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Mon Apr 23, 2012, 08:16 PM

 

Nuns are standing up to the Vatican

The LCWR is standing up to the idiots in the Vatican;

WASHINGTON The leader of a group of US Catholic nuns on Saturday rejected condemnation from a Vatican report that said it defied Church doctrine.

"We haven't violated any teaching," Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, told AFP, insisting the group would not stop "caring for the least among us on the margins of society."

Network was singled out for supporting women's health rights in a Vatican report this week condemning the main US association of Catholic nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

The three-year inquiry by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees Roman Catholic doctrine, criticized the LCWR for taking liberal stances on contraception, homosexuality and female priests.

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Response to 47of74 (Original post)

Mon Apr 23, 2012, 08:21 PM

1. The nuns should start a new Catholic order. American "liberal" Catholics would adopt them in droves

I'd be willing to bet. Many "lapsed" Catholics as well.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 23, 2012, 08:27 PM

3. growing up in calif, i was around a lot of catholics. they were always the cool religion

 

now, here in texas, they are almost as extreme as the fundamentalists

maybe it is all over now and just the shift in all religion toward christian coalition. i dont know.

(sorry, didnt know what forum i was in. i married a catholic and all my friends are, and there are few in this area)

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 23, 2012, 08:51 PM

4. Yes... I nearly married into a family of very liberal "cafeteria" Catholics...

and went to mass with them quite a bit. Plenty of liberal/progressive (Vatican-ignoring) Catholics out there--still. Maybe not so much in Red States, but they are out there.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 09:47 PM

8. I think the church hierarchy parted company with most Catholics

when Paul VI declared that birth control was forbidden, and it's been downhill from then on. The Vatican seems determined to march backwards as fast as it can - it can't work; the genie came out of the bottle with Vatican II, and it's not going back.

In Australia at least, and it's probably the same in most western countries, there is respect for the ritual and core beliefs of the church, but little for the Vatican and its toady prelates. It's generally believed that Cardinal Pell was sent to "sinful" Sydney to keep the flock in line, but most people I know think he's irrelevant. Not the brightest crayon in the box, he's living proof that to get on in the church you just have to toe the official line. I wouldn't say he's without compassion, but it's within a very narrow confine, and lacking in imagination.

WWJD may be a bit corny, yet when you ask that question in relation to much that is currently coming from the Vatican, it's hard not to see a huge divide.

I suspect that if Christ came back today, he'd quickly be declared a heretic by the Vatican and persecuted just as he was before.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 06:54 PM

10. For the past several years I've said...

 

...that if Jesus Christ appeared on the steps of St. Peter's tomorrow he'd be quickly excommunicated and escorted out of Vatican territory.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:10 AM

12. What's more, Humanae Vitae is bad moral theology

Last edited Wed Jan 7, 2015, 07:45 AM - Edit history (1)

First, HV does not actually define "contraception". I suspect that this is because any actual definition would shoot holes in Pope Paul's argument. Here's a definition: Contraception is a means of having intercourse without procreation.

The second objection I have is that HV concentrates on the method, and completely ignores intent. I suspect this is because the so-called "NFP" ("Natural Family Planning" that the Vatican touts is merely another way of having sexual intercourse and avoiding pregnancy. In other words, the end is exactly the same, the only difference is the method employed.

What is wrong with the Church teaching is that it starts with the view of the Roman stoics and pagan Gnostics that the body is evil, and pleasure is to be mistrusted.

Paul VI implies, although he nowhere says explicitly, that among the "lower animals", sex is only used for procreation. The closest he comes in HV 10: "In relation to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means the knowledge and respect of their functions; human intellect discovers in the power of giving life biological laws which are part of the human person". (The Roman stoic Ulpian said that if you wanted to know what natural behavior was, look in the barnyard.) I suspect that this is what Paul VI was thinking of. However, this is not necessarily the best place to look. Primates, our closest relatives in nature, use sexual activity in pair bonding, not just procreation. See Alison Jolly's The Evolution of Primate Behavior, Chapter 13. If Pope Paul is going to use a biological argument, he should use good biology.

The view that sexual intercourse is only morally licit if it is being used for procreation was promulgated by people such as Augustine of Hippo, whose own experience of sex was through having illicit love affairs. Augustine thought that he knew what sex was about, but his views were undoubtedly colored by his own experience -- and he actually had not a clue as to the proper function of sex in a marriage. This view led him to say in his De Bono Conjugali that sexual relations, except for the express purpose of procreation, were at least venially sinful.

Pope Gregory I supported this stand, saying in a letter to Augustine of Canterbury that "even lawful intercourse cannot take place without desire of the flesh ... which can by no means be without sin."

My next objection to HV is that Pope Paul does not have any scriptural basis to his argument, but uses something called "natural law". As Ireneaus of Lyon wrote, "From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law", Against Heresies 4, 15. Thomas Aquinas has a long discussion in his Summa Theologica I-II questions 90-106. Now, there are some things which can be said to be "implanted in the heart of man" -- aversion to rape, murder, incest, child molestation and so on. But birth control pills and condoms are certainly not among those things.

Pope Paul also says some remarkably silly things in HV. For example, he says

Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men -- especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point -- have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer his respected and beloved companion.


