The return of Fatty Pang

As so often, I think Peter Oborne is on the money when he deplores the importation into British politics of the American practice of handing prime diplomatic posts to superannuated politicians. And as with many bad things in the British body politic, it’s a practice resorted to by John Major and then enormously expanded by Mr Tony Blair; and it is symptomatic of the decline of the FCO and the Diplomatic Service.

I mention this in connection with the impending retirement of our local man Francis Campbell as ambassador to the Holy See. Francis is an impressive figure in many ways, and demonstrates that there’s still some strength in depth in the Diplomatic Service. He is of course the first Catholic to have held his post, after Mr Tony in one of his fits of lucidity swept away the FCO rule barring Papists from the job; yet he has a depth of theological knowledge that makes him ideal for the post, such a depth in fact that it’s hard to process that he’s an Irish Catholic. He has also, largely by his own initiative, rescued what used to be a diplomatic backwater and made it rather an important post.

So it’s rather depressing that the rumours around Francis’ replacement have centred around, well, superannuated politicians. First the rumour was that Cameron was going to give the job to Ann Widdecombe, a prospect that will have had many people falling off their chairs. Widders is an admirable woman in some ways, but someone with such a reputation for, let’s not put too fine a point on this, bluntness shading into outright rudeness is not an obvious candidate for diplomacy. Yes, she can work to a brief, but one wonders about the mental processes of anyone who thought she would be a good fit for the art of getting your way by discreet persuasion.

But now there’s a twist in the tale. From behind Uncle Rupert’s paywall, Ruth Gledhill informs us that Widders is not taking on the Vatican job as she’s due to go on Strictly Come Dancing instead. So who might be in the frame? Ruth tweets that the favourite at the moment is Chris Patten. Yes, that Chris Patten. The legendary Tory grandee, diplomatic troubleshooter, papal visit coordinator and trustee of That Magazine We Don’t Mention. This may just be some kite-flying, but it’s as plausible as anything else.

Pros and cons? Well, Lord Patten does have a well-earned reputation for competence and is known to be quite good at discreet persuasion. One may also whimsically hope that he will confirm the Holy Father’s opinion of the state of English Catholicism, and hasten the long-overdue housecleaning. On the debit side, should Chris get the job Ma Pepsi will be insufferably smug, and Bobbie Mickens might be able to dry his eyes for a little while. One may expect a veritable orgy of self-congratulation from those quarters.

Who really believes there’s no lash-up between the government and the Tabletistas? Only dumbos.

61 Comments

  1. leftfooter said,

    July 26, 2010 at 12:28 am

    “Whimsically” is the word, to be sure. Of the two, I’d prefer Widders. I think she has the honesty of Hotspur, and would “cavil at the ninth part of a hair”.

  2. leftfooter said,

    July 26, 2010 at 12:35 am

    (Sorry, I hadn’t finished) cavil at the ninth part of a hair, rather than emit a cloud of nuances.

  3. Garibaldy said,

    July 26, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Wasn’t Patten’s speciality in Hong Kong alienating and annoying the Chinese with his arrogance? Such as going to Beijing and announcing how happy he was to be in Peking. And how will Oxford struggle by without its chancellor to raise money for it? Unless of course this is a cunning plot by the Oxford-educated Tory leadership to get Benny to fork over some of the papacy’s oodles of cash and portable property to Oxford colleges that squandered loads of their endowments in Iceland banks.

    Either way, the man is a fool.

  4. shane said,

    July 26, 2010 at 3:23 am

    “the American practice of handing prime diplomatic posts to superannuated politicians”

    Well in the Republic, our beautiful villa on Janiculum Hill was traditionally given to diplomats on the verge of retiring, usually as a reward for outstanding service elsewhere, but it’s taken much more seriously now and Irish ambassadors tend to be much younger. Interestingly, Russia recently upgraded its representation to a full-fledged embassy, believing that the Pope could act as a useful go-between with an increasingly hostile West. Iran has also used the Vatican as a mediator with the US and Vatican involvement was crucial in the recent deal in Cuba leading to the release of political prisoners.

    There were calls here recently for ending diplomatic relations with the Vatican, and while the Pope would regret that (being personally very friendly with President McAleese), it’d be nothing he wouldn’t get over very quickly. I think many in the Curia would be delighted however. While independent statehood is vital for securing the liberties of both the Pope and the Roman Curia, one of the downsides of maintaining international diplomatic relations has been the ability of governments to influence episcopal appointments. Interestingly, the French government, having unilaterally tore up the Napoleonic concordat in 1905, were reconceded the power of veto in the 1920s, which they unfortunately retain to this day. But even here government lobbying has been a significant factor in appointing bishops, and even cardinals (eg. Macrory over McQuaid – which was intended to de-emphacise paritition).

