Franciscan scholar dismisses teaching of Catechism, Pius XII on Adam and Eve

In comments appearing in diocesan newspapers across the United States, Father Michael Guinan, a professor of Old Testament at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, California, has dismissed the teaching of Venerable Pius XII on polygenism and the Catechism of the Catholic Churchon the historicity of Adam and Eve.

In his 1950 encyclical Humani Generis,Pope Pius taught that

When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

Father Guinan told Catholic News Service–which did not publish comments from other scholars with orthodox views–that in the decades since the encyclical’s publication, “the Catholic Church has accepted the use of historical-critical tools to understand the Scriptures … The question of biological origins is a scientific one; and, if science shows that there is no evidence of monogenism and there is lots of evidence for polygenism, then a Catholic need have no problem accepting that.”

Commenting on the Catechism of the Catholic Church’steaching that “the account of the fall in Genesis … uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man,” Father Guinan, who taught for 13 years at the San Francisco archdiocesan seminary, said:

It recognizes that Genesis is figurative language, but it also wants to hold to historicity. Unfortunately, you can’t really have both. The Catechism is clearly not the place to argue theological discussions, so whoever wrote it decided, as it were, to have it both ways.

“The man and woman of Genesis … are intended to represent an Everyman and Everywoman,” he added. “They are paradigms, figurative equivalents, of human conduct in the face of temptation, not lessons in biology or history. The Bible is teaching religion, not science or literalistic history.”

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52 Responses to Franciscan scholar dismisses teaching of Catechism, Pius XII on Adam and Eve

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    One of the few actually doctrinal teachings of Vatican II did away with the concept that original sin … proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

    Blessed Pope John Paul II spoke of a “matrix of sin” that we all live in, transmitting sin (both original and particular) to us via our human nature (paraphrased), but not via biological generation. The current doctrinal position of the Church is, nevertheless, that Original Sin is not transmitted via biological generation (a position that I’m not sure that I fully agree with BTW, although it is clear that the conception of life is not itself of a sinful nature but a virtuous one).

    In any case, I would therefore assume those _precise_ contents of that Encyclical to be doctrinally fallible, so that this is just another storm in a teacup.

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  2. Toadspittle says:

    .
    “this is just another storm in a teacup.” thinks Jabba.

    Isn’t everything?

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  3. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Father Guinan is fortunate. No so long ago, he would simply have been burned at the stake.

    “The question of biological origins is a scientific one; and, if science shows that there is no evidence of monogenism and there is lots of evidence for polygenism, then a Catholic need have no problem accepting that.”

    Well, let’s just wait and see, Toad has doubts.

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  4. JabbaPapa says:

    No[t] so long ago, he would simply have been burned at the stake.

    Is it just me, or does this comment have nothing whatsoever of relevance to say about this question ?

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  5. Toadspittle says:

    .
    Yes, it’s just you, Jabba. (Thinks Toad.)

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  6. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    Funny, as I was reading the comment made by the Franciscan in question all kept thinking was, in a more civilized age this man would of been burned at the stake.

    Alas it is not to be and I am unfortunately as a Christians forced again live amongst savages and so the dark ages continue.

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  7. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Toad suspects we would all like to hear a great deal more from Signor Cattaneo.
    Clearly a man who knows his own mind!

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  8. teresa says:

    Theologians were seldom burnt at stake. Several statements made by Meister Eckhart were condemned, and 1277 the bishop of Paris did condemn a list of errors of “trendy” theologians at that time, but nobody was burnt. I can only remember the case of Johann Hus, but his case had a political background, his demand of communion under both species was used as an argument to promote the independence of Bohemia from the Holy Roman Empire. Theological discussions are also legitimate, and ideas can be debated as long as the Holy See doesn’t forbid the debate or condemn certain propositions explicitly.

    Btw. the Council of Konstanz, during which Jan Hus was condemned and burnt, was presided by the Emperor, not by the Pope. Pope John XXIII, later abnegated as a legitimate Pope, was with his Cardinals at the Council, but upon hearing that the Emperor thought of substituting him through another Pope, he fled with his Cardinals and were caught and brought back to Konstanz by the knights of the Emperor.

