Thursday, February 14, 2013

The wisdom of Cardinal Arinze


I have always loved Cardinal Arinze! And his words in this interview are just a delight to hear. If anyone is still anxious or concerned about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, please listen to the words of this wise and holy man, skipping to the 3:00 mark if you don't have time for the whole five minutes! :)









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65 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I love listening to Cardinal Arinze. He is such an amazing teacher. If you are interested in learning more from Cardinal Arinze, check out http://www.familycatechism.com/#0020100070101_+Francis_Cardinal_Arinze.

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  2. Thank you Leila. I was very apprehensive and this really put my fears to rest. And thank you Debbie, I will definitely be checking out the link you posted. The Cardinal seems amazing!

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  3. There is such obvious peace in Cardinal Arinze's heart. I'm so proud of our Church, of our Cardinals. Thank you for sharing, Leila.

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  4. I've really liked Cardinal Arinze since I saw this clip awhile ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3MRyKfEHA

    "You don't need a cardinal to answer that!" Seriously, that needs to be a catch phrase.

    I don't care how old he is, I'd be thrilled to have him as our pope for as many days, weeks, months, years we could get. I also think, should there come a time when he felt that he could no longer serve the Church as best as he could, that he would be responsible as Pope Benedict XVI has been, and step down.

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  5. Thank you for posting this, I am really touched. His way of talking is so easy to listen to, for a lot of people I would think. I'd really like to say a lot of wise things now, but I think I'll just send this video to a lot of people! Can't top that...

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  6. It is important to remember this, Cardinal Arinze is a wise man.

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  7. He is so wise! I love when he talked about sentiment and the danger of putting too much sentiment into our faith or toward the popes.

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  8. I am so looking forward to the election of the new Pope. No one can guess who it's going to be but we know the person elected will be given tremendous graces, and will have the prayers of many. I am still sad whenever I think of Pope Benedict leaving. Even the way he left was so brilliantly and thoughtfully done. He resigned before people started saying he should, and he kept it so well under wraps that there were no rumors beforehand. I am glad for him, that he will be living peacefully in a monastery where no one will be able to bother him and he can spend time in prayer. I am just so grateful that he has been our Holy Father!

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  9. Being a cardinal entails a great number of statements such as this: The church has always been correct, the message of Jesus is forever unchanging, all is always well, the Pope is wise indeed! In exchange for regurgitating such pabulum, the sheep dutifully compliment the cardinal on his supreme wisdom. Master, nothing pleases me more than groveling on my knees before thee!

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  10. Gavin, lol, let me guess… you are not a fan of the Catholic Church? Instead of hit-and-run insults (man, are those ever easy! and oh, so boring), try to offer something for dialogue. Blessings!

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  11. The burden is on you, Leila: You are arguing Cardinal Arinze is a font of wisdom.  I merely call attention to the insipidity of his words, in the clip you've posted.  If you disagree, please quote the Arinze-sentence you consider most wisdom-filled.

    Were we to assemble 117 eminent moral experts to select Jesus' earthly representative-for-life, would it make sense to you that not a single woman be included or considered?

    The papal-selection process is a bizarre form of sausage production--one in which the fawning, flattering, subservient sheep are asked to view as being guided by the author of the universe. A special gift for gullibility would appear to be prerequisite.

    So: You haven't quite closed the sale yet with me--fair enough.

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing that video. I love it! Although I was already thinking along the same lines as what he said, I loved his perspective as he heard it from the pope and I love how relaxed as he reminds us of the (very true) aspect that the pope is a servant, but it is Christ who our Church relies on. Praying for all the Cardinals in their decisions to be made, in particular for whomever becomes the new pope, as well as for Pope Benedict in the remaining days of his papacy. I will say that I'm not sure I've seen much recent photography or video of Pope Benedict, and he does seemed to have aged dramatically.

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  13. As further information for the half-informed (little knowledge being dangerous)…

    1) Conclaves, which elect Popes in the Catholic Church, were established only after 1059, to put an end to political interference in the affairs of, and appointments in, the Church.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_conclave

    (Pope Stephen VI was not elected in 896 by a conclave/College of Cardinals).

    2) There have been several bad/weak Popes in the Church. A Pope, despite his elevated position and authority, is not the Church. The Magisterium of the Church (the Pope, in union with all the Bishops of the Church) in its teachings on matters of faith and morals, is infallible - by the author of the universe. A Pope's personal opinions, decisions and actions - especially in matters not related to Church doctrine - have never been deemed by Catholics to be infallible, nor guaranteed to be sinless.

    3) There is a fuller story of the macabre Cadaver Synod convened by Pope Stephen VI, than the brief one linked to in a previous comment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadaver_Synod

    For further information of the half-informed (little knowledge being dangerous)…

    Respects to those who offer something concrete, comprehensive (and courteous) for dialogue.

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  14. And Gavin continues to insult and condescend.

    Gavin, I have entertained all sorts of arguments on this blog, and engaged atheists and secularists from every walk of life. Many have earned my respect. You are not in that category. Perhaps you were never taught manners; I can't be sure. But what I am sure of is that your inability to raise the dialogue past junior-high taunts (again, how boring… I mean, we Catholics have never heard any of that before), says more about you than about the Church.