    I hope the Irish state does break off relations with the Vatican. One of the problems the Church throughout the western world is going to face in the future is lay reaction to the appointing of traditional bishops, when it begins to happen. The Vatican went extremely ‘soft’ after the fallout from the Second Vatican Council for mortal fear of a schism. This fear was probably not without warrant. One of the very very few decent bishops John Paul II ever appointed in his reign was Wolfgang Haas to the Diocese of Chur. Swiss lay and clerical groups, the diocesan Council of Priests, cathedrals chapters, all his fellow bishops and even the Swiss government went apoplectic and the Vatican was effectively forced into getting rid of him. Pope John Paul II consequently separated the Principality of Liechtenstein from the Diocese of Chur, elevated it to an Archdiocese and installed Archbishop Wolfgang Haas there. All hell broke loose. The Liechtenstein parliament voted by 24-1 to condemn the move, and a letter was signed by more than 8,000 Catholics (a third of all church members) denouncing the Pope’s decision. Prince Hans-Adam II (who is an absolute monarch) went furious with the papal nuncio when first informed but stayed neutral in public and attended his consecration. While Archbishop Haas has turned Liechenstein into a traditionalist friendly archdiocese, the Church in what is still a tiny archdiocese remains fractured and volatile. I think we’ll begin to see this happen on a massive scale all over the Catholic world in the not too distant future. Look at what happened to Fr Wagner, and he’s not even a traditionalist!

    When/if decent bishops begin to be appointed in Ireland, we’ll see self-styled “progressive” lay groups mobilize, probably joined by their friends in the media and academic elites. And Irish diplomacy will be fully at their services. Tim Pat Coogan recently wrote an article in the Sindo on ‘Why laity must choose bishops‘ in which he ‘strongly urged’ the state to effectively assume for itself a role in choosing bishops. This would be wholly detrimental to the cause of Tradition in the Church but it wouldn’t surprise me if something like this were to happen. The Vatican must resist such moves at any price.

  5. ththt said,

    July 26, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I wouldn’t make anything of this suggestion — his is just the name of a prominent Catholic who people have heard of and so Gledhill can just chuck out his name as a “favourite”.

  6. July 26, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Pattern was the Minister in charge of introducing the Poll Tax – but maybe that has passed beneath the religious radar.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk/2000/ruc_reform/780295.stm

  7. Doug said,

    July 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    ‘Widders is an admirable woman in some ways’ Unbelievable – what ways would that include – becoming a Catholic, by any chance?

    On that note I would be fascinated to hear an explanation for your transformation from pretty sound socialist to Catholic nut job.

    • July 27, 2010 at 12:13 am

      “transformation from pretty sound socialist to Catholic nut job”

      Wow, so many unjustified assumptions in that one sentence to unpick.

      • Phil said,

        July 27, 2010 at 9:42 am

        Still, it would be nice to hear some reflection from our host on a trajectory which might look to an only mildly unsympathetic eye like a transformation from pretty sound socialist to Catholic nut job.

      • Garibaldy said,

        July 27, 2010 at 9:57 am

        I’m not actually aware of SS saying he is a believer anywhere in any of these threads. Did I miss something?

      • Phil said,

        July 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

        I think you can read the Tablet without being a believer – or rather I know you can, I used to read my Dad’s copy (and he wasn’t even an Anglo-Catholic). I don’t think you can get quite that worked up about it, though.

      • Darius Jedburgh said,

        July 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm

        I think it’s more than mildly unsympathetic to treat Catholic and Catholic nut job as equivalent.

      • Garibaldy said,

        July 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

        I take your point Phil. Although part the reason I’ve been a bit surprised about the anger of some lefty readers here is that lots of leftists spend their time tracking the writings and activities of groups they seriously dislike and regard as fools etc in the minutest detail, and writing enormous angry screeds about them.

        For all I know SS is a daily communicant. But I don’t think it follows inevitably from what we’ve seen of late that he must be taking sides in these disputes from a position of being massively involved.

      • Phil said,

        July 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

        Darius – I don’t answer for Doug, so I can’t say whether he regards those two expressions as equivalent. But what’s brought me within a hairsbreadth of unsubbing certainly isn’t religious faith. (Apart from anything else, as Garibaldy points out, SS hasn’t actually blogged about what he personally believes.) It’s more the alignment with traditionalist – if not actively reactionary – tendencies within the church that bugs me; that, and the apparent lack of any reflection over who SS is ending up aligned with. Put it this way, not all the people who oppose well-meaning Guardian-reader liberalism do so from a position of class-struggle Marxism; perhaps not even most of them.