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  9. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    Now that I have had enough to think about it. I think Teresa has a point. Theologians have always been given quite a bit of room to speculate.

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  10. Gertrude says:

    Teresa is right – and wrong.
    In 1184, the Roman Catholic Synod of Verona legislated that burning was to be the official punishment for heresy. It was also believed that the condemned would have no body to be resurrected in the Afterlife- (a dubious pronouncement)This decree was later reaffirmed by the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215, the Synod of Toulouse in 1229, and numerous spiritual and secular leaders through the 17th century/
    Among the best-known individuals to be executed by burning were Jacques de Molay (1314), Jan Hus (1415), – already mentioned by Teresa, St. Joan of Arc (1431), Savonarola (1498) Patrick Hamilton (1528), John Frith (1533), William Tyndale (1536), Michael Servetus (1553), Giordano Bruno (1600) and Avvakum (1682). Anglican martyrs Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley (both in 1555) and Thomas Cranmer (1556) were also burnt at the stake
    Not all of these actually disagreed with Rome (Joan of Arc etc.) but all were deemed heretics of one shade or another. It is quite probable tha tFr. Guinan. might at the very least be hurled before some ecclesiastical court, and at worst be judged heretical with the prevailing punishments of the time, but as Teresa says, theologians were given just a little more leeway (provided their conclusions resuilted in ‘the party line’). Happy days! 😉

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  11. teresa says:

    Thanks dear Gertrude for this detailed information and correction.
    Just want to add that even if someone was condemned and burnt, there must be a thorough investigation through a commission made up by experts. It seems also that in the earlier Middle Ages people were less often burnt than in the Late Medieval Era or Early Modern Time. Could you please tell us more about this, and whether this impression of mine is correct?

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  12. Gertrude says:

    I’m not sure of the exact recorded (if there remains an accurate list outside of the Vatican archives) numbers, but the 16th and 17th centuries seemed to relish this form more than the earlier centuries. In earlier times (from the 13th century) the persecution seems to have been prevalent more on Jews and Schismatics (Albigensian, Cathar etc), although some French Rabbi’s took great delight in reporting Moses Maimonides, but that was more to do with their opposition to his ideas – you may remember the burning of Jewish literature (not literally remember – I hasten to add!). Considering the Dominican Order was founded around 1216, and the Inquisitorial courts were almost exclusively Dominican, they certainly didn’t waste much time.
    There were certainly hundreds of Cathars burnt at the stake in the 13th century, and I would imagine similar in the case of the Albigensians. In later times there was Toads old friend – Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition! So it would appear that burning was always the preferable method of execution for heresy from the 13th century on,
    This is a complex and detailed subject – a bit later on than my speciality but there are probably copious resources now available.

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  13. teresa says:

    Thanks Gertrude, that is really very interesting. So much to read. I do remember reading that Jewish literature was once ordered to be burnt, not by the Pope, but the Dominicans got a mandate from the Emperor. I remember a case of a radical Jewish convert, the famous Johannes Pfefferkorn, who said the Talmud should be burnt and forbidden. But later, with the protest of Archbishop of Cologne he was stopped and the Emperor ordered that those confiscated Jewish books should be given back to their owners.

    As for Moses Maimonides, I know him from reading Thomas Aquinas, who quoted him almost in every chapter of his works and holds him to be a great philosopher. But I am not surprised to hear that some Rabbis wanted to report him, if we think of Spinoza, who was also driven out of the Jewish community in Amsterdam.

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  14. Toadspittle says:

    .

    An amusing, thoroughly entertaining and absorbing topic, as we clearly all agree – and one of considerably more contemporary relevance than, say, Vatican 2, or pedophile priests.

    When England is once again “Mary’s Dowry,” We can cheerfully look forward to a swift recommencement of burning heretics.

    This will best be done at half time during The F:A: Cup Final.

    Should do wonders for the viewing figures.

    Torquemada Dominicans, 5 – Manchester United, 0.

