“Round the treasure-house of His love, God has set a thorny hedge”

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Co-Patroness of Europe

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Co-Patroness of Europe

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein, 1891-1942), whose feast day we celebrated yesterday, is one of the patron saints of Europe, where the Church is suffering so much at this time. St Teresa Benedicta surely did not imagine what God had in store for her – from Jew to atheist to brilliant scholar to Catholic convert to enclosed Carmelite mystic to martyr of the Nazi holocaust. She did not turn sadly back when she felt the pain of the thorns, but trusted in God each step of the way.

How did Edith, an atheist, discover Christ? Through the Mystery of the Cross, and the Faith and Hope revealed in Suffering when fixing one’s eyes on Christ Crucified.

In 1917 she was at Freiburg, assistant to Husserl. One day she received news of the death of Adolph Reinach on the field of battle. His wife and other friends asked Edith to come and sort his papers and various philosophical writings. She hesitated at first, feeling she had no words to comfort his wife, believing her to be desperate in her grief. When she met the young widow, however, she was struck by her resigned, almost serene attitude. In this attitude Edith grasped immediately the strength of the Christian Faith. The gates of an unknown kingdom had suddenly been thrown open, the kingdom of Christian Hope. Relating this experience many years later to the Jesuit, Fr Hirschaum, she confessed:

“This was my first meeting with the Cross, with the divine strength it brings to those who bear it. I saw for the first time within my reach the Church, born of the Redeemer’s sufferings in his victory over the sting of death. It was at that moment that my incredulity was shattered and the light of Christ shone forth, Christ in the mystery of the Cross”.

These words were spoken years later when Edith felt the full weight of the Cross bearing down on her persecuted people. Back in 1917 she had discovered from this experience that all her rationalistic and atheistic arguments were as nothing in comparison with the Christian Faith. Comparing herself with this deeply Christian woman, she realised that Christianity could offer her essential value-guides in the search for Truth. She realised the importance of faith in God, in order to free people from existential anguish, and to experience that “transcendental peace” which, in the phenomenology of Husserl, derives exclusively from the action of God in the soul. The serenity and trust of the widow Reinach had taught Edith that this “transcendental peace” is identical in the Christian Faith with the strength of the Cross of Christ, accepted in the hope of resurrection to immortal life. Only the meeting with Christ on the Cross can enable interior peace to be found and to sublimate suffering.

Years later, after her conversion to Catholicism, and with her entry to the Carmel of Cologne, Edith began a time of suffering and assimilation to Christ, which brought her to the heights of the mysticism of the Cross.

The saintly Fr Willie Doyle (Irish Jesuit priest, who was killed by a bomb blast in August 1917 during WW1 whilst ministering to his men) wrote in his diary:

“You must bear in mind that, if God has marked you out for very great graces and possibly a holiness of which you do not even dream, you must be ready to suffer; and the more of this comes to you, especially sufferings of soul, the happier it ought to make you. . . . Love of God is holiness, but the price of love is pain. Round the treasure-house of His love, God has set a thorny hedge; those who would force their way through must not shrink when they feel the sharpness of the thorns piercing their very soul. But alas! how many after a step or two turn sadly back in fear, and so never reach the side of Jesus.”

This is representative of the message of Christ Himself who tells us:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

409px-Jesus_Rescuing_a_Lamb_Caught_in_ThornsPat Kenny of the Iona Institute, and author of the blog, “Remembering Fr William Doyle SJ“, explains: “The way to holiness is hard. It is true that it may be filled with many consolations and the help of God’s grace, but the pursuit of sanctity itself is a hard road. This is seen in the life of every saint, from the martyrs to the hidden contemplatives to those living apostolic lives in the world, whether religious or lay. This suffering isn’t always physical, it can entail a suffering of the soul, similar, for instance, to that darkness experienced by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta for most of her life. Today in the West, and very especially in Ireland, it is becoming increasingly clear that our suffering as Catholics may involve scorn and insults because of our faith. But for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and elsewhere, we see a hard road that now leads to actual martyrdom, and even crucifixion, at the hands of Islamic militants.

Progress in the spiritual life requires effort, just like progress in a sport or a career requires effort. Those who win medals do not do so by accident – their success is based on many years of training and effort. But the fact that effort is required is not a sufficient excuse to stay still; as Fr Doyle says, we may have been marked out for a holiness of which we do not even dream. What a tragedy, for us and the world, if we do not strive to reach the level of holiness God has planned for us. Imagine if Fr Doyle had settled for a life of average sanctity, if he turned “sadly back in fear”? He could have lived a comfortable life; he could have managed to get a relatively easing posting at home. But how much more difficult would life in the trenches have been for some of those soldiers as a result? The same can be said for all the saints – if they had turned back sadly in fear, how many religious orders with all their works would remain unfounded; how many works of charity or of apostolate would remain undone?

And the same can be said of us. If we turn back out of fear of suffering, how many people will be worse off? That’s why the universal call to holiness is so remarkable, and exciting, and why we must not forget the implications of this spiritual truth for all of us. There are some high ranking prelates in the Church who have recently expressed the view that heroism isn’t for “ordinary Christians”. This is a strange clericalist mindset and it seems hard to reconcile this with the Gospel and with the witness of the first Christians. It’s true that we may not actually become heroic in practice, but we are still called to strive for heroism, even in faithfulness to mundane daily duties.”

But we must not give way to fear, for Christ has promised His grace, and this will help carry us forward, for without it we can do nothing. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He will help us. As St Benedict tells us in his Rule:

“For as we advance…in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love.”

Finally, we remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI:

“Jesus is nailed to the cross…Let us halt before this image of pain, before the suffering Son of God. Let us look upon him at time of presumptuousness and pleasure, in order to learn to respect limits and to see the superficiality of all merely material goods. Let us look upon him at times of trial and tribulation and realise that it is then that we are closest to God. Let us nail ourselves to him, resisting the temptation to stand apart or to join others in mocking him.”

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222 Responses to “Round the treasure-house of His love, God has set a thorny hedge”

  1. “Let us look upon him at a time of presumptuousness and pleasure….”

    And those bishops and priests who want to make the Church conform to the world, instead of the other way around? Can they do that? Can they look upon Christ “at a time of presumptuousness and pleasure”?

    When you consider what is likely to happen at the synod in October, the prospects are not at all good that the bishops will look on Christ in this way.

  2. John A. Kehoe says:

    Pope Saint John XXIII in 1959 spoke of the need for ‘aggiornamento’ in the Church, the process of updating and revising. Should we as lay people now usurp the function of the bishops and go off and found our own little church if what the bishops and Pope decide in the Synod does not suit our way of thinking ?

  3. johnhenrycn says:

    Welcome back, Mr Pay, Pray and Obey:

    The bishops may decide to either overturn Catholic doctrine or to subordinate it to pastoral concerns, but if even they do, we people in the pews have no business objecting.

    That sort of attitude is one that disappeared amongst us pew warmers – those of us who claim a brain anyway – long ago.

  4. John A. Kehoe says:

    If the Pope endorses what comes out of the Synod that then becomes Catholic Church teaching, whether we like it or not.
    I do not know who wrote the piece you cite. As it stands, I do not agree with it. It could not be the bishops alone who could change anything. The Pope would have to be involved.
    As for paying it is one of the precepts of the Church that we should materially support our clergy; praying is hardly a controversial matter ; conforming to Catholic teaching, as it may emerge from the deliberations of the bishops when approved by the Pope, seems indicated for any loyal Catholic.

  5. johnhenrycn says:

    “If the Pope endorses what comes out of the Synod that then becomes Catholic Church teaching, whether we like it or not.”

    No it doesn’t, not in the sense of infallibility. Am I wrong? I think something more central than a synod is needed.

  6. johnhenrycn says:

    …and I thought the October gabfest was supposed to merely be a touchy-feely pastoral one?

  7. John A. Kehoe says:

    Probably not, as you say,in the sense of infallibility; but the Magisterium of the Church- its teaching authority which loyal Catholics are called on to obey – is only rarely expressed in solemn form as an ex cathedra papal declaration such as the Dogma of the Assumption made by Pope Pius XII in 1950. Obviously,not every paragraph in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is supported by such an ex cathedra papal declaration but nevertheless the Catechism and the teachings therein represent the Magisterium of the Church which loyal Catholics are called on to observe. The Catholic Church would become unmanageable if all of its teachings had to be backed by solemn ex cathedra papal declarations before Catholics would conform to them
    As far as I can discover, the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI is not an infallible declaration, although clearly part of the teaching of the Catholic Church. I agree with it and have personally abided by it as part of the Magisterium but not as an infallible declaration. In the same way, what comes out of the Synod will, I believe, constitute part of the Magisterium of the Church and I expect, as usual, that it is not going to suit everybody.

  8. johnhenrycn says:

    Probably not”? Thanks for the lecture.

    Never knew you were so enamoured of the Catechism – particularly the official version of paragraph 2358. How are your inquiries progressing?

  9. John A. Kehoe says:

    No lecture. You asked for my opinion : ‘Am I wrong ?’ I gave it.

  10. johnhenrycn says:

    True. Thanks be to God I didn’t pay for it. But how are your inquiries progressing?
    We sound like a couple of old spinsters, don’t we?

  11. John A. Kehoe says:

    Inquiries progressing very well, thank you, but I will not upset you with the detail so far since you
    had become so exercised about this matter on an earlier thread and might become so again.

    Did you notice that Cardinal Raymond Burke has been omitted from the list of participants for the forthcoming Synod ? A promising sign.

    [The moderator – Commenting on the shortcomings of the posting style of other participants in the conversation is not conducive to an entertaining conversation Mr Kehoe, and makes you sound like the pharisee criticising the publican.]

  12. The Raven says:

    Why do you think it a good thing that one of the leading canonists of the Church has been excluded from this synod?

    And I would have thought that the “aggiornamento” (I know, probably spelled wrong) that we need now is to learn from the failed experiment of the last fifty years, that the Church was right all along: men and women should stay continent in marriage and not run off seeking to make eidolons of their own selfish desires; that men should not make concubines of the women that they love; that husbands should honour their wives and wives their husbands.

    The last thing that the world or the Church needs is to make the pretence that mortal sin is good, or offer sinners their own damnation by inviting them to partake unworthily in the body and blood of Our Lord.

  13. Magdalen says:

    I love Fr. Willie Doyle!! I read his thoughts every day and highly recommend all to do the same. His cause has not proceeded and I suspect because he was a saintly Irish Jesuit that we do not at present have the Irish or Jesuits to appreciate this holy man.

    In the end, the pope cannot promulgate heresy or his life will be required of him and he will meet his Maker. The nonsense of the sin-nod can only go so far! Yes, I see that many ‘liberal’ and even heretical ones are being invited and the more orthodox excluded. That is the way of this papacy. We shall see where it leads.

    The faithful must keep their focus on Our Lord and Our Lady and the Gospel truth.

  14. John A. Kehoe says:

    I think Cardinal Burke is being rightly excluded from the Synod because of the alienating language he chooses to use against people with whom he disagrees. For example, in a speech in Oxford recently he spoke about the Irish as being worse than the pagans because they voted overwhelmingly for same sex marriage. I am Irish. It is typical of his extreme rhetoric Pope Francis could do without that in trying to reach pastoral solutions for marginalized people struggling with their faith.

  15. John A. Kehoe says:

    Who are the heretical ones who are being invited to the Synod ?

  16. johnhenrycn says:

    Please supply a link to this “Irish as being worse than the pagans” comment.

  17. John A. Kehoe says:

    He made the comment at a speech at the Newman Society at Oxford University in May of the year. You can find it in several places on the web.

  18. johnhenrycn says:

    “…in May of the year.”

    Then why didn’t you link it? That’s the standard practice – on blogs and in court. When you cite legal precedents at the European Court of Human Rights, do you tell the judges that they “can find it in several places on the web.”?

  19. The Raven says:

    Here’s what Burke actually said:

    “Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviors, [but] they never dared to say this was marriage,”

    The whole “Irish worse than pagans” thing was a journalist’s fever dream.

  20. John A. Kehoe says:

    These are not Court pleadings. I am not addressing a judge. This is an informal thread. You could well have found it without asking me.

  21. The Raven says:

    True, John, but even in informal conversation, especially when you are casting aspersions on a man’s character that could amount to detraction, it is good manners to provide a link; especially as it may refresh your memory to read past the head notes of the case that you want to cite.

  22. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe says: “These are not Court pleadings.”

    Such an irrelevant observation. It is standard practice in pleadings to say things that may not be true, but which one hopes may be true. In fact, unless you plead them, you cannot seek to prove them. I cannot remember the number of times I’ve pleaded thusly:

    Her will, apperception and judgement were so affected by consumption of liquor and drugs that she had not the ability to operate a motor vehicle with the skill and care required of a reasonably skillful motorist…”

    That’s a standard pleading on both sides of the Atlantic I expect, even if the motorist is a 70 year old Catholic grandmother of four.

    But this blog is not interested in imaginary court pleadings. ALWAYS supply links to quotes you cite, or give a credible explanation for why not.

    How old are you, or is that an impertinent question?

  23. toadspittle says:

    Both teams of “old spinsters”* on here seem to agree on one thing at least – that being a pagan is no good.
    In which case why did God make so many millions more of them than He did Christians? Why have so many humans, over the past 250,00 years or so, had no choice but to be pagans?
    Might also ask why He made so many gays – while we’re at it.