      • Liadnan said,

        July 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm

        Equally there are many degrees among traddy Catholicism (and I know at least one former Catholic now militant atheist who is very pro trad liturgy, his thinking seems to be “if you’re going to be Catholic you should be a proper Catholic”).
        In terms of the traddy spectrum, thinking the current pope is pretty much right about liturgy and doctrine and that he is basically one of the good guys in terms of the abuse&cover up crises -which seems to be roughly where our host is – put one rather at the leftwards end – particularly if you include the people who have effectively left the church, the sedevacantists and other people who think the SSPX, let alone the pope, are a bunch of dangerous liberals.
        Just because the wingnut tendency agree with Splintered when he criticises those seen as the progressives, doesn’t mean one can assume he’s with them all the way on everything.
        (In the same way many traddies, particularly Americans, rave about the pope because of what he has done in liturgical terms – as they see it – but tend not to be so keen on talking him up when he’s on about social doctrine or the environment)

      • shane said,

        July 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm

        ^^^Sorry, wrong reply button. I meant to address that to Liadnan.

        “the sedevacantists and other people who think the SSPX, let alone the pope, are a bunch of dangerous liberals.”

        That would include De Oliveira’s cult who see the SSPX as outright Marxists….

        http://www.traditioninaction.org/Question/B127_AngelusDiagram.html

        Incidentally the SSPX in Britain do a lot of good work with the homeless:

        http://www.angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=211154

      • Darius Jedburgh said,

        July 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm

        Phil,

        You seem to think that traditionalist Catholicism includes political conservatism as a component. What matters here is not what people who call themselves “traditionalist Catholics” believe, but what Catholic tradition actually says. Such tradition is typically correctly represented by the Pope but (and this is of course a bit of a SS theme) the Pope’s pronouncements tend to be completely ignored by non-Catholic media unless they or (more often) some distortion of them can be used to confirm various non-Catholic (or in the case of Tanya Gold et al splenetically anti-Catholic) prejudices.

        So for example, you mention in a later comment below “Catholic doctrine vis-a-vis private enterprise or wars of aggression.” What do you take such doctrine to be? On “private enterprise” one would hope that genuinely traditionalist Catholics would have read such prominent members of the tradition as St Ambrose, St Thomas Aquinas and Franscisco Suarez on property rights, from whom they would have learnt that Catholic Christianity actually involves a particularly demanding form of socialism. This core socialist message, whereby the common good, and especially alleviating the plight of the poor, is an absolute political priority, was affirmed unequivocally in Paul VI’s papal encyclical Populorum Progressio in 1967:

        http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum_en.html

        There is no reason to think that any subsequent Pope, including the current one, would dissent from a single word of this, precisely because it simply affirms principles the Church has always taught.

        On “wars of aggression,” are you unaware that Pope John Paul II was a steadfast opponent and bitterly hostile critic of the invasion of Iraq? Again, there can be no question of Benedict disagreeing with his predecessor’s evaluation. And again, the unanimity reflects the underlying principles the Church has always taught. On would hope that genuinely traditionalist Catholics would have read St Augustine and St Thomas on the ethics of war, and so would have learnt that Catholic Christianity places extremely stringent conditions on what can count as a legitimately prosecuted war — conditions that yield judgements in many contexts indistinguishable from pacifism. (WWII may well have failed to meet these conditions, for example, and there are certainly many things about the way the Allies waged that war that the Church unequivocally condemns and is right to condemn.)

      • Phil said,

        July 28, 2010 at 3:04 pm

        Darius – that was exactly and precisely the point I was making, as I hope you’ll see if you re-read my comment.

      • Darius Jedburgh said,

        July 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

        Now I’m really confused…

      • Phil said,

        July 28, 2010 at 4:44 pm

        Darius, here’s Doloras (with added emphasis):

        “As our host says: if you don’t actually agree with Catholic doctrine (esp. the sexual issues, because that’s what gets all good liberals screaming angry), then you’re best to figure out exactly what you do like about the Catholic Church”

        And here’s the relevant bit of my reply:

        How about Catholics who don’t actually agree with Catholic doctrine vis-a-vis private enterprise or wars of aggression or the death penalty? Is it only “liberals” (whatever that means) who get this “my way or the highway” treatment?

        Any clearer?

      • Darius Jedburgh said,

        July 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm

        Phil,

        Got it, thanks; and sorry about the needless lecture. I think I’m basically on your side against Doloras (*if* I now understand the dialectic): why think the pinko socio-political stuff is any more negotiable than the illiberal sex stuff? My own view is that it’s a lot less negotiable. But I’m also not sure that Doloras isn’t distorting the Splintered One’s (largely hinted-at) views on the matter.