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  15. Gertrude says:

    You can bet your sweet bippy Toad – when it comes to inquisition the Dominicans will always win 😉

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  16. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    G accurately reports that burning to death of the guilty was the approved response to heresy – a Catholic response, accurately enough. Others note in a very relaxed fashion that this or that heresy had been correctly judged by panels of experts, implying it seems, that the punishment by burning was pukka, i.e. quite in order, a good thing.

    I am a simple person who is left terrorised about the implications of much that I read here.

    I want to ask, if the Church’s approval of such burning was OK then, why is it not OK now? Or, if you prefer, is the Church’s response to heresy arbitrary? And if we don’t burn heretics today, does that make previous burnings hideous unChristian crimes?
    And under which Pope’s approval?

    Does such burning accord to scripture, liturgy and learning?
    Is it right to burn to death those we don’t agree with?
    If the Catholic Church is based on fundamental and unchanging values, how could it approve of such bestial, diabolic torture?
    If such brutality was approved then, could it be approved tomorrow?

    I doubt if there will be a coherent answer to all this. Yet Catholics today need answers.

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  17. JabbaPapa says:

    G accurately reports that burning to death of the guilty was the approved response to heresy – a Catholic response, accurately enough.

    Sorry, there’s nothing exclusively “Catholic” about it. Burning people at the stake has, tragically, existed in several cultures throughout the world.

    I want to ask, if the Church’s approval of such burning was OK then, why is it not OK now?

    The answer is that it wasn’t OK then, nor would it be OK now.

    Or, if you prefer, is the Church’s response to heresy arbitrary?

    That would depend entirely on your working definition of “arbitrary”, that I cannot predict.

    And if we don’t burn heretics today, does that make previous burnings hideous unChristian crimes?

    Yep – but not because of the fact that we don’t do it today ; such actions are just very deeply unchristian ones, no matter who may have ordered and perpetrated them.

    And under which Pope’s approval?

    There were various very corrupt Popes between 13th and 16th centuries..

    Does such burning accord to scripture, liturgy and learning?

    No.

    Is it right to burn to death those we don’t agree with?

    No.

    If the Catholic Church is based on fundamental and unchanging values, how could it approve of such bestial, diabolic torture?

    The Catholic Church is based on fundamental and unchanging values, which were powerfully violated by these practices of burning people ; but that does not mean that it doesn’t also have a great many mutable and historically and/or locally variable ones, which can sometimes be in conflict with the core teachings of the Church.

    More pertinently though, the Church is not availed of perfectly angelic moral paragons throughout all of its History that have led the Church with god-like standards of perfection and an absence of any kind of failure, error, nor sin.

    If such brutality was approved then, could it be approved tomorrow?

    If you mean 21st september 2011, it seems extremely unlikely ; if you mean some sort of vague indeterminate future, well, your guess is as good as anyone else’s, so that your rhetorical question falls a little flat.

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  18. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Roasting one’s neighbours over differences of opinion was quite the vogue in the ale-swigging, bucolic, Merrie Olde England, so nostalgically beloved of G.K.C., Belloc and several on CP&S, who shall be nameless (Kathleen, Toad suspects, for one. Though he may be wrong.)

    Catholic England (and Spain, and France, etc) were all totalitarian states – where everything that was not forbidden was compulsory. (Yes, he’s probably said this before) And in the unlikely event of them becoming so again, the rack and the thumbscrews would be brought back out, dusted off and put to work. And that would be a bad thing.
    Thinks Toad.

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  19. JabbaPapa says:

    Catholic England (and Spain, and France, etc) were all totalitarian states

    This is a grossly false statement.

    And in the unlikely event of them becoming so again, the rack and the thumbscrews would be brought back out, dusted off and put to work.

    What a load of cobblers.

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  20. Gertrude says:

    Whippy: You have to remember that burning at the stake was not an exclusively Catholic form of punishment. During the early (and late) middle ages it was the common means of execution for witchcraft by secular authorities and during pre-Christian times one has only to look to some of the Roman Emperors (Diocletian springs to mind). Jabba has given you a detailed answer to what, as he says, is a purely rhetorical question.
    An earlier thread on CP&S was devoted purely to the Inquisition, by Taylor Marshall. It would be worth your while to look it up on the archive.