    To answer you briefly, re: showing you wisdom. Let's go very basic and have Wiki define "wisdom" for us:

    Wisdom is the judicious application of knowledge. It is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgments and actions in keeping with this understanding.

    So you see, wisdom is nothing I (nor anyone) can give to you, nor is it something I can help you recognize. If you want to try another question (without the insults and condescension), I'm happy to go from there. If you continue to insult, I will simply vaporize the next comment, as I will consider you a troll.

    And, yes, it makes perfect sense to me that there are currently no women among the College of Cardinals. I have no issue with men electing the next pope. Why, as an anti-Catholic, should you?

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  15. Yes, our Holy Father is "teaching us more things than we realize." Pope Benedict knows this is a dire and divine time in the history of the Catholic Church. I believe the Pope wants to bring in someone new and strong and not yet burdened with the responsibilities he has faced over the past several years with ailing health in his way. Why hasn't God healed him? Because He led our Holy Father to abdicate; God is stepping up the ante and I can't wait to see what HE has in mind!!

    DD

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  16. Thanks Leila.

    I am a long-time enrolled member at my local Catholic Church--where I served as an altar boy have participated in numerous educational and social activities.

    While a non-believer, I get along well with many adherent Catholics. I interviewed a legendary local priest for an hour, just a few weeks ago, without a moment's rancor--ending with a very cordial adieu and a handshake.

    In your post above, you refer to the wisdom of Cardinal Arinze. I listened to the video--and came upon no wisdom. So I ask you to quote Arinze's most wisdom-filled sentence. Once we find any person in this thread willing to post such a sentence, we can proceed to a more substantive and productive discussion. It is not fair to make me cull the video for such a sentence--as I have already tried and come up empty-handed.

    Further, I note you accuse me of bigotry. Can you please quote the sentence of mine which you consider most bigoted? I take your accusation seriously--and look forward to discussing it, once you provide whatever evidence you may possess. Until then, I can only express my dismay and indignant disquiet.

    I am happy to see that we agree on this important point: An upright person can strongly reject Catholicism without any bigotry or ill intent--and even earn your respect in the process.

    Perhaps your accusation of 'bigotry' centers upon my contention that the process for selecting a pope lacks rational foundation.

    If that is your viewpoint, I hasten to remind you that many churchgoing Catholics accept the suggestion that 'It would be an improvement were at least one woman allowed to play a role in the selection of the next pope.'

    Most American Catholics--I conjecture--do not identify bigotry within that suggestion. (Should you disagree, I would be happy to conduct some field research.)

    All the best,

    Gavin Sullivan
    Eden Prairie, MN

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  17. Hi Gavin!

    If you want to specifically discuss a point of Catholic doctrine, please let's discuss. Name the doctrine or topic. One at a time so we can focus.

    If you need me to "show" you wisdom, I cannot do it. We disagree fundamentally on what is wise. I made very clear that the words of the Cardinal Arinze to his people are very wise. From 3:00 on, specifically. First, the words are not meant for you. And, second, one cannot "show" wisdom to he who will not see it. So, we disagree and cannot have that discussion. You can show my your "wisdom" and I would not think it wise either. Let's go with something more objective.

    The bigotry was in the insults. You can look above for more, but here is one example of your bigotry towards Catholics:

    "...regurgitating such pabulum, the sheep dutifully compliment the cardinal on his supreme wisdom."

    Or, was that an indication of our reasonableness, and that you feel we are worthy of respect even in disagreement?

    Please tell me what that and the other insults were for, since they were (as you insist) not signs of your anti-Catholic bigotry? Thanks so much!

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  18. I should never rush a comment as I am going out the door. To focus a bit (because clarity is our friend): Gavin, what is the issue you would like to discuss? You don't like the process for electing a pope? I guess my question for a non-believer is, Why do you care? I personally don't care at all what the Mormons do to appoint or elect their leaders, for example. Is this an academic exercise for you? If so, I would say, you are free to disagree with how popes are elected (Catholics are free to disagree, too). How popes are elected is not a matter of immutable doctrine.

    Personally, I think it's great!

    Blessings!

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  19. Thanks Leila.  I very much value our discussion--and indeed believe it merits far greater national attention that it has thus far achieved, particularly at this moment.



    I reply more comprehensively here.

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  20. Gavin, I hope you attract and garner a huge discussion on your blog, as I don't see what has occurred here as being much of a discussion at all. Take care and be sure to come back as soon as you want to debate an actual issue.

    In the meantime, I hope you enjoy watching the conclave, as I know I will.

    Blessings!

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  21. Okay, thanks Leila--and if you ever are willing to answer any substantive question, by all means let me know.  Sorry your stated premise proved so inoperative, in practice.  Thanks again.

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  22. Go ahead and actually ask a substantive question, Gavin, and I'd be happy to answer! Thanks so much! :)

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  23. Citizens have good reason to care how other countries select their leaders.

    When a nation chooses its head of state through transparently illegitimate processes, the United States of America should--at the least--voice criticism.

    It is time for the USA to publicly ask the Vatican to select its leader in an ethically-defensible, non-misogynistic process.