    • shane said,

      July 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm

      Concerning your last point, there were interesting articles in the Remnant paper recently

      http://remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2010-0731-medaille-church-libertarian.htm

      http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2010-0630-ferrara-common-opinion.htm

    • shane said,

      July 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

      Oops again. The first link should be this:

      http://www.traditioninaction.org/Questions/B127_AngelusDiagram.html

      • July 27, 2010 at 11:01 pm

        Although not a Catholic believer at least since the age of 13, I do have a lot of sympathy for the idea that “if you’re going to be a Catholic, you should be a proper one”. As our host says: if you don’t actually agree with Catholic doctrine (esp. the sexual issues, because that’s what gets all good liberals screaming angry), then you’re best to figure out exactly what you do like about the Catholic Church, because whatever it is it can certainly be found in another faith, or indeed hobby.

        As to the point that the Catholic postings attract reactionaries who don’t like gay people very much to this blog, I kind of prefer it to the circle-jerking of people who agree on 99% of everything and are prepared to kill over the remaining 1% – witness the Socialist Unity endless comments box feuds on the class nature of the People’s Republic of China. At least we get a different kind of loony. No offense, Shane.

      • Phil said,

        July 28, 2010 at 9:56 am

        Doloras (the word is dolores, shirley?)

        “As our host says: if you don’t actually agree with Catholic doctrine (esp. the sexual issues, because that’s what gets all good liberals screaming angry), then you’re best to figure out exactly what you do like about the Catholic Church”

        That sounds persuasive, but it’s actually question-begging – you’re assuming that there’s only one possible set of non-negotiable core values of Catholicism, and (by a happy coincidence) they’re the same ones that you regard as non-negotiable core values. How about Catholics who don’t actually agree with Catholic doctrine vis-a-vis private enterprise or wars of aggression or the death penalty? Is it only “liberals” (whatever that means) who get this “my way or the highway” treatment?

  8. robert said,

    July 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Peking is the name of the Chinese capital in English so Johnny Chinaman can lump it. That was Lord Patten’s attitude. Things got so bad that the Chinese eventually cut him out the loop and talked over his head directly to London. Patten could achieve nothing since all power was going to Beijing after the handover and they knew it. After Hong Kong Patten became one of the commissars in Brussels for a stint. He never had to face anything so vulgar as an election after the indignity of losing Bath in 1992.

  9. Pippakin said,

    July 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Patten was and presumably still is a fool. He would be just right for the post.

    Widders, whatever anyone thinks of her, and I have no time for her, but she is no fool, especially if it is true she finds showbiz more interesting than the Vatican. At least she’s honest.

    BTW what is the ‘wordpress snapshot’ about. Im not in favour of such snooping. I could be sat here with nothing on!

    • andy newman said,

      August 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      As well as Pattern having been MP for Bath, Anne Widdicmbe comes from Bath, and actually went to a private Catholic School, the Convent school for girls, IIRC; although her own parents were Anglicans.

      The school is now defunct, but back in the day they used to wear rather fetching claret coloured uniforms.

  10. dr phibes said,

    July 27, 2010 at 11:13 am

    “a transformation from pretty sound socialist to Catholic nut job.”
    Since Doug’s contribution to socialism seems to consist of skating round the blogs depositing sour 2 line comments about how everyone else is a revisionist or a popular frontist, and radiating a general sense of joie de vivre that makes Timon of Athens look like Ant and Dec, I don’t think his accusations of apostasy can carry much water. I welcome SS’s new direction, which brings to mind what National Lampoon said about Bob Dylan – “a great Jew and an even better Christian”.

  11. mundabor said,

    July 27, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    “One may also whimsically hope that he will confirm the Holy Father’s opinion of the state of English Catholicism, and hasten the long-overdue housecleaning.”

    A Tablet trustee? Good luck with that.

  12. Garibaldy said,

    July 27, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I am sure this story will reaffirm the Anglo-Catholics in their determination to split from the Church of England.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10774706

  13. July 28, 2010 at 5:05 am

    The really angry Marxists should read the last paragraph of this post before ragequitting this blog. The issue that the liberal tendency of the Catholic Church are in thick with soft-neoliberal Cameronite (and Blairite) circles should be of intense interest to dialectical materialists. We might also think about whether our attitude to Islamist movements in the Middle East is consistent with that towards traditional Catholicism here.

    • Phil said,

      July 28, 2010 at 9:47 am

      On the contrary, it was the last paragraph that made me seriously want to unsub (“dumbos”, ffs.) The SS I used to read was partisan, but he was relaxed and witty with it – I would have unsubbed years ago if he’d written about the SWP in this tone of truculent self-pity.