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  21. teresa says:

    Gertrude explained it very well. There is a Czech film about the witch hunting in North Moravia (a real event which affected hundreds of people, see more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Moravia_witch_trials), it is well worth watching, one of the most famous victims was a priest, the local dean.
    here is the film, with English subtitle:

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  22. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Thanks to JP and G who;point out that burnings were not exclusively Catholic; I know that very well. My interest was in the Catholic attitude to burning people because I expect the Church to be above such barbarism. But I am told by JP in effect that there were some bad apples in the barrel, and that this is the problem. Of course that is the excuse we’ve heard over recent years about another problem; the institution’s fine, it’s just a few wayward individuals who are to blame.

    A horrifying excuse if ever there was one.

    In answer to my (allegedly rhetorical) question, “Could it happen again tomorrow?” Jp says that’s anyone’s guess,(which I take as a yes) thus demolishing his assertion that the Church operates on fundamental values; it seems that those values are not fundamental, being easily usurped by those bad apples – Popes no less.

    JP, in a reply above to Toad has pronounced on “cobblers” and now I see why.

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  23. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, I don’t think it has too much to do with “bad apples” in the barrel. In every day life we tend to think out of our own individual perspective and to judge historical situations and practices from our own value and feelings of morality. But these questions you asked above, which are very interesting, can be only meaningfully answered in the context of moral theology, sociology and jurisprudence, that is from the perspective of a higher abstraction. I don’t think they can be answered with a few simple sentences, after all, libraries of books have been published on this topic!

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  24. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Of course Toad was talking a lot of cobblers. Who would bother with racks and thumbscrews nowadays, when we have electrodes, brainwashing and waterboarding?

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  25. JabbaPapa says:

    That’s only one half of the reason why it’s cobblers ; the other reason being, of course, that it is unfounded speculation based on nothing more substantial than a fantasy.

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  26. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Teresa, I know these questions can’t be answered well in a few sentences, you are quite right there.

    JP flails at Toad above. What is clear is that JP on the topic of ‘cobblers’ is the one who should know. I can’t agree with his response to Toad who as usual, puts the questions that some find difficult to answer and who simply become badtempered. . I hope that burning of heretics will not return,( tho’ JP leaves open the possibility;) otherwise Toad will unjustly be on the tumbril en route for the fire.

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  27. JabbaPapa says:

    Thanks to JP and G who;point out that burnings were not exclusively Catholic;

    …. which is not going to prevent you carrying on presenting them as if they were, is it.

    Given your clear decision not be be helpful, let’s point out a couple of things.

    1) Canon Law has NEVER authorised torture and murder, but has always condemned them

    2) Punishments meted out during the period of the Inquisition were carried out by the CIVIL authorities

    3) Catholic clergy were, and are, forbidden from doing any such things ; as they were during the Inquisition itself

    The Inquisition was essentially a system of Church Courts, that were set up to decide guilt or innocence of accused parties ; but any non-ecclesiastical _sentencing_ and _punishments_ (ie everything beyond orders to carry out some penance or pilgrimage, or excommunications, and so on) were carried out by the civil authorities, and decided effectively by civil courts or magistrates, according to the civil laws that were in force at the time.

    It is not the Catholic Church that engaged in these things ; it’s medieval civil society that did so.

    As is typical of most of these anti-Catholic rants, people blame the Church for problems created by society as a whole. There was an extensive plague of paedophile crimes throughout Western society in the second half of the 20th century, but somehow it’s the minuscule minority of criminals who happened to be Catholic priests, and the Church itself as a whole ; which is magically expected by these people to shoulder all of the responsibility for it.

    And atheist paedophiles ? Somehow, the journalists never report that a paedophile might be an atheist ; although one would of course expect the typical proportions of paedos as being atheists. This is because the journalists are biased, and do not present honest reports of the prevalence of paedophilia throughout society in general, but only focus on certain particular cases whilst never even mentioning the vast majority of them.

    So it’s really all just another case of bias and prejudice that you are engaging in.

    My interest was in the Catholic attitude to burning people because I expect the Church to be above such barbarism.