    When the Vatican employs its preferred male-only, anti-democratic process, non-Catholics worldwide have good reason to feel and express revulsion.

    Won't you join me in this campaign?

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  24. Gavin, nope, I certain won't. Frankly, in my entire life as a Catholic (and in the past 18 years of being a very serious, public, active Catholic), I have never heard of this "campaign". I don't think it's too active?

    In fact, in my experience, the non-Catholics I encounter are fascinated by the process and really enjoy watching.

    Anyway, as you certainly must know, the Church is the Church. She has been the Church long before Vatican City was a declared a state, she is now, and she will be long after. No worries, the pope has no army at all (wait, does the Swiss Guard worry you? jk, jk). She is only armed with a moral and doctrinal law that no one has to listen to nor follow (but folks still seem to fear?).

    So many answer to your question is "no". But you already knew that.

    I am happy to go on to the next question.

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  25. Gavin, the church is not a democracy. Why would it have a democratic process for selecting its leaders?

    Why do you have such hatred of men? Perhaps you should explore the reasons for your virulent misandry.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, JoAnna.  I don't think it's a good idea for any religion to be represented as a government, on the international stage.  It sends the message that Catholicism should be taken more seriously than other magic-based belief systems.

      I don't think Poseidon deserves Observer status at the United Nations.

      So the government of the US should publicly offer good-willed criticism of the Vatican, letting the world know that we don't think religion-based states are a good idea, particularly one employing full-on gender apartheid within its leadership class.

      So JoAnna, we agree that the Catholic Church is extremely antidemocratic.  The choices for the Catholic Church, going forward, will certainly be difficult.

      I am not advocating internal democratization, within the Catholic Church.  I am simply saying that fiercely antidemocratic religion-based states should be phased out.

      Your second point, JoAnna--in which you ask why I have 'such hatred for men'--I consider a bit beneath my pay grade.

      Separately, for attentive readers:

      Those who have followed our recent exchange are aware that Ms. Miller has strongly attacked my honor--labeling me an anti-Catholic bigot.

      In response, I have replied--commenting upon Leila Miller's ethics.

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  26. Gavin, do you know why the Church does not ordain women? With which of the Church's reasons do you disagree?

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    1. To be honest, no--I don't know why the Catholic Church does not ordain women. Nor do I know why my Chinese in-laws used to offer fresh orange slices upon the altar to their ancestors, to the left of their washing machine. I mean, I'm entirely willing to learn why the Church does not ordain women--though I conjecture that learning will have no impact upon my principled rejection of Catholicism.

      Thank you, Sharon, for participating in this important conversation.

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  27. Gavin, does the power and armies of Vatican State scare you? I'm not really invested in your answer, just mildly curious.

    And honestly, the subject matter you are so invested in does not interest me at all (I've written for almost three years here, and I am not sure it's ever come up), so you will have to find others to discuss it with. It's not anything I'm concerned with or which compels me at all. You might have found the wrong blog if that's your issue.

    As for your status as an anti-Catholic bigot, I will allow your words to stand and let the readers decide.

    Many blessings!

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    1. *do the power and armies

      I should never write when I first awake, ha ha!

      Anyway, good luck going forward with your campaign.

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  28. Wow! All this alarmist ranting against the allegedly powerful and malevolent Church! How amazing! How is the Church actually stopping anybody from doing anything? All it is doing is safeguarding the deposit of Faith – and preaching it for consideration by the world. Yet even that seems to make people break into a cold sweat - and fuel their hatred and rage! Never mind that they have free will and a conscience, and all the ability in the world to slap on those condoms, or pop those birth control pills, or attend their Aunt Mabel’s fauxrdination, or celebrate Adam & Steve’s “wedding”, or drive their daughter to a "clinic" to have their grandchild killed. Even if someone gets excommunicated, they’re not made to wear a red “E”, or forced to sit in the back pews in church, or anything. No priest stops them from receiving the sacraments. No Swiss Guard patrols the prophylactic aisle at the drugstore. No one is stopping anyone from doing anything. Nobody. Still the frantic attempts to silence the free voice of two billion Christians daily gather pace. Truly, how amazing!

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  29. Francis, such good questions…. where does the fear come from? Why does the Church scare people? The only thing I can think of is that she still says "no" to sin. Heck, the fact that she even acknowledges that sin still exists is enough to make people despise her and wish to silence her. You are so right… she has no power to stop anyone from doing anything they please.

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  30. Religions often encourage believers to take a head-in-sand psychic stance, congratulating fellow adherents for viewing themselves as the universe's sole non-blind community. Participants seek insulation from outside inquiry.

    The blogpost commends Cardinal Arinze for his 'wisdom.' I entered the fray and asked the gathered faithful the most obvious conceivable critical question: What particular sentence, within the Cardinal's statement, do you consider most insightful?

    The statement is in fact quite bland and party-line and would not appear to constitute any profile in courage.

    As a compliant enthusiast within a mental North Korea, your job is to constantly praise the dear leader, always ready to upstage the next guy in groveling to the boss.
    When we toady as a means of bonding with coreligionists, it is irritating when non-believers point (metaphorical) cameras at us.

    The reason they can't come up with any example of Cardinal Arinze's wisdom, of course: There is none there.

