, if he is not a Catholic, he will fit in fine with all the other non-Polish, non-Fillipina non-Catholics filling the Church pews.

  5. Well, if he’s ever attended a Catholic service he’s promised to believe that a little bit of bread turns into part of Jesus in his tummy, so I don’t think any of it is meant to be taken literally to be honest.

  6. They did indeed both enter into a lifetime contract. Contracts hold until both parties are satisfied with the terms of their dissolution. So if that is the condition the wife wants for the dissolution of this contract buy the other party doesn’t like it the answer lies.with the judge. And judges in divorce courts, in direct consequence of the parties having entered into that marriage contract, impose all kinds of conditions on their ongoing private affairs.

  7. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “Well, if he’s ever attended a Catholic service he’s promised to believe that a little bit of bread turns into part of Jesus in his tummy, so I don’t think any of it is meant to be taken literally to be honest.”

    I am confused. Where in the ceremony involving a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic does the non-Catholic promise to believe in Trans-Substantiation?

    Or perhaps you mean that being a Catholic means that you have to believe in Trans-Substantiation? Well naturally. Being a Catholic means being a Catholic. But the only person here who is required to be Catholic is the child. If the father is not Catholic, he should not, at risk if his immortal soul, be receiving the sacrament.

    To paraphrase Joe Queenan, people whose names do not begin with a vowel such as O’ or end in a vowel such a i should be not making big statements about Catholic theology. I think people should understand what it is they are condemning.

  8. Ian B, of course it’s not meant to be taken literally, “it can apply to any manufacturer of dairy products”.

  9. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “They did indeed both enter into a lifetime contract. Contracts hold until both parties are satisfied with the terms of their dissolution.”

    An interesting definition of life-time.

    More accurately they either liked a pretty ceremony or they entered in a life long marriage. Then one or other of them changed their mind. The State doesn’t like actual religious beliefs and are only too happy to help people treat marriage as seriously as a hire purchase contract. Then they wonder why they have so many Baby Ps. Go figure.

    We no longer have marriage in any serious sense. We have public play acting.

  10. Where in the ceremony involving a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic does the non-Catholic promise to believe in Trans-Substantiation?

    I didn’t say that. I said if he’d attended a Catholic service, meaning a Catholic church service. Come on SMFS, it was pretty clear what I meant surely.

  11. This was causing OUTRAGE!!! on Twitter yesterday.

    Frankly, a messy divorce & the interference of the family court makes me doubt any aspect of this that’s being reported in the media. I wonder what the real story is (other than warring spouses using their kids as ammo, as usual)?

  12. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “I didn’t say that. I said if he’d attended a Catholic service, meaning a Catholic church service. Come on SMFS, it was pretty clear what I meant surely.”

    I understood you meant a Catholic church service. It is still a basic matter of Catholic theology that if he does not believe in Trans-Substantiation, or is otherwise not a Catholic, which I think we can all agree is well established, he is not only NOT obligated to consume the Host, he is actually specifically forbidden to do so.

    Again, I say you should not mock what you do not understand.

    Ian B – “As a Biblical literalist, I believe that it is specifically the cheesemakers who are blessed.”

    Plenty of cheese in Syria and Iraq. I dispute this in both theology and sociology. God clearly hates sheep shaggers. Look at North Wales.

  13. So a judge rules that some poor kid has to be dragged off to some mind-numbingly boring ceremony every Sunday because his parents made a vague promise to the same effect along with a whole host of others they have since broken?

    Poor kid.

  14. Contract conditions that outlive the contract are very tricky. I’m sure there are some lawyers here who can clarify but normally some consideration is required to hold it together. Now, if she popped round once a week to give him a BJ I’m sure that would be fine.

    I’m assuming here marriage contracts are indeed contracts, which was the case before the state stuck it’s oar in with it’s usual ‘when I use a word it means what I want it to mean’ bullshit.

  15. So Much for Subtlety

    Roue le Jour – “I’m assuming here marriage contracts are indeed contracts, which was the case before the state stuck it’s oar in with it’s usual ‘when I use a word it means what I want it to mean’ bullshit.”