    Quite apart from the fact that this is clearly at least partially dishonest rhetoric on your part, you have already been told that it is against the teachings of Christianity and Catholicism to burn people.

    The Catholic attitude towards burning people is that burning people is wrong.

    And no amount of snide suggestions or biased “history” lessons otherwise will provide otherwise.

    But I am told by JP in effect that there were some bad apples in the barrel, and that this is the problem.

    I said nothing of the sort.

    Of course that is the excuse we’ve heard over recent years about another problem; the institution’s fine, it’s just a few wayward individuals who are to blame.

    A horrifying excuse if ever there was one.

    I see — so first you attribute some comments to me that I never made ; you then post commentary against this straw man argument that you’ve invented ; you then describe as a “horrifying excuse” some rubbish having nothing to do with me, nor the Church, but has in fact come out of your own fantasies.

    You will forgive me then if I neglect to take these comments seriously enough to warrant any discussion of them, because they are a load of old codswallop.

    In answer to my (allegedly rhetorical) question, “Could it happen again tomorrow?” Jp says that’s anyone’s guess,(which I take as a yes) thus demolishing his assertion that the Church operates on fundamental values; it seems that those values are not fundamental, being easily usurped by those bad apples – Popes no less.

    This is completely ridiculous ; the reason why there were some bad Popes is because some wealthy and powerful Italian families, including the Borgias, succeeded in usurping the Papacy for their own personal benefit. Many of these Popes were not even priests when they were elevated, several were married, and the interest of these families in forcing one of their own to the head of the Church had NOTHING to do with Catholic teachings ; everything to do with amassing even more wealth and power for themselves.

    Given that these people had no real interest in the fundamental Christian values, it’s inevitable that these values would take second place (or worse) during this period.

    It is only during and after the Counter-Reformation that the Church finally succeeded in ridding itself of these obnoxious parasites, and getting rid of the infestation of their unchristian values.

    As for the relationship between fundamental values and transient ones, it has already been explained to you ; although I note that you appear to have taken the diametric opposite of those explanations as your reading of them. Black, I suppose, is also white ? And up, down ?

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  28. JabbaPapa says:

    the questions that some find difficult to answer

    It is indeed hard to answer questions when the questioner point blank refuses the answers provided.

    Q: How much is that loaf of bread ?

    A : £2.50

    Q: No it isn’t !! Come on then, how much is it ?

    A: (…)

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  29. Toadspittle says:

    .

    …it is unfounded speculation based on nothing more substantial than a fantasy.

    Seem to have heard that before…

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  30. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Jabba, your intemperate and rude bodice-ripping rant speaks of antiCatholicism. I’m afraid that it’s extremist views such as you offer which contribute to the malaise in which the Church finds itself. I find in your approach a worrying taint of ironclad thinking, unable to deal with the issues which trouble many Catholics. Most Catholics I know are much kinder than you are, and much more likely to stay in a tolerant mainstream.

    In the end, your outburst works against Catholicism, I’m sorry to say. It could be argued that what you say is ultimately antiCatholic, so can we have less of you using that phrase, please? I’d prefer it if you didn’t use the word ‘dishonest’ for you invite me then to use the word to you.

    I didn’t mention the Inquisition at all, but I know the argument that civil authorities did the torture. What you don’t say is that the Church handed the victims over for this treatment. The time has come for a seachange in thinking about such issues; I for one will not be an apologist for the horrors that you wish to deny. We have tried denial, we are trying denial, but it won’t work anymore and thinking such as yours is an obstacle to progress -thinking like yours is a liability; your time is over. An obscure and bitter sect is your future and I wish you well there.

    Pax vobiscum JP

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  31. Frere Rabit says:

    The ‘shocking’ heading “Franciscan scholar dismisses teaching of Catechism, Pius XII on Adam and Eve” puts before us a simple story of a certain Father Guinan who teaches exactly the historical critical approach to Biblical studies recommended by the present Pope in his address to the Pontifical Biblical Commission on its centenary a decade ago, and is exactly the approach taught as standard in seminaries throughout the world.