    Never fear: A rhetorical crutch remains ever available, to the clever Catholic: Cast aspersions and dogmatically assert a massive 'wisdom gulf' eternally dividing Catholic from atheist. Declare the topic settled.

    An old favorite, of the Catholic apologist: To express a generally positive disposition to ideological engagement--while identifying disqualifying minutiae within every particular potential opening.

    If any person still takes Leila Miller seriously as a diagnoser of bigotry, by all means please let's talk. She's now backed off any evidence for her sulfurous charge--though she can't bring herself to formally retract. She tells herself sophisticated bloggers don't apologize, even when wrong. (A sadly prevalent misunderstanding. /Ed.)

    Another rhetorical tactic beloved by religious dogmatists is 'to flood the field.' If we must talk, let's talk about 100 issues at a time--that will easily prevent any difficult questioning.

    Francis' statement is a good example: To avoid substantive discussion of the topic at hand--whether it makes sense for the Catholic Church to control a state--she puts forward a slew of other issues that might also divide us.

    Prior to taking up a new debate topic, let us first agree our initial topic has been satisfactorily examined.

    It is entirely fine for Leila to say, 'You know, I don't much care one way or the other, whether the Vatican enjoys state status. It could be ended tomorrow and I wouldn't give a fig. The topic bores me, in fact.' Her actual, non-paraphrased quotation: 'It's not anything I'm concerned with or which compels me at all.'

    Such a conclusion is satisfactory to me--provided we acknowledge no party has been determined to have any unwholesome interest on this particular matter.

    Finding an adherent Catholic who is genuinely willing to defend the faith--and respond to substantive questions--is an extreme rarity, though some evince awareness of the potential reputational damage, from hanging out a shingle saying 'I know all, I hold the keys to the universe--and I don't answer any serious questions.'

    In response, some people pretend to be open to dialog, while abjuring any substantive response to any particular meaty question.

    The religious person wants to assert the right to nix any or all specific questions encountered. Having successfully mau-maued his interlocutor, the religious dogmatist covets the right to be appointed sole admissible author, for any and all 'hard questions.'

    Kim Jong Il has spawned a spiritual sibling.

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  31. @Francis: you are a good writer. I don't actually agree with anything you said, but it gave me a good laugh nonetheless.

    @Gavin: You are barking up the wrong tree. I'm not Catholic and I agree with some of your points, but this is a Catholic blog for Catholics and I don't think you'll get any satisfaction from arguing your points here. At least not with your attitude of belittlement.

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    1. You are in error, Johanne: Leila Miller is emphatic on this point--and openly welcomes contributions and participation from the non-superstitious.

      (See 'Read this first,' above, should you remain unclear on this point.)

      Further, I do not require your assistance in determining my own potential satisfaction, as regards where I contribute my commentary--and the rhetorical stance I take.

      Peace!

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  32. PART 1

    @ Gavin Sullivan

    RELIGIONS OFTEN ENCOURAGE BELIEVERS TO TAKE A HEAD-IN-SAND PSYCHIC STANCE, CONGRATULATING FELLOW ADHERENTS FOR VIEWING THEMSELVES AS THE UNIVERSE'S SOLE NON-BLIND COMMUNITY.

    What is a head-in-sand psychic stance, sir? Engaging the great questions of life (I’m making an assumption here that you happen to know what they are?) with intellectual reasoning, philosophy and science - yes, even science - or attempting to explain away a most complex and highly intelligible universe with an infantile, dismissive “everything happened by sheer chance and everything exists for no discernible ultimate purpose” statement? The Big Bang theory which underpins so much of physics right now was developed (as you MIGHT know) by a Georges Lemaître. Would you also happen to know who that brilliant gentleman was? (Just checking your credentials, if you wouldn’t mind.)

    PARTICIPANTS SEEK INSULATION FROM OUTSIDE INQUIRY.

    Then how do you explain the availability to the entire world of a masterpiece of systematic reasoning and comprehensive argument such as Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiæ, which is universally acknowledged as one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature? Or will you duck for cover by disputing that fact as well?

    THE BLOGPOST COMMENDS CARDINAL ARINZE FOR HIS 'WISDOM.' I ENTERED THE FRAY AND ASKED THE GATHERED FAITHFUL THE MOST OBVIOUS CONCEIVABLE CRITICAL QUESTION: WHAT PARTICULAR SENTENCE, WITHIN THE CARDINAL'S STATEMENT, DO YOU CONSIDER MOST INSIGHTFUL?

    Leila has already answered this.

    THE STATEMENT IS IN FACT QUITE BLAND AND PARTY-LINE AND WOULD NOT APPEAR TO CONSTITUTE ANY PROFILE IN COURAGE.

    Except the Church isn’t actually a party, and speaking wisely doesn’t actually always involve courage – my neighbor’s gentle six year old daughter does it regularly.

    AS A COMPLIANT ENTHUSIAST WITHIN A MENTAL NORTH KOREA, YOUR JOB IS TO CONSTANTLY PRAISE THE DEAR LEADER, ALWAYS READY TO UPSTAGE THE NEXT GUY IN GROVELING TO THE BOSS.