      The idea that the liberal tendency of the Catholic Church are in thick with soft-neoliberal Cameronite (and Blairite) circles

      is a category error, as far as I’m concerned. Back when New Labour had a bit of intellectual self-confidence, Blairites colonised every soft-left group they could find, including the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform and the Christian Socialist Movement. To the extent that those groups went along with the invasion and carried on functioning, you could say that the CSM or the LCER was in thick with the Blairites. But the Christian Socialist tendency (harking back to T.H. Green), not to mention the electoral reform tendency, wasn’t sullied by the association. Similarly, Splinty seems to be conflating “a small group of people associated with the Tablet” with liberal Catholicism in more or less any form, essentially because he hates both of them.

      As for the Islamist movements, give me strength. (What was it someone was saying in comments the other week – How come the Muslims get such a good press?) Tell me you want to be free to preach your ideology and I’ll support you; tell me your ideology mandates peace and social justice and I’ll praise you; tell me it also mandates that a woman’s place is in the home and I’ll attack you. That’s always been the deal.

  14. magistra said,

    July 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I’m not an angry Marxist, I’m a liberal Anglican. I disagree with a lot of Catholic doctrines, but I’m not reflexively anti-Catholic. But when I’m reading a blog where some people commenting are apparently in favour of executing gay priests (shane) and of Holocaust deniers (sadie vacantist) and none of the other Catholics reading the blog think that such comments are at all problematic and ought to be challenged, I wonder where their moral compass has gone to.

    • Liadnan said,

      July 28, 2010 at 11:15 pm

      @magistra: you want us to dignify that stuff with a response?

  15. mundabor said,

    July 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Magistra,

    you may be Anglican, but you should know that being homosexual and committing the sin of the Sodomites are two different things and the second doesn’t unavoidably follow from the first more than child raping should unavoidably follow from having the relevant perversion.

    I haven’t read shane message, but if you think you disagree with her feel free to do so at your content.

    If this may help, that priests commit the sin of the Sodomites is such a grave offence not only to God, but to the credibility of the Church that Pope Pius V ordered that the priests found guilty of such abominations be delivered to the civil authorities, which punished sodomy with death.

    The relevant document is called “Horrendum Illud Scelus”; you find here the original Latin and Father Z’s English translation.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2006/11/official-document-from-rome-on-homosexual-activity-by-clerics/

    Pope Pius V is a Saint of the Church and one of the greatest Popes ever.

    And please now do not reply that I wish sodomite priests to be executed. I am just pointing out to the gravity of the scandal; gravity which you seem to conveniently hide under this very convenient word, “gay”.

    M

    • shane said,

      July 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm

      “I am just pointing out to the gravity of the scandal”

      Just to clarify to magistra: this was also my intent (I am a HE by the way) and I do not support the execution of homosexual priests (though I would be much much stricter with offences perpetrated by priests than laymen). St Pius V was writing at a time when homosexuality was a capital crime generally in the civil law.

      • magistra said,

        July 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm

        Shane – I am genuinely glad to hear that you do not support the execution of priests who have committed homosexual acts. I didn’t like think that any modern Catholic could be that cruel (though I know some Anglican Christians in Africa do still support such barbaric treatment).

        But this is where traditionalists need to start thinking about their image again. If you post a comment where you quote approvingly a previous Pope saying people should be executed for such behaviour, and you do not add anything to the effect that you/the church now see this as an inappropriate penalty, how am I supposed to know that you think that? Especially when so much traditional Catholic rhetoric is about the fact that the church’s attitudes and policies can never and should never change?

      • shane said,

        July 29, 2010 at 10:25 pm

        magista, point taken.
        .

  16. mundabor said,

    July 30, 2010 at 11:37 am

    “I didn’t like think that any modern Catholic could be that cruel”

    Cruelty is nothing to do with it. To commit sodomy is a cruelty made to Christ and a very bad one, traditionally considered only surpassed by blasphemy and the like.

    God doesn’t do political correctness and does not think according to secular “values”. The first commandment isn’t “do no harm”; nor is the second; nor the third or the fourth. There’s an emphatic message in this.

    The reason why sodomy is not punished with death is that civil authorities have stopped punishing contraventions of the Divine Law. Should they start to do it again, sodomy would be pretty much at the top of the list, as it has always be in the history of Christianity. Cue Christ taking it on several occasion as *epitome of all that is evil*, and its being one of only four sins “crying to Heaven for vengeance”.

    Furthermore (and from a purely moral point of view) it could be argued that punishment of sodomy with the death penalty makes sense in a society which has sufficiently clear the gravity of the sin and is ready to accept punishment of other sins (blasphemy; heresy), but looks out of place and of proportion in a context where not even blasphemy is severely punished.