    I look in occasionally to see what is happening in CPS, but comment rarely. On this occasion I am amazed at the hyping up of something that is a complete non-story.

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  32. JabbaPapa says:

    extremist views such as you offer

    wow, I’m the “extremist” for pointing out that, no, the Catholic Church is not supportive of torturing and burning those that disagree with its teachings contrary to some ridiculous statements that have been made in here.

    … whatever …

    Most Catholics I know are much kinder than you are

    Well, I’m not a kind person. I know that, it’s a character fault, but there’s little I can do to change that unfortunately.

    I didn’t mention the Inquisition at all, but I know the argument that civil authorities did the torture. What you don’t say is that the Church handed the victims over for this treatment. The time has come for a seachange in thinking about such issues; I for one will not be an apologist for the horrors that you wish to deny. We have tried denial, we are trying denial, but it won’t work anymore and thinking such as yours is an obstacle to progress -thinking like yours is a liability; your time is over. An obscure and bitter sect is your future and I wish you well there.

    More codswallop.

    I’m starting to lose count of how many times I’ve described these evils as contrary to Catholic teaching, but now your suggestion is that I’m “denying” their existence ?

    How can I condemn something whilst simultaneously denying it ? How can I be an “apologist” for something that I condemn ?

    You make no sense.

    What you don’t say is that the Church handed the victims over for this treatment.

    If you look at the actual data and figures and an analysis of who got turned over to the secular authorities and who didn’t, as I have, then you make some rather startling discoveries ; the most notable which being that the popular mythology surrounding this question is a grossly exaggerated farrago of falsehoods.

    Typically, people who were turned over to the secular authorities were not “victims” (according to the prevailing laws of the time), but “criminals” — and the crimes they had committed were typically not heresy, disagreeing with the Bishop, farting during Mass, making bad jokes about the Pope, and so on — but murder, rape, theft, assault, and so on…

    IIRC about 50-60% of people going through these Church trials were declared completely innocent of any wrongdoing and set free ; of the rest, 80%-90% were declared as being sinners but not criminals, NOT turned over to the secular authorities, and simply required to do some sort of penance, with the “worst” penances typically imposed being a penitential pilgrimage to Rome or Santiago or somewhere ; of the rest, declared guilty of crimes after their trials, 80-90% suffered some short imprisonment and/or some fines and other such minor punishments ; those suffering the death penalty existed in only some relatively tiny numbers, instead of the ridiculous image of hundreds and hundreds of innocents being tortured and burnt at the stake which is vehicled by this modern myth.

    Those receiving a death penalty were, as I have suggested, typically criminals who if they had been caught by the secular authorities would have suffered exactly the same fate, because they were guilty of crimes that were punishable by death.

    The numbers of those burnt at the stake for heresy or witchcraft or whatnot is vanishingly small. Of course, the number of these people really should have been zero ; but if you take any massively large group like the Church having existed for any extensive period of time — dig down, and you will be bound to discover abuses and crimes that are to be condemned.

    The existence of these does NOT however magically transform the very nature of that group into a corrupt and evil one.

    Is the United States of America a fundamentally Evil nation, because it dropped nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, enslaved millions of black Africans and their descendants, slaughtered and misplaced and drove away the native inhabitants, and etc etc ?

    Is Germany fundamentally Evil because of its actions before and during WW2 ?

    Examples of large organisations acting wrongfully at certain periods of their history exist in abundance ; and yet somehow, the Catholic Church needs to be singled out for especial vilification concerning some event that took place several hundred years ago, and which are of (and I repeat myself) no relevance whatsoever concerning ANY of its currently ongoing concerns or affairs ?

    yeah yeah yeah, I’m the extremist ; and I’m the one living in the past …

    (whatever)

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  33. JabbaPapa says:

    Oh, and that’s “tecum”, not “vobiscum” BTW

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  34. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Somehow, the journalists never report that a paedophile might be an atheist ; although one would of course expect the typical proportions of paedos as being atheists.
    Points out Jabba. True enough, we do not see stories that say, “Atheist in pedophile scandal” any more than we see “Catholic in pedophile scandal, or Lutheran in pedophile scandal, or Agnostic in pedophile scandal.”
    We might well see Schoolteacher, Stockbroker, Pop Star – or yes, sadly even Priest or Bishop.
    What we are also unlikely to see is, “Very tall man in pedophile scandal,” or “Ginger-Haired Man in pedophile scandal.” .” even if he is both these things.
    Funny, that.
    Can you think why that should be, Jabba?