    If you say so, I guess. If you were a genuinely studied man - instead of the half-baked, hollow critic that you are (with your well demonstrated head-in-sand psychic stance) of the world’s largest non political association - you’d have already been aware of the profound theological and philosophical debates and disputations and open contests of ideas that have raged within the Church communities ever since its inception, and still do.

    WHEN WE TOADY AS A MEANS OF BONDING WITH CORELIGIONISTS, IT IS IRRITATING WHEN NON-BELIEVERS POINT (METAPHORICAL) CAMERAS AT US.

    No, it is irritating (and massively time wasting) when smart-arse non believers (and there are plenty of respectable and respectful ones) merely hurl two bit insults at us as we go about our purposeful lives, presumably to prove – because they don’t usually prove anything else - what a fearsome command they have of the sardonic English language. Oh, wow! We should be so impressed!

    THE REASON THEY CAN'T COME UP WITH ANY EXAMPLE OF CARDINAL ARINZE'S WISDOM, OF COURSE: THERE IS NONE THERE.

    Wisdom is an intangible quality among humans, developed from judicious use of one’s principles, reason and knowledge. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is wisdom in the mind of the thinker. If it wasn’t so, a nation wouldn’t have elections to determine who the majority imagine might be best suited (read: wisest) to lead it. There’d simply be objective wisdom on display for all to see and accept unquestioningly – and elect. Your principles and/or powers of reason and/or breadth of knowledge (or lack thereof) preclude you at this juncture from seeing any wisdom in Cardinal Arinze’s submissions. And that’s fine. There’s no need however, for you to precociously stamp your feet and jump up and down repeatedly bemoaning the fact that others aren’t constricted by your own current inadequacies. Do settle down. Live and let live and all that, you know, ... there’s a good boy now.

    continued...

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  33. PART 2

    NEVER FEAR: A RHETORICAL CRUTCH REMAINS EVER AVAILABLE, TO THE CLEVER CATHOLIC: CAST ASPERSIONS AND DOGMATICALLY ASSERT A MASSIVE 'WISDOM GULF' ETERNALLY DIVIDING CATHOLIC FROM ATHEIST. DECLARE THE TOPIC SETTLED.

    What great depth and expanse of wisdom is a clever Catholic supposed to discover in the propositions of a man who can’t even explain his own existence beyond that of being a chance animal? Wait, I know! Here’s the sum of such a man’s “wisdom”: First there was a singularity called nothing. Nothing caused anything to happen to this nothing. Nevertheless, it magically exploded with a big bang for no reason, creating everything, and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself into unbelievably complex, finely balanced and highly intelligible structures governed by breathtakingly elegant laws - for no reason at all. These then turned into dinosaurs which eventually evolved into intellectually superior atheists. Right. Next proposition, please.

    AN OLD FAVORITE, OF THE CATHOLIC APOLOGIST: TO EXPRESS A GENERALLY POSITIVE DISPOSITION TO IDEOLOGICAL ENGAGEMENT--WHILE IDENTIFYING DISQUALIFYING MINUTIAE WITHIN EVERY PARTICULAR POTENTIAL OPENING.

    A “potential opening” as in the vomiting of uncouth ridicule of the intellects of the vast majority of the world (85% of its population by last count) who are believers – and thinkers and philosophers? Even by the most basic law of averages there would be a million substantial intellects between them – but perhaps atheists don't believe in the law of averages or a roughly equal distribution of intelligence, as is suggested by the demonstration of anti-believer bigotry on this page by one of their ilk.

    IF ANY PERSON STILL TAKES LEILA MILLER SERIOUSLY AS A DIAGNOSER OF BIGOTRY, BY ALL MEANS PLEASE LET'S TALK. SHE'S NOW BACKED OFF ANY EVIDENCE FOR HER SULFUROUS CHARGE--THOUGH SHE CAN'T BRING HERSELF TO FORMALLY RETRACT. SHE TELLS HERSELF SOPHISTICATED BLOGGERS DON'T APOLOGIZE, EVEN WHEN WRONG. (A SADLY PREVALENT MISUNDERSTANDING. /ED.)

    ANOTHER RHETORICAL TACTIC BELOVED BY RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS IS 'TO FLOOD THE FIELD.' IF WE MUST TALK, LET'S TALK ABOUT 100 ISSUES AT A TIME--THAT WILL EASILY PREVENT ANY DIFFICULT QUESTIONING.

    FRANCIS' STATEMENT IS A GOOD EXAMPLE: TO AVOID SUBSTANTIVE DISCUSSION OF THE TOPIC AT HAND--WHETHER IT MAKES SENSE FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO CONTROL A STATE--SHE PUTS FORWARD A SLEW OF OTHER ISSUES THAT MIGHT ALSO DIVIDE US.

    For your further education: Francis, when spelled with an “i”, is a masculine name. The feminine is Frances – with an “e”. You may consider this a free lesson.

    Continued...

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  34. PART 3

    PRIOR TO TAKING UP A NEW DEBATE TOPIC, LET US FIRST AGREE OUR INITIAL TOPIC HAS BEEN SATISFACTORILY EXAMINED.