    Cruelty is again nothing to do with it. It is not that the Church of the past was “cruel”. It wasn’t in the least. It was more charitable than today’s, for sure. But it operated in a different social and religious framework. No doubt countless souls have been saved from perdition by the rigid rules and the strict enforcement of the times. *This* is charity, not seeing countless souls march towards Hell with our smiling, “inclusive” condescension.

    Mundabor

    • Phil said,

      July 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      Cue Christ taking it on several occasion as *epitome of all that is evil*, and its being one of only four sins “crying to Heaven for vengeance”.

      Could we have chapter and verse on that? Synoptic Gospels preferred, John acceptable, no Apocrypha please. (NB ‘several’ generally implies ‘more than two’.)

      (I’m assuming that you were referring to Jesus Christ, the well-known founder of the Christian religion. If you were thinking of a different Mr Christ, please accept my apologies.)

      • andy newman said,

        August 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm

        “epitome of all evil” is not a term I recognise from any translation of the Testaments that I have ever seen.

        i think that Ms Rawlings uses that term to describe Voldemort though, perhaps Mundabor is getting his theologies ocnfused.

  17. leftfooter said,

    July 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Mundabor, I think you have a point here.

  18. mundabor said,

    August 4, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    “Could we have chapter and verse on that?”

    Try Matthew 11:23: “And thou Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted up to heaven? thou shalt go down even unto hell. For if in Sodom had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in thee, perhaps it had remained unto this day”. This is not the only reference, but you’ll have to find the others yourselves, I am a Protestant with the gospel verses always ready ;)

    That the sense here is exactly what I have told (= blasphemy of refusal of Our Lord is worse than everything else imaginable under the sun, even sodomy, clealry taken as the epitome of all that is evil) is not only clear enough from the words of Our Lord but is also the exp[licit interpretation of Bishop Fulton Sheen in his beautiful “Life of Christ”.

    Besides that, it has been Christian teaching for 2000 years and this should make even the necessity of chapter and verse redundant at least for a Catholic.

    M

    • neilcaff said,

      August 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      I think the point we should be debating is whether a 1500 year old conversation some Mediterranean bloke had with his imaginary friend should be taken as licence to denigrate and persecute a whole class of people in 2010, or be taken as a reference point in a discussion on homosexuality.

    • Phil said,

      August 4, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      Sorry, that’s nowhere near good enough to stand up your previous comment. (But I’ll accept your comment as a gracious concession that Jesus never actually mentioned gay sex, if you like.)

      Here’s what you wrote:

      “Cue Christ taking it on several occasion as epitome of all that is evil, and its being one of only four sins “crying to Heaven for vengeance”.”

      Let’s try that “one of only four sins”. What are the other three, and where does the direct quote come from?

  19. mundabor said,

    August 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I have not said “epitome of all that is evil” as a quotation from the Gospel, I have written *epitome of all that is evil* between asterisks because I can’t make the words bold or underlined.

    M

  20. mundabor said,

    August 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Apologies: I am *not* a Protestant etc.

  21. mundabor said,

    August 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    “Let’s try that “one of only four sins”. What are the other three, and where does the direct quote come from?”

    Good Lord,
    are you really going to tell me that you don’t know the “sins crying to Heaven for vengeance”?

    They are:
    1) wilful murder
    2) the sins of the sodomites
    3) the oppression of the widow and the orphan
    4) the fraud on the pay.

    You can find slightly different versions and there is fifth sin (the “cry of the people oppressed in Egypt”) which is not actual anymore, but the four I mentioned above have been Catholic doctrine from time immemorial.

    You need to get your basics right before you talk of “gay sex” as if wasn’t a disgusting abomination.

    M

    • Phil said,

      August 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm

      Ah, it’s from the Catechism. Silly me, I was thinking it might be something in the Gospels.

      As for the sins of the Cities of the Plain, I know what tradition supposes them to be as well as you; and you know what they were as well as I do, i.e. not at all.

      • neilcaff said,

        August 5, 2010 at 12:32 am

        My money is on the inhabitants of the Cities of the Plain being rivals and enemies to whoever wrote that particular section of the old Testement. The destruction of the CoP was probably the result of either;

        a) the tribe of the authors giving the CoP a right good pasting in a local bush fire war over water, territory, gold or who ever had the biggest imaginary friend. The ensuing pillage, rape and destruction being subsequently rewritten as just retribution for the CoP’s general wickedness and impiety.

        or

        b) some sort of natural disaster conveniently held up as punishment for the sins of the CoP.