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  35. JabbaPapa says:

    Google

    “catholic pedophile” – 20,600 results

    “lutheran pedophile” – 42 results

    “agnostic pedophile” – 3 results

    “atheist pedophile” – 824 results

    “schoolteacher pedophile” – 6,000 results

    “stockbroker pedophile” – No results found for “stockbroker pedophile” (there’s one result for “pedophile stockbroker”, but it’s a phrase appearing in a synopsis of a work of fiction)

    “pop star pedophile” – 524 results

    “priest pedophile” – 24,200 results

    “bishop pedophile” – 4,270 results

    “pedophile father” – 30,100 results

    “pedophile uncle” – 8,420 results

    Isn’t it … interesting … that despite the statistics definitively and strongly establishing that the vast majority of cases of paedophilia occur within a family environment, that the web imprint of this phenomenon is actually so small ?

    And that despite your protestations to the contrary, “catholic pedophile” gets 2/3rds the number of hits for “pedophile father” ; and cripes, look at the amazing difference between results for “catholic” and “lutheran” pedophiles !! A whopping 48947% difference !! Are there 48947% more catholic paedophiles than Lutheran ones ? I mean, that can hardly be evidence of any kind of bias, could it ?

    And it seems not even Michael Jackson and Gary Glitter can budge the charts up for pop star pedophiles above a rather measly 524 hits.

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  36. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    You’re right on Latin grammar, JP.

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  37. JabbaPapa says:

    You’re right on Latin grammar, JP.

    And you’re wrong about the Church, so I guess that makes us even then.

    Like

  38. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    You speak of the Church being ‘singled out’. On this site Catholicism is discussed; that’s why it features here more strongly. or so it seems to me. Don’t you think so?

    Toad has said in the past that (if I remember it right) there are some Catholics who feel the need to be persecuted, discriminated against.
    I hope you’re not one.

    Like

  39. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Toad is amazed that there were as many as three results for “Agnostic Pedophile” He had no idea there were so many. And is shocked! Shocked! Naughty old Agnostics! What is the world coming to?

    Like

  40. JabbaPapa says:

    You speak of the Church being ‘singled out’. On this site Catholicism is discussed; that’s why it features here more strongly. or so it seems to me. Don’t you think so?

    That’s somewhat fair of course, but it should to my mind be obvious that I’m referring to general attitudes towards the Church, rather than confining myself blinkeredly to those that are present in this forum.

    I do not live in China, Palestine, Saudi, or similar places, so that I would be hard-pressed to describe myself as being persecuted nor discriminated against – in fact, the diocese I belong to belongs to a territory where Catholicism is the state religion.

    Is this another straw man argument ? You seem in any case keen to reduce the scope of what I’ve said about contemporary attitudes towards the Church down to the narrow perspective of an ad hominem comment for me personally. Fair enough I suppose, but it’s hard to see the relevance to the issue whereby the Catholic Church has been mendaciously described as being somehow in favour of torturing and burning those people who might disagree with its teachings.

    I have commented about the poor factuality of some posts that have been made in this thread, yes, but you should realise that I would not have done so if those posts had not contained so many direct fallacies.

    I mean, stuff like Father Guinan is fortunate. No so long ago, he would simply have been burned at the stake is straightforwardly false, and I see no reason at all why I should not point this out to people.

    Perhaps, having studied classical rhetorics, I am more sensitive to the presence of rhetorical manipulativeness than is good for me ; I do nevertheless remain resistant to suggestions that are conveying false information of whichever origin.

    Like

  41. Toadspittle says:

    .
    But seriously Jabba, the point is, pedophile computer programmers, say, are not, in themselves, interesting. There has to be an angle. Pedophile priests are interesting. Goes with the job. As with pedophile pop stars, Pedophile multimillionaires etc.
    It is a variation on the old “Man bites dog, ” scenario: “Dog bites man – no news. Man bites dog – news.”
    Now do you get it?