    * Tut, JH – sexist! (How many of us remember when “Confirmed Bachelor,” was media code for gay?”)

  24. toadspittle says:

    What Raymond Cardinal Burke ought to have said was “…pagans never bothered to say this was marriage.”
    Pagans couldn’t care less if it was, or it wasn’t. Rightly. IMO.

  25. John A. Kehoe says:

    The comment was made in the context of the result of the Irish referendum on same sex marriage to which Cardinal Burke directly referred.

  26. John A. Kehoe says:

    You ask my age. Such an irrelevant question. Old enough to participate politely in a conversation or debate.

  27. The Raven says:

    That’s true, John, but only an offence-seeker or a sensationalist would swallow the spin on his comments that you’ve reported.

    It’s quite alright to express your disagreement with Burke, you don’t have to drag him through the mud as well.

  28. kathleen says:

    Not even the Pope can “change” any part of the Deposit of Faith. He is its protector and defender, not its destroyer.

    “No, the Church cannot change its doctrines no matter how badly some theologians may want it to or how loudly they claim it can. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are the deposit of faith revealed by Jesus Christ, taught by the apostles, and handed down in their entirety by the apostles to their successors. Since revealed truth cannot change, and since the deposit of faith is comprised of revealed truth, expressed in Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the deposit of faith cannot change.” (Catholic Answers)

    If any Pope ever attempted to change Doctrine he would be a heretical Pope, an anti-Pope, and would have to be deposed. AFAIK this has never happened; in the only one known case where we hear of a Pope who was about to attempt this, he dropped down dead before he took this step towards heresy. “The gates of Hell…. etc.”

  29. kathleen says:

    Mr. John A. Kehoe is elderly, JH. You can look him up via a google search, as I did. 😉

    Quite honestly though, I have never thought age mattered that much in questions of understanding and wisdom. In fact the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit can abound (or be lacking) in people of all ages.

  30. kathleen says:

    Ever heard of the ‘Shadow Synod’, Mr Kehoe? To all “with eyes to see”, it would appear that those who took part in this irregular pre-Synod have a pretty heretical agenda they aim to try to push through.
    The October Synod on the Family will be a battle between the orthodox vs. the heterodox bishops. Let us pray earnestly for our faithful shepherds and the triumph of Truth over Falsehood.

  31. Michael says:

    …trying to reach pastoral solutions for marginalized people struggling with their faith.

    The results of the referendum do indeed suggest that many of the Irish are struggling with their faith, although I don’t think they’ve reached the status of ‘marginalised’ just yet. As for pagans, I don’t think they’re struggling with their faith – they’re just wrong 🙂

  32. Michael says:

    in the only one known case where we hear of a Pope who was about to attempt this, he dropped down dead before he took this step towards heresy

    Very interesting! Do you know which pope this was? It is definitely true that, whilst there may have been a few popes who held heretical opinions (Honorius I being the most famous example, though even in that case it is highly questionable as to whether he was ever confirmed in monothelite beliefs or whether he merely crossed some theological boundaries in exploring the question), and some that even preached on their heretical views (John XXII).

    And yet, as you say, none of these ever officially promoted heresy, let alone promulgated it in magisterial documents, papal pronouncements, etc. It is always a very comforting though to remember those real-life examples wherein the Holy Spirit has protected His Church from error, against all the odds 🙂

  33. Michael says:

    Who are the heretical ones who are being invited to the Synod ?

    Have a guess. Go on…

  34. geoffkiernan says:

    Kathleen: Not wishing to return to an old debate but your comment, ” If any Pope ever attempted to change doctrine, he would be an heretical Pope and an anti-pope and would have to be deposed…” Wouldn’t that process involve perhaps just a little bit of criticism ? ( insert here a little smiling face with one eye closed, because I don’t know how to do it.)
    Thank you for your earlier re-direction on this matter. Not for the first time on this site have I been persuaded by yourself and other contributors, to re assess my opinions. I can say it is good for the soul to accept correction and to admit one could in fact be wrong even if one is of a grand age. In fact the older one get the better it is for the soul.

  35. John A. Kehoe says:

    There is no such thing as the ‘Shadow Synod’. It is simply a wild invention of those who think better than the participants themselves who were there, and will be there again when the Synod resumes. They can do without any comments from you and me.

  36. John A. Kehoe says:

    Please name the heretics. Pope Francis would hardly have invited heretics to the Synod.

  37. John A. Kehoe says:

    The pointed reference to the Irish which Cardinal Burke made in Oxford in the aftermath of the same sex marriage referendum does of course show the sea change which has occurred in religious values in this country where now the Catholic Church is no longer heeded by a large majority.

  38. toadspittle says:

    “No, the Church cannot change its doctrines…”
    What about Limbo?

    “I can say it is good for the soul to accept correction and to admit one could in fact be wrong even if one is of a grand age. In fact the older one get the better it is for the soul.”
    Dead right, Geoff. I’d say it’s always a good idea to be willing to change your mind about anything, at ll, atany age.
    I’ve changed mine several times in a lifetime. (I’m 74) And I’d be happy to do it again, given convincing evidence.

  39. johnhenrycn says:

    It was irrelevant, but also rhetorical (i.e. no answer required). I’m told it’s possible to find your bio online. I shall not surf for it, but was mildly surprised to hear that you’re getting on, because I remembered your saying that you received your LL. M in 2013. That’s a bit of a feather in the old bowler, what, what?

  40. Michael says:

    I was suggesting that you might like to have a guess John, as I was fairly confident you couldn’t really be ignorant of the intentions of those determined to change Church teaching (and already firmly in support of heterodox ideas with respect to marriage and the Eucharist, amongst other things), such as Cardinals Kasper and Marx. But as you’ve just claimed, in your reply to Kathleen, that there is ‘no such thing as the Shadow Synod’, I realise that initial confidence was misplaced.

    Interesting though that you are on the one hand highly sceptical of the machinations of many before the Synod last year (particularly when similar meetings have been exposed already this year), yet are perfectly willing to swallow (and subsequently regurgitate) misrepresentations of what Cardinal Burke said in the aftermath of the Irish referendum.

  41. Michael says:

    Yes, indeed. My comment was really meant to be a bit of a joke John (the smiley face was supposed to hint at that), but never mind. We can at least agree that Ireland is a country in which, sadly, the Catholic Church (its official teachings that is) is no longer heeded by a great many people.

  42. Michael says:

    What about Limbo?

    I think that one’s been covered several times already. Not to your satisfaction I know, but it’s gotten quite a lot of airtime in the past, and clearly the evidence is not ‘convincing’* enough, so maybe a topic best left alone for the time being.

    *Here I have to concur with your oft-repeated point about the multivalency of words (not in its most extreme form, but just the fact that a wide range of meaning is often possible) – not just that what is convincing to me would probably not be to you, but when I read the word ‘convincing’ here I do not get the sense of ‘satisfactory to the intellect’ or anything like that (which is what, I presume, you intended); instead I get the sense of ‘to my liking’ or ‘conducive to my established preferences’. Fascinating stuff is language.

  43. John A. Kehoe says:

    Yes, I am ‘getting on’, as you say.In fact I am 77 years of age, and I was at 75 years the oldest LL.M. graduate ever of London University, a fact so acknowledged by the University at the conferring ceremony in London in 2013.
    I have never worn a bowler. I leave that to gentlemen of the City of London.
    So now, courtesy of the investigative Kathleen- who has uncovered the dark secret that I am ‘elderly’- you have, if needed, further negative evidence against me. I am Irish,bad in itself, but a factor which makes me of pagan disposition according to a North American high ecclesiastic and, to trump it all,additionally ‘elderly’.

  44. John A. Kehoe says:

    The media’s representations of the intentions of Cardinals Kasper and Marx are hardly likely to be more than journalistic licence. Granted that the media also headlined Cardinal Burke’s comparison,he does however court this reportage and did link the Irish same- sex marriage referendum outcome to a pagan outlook, forgetting that the Ireland of his imagination as that of many Irish-Americans – the Mother Mocree of the past- has long since disappeared.

    I am old enough to recall the media’s reporting of the Second Vatican Council which was in many cases wild and inaccurate as were many of the rumours circulating in Rome at the time where I lived for a time during the closing sessions of the Council in 1965.. Hence I take what is being said about Cardinals Kasper and Marx cum magno grano salis

  45. Michael says:

    The media’s representations of the intentions of Cardinals Kasper and Marx are hardly likely to be more that journalistic licence.

    John, I am as wary of journalistic misrepresentation and rumour-mongering as you are (albeit selectively in your case, seeing as you are, as has been noted several times already, perfectly willing to believe whatever is written about Card. Burke by people desperate to discredit him, even when what he actually said has been presented to you).

    However, in the case of Kasper and Marx, they have themselves made it expressly clear that they want to explore ‘alternatives’ to established Church teaching on re-marriage and the Eucharist. The fact that they don’t seem to see this as a problem and/or can’t see that a change in practice necessarily involves a change in doctrine, is by the by – what is clear is that they have made these views known clearly; they are not a result of media manipulation.

  46. Michael says:

    I am Irish,bad in itself, but a factor which makes me of pagan disposition according to a North American high ecclesiastic and, to trump it all,additionally ‘elderly’.

    Oh for goodness sake get over yourself, John. The fact that you seem to believe your Irishness is some kind of black mark against you, just because of some jokey remarks (subsequently explained to you), when, as Kathleen has pointed out, there are a great many people here of Irish extraction themselves, is bizarre enough. But now you seem to have taken it upon yourself to imagine some kind of ageist conspiracy against you as well. It would save a lot of time if you stopped being quite as touchy and stopped conflating valid critiques of your views with personal attacks. I know it is hard to see ‘tone’ in print, but it is clear that the remarks you take such exception too have all been intended to be humorous – a bit of gentle japery and nothing more.

  47. johnhenrycn says:

    “Yes, Siobhan?”
    “Can you make a sound like a frog?”
    “Yes, dear, I can, but I won’t.”

    “Yes, Siobhan?”
    “Why won’t you make a sound like a frog?”
    “Because it’s undignified for a man of my years.”

    (Sigh) “Yes, Siobhan?”
    “Please make a sound like a frog.”
    “Now look here, young girl, why do you want me to make a sound like a frog?”
    “Because Mummy says when you croak we can all go to Disneyworld.”

  48. johnhenrycn says:

    btw, Mr Kehoe, Raymond Cardinal Burke traces his paternal roots back to County Tipperary; and I was born on March 17 and always wear a St Patrick tartan tie on that special day. In short, don’t both of us qualify as honorary leprechauns?

  49. toadspittle says:

    And you, Michael – do not have have “established preferences,” I assume. Right.

  50. toadspittle says:

    Odd. I can post on here (whether anyone will get the opportunity to read it rests in the safe hands of the “moderators”) – but not on other threads, such as the “childish” one. Oh, well.

    [The moderator – You can post where you like, Toad.]

  51. John A. Kehoe says:

    During Vatican II, as I recall being then reported, bishops on the ‘right’ such as Cardinal Ottaviani, the supposed hardliner, and those on the ‘left’, battled it out during the drafting of documents; words were exchanged short of blows being struck, and yet what emerged was a consensus approved by the Pope. ‘Liberal’ Catholics would say that some of the Vatican II documents were tame stuff, not going far enough by way of reform.’Conservative’ Catholics, including I gather many on this website, would think they went too far and look back on what they perceive to be the ‘good old days’ before Vatican II. I believe the same will happen with the Synod into which neither you nor I, nor anyone else posting here will have any input whatsoever.
    The real issue will be,not yet canvassed on this blog, what conservative Catholics will do if, to take but one matter, the Synod decides, with the Pope’s approval, to admit divorced and remarried Catholics to the Eucharist ? After all of the sound and fury, what will those posting on this blog do in that event ? Leave, and found their own Church ?

  52. John A. Kehoe says:

    Low humour, not debate

  53. John A. Kehoe says:

    I guessed that you would use age as part of your attempts at humour. In the absence of anything better……

  54. John A. Kehoe says:

    I guessed that you would use age as part of your attempts at humour. In the absence of anything better……

  55. John A. Kehoe says:

    Shows what a nonsensical view you have of Ireland when you speak of leprechauns. Typical Irish American delusion.

  56. Michael says:

    John, please read what I wrote again – I do not dispute that the proceedings of Church synods and councils is often messy, and that the Holy Spirit must necessarily straighten a lot of crooked lines therein. I also expressly said that I agree with you that there can be and often is a lot of media distortion in the reporting of such events.

    What I was questioning is your attribution of media manipulation to the views of Kasper and Marx, when we have very clear statements from them about what their intentions are, and your strange acceptance of very real distortions of what Card. Burke said, the nature of which has been highlighted for you here.

    As for what might happen if the Synod in October decides to admit divorced and remarried to the Eucharist, this actually has been discussed on this blog many times, and even on this very thread, so I am not sure what you are talking about here. Personally, I don’t think this will be the result of the Synod, though if it were, whilst finding this distressing, I would not be distraught as I know that the findings of synods do not automatically become magisterial teaching, and can be overruled. JH has already pointed this out to you.