    And that is the problem. A marriage contract is not between two people. It is a condition laid down unilaterally by a party outside the marriage altogether. The two people getting married do not set the conditions; the State does. The State decides what, at any one time, any part of the marriage contract actually means.

    And the State is a jealous God. It does not like people attempting to define a marriage for themselves. Even in the US, the Courts do everything they can to ignore a pre-nup. In Britain they are more open about their utter contempt for them.

    We would be better off if marriage was re-defined as a private contract and the State butted out. Certainly that would be true if the State stopped seeing marriage as a way of furthering their Leftist Social Justice agenda, one brutalised husband at a time.

    But of course we would be better off still if people recognised Pope Paul was right in Humanae Vitae.

  16. We would be better off if marriage was re-defined as a private contract and the State butted out.

    As far as I can tell, that’s what the French do. There are actually two or three marriage regimes which a couple can choose from, one of which is “everything together”, another is civil recognition of a partner (for tax purposes) without actual marriage, and another is a contract drawn up agreeing on how everything will be separated if if all goes pear shaped. And of no relevance whatsoever is what you decide to do or say in a church around the same time. It’s hard to see what they have got wrong with this approach.

  17. It’s worth noting that marriage in England was originally entirely a private, civil contract. It was the Church that decided to turn it into something defined by others (i.e. themselves) and then the State has gradually taken over from the Church in that regard.

    In the Middle Ages, you got married outside Church, then just went in to have it subsequently blessed by God.

  18. So Much for Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “As far as I can tell, that’s what the French do. …. And of no relevance whatsoever is what you decide to do or say in a church around the same time. It’s hard to see what they have got wrong with this approach.”

    Except the French still see marriage as a tool of social engineering. In fact they started it. They forced Catholics to get married in secular ceremonies. So the State does not recognise that a couple is married. The State decides if a couple is married or not.

    They introduced the PACS to try to buy off the Gay lobby. Oddly enough the PACS has turned out more popular with heterosexuals. But then Gays never wanted to get married so that is not a surprise.

  19. “A marriage contract is not between two people. It is a condition laid down unilaterally by a party outside the marriage altogether. The two people getting married do not set the conditions; the State does. The State decides what, at any one time, any part of the marriage contract actually means.”

    Sorry, no. The State forces nobody into marriage; they enter into the contract freely. And the courts are now taking pre-nuptials into consideration, so contracts do vary.

    IanB

    “In the Middle Ages, you got married outside Church, then just went in to have it subsequently blessed by God”

    Still the Church’s teaching. As a priest has pointed out to me, he witnesses marriages; he doesn’t ever marry anyone.

  20. Unfortunately it all went pear shaped when the Church started telling people what sort of marriages they should have. Many Christians bang on to this day about marriage being a “Christian institution”, which for reasons just expressed above (and the obvious fact that every culture in the world, Christian or not, has marriage) is total cobblers.

  21. “I think people should understand what it is they are condemning.” Why? Sometimes it is enough to know the symptoms.

  22. Remember boys and girls, anonymity is required for the sake of the children, as is their forced attendance at church and the jailing of their father for contempt of court because of an idiotic old fart on the Bench.

  23. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “Sorry, no. The State forces nobody into marriage; they enter into the contract freely. And the courts are now taking pre-nuptials into consideration, so contracts do vary.”

    Sorry but no. They do. Or at least they force people into what looks a lot like marriages. One by one Common Law countries have decided that sleeping with the same girl long enough means you are married. I believe several Canadian provinces have done so in the last few years. People thought they were living together but then they found that they were married. Britain too will follow suit.

    They also force men into the substance of marriage – that is they force men to support women and their children even when they have a tenuous connection with said women. If a woman steals your sperm and gets pregnant without your knowledge or permission, they will make you pay. If you are a child and are raped, they will make you pay.