    No? Well then, how about this? Catholic Priests are (or at least were) generally regarded as exemplars of moral probity. Atheists never have been. Probably unfair on Atheists, but serve ’em right.
    Thinks Toad.

    Like

  42. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    JP you make many ad hominem remarks and complain if you in turn receive them. When you read a differing point of view, you then complain that you are “sensitive to rhetorical manipulation” and refer to “false information”; more that a whiff of the Inquisition there. You have been born into the wrong era.

    Like

  43. JabbaPapa says:

    cripes, it’s cliché-a-minute from you, isn’t it Mr. Whippy …

    Like

  44. JabbaPapa says:

    It is a variation on the old “Man bites dog, ” scenario: “Dog bites man – no news. Man bites dog – news.”
    Now do you get it?

    Clearly so ; does this then mean that you agree with my comment that there is indeed a bias in reporting, causes of which you have identified, and the contents of which one shouldn’t take as being serious information, and therefore stop characterising the Church and priests in this negatively biased manner ?

    Like

  45. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Toad has said this before, several times, and Jabba has probably read it. Still..

    If Jabba, (or Toad, or anyone, to be fair) reads a story that agrees with his prejudices, it’s “Fair, balanced, and unbiased reporting.”
    If the story doesn’t agree with his prejudices, then it’s “Unfair, biased and downright lies told deliberately to unfairly besmirch the name of whatever it is (generally pedophile priests, in Jabba’s case, it seems)”

    Now tell me that’s not true.

    Or is it from your comment above, that you only have a problem with negative bias? Of course, some journalists are negatively biased against the Church. Some are positively biased towards it. Everyone is biased. The Guardian has a liberal bias, The Telegraph, conservative.
    But, despite your suspicions, nobody in ‘the media’ goes around inventing stories to discredit the Church. It’s not worth the effort, and it’s clearly not necessary, anyway.

    Like

  46. Toadspittle says:

    Messed up the coding again. Doh!
    Makes it look even more of a rant than it is.

    Like

  47. JabbaPapa says:

    If people make posts containing codswallop, I will describe those contents as codswallop.

    It’s very interesting that you are perfectly capable of describing the precise mechanisms whereby biased reporting comes about, and at the same time get all shirty when such biases are pointed out to you.

    Obviously, some report from L’Osservatore Romano might potentially contain pro-Catholic and pro-Vatican biases ; I have no idea why you are pretending that my understanding of articles with such biases is somehow “prejudiced” to be unaware of these facts.

    I may slip up occasionally when pointing out codswallop, because I try to attack contents but may sometimes attack the poster instead ; then again, I’ve been called “prejudiced”, “intolerant”, “Inquisitorial”, “extremist”, and basically the whole slew of epithets that some people love applying to Catholics, regardless of whether this should be appropriate or not.

    I suppose that these sorts of attacks are perfectly OK, and are to be considered as conducive to civilised debate ?

    I am BTW not one of those that has been posting some rather intolerant and extremist views about the Catholic Church somehow being supportive of torturing and burning people, but I don’t suppose that there could be any “prejudice” contained in those posts, could there ?

    Like

  48. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Jp,once again you complain about criticism, yet you repeatedly use words like ‘dishonest, codswallop, cobblers” etc. This is not very serious; however don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. Nobody minds a bit of prejudice or a rant, but don’t moan if it comes your way.

    And those words that ” people” love applying to Catholics; come on! Toad was right when he spoke of those who need to feel persecuted.

    Like

  49. JabbaPapa says:

    ah thanx — “persecuted”

    Sorry, forgot that epithet in my earlier list 😮

    Like

  50. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Teresa’s kindness and courtesy in welcoming Mr Badger is exemplary.

    I also want to say Hello Mr B, lovely to see you. I expect you’ve been sleeping a bit down in your holt or sett, and are now blinking in the light of day.
    Excellent.

    Like

  51. granny says:

    This is a good example of the Heresy of Modernism.

    Like

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