  57. Michael says:

    Low humour, not debate

    My point is that, whether you see it as high or low, it is intended to be humour not personal attack, and that you should therefore stop receiving it as the latter.

  58. johnhenrycn says:

    “Typical Irish American delusion.”

    What ?! Are you saying leprechauns aren’t real ??? Did you never see Darby O’Gill and the Little People?

    What about banshees? Are they real?

  59. John A. Kehoe says:

    I am objecting to your use of age as humour in this thread. Darby O’Gill and leprechauns are for credulous Irish Americans. We get them here every Summer

  60. johnhenrycn says:

    My goodness, you’re a tough nut to crack. Do you find this amusing?

    From today’s Times:

  61. John A. Kehoe says:

    I do not see how the mistake about Karol Wojtyla’s nationality (being non-Italian), or his evident Catholic status can be compared to your deliberate use of AGE as humour.

  62. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe, you’d make a fascinating case study for people interested in knowing more about Gelotophobia.

  63. johnhenrycn says:

    Here’s a recent article dealing with your (ahem) condition:

  64. John A. Kehoe says:

    A diversionary comment. Still no apology from you for using age as a topic for humour. But that, regrettably, is the kind of person you represent yourself to be.

  65. John A. Kehoe says:

    I am not without humour, but not of your kind which deliberately attempts to personally demean older people.

  66. Michael says:

    According to the article, it says that gelotophobes can be reprogrammed. I think Dr. Tracy Platt of the University of Zurich should be invited to observe this thread 🙂

  67. Michael says:

    A diversionary comment

    A highly relevant comment I would have thought, and your responses seem to confirm the thesis thus far…

  68. John A. Kehoe says:

    A simple apology would not come amiss for using age as humour but that does not come easily to your partner in this fun.

  69. johnhenrycn says:

    ” Still no apology from you for using age as a topic for humour.”

    Mr Kehoe, why should one senior citizen apologize to another for making jokes about age? And besides, one psychiatric disorder people over here don’t suffer from is fear of having to say “sorry”.

  70. John A. Kehoe says:

    If you have no fear of having to say ‘sorry’ why don’t you say it ?

  71. johnhenrycn says:

    I asked you first: Why should one senior citizen (me) apologize to another senior citizen (you) for making an ageist joke. Nurse!

  72. johnhenrycn says:

    I asked you first: Why should one senior citizen (me) apologize to another senior citizen (you) for making an ageist joke. Nurse!

  73. Michael says:

    A simple apology would not come amiss for using age as humour but that does not come easily to your partner in this fun.

    I’m sorry John, I have to confess I literally have no idea what that statement means.

  74. Michael says:


    Haha! I am starting to imagine some kind of sitcom scenario now, with the two of you sat in hospital beds arguing with one another – a mixture between ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and ‘Only When I Laugh’ if you will.

    [The moderator – I have deleted a number of comments here, not because they were particularly bilious, but because I don’t think that this thread is the place for a conversation about the licitness or otherwise of jokes about age, neither do I think it the place for jokes about age.]

  75. johnhenrycn says:

    There were some officially recognised same-sex marriages (so-called) in pagan cultures.

  76. The Raven says:

    Which cultures were those, JH?

  77. johnhenrycn says:

    The Raven:

    In Nero, Tacitus tells the reader, tyrannical passion, the hubris of proclaimed divinity, the corruption of power, and “every filthy depraved act, licit or illicit” seemed to reach an imperial peak. He not only had a passion for “free-born boys” but also for quite literally marrying other men and even a boy, sometimes playing the part of the woman in the union and sometimes the man.

    Not sure this reply will appear in the right place, and also not sure that my link will survive criticism by The Raven, but here it is:

  78. The Raven says:

    JH, the whole point of Tacitus’ narrative was to illustrate how deviant Nero’s rule was: Nero’s alleged (and bear in mind that Tacitus had a quite enormous axe to grind against the Julian-Neronian dynasty, so a take his account with a fair amount of salt) celebration of marriage rites with boys is being written about in terms of horrified incredulity; Tacitus is not reporting normative behaviour (assuming that it is a report at all), but something on a par with Caligula making his horse consul or Tiberius’s “leisure activities” on Capri.

  79. johnhenrycn says:

    The Raven: as I said/feared, my comment might not survive your expert eye. But you question Tacitus’s impartiality. Fair enough. But you do not categorically deny
    “Nero’s alleged… celebration of marriage rites with boys…”, which perforce means that there were (sorry, mayhave been) some officially recognised same-sex marriages (so-called) in pagan cultures, does it not?

    Now, can I ask you this: is there any impartial ancient Roman author who denied Nero’s same-sex marriages?

  80. johnhenrycn says:

    Don’t get too upset, my 74 year old friend: I’ve had a wonderfully, superbly, delightful comment (or two) deleted here today. We must move on to fight another day.

  81. kathleen says:

    Sorry Michael, I had a very busy day and couldn’t get back to answer you.

    Do you know which pope this was?

    I couldn’t find the Catholic website where I’d read that but I found another with the same information: it was Pope Sixtus V, 1585-1590 !

    “He was (according to his biographers) in many respects, a very successful pope. He eliminated lawlessness in northern Italy, re-filled the Vatican treasury by the use of good business sense and gained control of a rambunctious college of cardinals.
    While he was not was a Latin scholar, nevertheless, he re-translated the Vulgate. The result was a Bible full of errors.
    He had already issued the bull on his new Vulgate and had it printed. The night before it was to be issued, he died, apparently of natural causes.
    St. Robert Bellarmine re-translated the Vulgate, correctly, and it was issued properly.
    This is an example, which I have used, to illustrate the protection the Holy Spirit exerts over the Church and the Pope, to protect them from error in faith and morals.”

  82. The Raven says:

    JH, I think you are stretching things by saying that these extracts are evidence of there having been “officially recognised same-sex marriages”: Tacitus’ account is intended to highlight the dangers and foolishness of an unchecked despotism, Nero’s “marriages” (if they took place) would have been “officially recognised” only for so long as an official was within earshot of the emperor.

    Tacitus is using an impossible and absurd image (like Caligula making his horse consul) to illustrate the absurdity of despotic rule.

    An analogue in more recent times might be the rumours (often presented as fact by historians) about the circumstances of the death of Catherine the Great.

  83. geoffkiernan says:

    Don’t be upset Toad and JH. I think it is just an age thing…EG If the moderator is, say, 50 years old then by law (their law) anyone 51 years old and older ( and it goes up annually) is naturally brain dead. We all know we are not, but that is not enough for some people….
    Sadly every now and again we say something that is beyond them and that simply confirms what they think…

  84. toadspittle says:

    It’s not that the moderators are reading some of my comments, and then killing them ( they do that anyway) but that some comments don’t appear at all. When I hit “Post,” they vanish. Not P&S’s fault. Others work OK – and then just get dumped. hat is life, I suppose.
    You do allow this old sceptic a fair bit of licence, I know,

  85. geoffkiernan says:

    maybe they are trying to tell us something

  86. Michael says:

    And you, Michael – do not have have “established preferences,” I assume.

    Of course I do – I would never deny that. In fact, I think it of the utmost importance to recognise that assent is more a matter of the will than the intellect (though the latter is clearly involved in the process) and that the various ways in which our minds have been formed over the years (which result in certain established preferences) absolutely must be taken into account, both by the subject involved in weighing up a proposition, and the objective observer.

    My point is that, IMO, you too often confuse the settled conclusions of habit and preference with what can be reasonably demonstrated and/or accepted. The reason I have gained this impression is that, despite having witnessed on several occasions very clear and reasonable response being given to your queries here, you have simply written such responses off as a load of nonsense, and subsequently claimed that no decent answers have ever been forthcoming to your questions.

    I certainly don’t expect you to change your mind all of a sudden on any given topic, but to reject clear and reasonable explanations out of hand as ‘gibberish’ (an often-used rejoinder) seems to me to suggest a conflation of ‘established preferences’ with what would ordinarily be seen as reasonable (and therefore in a certain sense satisfactory) conclusions. It goes without saying that I may well, of course, be wrong about all this, but this is the impression I get.

  87. Michael says:

    Thank you Kathleen – that is interesting indeed, and an excellent example of what you were talking about!

    Also, the mention of Saint Robert Bellarmine is a providential extra, as we could certainly do with someone of his talents and character at the moment – someone who is able to combine theological clarity and polemical defence of Catholic truth with the ability to moderate and reconcile disparate elements within the Church itself. I can already think of a few high-ranking prelates that might fit the bill actually (and indeed, I think Benedict XVI will go down as one of the great reforming popes after a few more generations), though only time will tell what role they will play in Church history… 🙂

  88. toadspittle says:

    In view of the above, Michael – and at the risk of sounding even more “cracked record” than usual, let me ask – yet again – for an explanation of how the actions of a finite being can result in infinite consequences. I’ve never been given a satisfactory answer yet, but if I get one, I will honestly be delighted.

  89. Michael says:

    let me ask – yet again – for an explanation of…I’ve never been given a satisfactory answer yet, but if I get one, I will honestly be delighted.

    I really don’t think there’s much point Toad, for the reasons I’ve just given. This is one of the topics on which you’ve been supplied with plenty of perfectly reasonable answers in the past, on many occasions, and yet these have all been written off as nonsense (i.e.; not even accepting their reasonableness, let alone whether or not you find them personally satisfying). So I don’t really see what use another attempt would do.

  90. kathleen says:

    Ah yes, Michael, I’m absolutely in agreement with you there! 🙂

    It is amazingly reassuring, isn’t it, that despite the wicked, incredulous age in which we are living, where so many have abandoned the Faith, or stayed as ‘nominal’ members of the Church in order to destroy Her from within (which is even worse, and certainly more dangerous and corruptive) we still find that we have outstanding ‘knights for truth’ who battle the modern errors of lies and deceit, or have already recently done so, leaving their powerful and indelible witness to help win back souls for God.

    The list of these current (or recent) heroes and saints-in-the-making is long, but I would single out the names of Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop A. Schneider, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Fr Willie Doyle, G.K.Chesterton, Mother Angelica, Michael Davies, Fr Hugh Thwaites, Malachi Martin, Dr. Jérôme Lejeune, all our intrepid and tireless fighters in the pro-life movement… etc.
    Oh, now I’ve started I cannot stop, for yes, the list is long and growing. We do not stand alone; God continues to pour his grace into faithful souls preparing them for battle with the demons in our midst. Our obligation is not to shrink back in the face of these ‘demons’, fearing our own personal weakness and ineffectuality, but to allocate our own little ‘grain of wheat’. With God’s help, it will grow and multiply.

  91. John A. Kehoe says:

    And what about adding the worthy Cardinal Marx and the worthy Cardinal Kasper working hard to bring the Church up to date in line with the process of aggiornamento – updating and revision – proposed by Pope St John XIII in 1959 ?

  92. johnhenrycn says:

    The Raven (at 05:52) –

  93. johnhenrycn says:

  94. johnhenrycn says:

    To be perfectly clear, that’s not The Raven in the photo waving the white flag.

  95. johnhenrycn says:

    Yes, Mr. Kehoe, those crazy (in a nice way) Germans. What will they think of next? The mention by Kathleen of Dietrich von Hildebrand, reminds me of his recently published (or re-published) early (1921-1938) memoirs, My Battle Against Hitler, wherein he recounts the provincial of the German Dominicans remarking over dinner one evening:

    “We have no reason to reject Hitler when he stresses the idea of authority and the value of the nation. Above all he keeps speaking about God.

    It’s said, in a recent review I read of his memoirs that a Catholic priest was involved in hatching a plot to assassinate von Hildebrand on account of his opposition to Hitler.
    My point being that your two Teutonic titans may also be walking down the wrong path. I think they are. We shall see.

  96. Michael says:

    And what about adding the worthy Cardinal Marx and the worthy Cardinal Kasper working hard to bring the Church up to date

    Ha – so you do have a sense of humour after all! 🙂

  97. johnhenrycn says:

    I can’t help wondering whether Cardinals Schönborn, Marx and Kasper are freemasons.

  98. Michael says:

    Yes Kathleen, it is very reassuring indeed, and I am sure the names you mention will become even more well known as the years go by, remembered by future generations as those who ‘held the fort’ when under attack from without and within! It is always good to remember, especially in times when it can occasionally feel like the likes of ‘worthy’ Kasper and Marx have the upper hand (mainly because of their own relentless self-promotion, in the case of Kasper), that Someone else has His hand on the steering wheel, and He is working, even now, through many faithful servants to preserve the Truth for the forthcoming generations.

  99. John A. Kehoe says:

    I don’t understand the urge to do down Cardinal Marx and Cardinal Kasper. Many theological heavyweights have come out of Germany, Pope Benedict XVI, and Karl Rahner S.J. for example among very many others

  100. Michael says:

    I remember yesterday John saying several times that the changes it had been reported Kasper and Marx wished to introduce were not their intentions at all and simply the result of media distortion, so I assume this comment about aggiornamento is a joke – a welcome sign that the gelotophobia is passing.

  101. John A. Kehoe says:

    I am sorry if you ever doubted it, except that I don’t use humour as a weapon against others. My present comment about Cardinal Marx and Cardinal Kasper was not however intended to be humorous

  102. Michael says:

    My reason for doubting it John, is that you seem to take yourself rather too seriously. Also, as I had noted before, the comments you perceive as attacks are really nothing more than jesting for jesting’s sake – whether you see this as correct behaviour for a blog thread is by the by; I’ve seen nothing demeaning or that suggests genuine animus against yourself.