    All of which misses the point. It is not that they make people get married. It is that the State unilaterally decides what marriage is or is not. Millions of people got married under traditional laws and then they discovered they had a No Fault divorce style marriage.

    dearieme – “Why? Sometimes it is enough to know the symptoms.”

    And what symptoms might these be?

  24. “My oldest son, who is now 10, has already expressed a clear lack of belief but legally I am required to take him to Roman Catholic mass at Christmas.”

    This is the odd bit for me. If you’d raised the kid as a catholic and at age 10 he was a confirmed catholic and exhibited that belief, then I think I’d potentially support that under a settlement you could be reasonably required to enable him to participate. Fuck divorce settlement rules and contracts, and your own personal view of religion – you made him that way, you deal with the consequences.

    But the kid doesn’t believe. So it makes no sense for anyone.

  25. So Much for Subtlety

    seulmoi – “But the kid doesn’t believe. So it makes no sense for anyone.”

    Come on. Who at 10 has confirmed beliefs about anything? This is just the Father poisoning the well. That alone should get the child removed. We have enough divorced parents telling their children that their former husband or wife is Satanic spawn. Anyone using their child that way is not fit to be a parent.

  26. It isn’t hard to envisage a situation in which this ruling is a sensible compromise.

    Man (atheist), woman (practising RC) marry and have children who, they agree, will be brought up catholic. Couple divorce (she may still consider herself married – who knows?) and he wants access to his children but can only have them at weekend. She agrees subject to them going to mass which is what would happen if they were with her at the weekend or the family were still together.

    What is difficult or unreasonable about any of this? There seems to be considerable intolerance and buckets of prejudice here surrounding what on the face of it looks like a decent trade-off between the wishes of both parties.

  27. Actually, looking at the article in the DT, it rather looks as though the judge may have been bringing his own personal agenda with him into court so mine, above, is simplistic.

  28. So Much for Subtlety

    A company run by Steve providing rehabilitation services to the criminal justice system has folded with the loss of 40 jobs as a result of stress arising from the case, he added.

    At least it is not all bad news. Although of course some other witch doctors will take over, employ his fired workers, and continue to assure criminals that it is all our fault not their fault.

    Meissen Bison, bringing your personal agenda to the Family Court is a job requirement. I just don’t understand how they let anyone who wasn’t Right On on the bench.

  29. Whoa folks, read on a little further into the article…

    “Court transcripts seen by The Telegraph show that Judge Orrell discussed his own Catholic faith during the course of the hearing into contact arrangements for Steve’s two sons…

    Steve, a 51-year-old psychologist, said: “It’s all very bizarre. This aspect of the contact order was not requested by the other side in the case.”

    If that’s correct and this condition was inserted solely by the Judge without it having been sought by the guy’s ex-wife then the judge should immediately be removed from any further involvement in this case for introducing his own personal biases into the proceedings.

  30. Do the cat licks actually marry non cat licks in cat lick churches? Back when I got hitched they were still making partners convert.

    And, while the marriage is dissolved there are obligations regarding the sprogs, on both parties. Though I am distinctly uncomfortable with the courts ordering fairy-tale indoctrination for the kids. Religion should be a free decision to be taken as an adult, not inculcated by your parents, with all the potential for conflict and unpleasant baggage that brings.

  31. “Steve” only has to take his kid to mass once a year, at Christmas? The boy is ten years old now, and we’re in January, so that’s probably just seven more times in the father’s life. Not much of a hardship, is it?

  32. Bloke in Germany – Do the cat licks actually marry non cat licks in cat lick churches? Back when I got hitched they were still making partners convert.

    I think they just ask the couple to promise they’ll raise their kids cat lick. Which seems a reasonably pawsitive compromiaowse.

  33. Come on. Who at 10 has confirmed beliefs about anything?

    Well, I certainly did. Younger than that, even, Never having been introduced to it at home, by the time it was introduced at school, it was too late for the dogma to take root.

  34. No doubt Social Services can get the chap jailed for forcing his children to attend a paganistic rite offered by a club of paedophiles. Isn’t that how Lefties would see this?