      • mundabor said,

        August 5, 2010 at 8:54 am

        Phil, you may find the Sins crying to Heaven in a catechism (if it is well done, that is: an old one) but this is not really the point. This is Catholic Teaching. Catholic teaching is valid irrespective of its having a reference in the Gospel or not.

        As to your last, very obscure sentence, please explain: do you think the Sodomites were not homosexual? This is very funny, but I can’t believe you believe that…

  22. mundabor said,

    August 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    “(But I’ll accept your comment as a gracious concession that Jesus never actually mentioned gay sex, if you like.)”

    Phil, you must be kidding me.

    What do you think the Sodomites were destroyed for, exchanging Panini football figures?

    M

    • neilcaff said,

      August 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      My reading of it was that your imaginary friend sent a pair of angels to tell the natives to mend their evil ways but the natives went all Deliverance on the angels. After the mob rejected Lot’s very reasonable suggestion to offer up his daughter for gang rape your imaginary friend decided to punish this gross act of bad manners to guests by immolating an entire city of men, women and children.

      Nowadays of course we call that sort of thing genocide and all sorts of enquiries are made, sometimes resulting in the inconveniencing of the jet set lifestyle of certain heads of states or ex army generals.

      However in the minds of people like mundabor the story of Sod and Gomorrah is seen as the perfect starting point for a discussion on the rights of a group of our fellow citizens.

      • mundabor said,

        August 5, 2010 at 8:50 am

        Neicaff,
        your reading is just wrong and it would do a lot of good to you to start reading the Bible for a change.
        The destruction of Sodom is not the result of them raping, is the result of them being sodomites. And it is not to do with a single episode, but with the impossibility to find even a handful of people over there not devoted to such perversions. This is why everyone had to go.

        Now I hear your complaint that God’s Angel should have been sent in front of some tribunal in The Hague, but your complaint shows that you just don’t get the lesson.

        And yes, as I am a Christian, the Christian take on perversion does inform my view on how to see them. One being a “citizen” is fully irrelevant in this. Child rapers are “citizens” too.

        M

      • Phil said,

        August 5, 2010 at 11:32 pm

        “The men of Sodom were wicked and sinned greatly against the LORD.” – Genesis 13:13. There’s nothing in Genesis to support the later tradition that the sin of Sodom was male homosexuality, and nothing in the Gospels to suggest that Jesus held this view.

      • Mark P said,

        August 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm

        Neil, Phil,

        Why on earth would you engage with someone who is arguing that homosexuality is evil because God said so? What purpose are you hoping to achieve by encouraging this bigoted idiot to write more?

    • neilcaff said,

      August 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

      You’re right I don’t get the lesson. Your omniscient imaginary friend should have known the summary destruction of whole cities and the use of women bodies as bargaining tools might be a little hard to spin as some sort of salutatory moral lesson in 2010. Perhaps Splinty should pen a witty missive to her telling her to get a better spin doctor?

      Mind you I am quite morally deficient you know. For example I DO see a difference between people who rape children and consenting adults who have sex with people of the same gender. Some of them are even my friends. Imagine that!

      Perhaps I should read the Bible so I can bring my morality to the same level as yours?

  23. mundabor said,

    August 4, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    “I think the point we should be debating is whether a 1500 year old conversation some Mediterranean bloke had with his imaginary friend should be taken as licence to denigrate and persecute a whole class of people in 2010, or be taken as a reference point in a discussion on homosexuality”.

    More confused.
    If the “bloke” you were referring to is Jesus, I’d say it is 2000 years and He is Our Lord, so what he said (and *what the Church says is what he said*, whether it is directly to be found in the Gospel or not) is highly relevant to our salvation.

    On the matter, it is not about “persecuting” a category of people. To have a disgraceful tendency *does not mean to have to act on it*, period. This is, again, the teaching of the Church, not my personal opinion on the matter.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

    M

    • neilcaff said,

      August 4, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      I was referring to the rough time when the earliest known Gospels were written not Jesus himself.

      Also given the highly partisan nature of the recording of the actual Gospel’s I think we are on safer ground saying this is what Mathew wrote (i.e. some Mediterranean bloke) rather than what Jesus said. After all if someone like Stalin can get away with rewriting history only 70 years ago, you are naive in the extreme to think the authentic word of Jesus has survived for 2000 years.