    I had indeed reckoned that you weren’t joking re Kasper and Mark (and my comment in response to yours was also meant to be humorous – failed again!) It is simply that I find the idea of them as reforming heroes of the Faith, and that their agenda is in anyway what Saint John XXIII had in mind, patently ridiculous. Furthermore, I thought it was your contention that their views had been misrepresented by the media, no?

  103. johnhenrycn says:

    Of course, Mr Kehoe, you’re right in saying many “theological heavyweights” have come out of Germany, including Luther. But we – me anyway – are more concerned about orthodoxy than about brainpower. If you are not teaching true doctrine and if you are not teaching that pastoral concerns are subordinate to doctrine, you have no business claiming to be a priest, let alone a prince of the Church.

  104. John A. Kehoe says:

    I have never met either Cardinal Marx or Cardinal Kasper to enable me to inquire of them their possible Freemasonry leanings. I was, however, at a Mass in Vienna in recent times celebrated by Cardinal Schonborn and, while I now regret not having asked him this question directly, there was nothing about the man’s demeanour to suggest that he belonged to that brethren. This comes of course with Shakespeare’s caveat that ‘ There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face’.

  105. John A. Kehoe says:

    Yes I do think their views have been misrepresented by the media i.e. that they are run-away liberals about to change Church doctrine. I favour them, however, in the belief that following a process of aggiornamento, first thought of by Pope St John XXIII in 1959,these cardinals among othrers may promote updating within the Church and its doctrine for the pastoral benefit of all Catholics. Many on this thread seem fearful that any pastoral concerns at all will be debated at the Synod thus stultifying any progress whatsoever.

  106. Michael says:

    i.e. that they are run-away liberals about to change Church doctrine

    is followed by…

    I favour them, however, in the belief that…these cardinals among othrers may promote updating within the Church and its doctrine for the pastoral benefit of all Catholics

    Can you not why I am confused now John? Also, I would recommend reading up on what Saint John XXIII really meant by ‘aggiornamento’ – he did not intend changing the immemorial teaching of the Church, which is what Kasper’s proposals would involve.

  107. johnhenrycn says:

    I’m somewhat embarrassed to say it’s only now that I’ve actually read this post of Kathleen’s about St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, so caught up was I with our chitter chatter. It seems to me that this entire post is in her own words (Kathleen is assiduous in attribution) and must have taken quite some time to compose. Well done, sister.

  108. johnhenrycn says:

    “It seems to me that this entire post is in her own words…”

    No, I didn’t quite mean that, because Kathleen uses many quotes. I was thinking mainly of her several opening paragraphs before the extensive quote from Pat Kenny’s superb blog. Oh well, a nice job like I said 😉

  109. Michael says:

    True indeed – beautifully written I thought, and very inspiring too.

  110. John A. Kehoe says:

    Yes, doctrine, too, in the broad sense. Someone on this thread has mentioned Limbo for example. I am old enough to remember this being taught generally, and in Catholic Schools, to the great distress of some women who lost children in childbirth, or in other situations, without baptism. Limbo has been quietly dropped and everybody is now conveniently saying that it was never part of Church doctrine. There is now no mention of Limbo in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But it was in the past hammered home as doctrine as I clearly remember
    I remember it also being de rigueur that women after childbirth should be ‘churched’ with the suggestion that childbirth had made them unclean and that they required readmission to the Church. I can hear protests already telling me that I am wrong, that it was never church doctrine etc etc. Try telling that to the older generation of women who were bullied into this practice by clergy ,as if it were doctrine.Again, there is no mention of ‘churching’ of women in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These and others are welcome developments but they are developments. I look forward to the Synod with confidence that whatever emerges with the approval of the Pope will be for the benefit of Catholics.

  111. Michael says:

    John, I think two things are important to note here. Firstly, a great many things have become de rigeur in Church life without them being adopted as official teaching. Secondly, there is big difference between authentic development of doctrine and flat-out changing of doctrine* – presumably you believe that the Church not only has not, but cannot change her doctrine, in the sense where a change brought about would contradict some prior official teaching? If so, could you (as briefly as possible) state how Kasper’s proposals would not involve either a denial of Our Lord’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, or the apostolically-rooted (c.f.; 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) teaching about receiving the Eucharist worthily?

    *For a good article on Limbo, which has not been ‘quietly dropped’, see this helpful article posted at CP&S earlier in the year:


  112. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe says:
    “Someone on this thread has mentioned Limbo for example. I am old enough to remember this being taught generally, and in Catholic Schools, to the great distress of some women who lost children in childbirth, or in other situations, without baptism. Limbo has been quietly dropped and everybody is now conveniently saying that it was never part of Church doctrine.”

    But Karl Rahner, S.J., one of those German “theological heavyweights” you mention above, told us way back in 1965 in this book:

    …at pp. 262-63 that the existence of the limbus puerorum has not been doctrinally established by the Magisterium:

    “…those texts which touch on the subject have nothing directly to say about limbo. Scholarly investigation, which is still in progress, has established that there is no consensus of theologians on this matter in early times…”

    What I mean is: you’re wrong in saying that limbo has been “quietly dropped” from Church doctrine. It never was Church doctrine, no matter what your Penny or Baltimore Catechisms may suggest to the contrary. Those eminently worthy books are children’s books, beginner’s books. The Catechism of the Council of Trent contains no mention of limbo that I can find, and it was promulgated long before your happy birth. Is your version of that venerable Catechism different than mine again?

  113. John A. Kehoe says:

    You make my point, Michael, firstly that a ‘great many things have become de rigeur in Church life without them being adopted as official teaching’. Teaching and practice often blend, and have done so in the past, as in the case of the ‘churching of women’ and consigning unbaptised infants to Limbo which an earlier generation believed to be doctrine without them being disabused of their error by anybody, not least the clergy who preached them. This, secondly, raises the question ‘What is doctrine ?’ To take one example,at one time doctrine had it, and I went to a major seminary cum secondary boarding school, that the former order of sub deacon was a sacrament; then there was a doubt about its sacramental character ; then the sub deaconate was abandoned. So doctrine is a shifting concept. Yesterday’s folly becomes to-day’s embarrassment to be shelved and not spoken of again.
    I believe in the indissolubility of Christian marriage but as you are well aware issues, too long and difficult to discuss here in detail, can arise. In outline only, take the case of a Catholic man and Catholic woman getting married in a Catholic Church and the woman afterwards walking away from that marriage because she does not want, without reason, to have children, and without any other fault on either side, the wife then civilly divorcing her husband. If the man then seeks an annulment of that marriage, because of his wife’s opposition to having children and subsequent divorcing him, and then, because of interminable delays in the annulment process, going on for years, and complicated by his marriage abroad in a foreign language jurisdiction, he marries again civilly – or perhaps he finds a priest ready to officiate at an ‘internal forum’ marriage to another woman what then ? The man would be entitled to an annulment because of his wife’s determination not to have children but he is left in limbo ( lower case ‘l’] because of Church interminable processes.

    It may be a situation such as this which Cardinals Marx or Kasper have in mind in regard to the reception of Communion for remarried persons after divorce. We must wait and see. But marriage difficulties are notoriously complex and do not admit of easy solution or of blanket condemnation and exclusion.

    I did say the above, written hastily, is in outline only. Plenty of material here for you or others in this thread, if interested, to pick on a word or phrase here or there to tell me I am wrong, not sufficiently informed, unorthodox, heretical, wrong headed, endangering my soul or plainly stupid but I think the better thing is to await the deliberations of the Synod and its official conclusions.

  114. Michael says:

    Just read a very good article about Andy Burnham at the Catholic Herald which touches on many of the issues raised when discussing the issues within the Church (authority, judgement ‘vs’ mercy, etc):


  115. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, no mention of Limbo in my edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We did not have the Baltimore Catechism this side of the Atlantic and my old Penny Catechism is long since gone. I do, however, remember the existence of Limbo being taught in Catholic school and I assume, therefor, it was in the Penny Catechism as well as I remember it being also referred to in sermons and homilies in Church. Limbo was certainly regarded as doctrine and the cause of much distress to women whose babies, for one reason or another, died before being baptised

  116. Michael says:

    You make my point, Michael, firstly that a ‘great many things have become de rigeur in Church life without them being adopted as official teaching’.

    I’m not really sure how I ‘make your point’ here at all. I was saying that it is possible for things to become promoted as official teaching without this being so, whereas you seem (again) to be arguing that any such blurring of boundaries actually does constitute a change in doctrine.

    doctrine is a shifting concept. Yesterday’s folly becomes to-day’s embarrassment to be shelved and not spoken of again.

    I’m sorry John but this is absolute tosh, and can only be sustained by the premise that whatever someone happens to teach in any given place, whether this be actual doctrine, discipline, liturgical practice, or whatever, is the same thing as doctrine, which you should well know it isn’t*. Here are a couple of articles that might help you out here (the first is very substantial, the latter more to the point):



    The man would be entitled to an annulment because of his wife’s determination not to have children but he is left in limbo

    He shouldn’t have got re-married before the annulment came through, and, apart from anything else, nobody is ‘entitled’ to an annulment anyway – it is up to the Church to decide whether or not there are sufficient grounds for considering the marriage never to have existed. Whilst the amount of time this takes is not usually as long as you make out, it is a difficult process precisely because it is such an important judgement to make, One of the things Kasper is suggesting is to let annulments be made at a parish level, according to the judgement of individual parish priests, which lacks the rigour of the current process and is fair to nobody. Marriage difficulties can be complex yes, but this is no reason to ‘streamline’ the process or undermine the Church’s teaching on its uniqueness.

    It may be a situation such as this which Cardinals Marx or Kasper have in mind…We must wait and see.

    But we already know what sort of things they have been proposing, and what direction they want to take – as you say, there is plenty of material available on this, including direct quotations from these cardinals. We must, in general, wait and see what happens, yes, but we don’t need to wait and see what they want to happen. For someone as supportive of their ‘reforming’ zeal, I find it a little strange that you now seem to be unsure of what sort of changes they wish to implement.

    *It would also be nice if you could provide some kind of support to this shift in thinking about the sub-diaconate being accepted for a time as part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. As it stands, this is just anecdotal evidence, so something to show this is more than just an issue of local confusion would be helpful.

  117. johnhenrycn says:

    As the child you then were (1 Cor 13:11) no doubt you believed the limbo of infants was settled doctrine when the priests or sisters spoke of it. But to suggest that means it was in fact doctrine is not true. You are, therefore, mistaken in suggesting that limbo has just recently been thrown out the window and that, therefore, perhaps other doctrines might be and ought to be as well. There’s a footnote by Bishop Richard Challoner, Servant of God, in his Douay Rheims where he states that God created Earth in Ante C. 4004. Just because it’s literally in the Bible doesn’t make it Church doctrine, and your misty memories of religious education back in the 1940s fall into the same category: respectable but not doctrinal.

  118. It should not have been a cause of distress, because Limbo, if it exists, is like purgatory temporal, and those in it would enter the beatific vision at the end of time, and in the meanwhile be in a state of natural joy.
    (Ugh, Karl Rahner.)

  119. John A. Kehoe says:

    I knew we would not agree and I am not disappointed in that. On this thread, among the learned, I am always wrong as I expressly anticipated.
    I could say of your opinion, as you do of mine, that it is ‘tosh’ but,apparently you are the only one entitled to say that.
    The man divorced by his wife who walked away and who remarried should of course, in an ideal world, have waited for an annulment but people are human, a fact recognized by Cardinal Marx and Cardinal Kasper, but not comprehensible to many on this thread.

  120. Michael says:

    I could say of your opinion, as you do of mine, that it is ‘tosh’ but,apparently you are the only one entitled to say that.

    No John, I honestly wouldn’t mind in the slightest if you said that. Nevertheless, I do admit that I should have restrained myself there and used a different word – it was born out of frustration, sorry. But I still maintain that what you are proposing is (insert acceptable synonym for nonsense here), and remain very surprised that you are still supporting the position that because something is preached at a given time and many people believed it was doctrine, that this makes it so.

    people are human, a fact recognized by Cardinal Marx and Cardinal Kasper, but not comprehensible to many on this thread.

    Aargh (frustration again)! I really do resent this idea, constantly put forward by theological liberals (and no, don’t worry, I’m not placing you in that group or ‘labelling’ you in any way – just saying that this is the sort of thing one hears from that group all the time), that being faithful to Church teaching, and recognising that the proposals of Kasper and Marx would actually undermine that teaching (not, as you say, simply ‘update’ it) necessarily means a lack of understanding of human nature or a lack of mercy.

    I get it John – in fact I said do in my previous comment – that these situations are difficult, and that there are often hard choices to be made; but the truth is the truth, or we are standing on shifting sands. Moreover, mercy without truth becomes sentimentalism, which itself is then used (once truth has been sacrificed) to justify almost anything. Please understand this – concern for truth and its preservation does not preclude sympathy for people’s difficulties; rather, such a concern is based on the knowledge that without truth we are left rootless, and subject to whatever winds of change come to pass.