    IT IS ENTIRELY FINE FOR LEILA TO SAY, 'YOU KNOW, I DON'T MUCH CARE ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, WHETHER THE VATICAN ENJOYS STATE STATUS. IT COULD BE ENDED TOMORROW AND I WOULDN'T GIVE A FIG. THE TOPIC BORES ME, IN FACT.' HER ACTUAL, NON-PARAPHRASED QUOTATION: 'IT'S NOT ANYTHING I'M CONCERNED WITH OR WHICH COMPELS ME AT ALL.'

    SUCH A CONCLUSION IS SATISFACTORY TO ME--PROVIDED WE ACKNOWLEDGE NO PARTY HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO HAVE ANY UNWHOLESOME INTEREST ON THIS PARTICULAR MATTER.

    FINDING AN ADHERENT CATHOLIC WHO IS GENUINELY WILLING TO DEFEND THE FAITH--AND RESPOND TO SUBSTANTIVE QUESTIONS--IS AN EXTREME RARITY, THOUGH SOME EVINCE AWARENESS OF THE POTENTIAL REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE, FROM HANGING OUT A SHINGLE SAYING 'I KNOW ALL, I HOLD THE KEYS TO THE UNIVERSE--AND I DON'T ANSWER ANY SERIOUS QUESTIONS.'

    More substantive questions have been addressed – and in astonishing depth – by Catholic theologians and philosophers over the centuries than a self aggrandizing atheist will ever come close to meaningfully tackling – that is, in a well-reasoned, logical and convincing way. You see, Catholics don’t hide behind a “it’s all a meaningless, purposeless, incomprehensible, chance thing anyway” cop-out. Only a week or two ago, on this very blog, another Catholic hating atheist, after expelling truck loads of hot air, finally confessed that he isn’t in the least interested in (investigating) the ultimate meaning of life – because, presumably, he has already concluded that there is none. So why engage even in debate or argument with those who do have, and proffer, solid reason to believe otherwise? Hey everybody, is there a mission in progress to dumb down the entire population of the planet? (That it's progressively happening is quite obvious already from all the tangible everyday phenomena around us. Surely the Catholic Church isn't doing anything different today from what it has done for the past 2000 years?)

    IN RESPONSE, SOME PEOPLE PRETEND TO BE OPEN TO DIALOG, WHILE ABJURING ANY SUBSTANTIVE RESPONSE TO ANY PARTICULAR MEATY QUESTION.

    THE RELIGIOUS PERSON WANTS TO ASSERT THE RIGHT TO NIX ANY OR ALL SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ENCOUNTERED. HAVING SUCCESSFULLY MAU-MAUED HIS INTERLOCUTOR, THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATIST COVETS THE RIGHT TO BE APPOINTED SOLE ADMISSIBLE AUTHOR, FOR ANY AND ALL 'HARD QUESTIONS.'

    KIM JONG IL HAS SPAWNED A SPIRITUAL SIBLING.

    Methinks you protest too much, Mister Lucky Chance Byproduct of Inexplicably Exploding Stardust. What is a paradox though is that despite that undoubtedly humble, self effacing, public persona, you’re so bent on bedazzling the rest of us (nervous/unsure/shallow/hallucinating Catholics in particular) with your endless tirades of sardonic verbiage and/or your supposedly unique incisive intellect which cannot, ultimately, even explain its own cynical self.

    Bah, humbug.

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  35. I saw that Francis was having trouble with posting, and so he had deleted some duplicates. In "cleaning up" the thread, one of Gavin's comments went away as well (it was posted as a "reply", which I specifically request not be done [see below]), so I am reprinting it here. Gavin said to Francis:

    Thank you for your various efforts, Francis.

    Anyway, the lengthy psycho-analyisis of Catholics (and me) by Gavin has been… interesting! I encourage any reader who has found it enlightening to join Gavin on his own blog, where he or she will get plenty more of the same. Gavin, surely you have shown yourself to be a master of clarity and wisdom here, and you will find yourself with lots of new readers to dialogue with!

    Take care and good luck with your mission!

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  36. Thanks Francis, that was quite awesome! Glad that you have joined the community of commenters here, and to have another sharp mind arguing so sharply for the Faith.

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  37. Gavin, given your belief that nothing exists after death, why are you wasting what little time you have here? Why not do something more productive with your life as opposed to telling your tale "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"?

    Catholicism is not based on "magic," so I'm happy to correct you on that point. It's a religion based on faith and reason.

    By the way, you seem to be confused about something. Vatican City and the Holy See are two different entities. They each issue separate passports, and their official documents are issued in separate languages. Read the Wiki article for more information. Regardless, if you have a problem with the Lateran Treaty, you can certainly take it up with the Italian government (as well as the United Nations, who recognizes the treaty).

    I'm curious -- do you go on Muslim blogs and sites and rail against their "magic-based religion" and theocratic governments as well?

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    Replies
    1. oops, Wiki article is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_City

      Delete
  38. A basic point of courtesy, JoAnna: I leave it to you to decide what interests JoAnna Wahlund--and expect the same from others. As gentlepeople we do not dictate to others what they should choose to care about: People are free to select where they direct their ideological energy.

    Thank you for the distinction between the Holy See and the Vatican. While this has no impact on any point I raised, though I agree with you it is of interest--and I acknowledge I wasn't previously aware of it. Thanks.

