Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Synod's Aftermath

Mostly, I'm impressed that the conservatives in the church are as willing to take the gloves off as they clearly are. I honestly expected, at best, the most passive aggressive sniping on all sides, and I get the impression the more liberal bishops expected much the same. Along the lines of 'homilies where the people they dislike are generally referred to but only in a roundabout way for which there is plausible deniability'.

But no, Kasper in particular was singled out in a 'that guy is not to be trusted' way. Maybe Burke getting his supposed disciplinary transfer made him decide, well, there's nothing much more they can do to him - why play nice?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Did the progressive wing of the Church just shoot down a merciful outreach to gay Christians?

From the Associated Press, with emphasis added:
Rather than considering gays as individuals who had gifts to offer the church, the revised paragraph referred to homosexuality as one of the problems Catholic families have to confront. It said "people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy," but repeated church teaching that marriage is only between man and woman. The paragraph failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
Two other paragraphs concerning the other hot-button issue at the synod of bishops - whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion - also failed to pass. 
The outcome showed a deeply divided church on some of the most pressing issues facing Catholic families.
It appeared that the 118-62 vote on the gay section might have been a protest vote by progressive bishops who refused to back the watered-down wording. The original draft had said gays had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, while morally problematic, provided gay couples with "precious" support.
If this really was a "protest vote", then I want to repeat something I've said over and over.

Consider this line: "People with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy, but Church teaching is that marriage is only between man and women."

That is outreach. That is encouragement without surrender. That would be a much-needed conservative attempt to tell LGB people: look, you are human, we respect you, we want you to be part of our Church. Same-sex sexual acts are sinful, but you are still welcome.

And, it would seem, the progressives have decided that is not allowed. There is no room in their worldview for conservatives who reach out to LGB people without approving, in advance, of their sexual acts.

So my advice? My meager, momentary advice?

That is exactly the sort of conservative all of us should be. When progressives are afraid of even acknowledging your existence, you are doing something right.

One advantage of Mark Shea's perpetual shifting between passive and active aggression...

..Is that sometimes the people he riles are worth riling.

To give some context before you click: the Galations 3:28 Movement contacted Mark in an email. If you're not familiar, G 3:28 is a group of people trying faintly to pretend as if they have any interest in Christ, and manage to take a quote from Saint Paul and twist it into a 'You know what Saint Paul loves? Anal sex and gay marriage!' moment. So one of their representatives fires off this 'teach Christ's REAL message' schtick, and Shea shoots off his reply:
Jesus answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?(Matthew 19:4-5)
The response?
Nice way to twist scripture, bigot.  You know, our side will win. In 40 years Christians will look back on you as a bigoted relic.
From "Jesus loves everyone, help us spread Jesus' message!" to "YOU BIGOT, WE WILL BURY YOU!" in the space of one reply. Mark does know how to set people off.

But what's important here isn't 'Mark got them angry'. It's that momentary slipping of the mask, going from 'This is what Christ teaches, spread our message of peace and love, stop the bigotry!' to furious threatening and anger issues.

And that's one of the problem for Anne S and company. They'll never win, because there is no "winning" for them. Pass gay marriage in every nation in the world, force every Church that opposes it to close down, completely outnumber the opponents with proponents... and they will still be the same. Angry, hateful and furious. Fearful of the future, which is never guaranteed. And crucially, no God to trust in, because God terrifies. The best they have is an idol, and theirs is not an idol they can ever really believe in.

Either way, it's all minor stuff. "Mark Shea pisses off someone who deserves it, news at 11."

Verbose Stoic added to the cluttered blog links sidebar

I like to explain why I add each blog to my sidebar, so let me say a bit about why I check out Verbose Stoic.

For one, he's a thoughtful guy. Probably more "moderate" than yours truly, both in general inclination as well as tone. I have my moments of snarling and ranting - VS tends to always stay cool and calm. He's dialed into gaming issues, and he keeps tabs on the Cult of Gnu (primarily Myers and the Atheist+ sorts), complete with interesting commentary. Commentary that I typically find interesting and valuable, particularly when he talks about (imagine this) stoic outlooks, particularly Christian stoicism, though he tends to be more theologically quiet.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Prophecy of Pharisees

The great left-right war of each side accusing the other of being the REAL pharisees isn't even really underway yet, and already I'm sick of it.

And my patience for a passive-aggressive pope is minimal. I enjoyed seeing him shake off the material excess of the papacy - that sent a good message.

Shaking off the clarity of it? Less so. And I think, unfortunately, we are seeing what happens when a Pope used to praise for his delicate sensibility and mercy has people stand up and criticize him. I've a feeling the mercy for unrepentant atheists and sexually active homosexuals will be sliced to a tenth for 'people upholding orthodox teaching.'

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jerry Coyne: Scientists lie about science, because they want money from you

You think I'm kidding?

Courtesy of Mike Gene, we have this quote from Jerry Coyne himself talking about how scientists communicate with the public, particularly with regards to science's incompatibility with religion:
This disharmony is a dirty little secret in scientific circles. It is in our personal and professional interest to proclaim that science and religion are perfectly harmonious. After all, we want our grants funded by the government, and our schoolchildren exposed to real science instead of creationism. Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel. This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict.
And as Mike says...
My oh my. Did you catch that? Coyne publicly accused the National Center for Science Education, the National Academies, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science of being liars. According to Coyne, they really agree with him, but for “tactical” reasons, they say otherwise. That would be lying.

So, a simple question. And I ask this as a guy who accepts common descent, evolution, old earth - the whole shebang - and always have.

If someone believed what Coyne is saying here - namely, that numerous groups of scientists are knowingly and explicitly lying about science, 'tactically', because they want money, power and influence... exactly what does that do to the credibility of scientists, scientific organizations, and 'scientific consensus'?

Of course, Coyne could well be wrong about his conspiracy theory. But then, given that he's a very public representative of the Cult of Gnu, I would have expected scientists and scientific organizations to denounce him and his conspiracy talk as anti-science and dishonest.

But the NCSE, the NAS, and others... they've been strangely silent when it comes to criticizing Coyne.

Perhaps it's for tactical reasons, eh?

The Reliable Traditionalists

One worry I have when it comes to things like this synod is that there is this attitude among the liberal elite: that the traditionalists and orthodox can be counted on, at the end of the day, to meekly do whatever they're told. The progressives, they can - and in large part, already have - leave the church if they object to things. But conservatives and orthodox and traditionalists? They're a captive audience, and if the church elite decides to treat them like dirt and pamper defiant progressives, they'll just have to grin and bear it.

The conservatives, the traditionalists - they're supposed to be simple-minded rubes, afraid of upsetting the Holy Father with any sign of disagreement.

Which is why it's encouraging to see the conservatives stand up and show they can engage in a bit of revolt as well.

Would it not be the height of divine humor to see these synods called for the purpose of weakening and liberalizing church teaching, only for the actual result to be not only a re-affirmation of traditional moral teaching, but now armed with a superior - and appropriately merciful - means of communication?

Call it an outside possibility at best, at least insofar as anything is a possibility where God is concerned. But the prospect of progressive clergy subverted into the task of reaffirming the traditionalist mission? It's a nice thought, and I can afford myself a moment's optimism here and there.