  121. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe says: “…my old Penny Catechism is long since gone…”

    I find that astounding. Perhaps other cradle Catholics can sympathise with you, if their copies too have become dust through long use or non-use. I still have the little pocket (2″x3″) book Life of Jesus I was given in Sunday School c.1958. True, I hardly ever look at it, but can’t imagine ever binning it.

  122. John A. Kehoe says:

    I am familiar with 1 Corinthians 13.11 but those who taught me in Catholic school, and whose sermons and homilies I heard, were not children who spoke as a child, understood as a child and thought as a child. They were adults and they preached as much to adults in Church -who spoke as adults, understood as adults, and thought as adults-, as they did to children in school.
    On the subject of Limbo, mine were not ‘the misty memories of religious education’ but clear recollections of what was then said and held out by clergy as dogma, especially a memory of the distress of one woman whose baby, unfortunately, died without baptism

  123. John A. Kehoe says:

    Dear johnhenrycn, I didn’t bin the Penny Catechism but because of my work, and other circumstances, I have lived in five different homes in Ireland and abroad since leaving my parents home many years ago. The Penny Catechism, like some other texts, has been lost in these transfers.

  124. John A. Kehoe says:

    As I heard it, Limbo was not temporal but eternal; hence the distress.

  125. Even if it was eternal, there would be no cause of distress, as the persons would be in a state of complete natural happiness, unaware of anything which might be missing. As I understand it however, Limbo would like Purgatory be Temporal, unless I’m very much mistaken (which might very much be the case).

  126. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe, I really hate it when people use personal anecdotes (“…especially a memory of the distress of one woman whose baby, unfortunately, died without baptism”) to buttress an intellectual point. By doing so, you appeal to the emotions – and who amongst us cannot sympathise with the plight of a woman whose baby has died? – but it is a low form of argument, far lower in fact than the appeals to humour which you hate, because who can gainsay your recollections or your veracity? The only time I use personal anecdotes is in a self-deprecating way – not to prove a point.

  127. John A. Kehoe says:

    I cannot contradict you, but my own firm recollection as I was taught and heard at sermons, was that Limbo was eternal. I take you point about the state of existence of those in Limbo being perfectly naturally happy but,nevertheless, the absence of the higher pitch of happiness of the Beatific Vision, from which unbaptised babies or persons were to be excluded, because, as was argued, such persons could not be allowed to see the face of God, was an obvious great distress for any mother.Whether Limbo was technically ‘doctrine’ or not was immaterial to the lives of those affected who received it as certain Church teaching from clergy at the time.

  128. johnhenrycn says:

    THR: Would the temporary Limbo you mention not be the limbus patrum alluded to in Lk 16:22-23 and in 1 Pet 3:18 and also in the Apostle’s Creed (“He descended into hell”) rather than the limbus puerorum, which has no biblical explanation?

  129. JH at 22:37
    Possibly, as I am under the impression that the latter is (if it exists) part of the former, and not only includes infants but those who die without Baptism or explicit Baptism of Desire.

  130. John A. Kehoe says:

    You can hate it as much as you like, but the personal story of the woman with the unbaptized baby is not advanced as intellectual argument but simply as related experience. I am asserting, however, that in Catholic school by teachers and in Church sermon by clergy the existence of Limbo was taught, however foolishly and however bizarrely, as Church teaching and accepted as such by Catholic people who are now being told something else.

  131. John A. Kehoe says:

    You can hate it as much as you like, but the personal story of the woman with the unbaptized baby is not advanced as intellectual argument but simply as related experience. I am asserting, however, that in Catholic school by teachers and in Church sermon by clergy the existence of Limbo was taught, however foolishly and however bizarrely, as Church teaching and accepted as such by Catholic people who are now being told something else.

  132. I should clarify that I mean those who have lived a good life to the best of their ability according to Natural Law who die without Baptism.

  133. John A. Kehoe says:

    As to my comment concerning the woman with the unbaptized child, take it or leave it as you please. The central argument as to the Church teaching of Limbo and the abandonment of that teaching stands. As for low argument, there has been an abundance of it on this thread; strained humour used as debate.

  134. johnhenrycn says:

    I feel your pain. 11 moves for me since I was given that pocket book many years ago.

  135. John A. Kehoe says:

    No pain at all. Wow, eleven moves. I am impressed, and hanging on to the Catechism too. Tenacious man.

  136. toadspittle says:

    I’m with Mr. Kehoe on this. If, at age 12, on being told by Father Doyle that, “Unbaptised babies go to Limbo,” I’d ventured to ask him, “Is that official Church doctrine, Sir?” I’d have been dealt a slap round the head even more savage than the ones I normally got.
    Were my days at Gunnersbury Catholic Grammar School the happiest of my life? No.

  137. John A. Kehoe says:

    Thank you, toadspittle. Most Catholics then, and I suspect now,were not in a position to consider the niceties of doctrine, or to distinguish between doctrine and practice. They just accepted what they were told and schoolchildren especially, as you say, did not dare to question it.

    [The moderator: John, there is no need to harp on about sexual abuse in your school, something you have entertained us with in detail plenty of times in the past. Your second paragraph on this off topic theme has been removed.]

    I have views about the desirability of a Catholic education which could be aired on a separate thread if the subject of Catholic education has not already been discussed on this website.

  138. toadspittle says:

    I have to say, Mr Kehoe, pederasty was unknown at my school. And had it existed, I would certainly have known, because boys talk.
    Simple sadism was the order of the day, rule by fear and terror – hand in hand with dire prophecies of Eternal…. well, no point in going on about it.

  139. toadspittle says:

    “…something you have entertained us with in detail plenty of times in the past”
    I didn’t find it particularly entertaining and I highly doubt if it was intended to be. I also doubt Mr Kehoe intended to stimulate the moderators.
    But, if he did, I suppose that’s OK, too.
    Different strokes for different folks. And all that.

  140. kathleen says:

    Well Toad, apart from the fact that Fr Doyle would never, ever have slapped anyone as you undoubtedly know (not even an unruly boy like you) he would have been the first one to have replied “No” to your question on whether “Limbo” was “official Church teaching”! Quite simply because that is the truth – it never has been.

    I cannot speak for what Mr Kehoe and you were taught in the 1940s, but I remember clearly being taught by the nuns at my convent school – albeit, not prior to Vatican II – that Limbo was no more than “a theory”, a “common belief” according to the old Baltimore Catechism, because put quite simply – no one knew where unbaptised babies went after death!


    If you have read this link from the Raven’s article on Limbo (mentioned above) you will see that nothing has changed really – their final destiny is still uncertain – instead we entrust these little ones “to the mercy of God”. That is enough.

  141. toadspittle says:

    But you can’t possibly claim it as a fact that he didn’t slap me. You don’t know. He did. And, as you also know, Toad never lies. Unless, of course, it’s to his advantage to do do, same as anyone else.
    In fact, apart from the unofficial buffetings du jour, “Dickie” was also Official Thrasher – with a big leather strap, called a tawse.

    [kathleen: “sorry Toad, my typo has been corrected, so I removed your first sentence!”]

  142. John A. Kehoe says:

    Agreed. It was such a pity, tragic in some cases, that sadism in schools should have come at the hands of priest teachers and religious teachers. It has determined in too many instances people’s attitude to the Catholic Church

  143. kathleen says:

    @ Toad

    Fr Willie Doyle died in August 1917, 98 years ago, so what on earth are you talking about?

    Not one of the male members of my father’s Irish family ever mentioned any of these cruel practices perpetrated by priests that you and Mr Kehoe are describing. In fact, all those older family members I knew had a passionate love of the Catholic Church to their dying day.
    I’m not saying you are exaggerating your own personal experiences – I cannot know that – but I do believe you are mistaken in making it sound like a normal way to instruct children in the Faith prior to the Council.

  144. toadspittle says:

    Oh, now the penny drops. I really was taught by a Father Richard Doyle in the early ’50’s. Nothing to do with the other Man Of The Cloth, except the surname. Unless Willie also permanently had a fag in the corner of his gob.
    Actually Father Doyle also taught English Lang and Lit. And he quite liked me because I was good at them.

  145. GC says:

    I fear that Toad has been lying about his age all along (Toad is now 112 years old, apparently) or it is a different Fr Doyle of whom Toad speaks.

    Corporal punishment in schools was very common until quite recent times, of course, also in the secular schools, there was no great difference. In fact, in Asia here it is still practised (more the English-type cane rather than Toad’s hawse or strap), although it seems to be reducing. Even we convent girls, the “bold” ones, would have our calves roundly slapped until they were very warm by the French order of nuns. We got over it without any great difficulty. It was quite common in families too and still is, relatively.

  146. John A. Kehoe says:

    Sorry, Kathleen. it was then the way children were’instructed’ in the faith. I was physically beaten at Catholic school for ‘failure’ at Catechism lessons, as were many others, and for not attending a particular church service favoured by a Catholic teacher/deacon later to become a priest. They enjoyed it; they were sadists in the psychological sense.
    I don’t see how you wish to defend them.

  147. johnhenrycn says:

    “I was physically beaten at Catholic school for ‘failure’ at Catechism lessons…”

    Yes, a rap on the knuckles with a ruler, or for a teacher to throw a wad of paper at one’s head, or for one to be placed in the corner wearing a dunce’s cap – all technically amount to corporal punishment of which people versed in human rights grievance mongering thoroughly disapprove.

  148. johnhenrycn says:

    [Sorry, for placing this comment in the wrong spot above. The proper nesting of replies is an technique that Mr Kehoe and I are still struggling with, geezers that we are.]

    “I was physically beaten at Catholic school for ‘failure’ at Catechism lessons…”

    Yes, a rap on the knuckles with a ruler, or for a teacher to throw a wad of paper at one’s head, or for one to be placed in the corner wearing a dunce’s cap – all technically amount to corporal punishment of which people versed in human rights grievance mongering thoroughly disapprove.

  149. toadspittle says:

    The good old Catholic Guilt is kicking in here – so, in ‘fairness,’ I must admit my time at Stalag Luft 49 (as we affectionately referred to the beloved old educational institution) was far from wasted. It being a sort of a cross between a monastery and a Borstal, I very quickly learned to lie smoothly and dissimulate, and deflect the blame for my crimes onto the innocent – thus avoiding undue attention from the warders.
    Skills that later in life served me well in “journalism.”

  150. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, not just a ‘rap on the knuckles’ or other light teacher intervention you mention.

    [The moderator: Enough John. A chunk of your rant has been deleted. You have reported this on a earlier post dealing with homosexuality.]]

    As the Fidei Defensor of this thread, I will recommend you for the defence the next time a Catholic teacher comes before an Irish Court on a serious charge. Some historic cases are still pending.

  151. As the Fidei Defensor of this thread

    I seem to recall that the last few people who happened to use that title turned out to be Protestant. Hmm…. Never mind.

  152. Michael says:

    In the United Kingdom, in all but one of the elite and expensive Benedictine boarding schools for boys, priest-teachers have gone to jail after being convicted of similar sexual offences directly connected with corporal punishment.

    That’s a very high number John – in which case I’d quite like some references to back it up (if you don’t mind).

    As the Fidei Defensor of this thread…


  153. Michael says:

    Sorry, Kathleen. it was then the way children were’instructed’ in the faith.

    Bit of a sweeping generalisation don’t you think? I like the way you’ve summarily dismissed the testimony Kathleen put forward (from people of the same generation as your own) as well.

  154. johnhenrycn says:

    “As the Fidei Defensor of this thread…

    Mr Kehoe, I thought sarcasm and personal jibes were beneath you?

    I’m not in a position to comment on your personal anecdote about being “severely beaten with straps and canes”, although I will not deny that some sadistic schoolteachers might have gone to that extreme in your particular case.

  155. John A. Kehoe says:

    Yes, indeed. But the title could usefully be resurrected for one or two of the more extreme-minded users of this thread.

  156. John A. Kehoe says:

    You and I don’t agree and no matter what I say it will be questioned. If you are living in the United Kingdom I am surprised that you are not aware of the scandals which have overtaken the Benedictine Community.
    I am not getting into the technical business of giving you links as such but,for starters, you can click on ‘ Sexual Abuse Scandal in the English Benedictine Congregation’ and ‘Sexual Abuse and the English Benedictine Congregation’ or look up, individually, Ealing Abbey,Buckfast Abbey, Ampleforth, Belmont Abbey,Downside Abbey and you will get an account of individual priest offenders.
    Comes as a shock, but there you are.

  157. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, I shall leave the personal sarcasm and jibes to you. You speak of my ‘anecdote’. I don’t have a video recording of what happened then to satisfy you ; such was not yet invented

  158. John A. Kehoe says:

    No, I shall leave the personal sarcasm and jibes to you. You speak of my ‘anecdote’. I don’t have a video recording of what happened then to satisfy you ; such was not yet invented

  159. John A. Kehoe says:

    Kathleen’s testimony is hearsay from third parties; mine is direct about my own personal experience and what I saw done to others.

  160. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe, to the extent you recognize that child abuse is not a Catholic problem, but a power problem affecting all religions and bureaucracies, there is not much for us to disagree about on that issue. To the extent you take the position that, as a Catholic, you are only prepared to criticize your own people, I say that you’re a bad influence and not an instrument for positive change. Some – not me – refer to you as a useful idiot. Those people are called anti-Catholics or something like that.