    I note we have a minor semantic disagreement: When a dead person reanimates and then flies around wherever he likes, I call that 'magic.' You consider that 'not magic.' Fair enough.

    I oppose religion generally, though I have decided to concentrate most of my anti-superstition commentary upon the most socially powerful denominations. I oppose all religion-based chauvinism and scapegoating.

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  39. "I oppose religion generally, though I have decided to concentrate most of my anti-superstition commentary upon the most socially powerful denominations. I oppose all religion-based chauvinism and scapegoating."

    Folks, you can safely read that to mean I like to pick on courteous peace loving Catholics and am terrified to take on other believers who mightn't react so docilely or patiently to my various vacuous insults and taunts. Thank you, JoAnna. It's high time these fork-tongued hypocrites were called out loud and clear in the public square.

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  40. Catholicism = one of "the most socially powerful denominations". Ah, if only! Catholics don't generally follow even the most basic and fundamental teachings of their Church. So, that comment made me smile.

    And, I agree with JoAnna and Francis. It is the rare "opponent to religion" who confronts Islam. I'd say that Islam is "socially powerful" (read daily headlines), so I'm interested in which Muslim sites Gavin has frequented, or whom among the Muslim community he has taken on.

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  41. Leila,
    Leave aside Islam for a moment. I'd like to see these brave, enlightened, evangelical champions of free thinking take on Hindus, or even - wait for it - a bunch of peaceable Buddhist monks! I grew up in a country of Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. And the only ones challenging their religious and philosophical concepts weren't atheists - they were Christians! Ever wonder why a Richard Dawkins never seems to have the vast populations of India or China or the Middle East on his public speaking itinerary? Or why a delicate, vulnerable, atheist wouldn't go scampering into a local or international courtroom to complain about being offended and psychologically scarred for life by the sight of a Koran or a statue of the goddess Kali on public display? I say again: bah, humbug!

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  42. Thanks Leila. I agree that there is immense diversity in the beliefs of rank and file Catholics--and that quite few embrace the Catholicism as it is voiced by the hierarchy.

    That said, Catholicism owns a state, holds massive assets, receives billions of dollars in tax subsidies each year and seeks to impose its magic-based opinions upon the public at large.

    So yes: The Church has considerable social power and deserves public attention and comment.

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  43. Gavin, the definition of magic from Dictionary.com: "the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature."

    This definition does not fit religious theology. Humans do not have control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature. All such power belongs to God and is granted by Him.

    Also, Jesus was not "reanimated," he was resurrected. He was actually given a new, glorified body (his old one was not reanimated). He also never "flew" anywhere. Ascending into heaven is not flying.

    I never actually said what you could or could not be interested in. I just wondered why you bother. I'm happy and secure in my faith, and I don't feel the need to troll atheist blogs and belittle and insult their beliefs.

    Why do you feel the need to troll Catholic blogs and belittle the Catholic faith? What are you trying to accomplish? It's an honest question.

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  44. @ Gavin Sullivan
    Billions of dollars in tax subsidies each financial year! Sheesh! Getting to know you as we are now, we can safely take it you wouldn't be exaggerating one little bit and have tomes of evidence to back up your claims, right?
    Leaving that aside for the moment, how about Muslim states, Gavin? How much do they own?
    How about Hindu states, Gavin? What amount of tax breaks do their temples get?
    Do they too seek to impose their magic-based opinions on the world - by diverse methods not restricted to docile propositions and gentle persuasion perhaps?
    So which Muslim and Hindu sites/forums/countries/organizations have you &/or your fellow atheists visited to air your concerns, criticisms and comments? Do tell!
    Did mama ever teach you that little ditty about the emperor's new clothes?

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  45. Gavin, I notice you have not touched the point made re: Islam. Or, as Francis stated, Hinduism or Buddhism. Why not?

    Francis, great point…. why do the new atheists not address Hindus? Hmmmm.

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  46. Every religious believer views her own magical claims to belong in a special category, JoAnna.

    When we accuse any participant in a discussion of 'trolling,' we are imputing ill intent. This constitutes sleaze. When we participate in public discussion, we should assume wholesome intent--and avoid hurling invective concerning others' ostensible ill motivation.

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  47. If Catholicism is simply magic, Gavin, it's interesting to note that the Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns magic:

    "All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices, the Church for her part warns the faithful against it." (paragraph 2117)

    That's why I'm asking you for your intentions, Gavin. Thus far, you've insulted, belittled, and refused to engage in meaningful dialogue. You appear to be insulting and belittling Catholicism, on a blog read by many faithful Catholics, because you like getting attention. That behavior is indicative of trolling.

    So, once again: what is your purpose here? What do you hope to accomplish? Why do you think that being insulting and belittling will win people over to your side?

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  48. Gavin, I have been dialoging with atheists and secularists for almost three years now. Some have been crude, some rude, some lovely and thoughtful, some regulars, some hit-and-run. Even some of those whom I have heavily sparred with, I have truly enjoyed, and I like them as people. I also consider Johanne, who is a Buddhist with liberal leanings, to be a charming and thoughtful soul, though we rarely agree.