  35. “If a woman steals your sperm and gets pregnant without your knowledge or permission, they will make you pay. If you are a child and are raped, they will make you pay.

    All of which misses the point.”

    I’ve never had my sperm stolen and am struggling to imagine how that might happen. So I bow to your greater knowledge.

  36. If he married a Catholic in a Catholic Church then he promised, as part of that legal contract, to raise the children as Catholics

    Is this really a contractual matter Tim?

    I’m thinking of suing my wife for failing to obey me.

  37. Come on. Who at 10 has confirmed beliefs about anything?

    I know that when I was 10, I didn’t want to be dragged to Mass every Sunday. Of course, I had a mother who would blame God during her screaming fits if she couldn’t find anybody else to blame for something that went wrong. She’d blame God if we had missed Mass, and then once she bitched that we had been going to church regularly and God was still punishing her.

    Haven’t been to a regular (ie. non wedding/funeral) Mass for 20 years or so.

  38. Bloke in Costa Rica

    My faith was dwindling fast at 10 and by 13 was gone entirely. And as Dawkins has pointed out, the term ‘Catholic children’ makes about as much sense as ‘monetarist children’. Having said that, if there were a more sure-fire way of driving an already-doubting child firmly into the atheist camp than dragging him along against his will on a Sunday morning to experience the insanity of a Catholic Mass, I can’t think what it might be. It certainly helped me along the way.

  39. Bloke in Costa Rica – the term ‘Catholic children’ makes about as much sense as ‘monetarist children’.

    Bollocks. My kids are staunch Friedmanites.

  40. BICR,

    > as Dawkins has pointed out, the term ‘Catholic children’ makes about as much sense as ‘monetarist children’.

    This is because, on this kind of subject, Dawkins is an utter fuckwit.

    A religion is not merely a belief; it is also a group of people, a community. Just how stupid does someone need to be not to see that? Oh, about as stupid as Richard Dawkins.

    None of which changes the fact that the court decisions is ridiculous. When you divorce, you obviously leave the group of people of which you were a part. If keeping the group together is that important to you, don’t divorce.

    Incidentally, this has been standard in NI for ages now. When you adopt a child here, their biological parents get to specify whether they’re a Catholic or a Protestant child and you have to agree to raise them accordingly. Apparently, this is “human rights”.

  41. Squander Two – I was going to say NornIron is a bit weird (which is why all the good NornIrish folks are over here), but social workers in mainland Britain are equally batshit insane when it comes to religion, ethnicity, and race.

  42. ” Who at 10 has confirmed beliefs about anything?”

    Me for one. My parents were (and still are) strict evangelical Christians and I was brought up on it from day one. I can remember my specific thought process on one particular day aged about 4 (I know I was around this age as I remember the house I was in at the time and we left that house before I was 5) thinking that all this stuff they were going on about Jesus and God was nonsense because they weren’t actually there, you couldn’t see them, they didn’t exist. I have never had any conscious belief in religion.

  43. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “I’ve never had my sperm stolen and am struggling to imagine how that might happen. So I bow to your greater knowledge.”

    That you know of. This is how it might happen:

    A man who froze his sperm at a fertility clinic over ten years ago has spoken of his distress after finding out his ex-wife had tricked the clinic into using the sperm, resulting in the birth of two children. He was then ordered by a court to pay £100,000 towards their upbringing.

    The 57-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stored his sperm at the Bourn Hall fertility clinic in Cambridge in 1999 while undergoing treatment for arthritis which could have left him infertile.

    The couple divorced in June 2000 but the woman allegedly approached the clinic and forged his signature, allowing doctors to create embryos using his sperm. After giving birth to a girl in 2001, she reportedly returned to the clinic in 2003 and then gave birth to a boy.

    The man, who has since remarried and has two other children, said he found out after receiving a text message from his ex-wife saying the girl wanted to see her father.