  161. John A. Kehoe says:

    Of course child abuse is not specifically a Catholic problem but one would not expect child abuse to proceed from those,especially priest-teachers, who occupy positions within the Church which claims to be the one, true, holy, and apostolic church, occupying the high moral ground, to whom everybody is invited to defer. In Ireland,as elsewhere, the issue has become a grave scandal.having done irreparable damage
    I don’t have precise data here but why is it that,even in the United Kingdom where Catholicism is a minority religion a quite disproportionate number of cases of child abuse in schools appears to come from the Catholic sector ? We do not hear much complaint about Anglican-run schools.
    Any criticism I have of the Catholic Church here is well deserved and I express it openly, at times directly to bishops at meetings with them at their invitation. I have never sought a meeting with them.

  162. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe says (21:51) –
    “No, I shall leave the personal sarcasm and jibes to you.”

    Nooo…you’ve just (20:37) made a sarcastic personal jibe about me. I was gutted.

    “You speak of my ‘anecdote’. I don’t have a video recording of what happened then to satisfy you ; such was not yet invented.”

    As for personal anecdotes, they were invented long before video, despite which you resort to them (personal anecdotes) with abandon. Video doesn’t figure in your world. Fair enough. My issue with you is that you use them (personal anecdotes) as proof of what you say. I can’t argue against your anecdotes because I wasn’t there. Is that fair use of anecdote on your part? I think you ought to eschew personal anecdote as unfair to people who question you. You also say (21:45) that you are “…not getting into the technical business of giving… links…”. That being the case, the best course is for you to go elsewhere, because responsible commenters give links wherever possible, or an explanation why not.

  163. John A. Kehoe says:

    You and I dislike each other. End of story.

  164. johnhenrycn says:

    “You and I dislike each other. End of story.”

    Mr Kehoe: how can you say that? I don’t dislike you! I may dislike many of your opinions – not all of them – but I also dislike many opinions held by people who are very close to me and who I love. Not saying I love you, but I don’t dislike you; and in fact, I think you’re a worthy Catholic opponent, albeit a Cafeteria, peevish and humourless one.

  165. johnhenrycn says:

    Hearsay is an out-of-court statement (yours) used as proof. Your anecdotes are hearsay.

    I realize my brief definition of hearsay does not cover the entire meaning of the word, but your statements are hearsay by any definition.

  166. The Raven says:

    I don’t have precise data here but why is it that,even in the United Kingdom where Catholicism is a minority religion a quite disproportionate number of cases of child abuse in schools appears to come from the Catholic sector ? We do not hear much complaint about Anglican-run schools.

    John, to put it bluntly, that has to be the stupidest and worst informed comment that I have ever read about child sexual abuse in schools (and I include Bozoboy’s rantings on the subject, which means that you have really hit a low ebb).
    I suppose that it is excusable, as your media is only likely to report whatever it is that suits their own leprous agenda (vide the Irish Times’ reporting of the Savita Halappanavar case).
    In the UK we have recently had vile sex abuse allegations cropping up in connexion with specialist music schools, not to mention the ever continuing scandals of child abuse in care homes, like Islington and Leicestershire (and believe me, that is only the tip of that particular iceberg).
    The Anglicans, of course, have their own problems with abuse; in the UK it’s less focussed on schools, as many of the Anglican schools were absorbed into the state sector after the Second World War, but there are enough instances in Australia and the UK to give the lie to your stupid statement that this is a preponderantly Catholic phenomenon.
    And in the UK, it isn’t just limited to Anglicans, the Methodists have recently been going through their own grieving process on the same issue.
    Ireland may have been a unique case, in that its schools and social services were essentially outsourced to the Church in the immediate post independence period and starved of funds in an Irish Republic that had very little of anything, but comparing people acting in the same sectors in the UK with those in Ireland (and ignoring denomination or status as clergy) you end up with similar proportionate numbers of abusers in the schools and social care sectors, its just that, in the UK, we aren’t rebelling against a Church that acted as an arm of state and the State is a whole lot better at whitewashing its problems.
    And another of your and Toad’s contentions is also horse-manure: my parents went to school in England in the state comprehensive system at around the same time that you and Toad went to your schools in Ireland and England, respectively: they report the same or greater levels of brutality towards schoolchildren that you are both complaining about – the teacher who used to throw wooden board-rubbers at the children, the headmaster who had my father beaten in front of every class in the school for asking an impertinent question.
    In my own schooling (again, in the state, secular sector), some thirty years after your own, eight boys were beaten in front of the school by the headmaster on the last day that corporal punishment was permitted in state schools. Their crime? Playing in the bushes in the school field. One of them, a close friend, was never the same again after that.
    The fact is that brutality was endemic in the schooling system until quite recently, irrespective of the denomination or nature of the school. And it is equally true that wherever adults are in charge of children, a minority of them will be abusers: Ireland has a clerical abuse problem mainly because the Irish state in the post independence period ceded just about all of its education provision and social services to the Church. England has an enormous and wholly unresolved problem with sexual abuse in its care homes, social services and schools, but no-one is labelling it as a specific “Church problem”, because the state has assumed the provision of these services.
    You and we hear about problems in the UK less than those in Ireland, because the establishment in England is implicated and its confederates in the media have no wish to raise a general hullabaloo against the state, whereas Ireland is in the midst of a conflict between establishment and the Church for power and the Church is definitely losing that battle.

  167. toadspittle says:

    We have, I suggest – beaten this topic to death with a metaphorical tawse.
    Raven, back there somewhere, says I’m picking on the Catholics as exemplars of educational brutality. The words “horse manure” were employed. No I’m not.
    Maybe they were doing exactly the same stuff in the State School down the road. I don’t know.
    I didn’t go there. Nor was I scarred by the experience. Nor did it Make A Man Of Me.
    …Though there might be a certain irony in pounding “God is love” into a boy’s rear end with a leather strap – that a State School could not provide.

  168. The Raven says:

    Toad, I apologise for attributing to you something that I am sure that John has said (either on this thread or elsewhere).

  169. toadspittle says:

    No need, Raven.
    Here’s an odd thing – I commented, at 5.45 and it was “published,” OK – but no “flag” on the front of CP&S, that I can see.
    Mind you the comments do seem to be all over the shop, here. I seem to be replying to things other people haven’t said yet.
    …But then, I often do that.

  170. Michael says:

    I’m not unaware of sex abuse scandals in Benedictine run schools, or anywhere else for that matter John. It is the scale and extent to which this was the case, which you assert but still fail to support with any relevant evidence, that I find problematic.

    You and I don’t agree and no matter what I say it will be questioned.

    Actually John, I think that in my responses to you, even though we may have been disagreeing on the major issue at hand, I’ve ceded a number of points to you, in order to make the debate more productive (c.f.; that never-ending debate on the Catechism for example). That this hasn’t worked is not my fault; I really wish you would drop the persecution complex and actually read what people are writing to you in response – it would save a great deal of time.

  171. Michael says:

    So, Kathleen is not to trust members of her own family when reporting on their experiences, because it is no more than ‘hearsay’, whereas we are to take your testimony as somehow evidence that the same thing that occurred in your personal experience was repeated in almost every Catholic school in the UK and Ireland? Wow.

  172. John A. Kehoe says:

    You had asked me for instances of abuse in Catholic schools in UK which had not presumably come previously to your notice. O.K. I did so, citing the unfortunate history of abuse in Benedictine schools in the UK resulting in the appointment, by the Benedictines themselves, of the Catholic lawyer peer, Lord Carlile to investigate and report. The recommendation of Lord Carlile was, among other matters, that powers of management of Ealing Abbey school, wherein much abuse had occurred, be taken away from the Benedictines. This was accepted by the Benedictine Congregation.
    The records of convictions and jailing of priest-teachers for abuse at Benedictine schools are available at the various Crown Court offices in the U.K.. They are unfortunate, but not fiction. They were not of course the only Catholic congregation involved in abuse in the U.K.

    Nor certainly am I suggesting that the problem was significant only in Catholic schools in the U.K.
    The problem was global; Australia comes to mind. The Republic of Ireland, with which I am familiar, had more than its fair share of child abuse in Catholic-run schools and institutions as detailed in three reports commissioned by the Irish government ; The Ferns Report, The Ryan Report and the Murphy Report the fall out from which the Catholic Church in Ireland is struggling to cope with. I am sorry for the present cadre of priests and bishops,who themselves were not responsible for what happened, but who are involved in that struggle. However, the past,which may well be ‘a foreign country’ still affects the lives of many who continue to speak of it. I do not characterize myself as a victim. For me personally, the physical abuse at Catholic school was relatively mild compared to others, but as a lawyer I am very aware of the continuing fallout of this problem.
    The Irish government set up a redress scheme to provide monetary compensation for those affected by institutional abuse. I did not seek as a lawyer or otherwise to be involved in the operation of that scheme. There is a lot more to this problem besides monetary compensation. As a Catholic I am interested in what the Church has in mind to repair the spiritual damage done to victims of abuse in Catholic institutions. In that regard I note that the Catholic Bishop of Ferns has in the past few months commenced an initiative which he calls ‘Towards Peace’ to address this very matter of the spiritual damage done by Catholic personnel done in the name of the Church. I wish him well.

  173. John A. Kehoe says:

    I did not think it was seriously disputed that beatings occurred at one time in most Catholic schools in the UK and Ireland. Here in Ireland the Christian Brothers, the De La Salle Brothers, the Jesuits,The Spiritan Fathers, The Cistercians,The Oblates, diocesan teaching priests et al engaged in corporal punishment. Recently a serving Irish bishop, Dr John Kirby, formerly a teaching priest, came on radio to express regret at having used corporal punishment as a teacher. The only ones I am aware of who did not use corporal punishment were the Salesians. My colleagues, friends and family members in the UK tell me of similar experiences.there.
    Kathleen’s family members may have gone to Salesian schools or may have been educated elsewhere. I don’t know.
    Wherever it happens, a priest-teacher who wields a strap or cane demeans his sacred office

  174. kathleen says:

    No, my family members went to Jesuit-run schools, Mr Kehoe. One of my father’s brothers later became a Jesuit priest and travelled widely giving retreats, mostly in religious congregations and schools. He never touched on this gruesome subject of beatings and sex abuse; I’m sure my father would have told us if he had. Sadly he died very suddenly when only in his sixties.

    I remember my father saying his Jesuit teachers were extremely strict disciplinarians, but they were also kind and caring – their only desire being to pass on the Faith in all its fullness and truth. He loved and admired them very much… and although this might sound boastful of me, if “by their fruits thou shalt know them”, my father’s goodness and holiness can only be a wholly positive reflection of his instructors.

    This is not to deny that the sex abuse scandals did not take place. They did, and they are a thorn in the side of many a Catholic today who asks, “how could they?”. They were terrible sins, a very great evil, and have caused such scandal to so many innocents. Remember what Our Blessed Lord said about those who cause scandal to these little ones who believe in Me? (Shudder).

    However, as The Raven has pointed out above (Michael and JH too) these horrible crimes were not confined to the Catholic clergy. (They were even worse in many other religious groupings and institutions, as has been shown by many unbiased objective investigations.)
    This is not to try to shrink from the blame we as Catholics must also admit… but let’s be honest and put the whole sorry issue into some proper perspective.

  175. johnhenrycn says:

    “Kathleen’s testimony is hearsay from third parties; mine is direct about my own personal experience and what I saw done to others.”

    Point taken. Your allegations on this unsworn blog forum are all the worse for that. Unlike Kathleen’s testimony, yours pour opprobrium and shame on people – your teachers – who cannot defend themselves. Did you testify against them in a criminal or ecclesiastical court where you could be cross-examined? Have you sworn an affidavit with particulars of your accusations and submitted it to the authorities? You may have addressed these questions above, but this thread is too long and convoluted now for me to find where you did so.
    No, Mr Kehoe (concerning a statement you made last night) I bear you no ill will. I disagree with things you say and, to some extent, I may be guilty of playing the man instead of the ball, but I do not dislike you – or rather, I don’t dislike the cyberman on this blog called ‘John A. Kehoe’. Perhaps, if only due to this thread becoming unmanageable, we should declare it a demilitarized zone, hmm?

  176. John A. Kehoe says:

    No criminal or ecclesiastical court was asked to deal with the issues I have raised. I did not seek either forum. While I object to the physical abuse done to me, my emphasis was on the greater physical abuse which I saw done by priests to others in my presence. I did have a one to one meeting at his request with the present Bishop of Ferns in whose diocese the Catholic school I went to is. He did not challenge the account I gave to him, verbally and in writing, nor did he ask that I put it on affidavit. If he had asked I would have put my complaints on affidavit.
    Should the occasion ever arise I will give sworn testimony and make myself available for cross examination.
    As for approaching the civil authorities that would be a matter for the others whom I saw abused and I am not aware that they ever did so.
    As for my own personal abuse, the teachers involved would have invoked the common law in loco parentis rule, then available to them, which would have exempted from civil suit or criminal proceedings what was then quaintly called ‘reasonable chastisement’, the word reasonable being a very elastic term. These issues however belong to secular law. What has always as a Catholic been more of interest to me is the moral correctness of beating schoolchildren with the consequent spiritual damage done to them at the hands of priest-teachers who demeaned their sacred office.