In case the Pope had not noticed, there was a great deal of adultery and fornication going on before HV came out. His second point in this paragraph is that men may lose respect for their wives, seeing them as mere sexual objects. I do not believe that this has happened. For example, it is generally accepted that the great increase in reported incidences of domestic violence is due first, to better reporting techniques, and second, to a social awareness that this is not acceptable behavior.

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Response to 47of74 (Original post)

Mon Apr 23, 2012, 08:25 PM

2. see, this is exactly what the pope is talking about. those uppity women, not knowing their place

 

keeping their mouth shut, and saying how his, sir.

only in america would the nuns dare to state their job is to help the poor and needy.

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Response to 47of74 (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:22 PM

5. Lately, the Church leadership has been sounding just like Fundie preachers

...with the same mentality of being obsessed with sex while ignoring social justice. This burns me up.

Last I checked, those who constantly preach against the sexual misconduct of others are guilty of acting out themselves.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:23 AM

6. Or are guilty of covering up other's misdeeds

 

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Response to 47of74 (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:53 PM

7. That, too

They're both related. Thanks.

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Response to 47of74 (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 06:39 PM

9. Good for them!

I just recently started attending Mass again at 54, after 8 years away. I have found it very refreshing that a majority of Catholic women I have met disagree strongly with the Vatican on birth control and, while they are not vocally pro-choice, believe abortion is a personal decision and believe that it should be a legal option. Many, like my sister who has always attended Mass every week, make no secret of their use of contraception and just think the bishops are totally out of touch with the real world. A large percentage are quite liberal/progressive-minded on social issues. I can see a lot of Catholics supporting the LCWR.

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Response to 47of74 (Original post)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 08:03 PM

11. You go, girls!!

That's my kind of Nun!

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Response to 47of74 (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 10:20 AM

13. Non-thought in the Vatican

One of the Vatican's main concerns is control of what the clergy and religious (ie, nuns and lay brothers) say and do. Every priest has to take an oath to give both "external assent" and "internal assent" to Vatican teachings. "External assent" means that the priest will teach what he is told to teach; "internal assent" means that he will believe it. Thinking for oneself is distinctly not encouraged.

There is more than just being control freaks here -- although that is a very large part of it. The official line in Catholic thought is that truth is objective and "error has no rights". There is a corollary which presupposes that what the Vatican teaches is by definition "true" (for the Vatican cannot teach falsely), and those who teach that which is not approved by the Vatican are teaching falsely and should be corrected.

Sustaining that attitude requires both ignorance of history and outright deception. After all, if the Church teaches absolute truth, how can the teachings change? Even a cursory examination of the history of doctrine shows that the teachings do change. For example, as late as Pope Benedict XIV's encyclical of 1745, Vix Pervenit, taught that the taking of interest on loans was usury and therefore sinful. The teaching has never been rescinded, but has been quietly dropped.

When I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper on how the Church went from the Council of Trent's "Biblical translations must be based on the Latin Vulgate" to Vatican II's "Biblical teachings must be based on the original languages" without ever contradicting (indeed, quoting from) the previous position papers.

Unfortunately, the quoting from previous position papers is obviously highly selective. Cherry picking quotes is really dishonest. I'm sure that when Pope Benedict was a theology professor, he would have slapped down any student who ignored evidence which did not support his thesis. (If you read Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologia, he starts each article by citing evidence against his thesis; he then answers each one.) However, ignoring contrary evidence is expected in Vatican position papers. The most egregious recent case I can think of was Pope Paul VI's encyclical defending priestly celibacy, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, which wholly ignores 1 Corinthians 9:5, in which Paul is saying that he has a right to be married. That he chose not to exercise that right is immaterial.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing is, as I said, expected in Vatican position papers. The paper on why women cannot be ordained, Inter Insigniores, is a piece of crap which:

Admits that one of the main reasons for denying ordination to women has been the attitude that women were inferior to men (see, for example, Aquinas' Summa Theologia, Supplement, question 39 article 1) and says that this argument should be abandoned but then resurrects it without saying it is doing so.

Relies on the extremely dubious argument that Christ ordained only men to the priesthood. First, even if you grant this argument, one can just as reasonably say that since Christ ordained only Jews to the priesthood, gentiles should not be priests. But the fact is that Christ did not "ordain" anyone. And since the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, and the Seder is a celebration for the family ("You shall tell your children on that day..." -- Exodus 13:8), there were undoubtedly women present.

Makes the really silly argument that since the priest is supposed to "mirror Christ", the laity would not be able to see Christ in a woman. I daresay that the laity would be far less likely to see Christ in a pedophile. This argument also shows the Vatican's basic contempt for the laity.

Finally, Pope John Paul II attempted to quell discussion in his Ordinatio Sacerdotalis -- "On Priestly Ordination", which can be summed up as "Women cannot be ordained because I say so. Now sit down and shut up!" This argument may work with very small children (but don't count on it), but it only convinces those who believe that every burp which issues from a papal throat is the word of God. They shouldn't expect any adults to buy it.

And that is the problem with much of Vatican teachings: Cherry-picked evidence, contrary evidence ignored, sloppy reasoning, dubious (at best) history, and shutting down discussion by fiat. Now the Vatican is attempting to shut up nuns because their priorities are not the ones the Vatican wants them to promote.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #13)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 01:23 PM

14. Too many in leadership see laity as pew stuffing

 

Not all of them do, but there are some, some in really high places see laity as little more than pew stuffing. As people whose only role in the church is to "pray, pay, and obey."

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