    ‘I was stunned when I found out she had withdrawn my sperm without my consent because at the time we had split up and were going through a divorce’, he said. ‘It was a deliberate act to bring two children into this world without a father to look after them. I was never at the clinic and I never signed the documents’.

    A court in 2007 ordered him to pay £100,000 to his ex-wife since the initial divorce settlement did not take the children into consideration. He says he has spent over £200,000 in legal fees battling with his ex-wife.

    ‘I love the children and spend money on taking them out and buying them clothes, but it is an expense I shouldn’t really have. The cost of this has been huge’, he said. ‘It is scary to think how little control I had over it all. I just can’t understand how they believed her. The stress of it all has turned my life upside down’.

    The man said when the children asked their mother where they came from she told them, ‘the freezer’. His daughter asked to see her father and the man is permitted regular home visits.

    His ex-wife said: ‘I don’t believe I have done anything wrong. It was getting later and later for me and I wanted to have a child. If I had not done it then I would not be blessed with my children. I have no regrets’.

    Of course she doesn’t. This man has been forced into a cruel mockery of marriage by the State.

  44. Bloke in Costa Rica

    No, there is no such thing as a ‘Catholic child’. There are children raised as Catholics, but they’re not innately Catholic. I was baptised RC, my mother had to convert from Methodism (it didn’t stick) to marry my father, and we did go to Mass on Sundays for some time. The schools I went to, both prep and public, were High Anglican. By the age of 13 I was firmly convinced it was all bollocks. Which “community” was I raised in? The fact that almost all people who remain religious in adulthood adhere to the religion of their parents shows how arbitrary a label it is. I think it is pretty clear this ruling has come from a desire by the bigoted judge to save the children for Popery.

  45. So we’re all – those who have declared at least – seemingly atheist or agnostic on this thread and some indeed are vehemently dismissive of faith or scornful of people who adhere to religious belief.

    I think this is a pity. My cultural hinterland (art, music, literature and so on) owes much to Christianity and however arrogant and self-absorbed I may be, I do not believe that what I may consider my rationalism trumps somebody else’s credo.

  46. This preoccupation with belief misses an important point. Being a member of a church can have financial benefits as religious people often look out for each other.

  47. SMFS, Ironman-

    There was also an infamous case in which a woman took sperm from a used condom, impregnated herself, and then claimed child support from the man whose sperm had been expropriated. And the court duly awarded it to her, as well.

  48. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “There was also an infamous case in which a woman took sperm from a used condom, impregnated herself, and then claimed child support from the man whose sperm had been expropriated. And the court duly awarded it to her, as well.”

    Boris Becker got done this way or so rumour has it. Although I am not sure a condom was involved.

    I have never been able to eat at Nobu since.

  49. The Meissen Bison – I’m not sure if there’s a God or not. But we sure as hell would be much poorer as a civilisation without Christianity.

  50. – I’m not sure if there’s a God or not. But we sure as hell would be much poorer as a civilisation without Christianity.

    Actually we don’t know that as we only have the history we have not an alternative one. I’m inclined to agree with you but it’s only a hunch not a definite fact.

  51. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Thornavis/Steve, I can appreciate Salisbury Cathedral or the Giotto iconography in the National Gallery as astounding cultural treasures while still being a fairly robust atheist (not militant; I have no wish to proselytise and ask only that the same consideration be granted me.) The trick is to have a sufficiently fine mesh on the plughole so you don’t lose the baby with the bathwater. Islam throughout its history has been an unmitigated blight on the world, but there are some stunning mosques that almost surely wouldn’t stand up to a 5 PSI overpressure wave, and that would be a shame.

  52. BiCR

    Yes I’d agree with that, It’s difficult to imagine the sort of art and architecture we might have, if we had any to speak of at all, if Christianity had never got going but I rather doubt that it would be anywhere near as rich a cultural heritage as it is. Islam makes a good comparison, there are some fine buildings and calligraphy and some music but nothing like either the quality or quantity of Christian influenced art. I put that done to a large extent to the relative openness to other cultures, particularly classical of course, which was never a large feature of Islam and has died completely now.

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