  177. John A. Kehoe says:

    As your family members went to Jesuit-run schools it is highly probable that they were subjected to a corporal punishment regime, as much as they may not have spoken about it. Many men, out of loyalty or of fear of being branded a wimp, are reticent about discussing these things.
    The Jesuit Stonyhurst College in the U.K. did include corporal punishment as its modus operandi as many of its old boys have testified; as did Clongowes Wood College, Belvedere, Gonzaga all Jesuit colleges in the Republic of Ireland.
    But help is at hand. Belated remorse is beginning to overtake some corporal punishment practitioners. In the past few months the current Bishop of Clonfert, Dr John Kirby, was on radio here in Ireland to express, inter alia, his regret at having used corporal punishment on secondary school students when he was a teacher, excusing its use then as being ‘the order of the day’ but admitting that ‘it was a tough regime’.
    Well. remorse is better late than never.

  178. Corporal Punishment is not in itself immoral.
    ” Withhold not correction from a child:
    for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die.
    Thou shalt beat him with the rod,
    and deliver his soul from hell”
    – Proverbs 23:13-14

  179. John A. Kehoe says:

    This is from the Old Testament. So is ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…’ We are now under the New Covenant.
    In the abstract in may be possible to say that corporal punishment is not in itself immoral However,the practicalities of its administration is where the problem arises. When I quoted in this thread from pages 115-115 of The Ferns Report, available on the web, the specific details of the corporal punishment meted out in private to students of St Peter’s College, Wexford by a priest disciplinarian, the moderator intervened to delete the detail feeling perhaps that the detail was too scandalous for mention here. I invite anyone who considers corporal punishment to be acceptable to read those two pages in The Ferns Report.

    I recall beatings of others to which i was witness at Catholic school which were sadistic in the psychological sense,not just the ordinary sense of severe. I have had some beatings myself in Catholic school in which the beater by his actions,his demeanour and his commentary clearly showed that he enjoyed the process. Such was then commonplace. I would be wary of corporal punishment at school and happy that it has been criminalized both in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    There are welcome signs too that those who once thought the practice moral are having second thoughts. In the past few months Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert went on radio to express regret that as a teacher in a secondary school long ago he had used corporal punishment and to refer to its frequency then as being ‘the order of the day’.

  180. Michael says:


    All that you’ve shown here (and elsewhere) is that abuse took place in some Catholic schools, and that corporal punishment was used in them, as it was in virtually all schools at that time.

    What I was disputing if you would take the time to actually read what I have written in response to you is that this was as widespread as you seem to think it was, or that such behaviour took place in a greater proportion of Catholic run institutions than in other kinds.

  181. Michael says:

    Kathleen’s family members may have gone to Salesian schools or may have been educated elsewhere. I don’t know.

    There are a lot of things you don’t know though aren’t there (as is the case with all of us – I’m not just saying this is an issue for you alone; we are all limited to some degree by what we can experience in a lifetime). So do you think perhaps it might be wise to get a bit of perspective and stop behaving as if your personal experience were characteristic of every Catholic school the world over?

  182. John A. Kehoe says:

    Michael, I have read all of your posts and appreciate them while not agreeing with absolutely all of what you say. My personal experience was common in most Catholic schools in Ireland. The several published reports commissioned by the Irish government bear this out. I am aware that corporal punishment was at one time also common in most schools of all denominations, and of none, around the world. I am aware that some Catholic schools in these parts and around the world did not use or approve of corporal punishment. The Salesians of Don Bosco were one such congregation. My brother-in-law, Father Michael Smyth, is a former Provincial of that order and I am on friendly terms with him. I am further aware that not all teachers in Catholic schools where corporal punishment was usual themselves used corporal punishment.

    All of that said, I come from a Catholic family where my practising Catholic parents did not use corporal punishment in the home, and did not approve of its use in school. I may myself have been somewhat blameworthy in not then bringing to their attention the matters I now complain of but what they could then have done about it in taking on the prevailing Catholic establishment is uncertain.Like others, I simply suffered on in silence.
    No, it is not just a Catholic thing and I hope I have not said so in these terms on this or any other blog. However,for me it remains an obstacle to faith the experiences I have had at Catholic school and in particular the images I still have of a Catholic priest ritually thrashing fellow students, in the company of other students and of me, at a specified time and place arranged for these sessions. I have to ask myself were priests ordained to do this ? Indeed, what damage has this behaviour been doing, psychologically and spiritually,to these priests themselves ?
    You have the view that I imagine my experiences to have been the standard for all. No, but the spiritual damage done was not just to a few, a fact belatedly realized by the current Bishop of Ferns who has recently announced a program ‘ Towards Peace’ to address the spiritual injury done to those affected by clerical abuse generally. I have told him directly that the first step is to unequivocally acknowledge the spiritual harm done by his teaching priests

  183. Ritual thrashing or deserved punishment? It is hard for me to believe this Ferns Report is unbiased, or that you yourself are. I’m beginning to think you’re a psychologist (or worse a psychiatrist), since you presume to judge the souls of men. Wasn’t you who also misquoted a certain Pontiff, saying “Who am I to judge?” Apparently this only applies to outdated Catechism quotes, and not to so called “sadism”, a favorite term of Psychologists and Psychiatrists nowadays. If we can only prove to men that everything comes from their lower passions, especially lust, then we can throw out the intellect!

    (By the way, “An eye for an eye” is moral, it is strict justice. So is due Corporal Punishment. The fulfillment of the Law in Christ calls us also to show mercy. Objecting to the Old Testament teaching in this case is strictly Marcionist.)

  184. Michael says:

    I am aware that corporal punishment was at one time also common in most schools of all denominations, and of none, around the world. I am aware that some Catholic schools in these parts and around the world did not use or approve of corporal punishment…I am further aware that not all teachers in Catholic schools where corporal punishment was usual themselves used corporal punishment.

    If this be so, then this leaves me wondering what on earth your point actually is.

    No, it is not just a Catholic thing and I hope I have not said so in these terms on this or any other blog.

    You’ve certainly given that impression – very strongly I might add.

    You have the view that I imagine my experiences to have been the standard for all.

    Yes – again, this is indeed the impression you’ve given. If this is not what you meant, then I’m not sure what the purpose of all those long comments was, especially given that nobody here has made even the slightest suggestion that abuse of office in Catholic run institutions is anything less than reprehensible and thoroughly regrettable.

    Perhaps, now that we’re agreed that a.) abuse of authority, and particularly abuse of minors, is always a bad thing, and b.) that this is very much not ‘just a Catholic thing’, and c.) that one’s personal experiences are not a valid indicator of the scope and degree of the same phenomenon elsewhere, and thus one should not apply personal experience to other, similar, situations, with broad brushstrokes…now that we are agreed in these things, we can leave this topic, which is not actually anything to do with the original, very uplifting, inspirational and well-written post that this thread is connected to?

  185. John A. Kehoe says:

    i dispute that thrashing anyone is deserved punishment. While i believe it to be gravely wrong, such that the State has correctly intervened with legislation to prevent it in future, I do not presume to judge the state of the soul of those who did it. That is between them and God. In that sense who am I to judge? For one thing, ignorance may excuse an individual, at least morally.
    I did not misquote any Pontiff.
    i am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist but an intelligent lay reader. Without labelling it psychology or psychiatry Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) in ‘The Confessions) dates his own difficulties with masochism ( or liking for being beaten in plain language ) to his early chastisement as a child.So the dangers have been known for a long time.and ignored

  186. What else is Psychology then the judgment of the soul? (Though I’m glad you’re not a Psychologist). I trust Rousseau’s self analysis less then I trust his philosophy. And not only dangers have come from Corporal Punishment. As I quoted before:
    “Thou shalt beat him with the rod,
    and deliver his soul from hell”

    “A school in which there was no punishment, except expulsion, would be a school in which it would be very difficult to keep proper discipline; … the sort of discipline which in free nations is imposed only on children. Such a school would probably be in a chronic condition of breaking up for the holidays.”-G.K. Chesterton, Utopia of Usurers

  187. johnhenrycn says:

    For one to identify himself by name, age, profession, and the diocese where he went to school, and to tell the world (13 August 2015 at 20:37 – although his comment has since been moderated) that, while there, he was “severely beaten with straps and canes” is to cast a pall over the name of every teacher who worked there back then. For those who have a personal stake in that school, it won’t take a genius to figure out which school is being talked about. The teachers in question are possibly all dead now, but their relatives aren’t, and they will have to mull over the implications of what these personal anecdotes, mean for their family’s good name.

  188. Michael says:

    By the way, “An eye for an eye” is moral, it is strict justice

    This is a very important point, especially at a time when the word ‘mercy’ is bandied about without real appreciation for its meaning. Our Lord came to fulfil the Law, not abolish it, and in this particular case, it is vital to remember that mercy presupposes justice – without the latter, the former makes no real sense.

    Marcionism is indeed an extremely popular heresy nowadays, and this is due in great part, I think, to the protestantisation of contemporary religious culture in the West (i.e.; the valuing of private judgement over divinely sanctioned authority to proclaim the Gospel of Christ). It is almost inevitable when such a principle gains precedence within the Church, that one of the first things to go is the balance required in interpreting the Old Covenant in light of the New.

  189. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t know why my comment at 21:06 today follows Toad’s at 07:31 today, but I meant it to be in reference to one of Mr Kehoe’s numerous personal anecdotes today. The CP&S reply function is really perplexing for old (sorry) coots (sorry) and geezers (sorry).

  190. John A. Kehoe says:

    While corporal punishment is not a specifically Catholic thing, what is a Catholic thing is the claim of the Catholic Church to be the one true church and best moral guide,occupying the high moral ground, while at the same time allowing its priests to participate without censure or restraint in this morally reprehensible practice.
    While I do not claim that my own experiences of a Catholic education were standard throughout the Catholic world – and I thought I had made that clear- I do say that my experiences were by no means unique and that even one such experience, by me or by anybody else, from the Catholic Church, which claims a lofty superiority, is one too many. While appreciating your views, I hope that you and I can let it rest at that.

  191. Michael says:

    Again John, you will get no quarrel from me or anyone else in saying that the contradiction between the lofty calling of the priesthood and the impeccable standards that the Church calls us all to, and on the other hand, the behaviour of some priests, religious and lay educators, is of deep concern and regret. On this point there is no argument, so I think we can leave it at that, yes.

  192. John A. Kehoe says:

    You may not like Rousseau’s self analysis but he did not get his hang-up about corporal punishment from eating cornflakes, or whatever cereal they then had. Freud cites the Rousseau masochism predilection in his work on human sexuality published if I remember correctly in 1906 but then you don’t like psychiatrists.
    Since the abolition of corporal punishment in Ireland schools have managed well without it. Families also manage without it. I am one of a family of four surviving brothers. Our parents never used corporal punishment .They taught us love,affection and respect. Despite dire predictions about the need for ‘discipline’, none of us has gone to jail yet as a criminal and we live pretty ordinary lives.

  193. Sigmund Freud is why I don’t like psychiatrists.

  194. johnhenrycn says:

    THR: there are some sane psychiatrists, Theodore Dalrymple (pen name) aka Anthony Daniels (real name) being one such. A brilliant writer. I suspect you’ve already heard of him:

    ” Most psychological explanations of human behavior are not only ludicrously inadequate oversimplifications, argues Dalrymple, they are socially harmful in that they allow those who believe in them to evade personal responsibility for their actions and to put the blame on a multitude of scapegoats: on their childhood, their genes, their neurochemistry, even on evolutionary pressures.”


    I always remember him saying in an earlier book or magazine article that “alcoholism is a vice, not a disease”, which seems to me so true and so Catholic an observation, even though he isn’t one (Catholic, that is). I quit cigarettes – at least as deep seated an addiction or bad habit as liquor – on Pentecost Sunday 23 May 1999, with only the Holy Spirit and no 12 Step Program to help me through. “Just say no”, as Nancy Reagan once said in relation to drugs generally. Best psychiatric advice I ever got.

  195. johnhenrycn says:

    …the problem here (^) is WordPress – not me. I closed every window and started afresh before posting my last comment as an entirely fresh one (not as a reply). No matter, but I don’t want people to think I’m not respectful of their time and effort trying to figure out what I’m on about.

  196. kathleen says:

    Excellent points, Michael, that explain so well how this heretical ‘Protestantisation of thought’ has infiltrated (ahem) some members of the Catholic Church so successfully.
    Martin Luther, John Calvin, and all the other hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Protestant reformers, and all the ranting anti-Catholics everywhere, would be most grateful to our Dublin lawyer!

    It becomes a tiresome and constant battle for God’s Divine teachings when one has to continually weed out this Protestant ‘contamination’ and stand up for the Truths of Catholicism even with members of our own crowd… as you, JH, and THR have done so staunchly and correctly on this thread. Fr Willie Doyle and St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross would be proud of you boys! 😉

    P.S. [Ed.] My first paragraph was meant to be a response to Michael’s comment at 21:19 yesterday! As Toad and JH (whose comments last night got lost way up there ^) have also remarked, there is some sort of glitch of WordPress on this thread, and now it’s a total lottery as to where your comments will end up!!

  197. John A. Kehoe says:

    [The moderator – Mr Kehoe, your comment was rude, discourteous and based entirely on your own misreading of the comment that you were replying to.]

  198. toadspittle says:

    I suspect there is a danger of taking all this verbiage too seriously.
    Personally, I don’t intend to so do.