    But Gavin, you defy any category.

    Remember, psychoanalysis, verbosity, insults and belittling do not constitute dialogue. We assume wholesome intent, Gavin, until intent is quickly proven to be other than wholesome. Nobody here is stupid, Gavin. But you don't have a point or a question, other than you intensely dislike Catholicism and wish to oppose it. We totally get that. Move along to another topic (something of substance), or another blog (again, try a Muslim blog!).

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  49. Well, well, whaddya know? Now the most virulently deprecating and inanely belittling commentator on this blog is preaching "wholesome intent" and advocating against "hurling invective" to the un-tutored contributors to this conversation! Just when we figured we'd heard it all!

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  50. @Francis: I see you consider my 'billions' usage hyperbolic.

    What do you think the religious tax exemption is worth, to the US Catholic Church? The exemption overall is said to save US religious institutions $72 billion/year--so it would surprise me if less than 10% of that total was accruing to the One True Church.

    Needless to say--to an economist, a tax exemption is indistinguishable from a subsidy. If the government hands me $10,000 or issues me a $10,000 tax exemption, I am equally happy either way.

    I oppose theocracy and religion-based states. I am not aware of any non-Catholic equivalent of the Vatican--essentially a nation without a citizenry, acting at the behest of an elite priesthood. So I do think it would be a good thing for the USA to politely say, 'We oppose that.'

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  51. http://troll.urbanup.com/283884

    Troll: One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

    That is an accurate description of your behavior thus far, Gavin.

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  52. Gavin, how much money do you think the thousands of Catholic charities, agencies, soup kitchens, schools, and hospitals have saved the US government by serving millions of folks who would otherwise have had to be supported by the social welfare state?

    Reading JoAnna's last comment, I take back my previous one. Gavin does not defy category, he fits nicely into the category of troll.

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  53. @ Gavin Sullivan
    1. Can you point me to some official statistics confirming the numbers you mention? Thanks. Obviously I'm not prepared to concede that the Catholic Church in the US (or anywhere else in the world) receives billions of dollars each year in benefits, one way or another, from any government anywhere.
    2. Can you point me to some statistics quantifying the equivalent monetary value of the Catholic Church's charitable works in the USA, which can logically be viewed as a contra saving to the US government and US taxpayers?
    3. Do you usually oppose theocracies in principle or in action - such as by the activism you are displaying here? If the latter, we are still awaiting comprehensive evidence of that fact.
    4. You say you oppose "religion-based states". I'm not American. So please enlighten me. What does a "nation under God" mean? "God" is a religious concept, is it not? Hence a nation so referred to could be assumed to be based on religious concepts/principles, would it not? Do you oppose such nations? The USA, as far as I'm aware, is just such a nation - indeed I understand that it is referred to as such in its very Declaration of Independence. So if you were to reside there and oppose it, wouldn't that make you a (despicable) traitor?

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  54. I oppose theocracy and religion-based states. I am not aware of any non-Catholic equivalent of the Vatican--essentially a nation without a citizenry

    Right. Because the Muslim theocracies and religion-based states, which actually oppress their actual citizens, do not merit your energy, but the Vatican who cannot touch you or anyone else…. ah, now that must be opposed with all the force of Gavin!

    Gavin, discuss Islam with me. Show me your courage.

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  55. Gavin, a 501(c)(3) status is not restriction to religious organizations. The American Humanist Association, for example, also has 501(c)(3) status. Do you object to their tax exemption?

    The Catholic Church is also the largest charitable organization in the world (Catholic Charities USA alone is the 3rd largest charity in the US), which is the reason they have 501(c)(3) status. The government makes it easier for charities, of any religious affiliation (or none at all) to do good works by easing their tax burden (allowing them to do more good works than they otherwise could).

    Why do you object to charity and doing good, Gavin?

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  56. Leila,
    It's starting to look like we might have to graciously let Gavin off the hook after all. No one can help noticing that large slews of this conversation are being met only with his stony silence now. Likely, charity requires that we stop pointing the metaphorical camera (to borrow his own erudite expression) at him. Perhaps it's just a simple case of his papa having forgotten to teach him in his youth never to start a fight or argument he couldn't finish. Good night, all.

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  57. Note to readers: I have deleted a "comment" from Gavin that is nothing but a link to a video of himself talking about these comments.

    Honestly, Gavin, a 24-minute video? At this point, it feels a little creepy to me. I don't know if you have a family, a wife, children, or any life outside Catholic-bashing. I know nothing about you, and this is the part about blogging that I do not like at all. I am very uncomfortable with your presence here.

    If anyone wants to continue with Gavin, I am certain that he will have placed his long video on his own blog, which is accessible by clicking his name on any of the older comments. Please feel free to go there to view it.

    Gavin, I would ask you to never comment on this blog again, out of courtesy for my feeling of discomfort. You may be a very nice man in real life, but I do not wish to have contact with you again, and if you are a gentleman, you will respect that wish and not want to contribute to a feeling of unease in a woman. Thank you and God bless!

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  58. Thanks Leila, my Lenten commitment to remain charitable in all situations has been deeply challenged and now the test is over. The stitches come out of my tongue in only two weeks.:)

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