      “On the matter, it is not about “persecuting” a category of people. To have a disgraceful tendency *does not mean to have to act on it*, period. This is, again, the teaching of the Church, not my personal opinion on the matter”

      This goes to the heart of what is so utterly repellent about traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality. There is nothing “disgraceful” about the act of homosexual intercourse when it is between two consenting adults. When it is in the context of a loving relationship it can be part of the fulfilment of the best aspects of the human condition, love, friendship, desire and solidarity. I am not gay myself but I cannot imagine what my life would be like without these experiences if my sexual preferences were different and repulsive creatures like you were given free reign in society. To deny these experiences to our fellow citizens and instead condemn them to a life of hopeless longing and frustration all out of fealty to an obscurantist ideology seems to me to be cruel in the extreme. In the real world this would be the real consequences of your preposterous notion that all homosexual people should abstain from sex for all of their lives gaining common currency, depression, isolation, confusion, despair for those viewed to have a “disgraceful tendency”.
      Being gay is not an ideology or fashion choice, the act of homosexual sex is bound up with the state of being gay.

  24. shane said,

    August 5, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    “The 4 Sins Crying to Heaven for Vengeance” Mundabor mentions are listed in most traditional catechisms and missals.

    They are:

    Willful murder
    The sin of Sodom
    Oppression of the poor
    Defrauding labourers of their wages

    http://www.fisheaters.com/lists.html

    and for an elementary catechism lesson….

    The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy
    To feed the hungry
    To give drink to the thirsty
    To clothe the naked
    To shelter the homeless
    To visit the sick
    To visit the imprisoned
    To bury the dead

    The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy
    To counsel the doubtful
    To instruct the ignorant
    To admonish the sinner
    To comfort the sorrowful
    To forgive all injuries
    To bear wrongs patiently
    To pray for the living and the dead

    The 3 Eminent Good Works
    Prayer
    Fasting
    Almsgiving

    The 12 Fruits of the Holy Ghost
    Charity
    Joy
    Peace
    Patience
    Benignity
    Goodness
    Longanimity
    Mildness
    Faith
    Modesty
    Continency
    Chastity

    The 7 Gifts of the Holy Ghost
    Wisdom
    Understanding
    Counsel
    Fortitude
    Knowledge
    Piety
    Fear of the Lord

    The 3 Theological Virtues
    Faith
    Hope
    Charity

    The 4 Cardinal Virtues
    Prudence
    Justice
    Fortitude
    Temperance

    The 7 Capital Sins
    Pride
    Greed
    Lust
    Anger
    Gluttony
    Envy
    Sloth

    And their 7 Contrary Virtues
    Humility
    Liberality
    Chastity
    Meekness
    Temperance
    Brotherly Love
    Diligence

    The 6 Sins against the Holy Ghost
    Presumption
    Despair
    Resisting the known truth
    Envy of another’s spiritual good
    Obstinacy in sin
    Final impenitence

    The 9 Ways We Participate in Others’ Sins
    By counsel
    By command
    By consent
    By provocation
    By praise or flattery
    By concealment
    By partaking
    By silence
    By defense of the ill done

    The 6 Precepts of the Church
    To go to Mass and refrain from servile work on Sundays and holy days
    To go to Confession at least once a year
    To receive the Eucharist at least once a year, during the Easter Season
    To observe the days of fasting and abstinence
    To help to provide for the needs of the Church according to one’s abilities and station in life
    To obey the marriage laws of the Church

    The 9 Choirs of Angels (In ascending order)
    Angels
    Archangels
    Principalities
    Powers
    Virtues
    Dominations
    Thrones
    Cherubim
    Seraphim

    The 3 Levels of Reverence
    Dulia: the reverence we give to Saints
    Hyperdulia: the reverence we give to Mary as the greatest of Saints and Mother of God
    Latria: the reverence and worship we give to God alone

    The 3 Powers of the Soul
    Memory
    Intellect
    Will

    The 4 Pillars of the Catholic Faith
    The Apostles Creed
    The Seven Sacraments
    The Ten Commandments
    The Lord’s Prayer

    The 3 Pillars of the Church’s Authority
    Sacred Scripture
    Sacred Tradition
    Living Magisterium

    The 3 Munera (Duties of the Ordained)
    Munus docendi (duty to teach, based on Christ’s role as Prophet)
    Munus sanctificandi (duty to sanctify, based on Chris’s role as Priest)
    Munus regendi (duty to shepherd, based on Christ’s role as King)

    The 3 Parts of the Church
    The Church Militant (Christians on Earth)
    The Church Suffering (Christians in Purgatory)
    The Church Triumphant (Christians in Heaven)

    The 7 Sacraments (The Holy Mysteries)
    Baptism
    Confirmation
    Eucharist
    Penance
    Matrimony
    Holy Orders
    Extreme Unction

    The 8 Beatitudes
    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
    Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.
    Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted
    Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill
    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
    Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God
    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God
    Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

    The 4 Last Things (The Novissima)
    Death
    Judgement
    Heaven
    Hell


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