    It is often very difficult to discern “…what kind of person,” you are dealing with on a blog.
    People, that previously only “knew” me from CP&S, are often quite surprised to discover how utterly horrible I am in “real life.”
    Jabba will attest to this.

  199. toadspittle says:

    Yikes ! My comment at 13.11 – intended to relate to the one made by Mr Kehoe at 12.51. – is miles away under a comment made by JH Yesterday at 23.11!
    . Mysterious ways at work, all right.

    I, for one, surrender.
    WordPress – 322 … Toad – Zero

  200. John A. Kehoe says:

    Like you, some people dislike Freud.However, in his major 1905 work ‘On Sexuality’ Freud did warn against child beating because of its having a distinct erotic potential which, as he said, when ‘thus established in childhood may prove unbreakable in later life’.
    Freud noted that this problem was ‘well known to all educationists’. This is something that some Catholic teachers,including some religious and priest-teachers, regrettably chose to ignore – along with some others of other religious persuasions also- because of their own inclinations, and presumably because Freud was atheistic and of Jewish background.

  201. johnhenrycn says:

    Kathleen: I recall that the “Reply” function was being adopted by CP&S on a trial basis. Later, the “nesting” of replies was limited to 6, but people found a way around that. One wonders whether replies are more of a hindrance than a help. The only real problem I could see with original model (each comment being placed in precise chronological order) was that some commenters, like dear JP, were lax in mentioning the names, dates and times of the commenters and comments to whom they were replying.
    Off to Confession. I shall have Mr Kehoe in mind when reciting the Actus Contritionis 😉

  202. johnhenrycn says:

    ^ meant in reply to Kathleen (below) at 11:37 today.

  203. John A. Kehoe says:

    I never said all the teachers were the same. They were not. Nor am I imputing personal sin to any teacher who used corporal punishment. In that sense who am I to judge ? As Bishop Kirby, by way of regret, said recently on radio in respect of his own using corporal punishment on students ;’it was the order of the day’. And so it was.

    What ever my views may be, however, it is remarkable that the Catholic Church which in its schools formerly allowed corporal punishment, in later written instructions- such as in their document in regard to child protection ‘OUR CHILDREN, OUR CHURCH’ issued by the Irish Bishops’ Conference in 2005 they expressly disapproved of and forbade corporal punishment of children as being ‘ not permissible under any circumstances’.
    That moral shift does call for comment or explanation, particularly from a Church whose teaching is supposed to be immutable.

    I don’t hold myself out as a victim. My own experiences were relatively mild by comparison to others. i have already said that. As for the reputation of some teachers at that school my comments do not determine that issue. The matter of the reputation of some teachers at that school, and its general modus operandi, has been addressed by the independent judicial report commissioned by the Irish government entitled The Ferns Report (2005) and people can read and make what they like of that. Better to form a view from that report. Detail is provided therein.

    That said, I consider corporal punishment to be psychologically risky and so far as the Church formerly allowed its use in schools and now disapproves of it why the change ?

  204. AS a last ditch effort I appeal to Saint Thomas Aquinas, though I doubt that this will end the discussion (maybe the reply glitch is a warning sign that it’s time to close this thread):

    Summa Theologica Part II of Part 2 Question 65

    Whether it is lawful for parents to strike their children, or masters their slaves?

    Objection 1. It would seem unlawful for parents to strike their children, or masters their slaves. For the Apostle says (Ephesians 6:4): “You, fathers, provoke not your children to anger”; and further on (Ephesians 6:6): “And you, masters, do the same thing to your slaves [Vulgate: ‘to them’] forbearing threatenings.” Now some are provoked to anger by blows, and become more troublesome when threatened. Therefore neither should parents strike their children, nor masters their slaves.

    Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 9) that “a father’s words are admonitory and not coercive.” Now blows are a kind of coercion. Therefore it is unlawful for parents to strike their children.

    Objection 3. Further, everyone is allowed to impart correction, for this belongs to the spiritual almsdeeds, as stated above (Question 32, Article 2). If, therefore, it is lawful for parents to strike their children for the sake of correction, for the same reason it will be lawful for any person to strike anyone, which is clearly false. Therefore the same conclusion follows.

    On the contrary, It is written (Proverbs 13:24): “He that spareth the rod hateth his son,” and further on (Proverbs 23:13): “Withhold not correction from a child, for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.” Again it is written (Sirach 33:28): “Torture and fetters are for a malicious slave.”

    I answer that, Harm is done a body by striking it, yet not so as when it is maimed: since maiming destroys the body’s integrity, while a blow merely affects the sense with pain, wherefore it causes much less harm than cutting off a member. Now it is unlawful to do a person a harm, except by way of punishment in the cause of justice. Again, no man justly punishes another, except one who is subject to his jurisdiction. Therefore it is not lawful for a man to strike another, unless he have some power over the one whom he strikes. And since the child is subject to the power of the parent, and the slave to the power of his master, a parent can lawfully strike his child, and a master his slave that instruction may be enforced by correction.

    Reply to Objection 1. Since anger is a desire for vengeance, it is aroused chiefly when a man deems himself unjustly injured, as the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii). Hence when parents are forbidden to provoke their children to anger, they are not prohibited from striking their children for the purpose of correction, but from inflicting blows on them without moderation. The command that masters should forbear from threatening their slaves may be understood in two ways. First that they should be slow to threaten, and this pertains to the moderation of correction; secondly, that they should not always carry out their threats, that is that they should sometimes by a merciful forgiveness temper the judgment whereby they threatened punishment.

    Reply to Objection 2. The greater power should exercise the greater coercion. Now just as a city is a perfect community, so the governor of a city has perfect coercive power: wherefore he can inflict irreparable punishments such as death and mutilation. On the other hand the father and the master who preside over the family household, which is an imperfect community, have imperfect coercive power, which is exercised by inflicting lesser punishments, for instance by blows, which do not inflict irreparable harm.

    Reply to Objection 3. It is lawful for anyone to impart correction to a willing subject. But to impart it to an unwilling subject belongs to those only who have charge over him. To this pertains chastisement by blows.

  205. toadspittle says:

    Good comment, Mr. Kehoe. (Though God knows which comment this reply will get stuck to – the Freud one, with enormous luck)
    Sex and sadism go together, it seems.
    Like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRDBvKGc1f

    What is the world coming to?…. I ask yet again.
    No good, for sure. Life may be ugly and brutal – but at least it’s short. That’s a comfort.

    *I had to use Old Bloodshot Eyes, because JH can’t stand him.

  206. johnhenrycn says:

    Tadpole, your YouTube at 16:50 today is said “not to exist”, probably because you put an asterisk at the end of your link. But let me guess: “Bloodshot Eyes”? Was his first name “Hank” and his second name “Lou”?

    [The moderator – the asterisk has been removed]

  207. johnhenrycn says:

    Hi, Moderator (re my comment at 19:00) – the removal of the asterisk failed to grant me access to Paddy Fitzhugh O’Blarney’s YouTube video. No great loss. But I call upon the Secret Synod at CP&S to kill the reply button. It’s beginning to look a lot like CP&S is controlled by an undergraduate in desktop publishing at the University of Cowlick, Utah.

    [The moderator- we only dream of being up to the standards of University of Cowlick, Utah: we’re closer to “Goatsuckle Tennessee” .

  208. Michael says:

    Yes Kathleen, it is a bit all over the place isn’t it! Is it a glitch on this thread, or something to do with the reply function when threads reach a certain length in general I wonder? I think I’d have to second JH’s recent comment on this, in that I didn’t really mind the old system at all, but then I am naturally conservative and resist change whenever possible 🙂

  209. johnhenrycn says:

    🙂 Carry on up the whatever!

  210. John A. Kehoe says:

    If you choose to engage with me on the topic I raise,and to disagree with me, why don’t you just say you see nothing wrong with a priest or religious as teachers physically beating children ? We would then know where you stand.

  211. John A. Kehoe says:

    My observations are ‘personal anecdotes’ ; yours are always evidence ?

  212. kathleen says:

    Hahaha… yes, Michael, “change”, if the optimum has been reached, is then best avoided. (Though I live in constant hope of changing our amphibian friend from an agnostic into a believer! 😉 )
    Nothing wrong with being a “conservative” either, if what one wants to conserve is good and true…. like the purity of our Catholic Faith!

    I don’t know if the “glitch” on this thread can just be put down to WordPress peculiarities caused by techno problems, or a few naughty little leprechauns up to mischief, or (as a Team-mate has mentioned to me behind the scenes at CP&S) a sign that is time to ‘call it a day’ on this long convoluted thread that has travelled far from its original title and topics raised.

    I have no idea what Mr Kehoe responded to me (the comment had been deleted by a moderator by the time I returned to the blog last night) but I apologise if my cheeky words were the cause of him blowing his top. I had momentarily forgotten Mr Kehoe’s total lack of humour (strange for an Irishman) and his plain ‘Eeyore’ negativity!

    P.S. Heaven knows where this comment is going to end up! Anyone’s guess.

  213. Brother Burrito says:

    All commenters:

    I have turned off comment nesting as it doesn’t seem to be working properly.

    When replying in future, please name the person you are addressing, and give the date and time of their comment.

  214. John A. Kehoe says:

    Thanks for your apology but I didn’t blow my top at all. But better to avoid dragging my name into replies sent to other named contributors on this thread and to avoid your snide remarks made to them about my supposed lack of humour, because I don’t use other contributors’ strategy of name calling or personal ridicule as argument..

  215. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 09:51, August 15th,

    Yes, it really does depend upon what one is trying to conserve doesn’t it! 🙂 And certainly change is actually required in the act of conservation itself – we need to be constantly vigilant in order to prevent the good things from being corrupted or swept away. Change for the sake of change, which seems to be the clarion call of today’s ‘progressives’ is what I remain deeply suspicious of (and actually rather frightened of – it always seems to lead to destruction of some kind, whether this be the destruction of cultural capital or actual bloodshed).

    As for the ‘glitch’, yes it could well be a sign that it is time to call it a day here – it does seem to have become derailed somewhat! I will therefore refrain from making any further comments with respect to the debates that have led to that derailment, lest it continue 🙂

  216. kathleen says:

    John A. Kehoe @ 11:21

    Never mind, Mr Kehoe – I have just ‘approved’ this last comment of yours that I saw sitting in “pre-moderation” when I logged in. The Team on CP&S has decided that pre-moderation is the best way to avoid any long unnecessary grouching in future; this can be moderated out beforehand. Such things take the subject of the article way off topic.
    Strangely enough, your comment already had a ‘like’ tick before publication, that could only have come from you!! It is not really blog policy to vote ‘up’ one’s own comments… so I gave you a ‘down’ vote to balance it out! 🙂
    (The last part of the last sentence was a JOKE – please don’t take offence.)

    Time for an Irish farewell blessing, and to say “until we meet again”…. *even if you would rather not!* 😉
    (*Another weak JOKE, btw.)

  217. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe (11:21) – I wish you well. In future, I shall endeavor to keep your feelings in mind when interacting with you, should such occasions arise. It’s just that I didn’t choose my orientation (cf: Paragraph 2358 CCC – your unredacted version) toward mockery and derision anymore than you chose your orientation. You happen to be a somewhat more serious and dignified person through no fault of your own; but no doubt, you also being as Catholic a person as I think myself to be, there are bound to be times when we will agree. Looking forward to them.

  218. John A. Kehoe says:

    Kathleen to-day @ 18.04. You and I could never agree on many aspects of shifting Catholic practice- as distinct from dogma- an enduring dislike of which I, like some of my peers also, have acquired from [Moderator – libellous adjective removed] Catholic priest-teachers who, by their own deliberate actions, and peddling their brand of Catholicism, have carved out for themselves their own particular dismal reputations. Despite our differences, we do not have to aim jibes at each other

  219. John A. Kehoe says:

    johnhenrycn @ 18.53. You can take it that I in return wish you well. I can’t claim to be more serious or dignified than you or anybody else is but, like you, I am tenacious in my opinions. I don’t think that mockery or derision adds to the argument. At several live debates I have attended recently the chairperson would occasionally intervene when a speaker strayed into mockery by sharply saying ‘ Let’s keep it civil’.

  220. johnhenrycn says:

    Live debates are a different kettle of fish than blog debates, but even in live debates, latitude is permitted for mockery, even aggression, within the bounds of propriety. Carthago delenda est and all that.

  221. johnhenrycn says:

    …and in the same vein, Mr Kehoe, if you will permit me, is this article which has just become available online a few minutes ago by Theodore Dalrymple (Dr Anthony Daniels) to whom I have recently made reference: Why We Love Falstaff:

    “Our natures are contradictory… Universal agreement and goodwill, if possible, would be tedious to us because we know that malice has its rewards. As William Hazlitt put it in “On the Pleasure of Hating”: “Without something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action. Life would turn to a stagnant pool, were it not ruffled by the jarring interests, the unruly passions, of men.”

  222. johnhenrycn says:

    …but, Mr Kehoe, speaking of Hazlitt, he reminds me of our recent discussion about geletophobia, because Hazlitt suffered from something almost as bad: philocaption:

    “Is it a Catholic view to maintain that witches can infect the minds of men with an inordinate love of strange women, and so inflame their hearts that by no shame or punishment, by no words or actions can they be forced to desist from such love?”


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