Priests Invited to Be Missionaries of Mercy During Jubilee

I will be most interested in the comments to this.

 

Applications Accepted by Pontifical Council

Rome, August 27, 2015 (ZENIT.org)

This Ash Wednesday, missionaries of mercy will be sent forth by Pope Francis during a celebration in St. Peter’s, to spread God’s mercy during the jubilee proclaimed by the Holy Father to begin Dec. 8.

The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization is accepting applicants for those priests who want to be named missionaries. They will be granted “the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See,” the Pope wrote in Misericordiae Vultus, (The Face of Mercy), the document officially proclaiming the Holy Year.

The figure of the Missionary is described in Misericordiae Vultus number 18.

The Missionaries are to be:

— a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness;

— facilitators for all, with no one excluded, of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again;

— guided by the words, “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all;

— inspiring preachers of Mercy;

— heralds of the joy of forgiveness;

— welcoming, loving, and compassionate Confessors, who are most especially attentive to the difficult situations of each person.

The Missionaries will be invited by individual Diocesan Bishops within their particular country to give missions or facilitate specific initiatives organized for the Jubilee, with a particular attention given to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Every Missionary must have a letter of recommendation from his local Ordinary or Religious Superior which testifies to the suitability of the priest for this particular mission.

On the Net:

To apply: http://www.im.va/content/gdm/en/partecipa/missionari.html
(August 27, 2015) © Innovative Media Inc.

 

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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84 Responses to Priests Invited to Be Missionaries of Mercy During Jubilee

  1. John A. Kehoe says:

    The suitability condition to be satisfied by a Missionary of Mercy, in the context of hearing confessions, implies that there are other priests,not so suitable, but who are still allowed to hear confessions. Why are the personal attributes required of a Missionary of Mercy not required for every confessor to whom a penitent may wish to have recourse ?

  2. A somewhat cynical friend commented:

    “The modernists and secularists in the Church hierarchy have pretty much eliminated the idea of sin and the reality of hell, or at the very least they have instilled in the minds of many Catholics – maybe even most Catholics – ‘a reasonable hope that all man are saved.’ After all, if you’re just ‘following your conscience’ – and your conscience is the highest authority there is in matters of morality – why shouldn’t you be saved automatically?

    “After the October synod Kaspar and others will have seen to it that this kind of thinking is locked firmly in place.

    “So why would average Catholics feel the need to go to confession? As far as they’re concerned, if there’s no such thing as sin, and no hell, and if they’re saved anyway, what would be the point of confession?

    “Anyway, in many churches now, the confessionals are used for nothing more than storage closets for mops and brooms.

    “Apparently, though, our poor, brave pope is unaware of these things, because he keeps insisting on sending out these ‘missionaries of mercy’.

    “I’m sure there are many of us who will be praying for them and wishing them all the luck in the world. They’re going to need all the prayers and luck they can get, as they spend lonely hours in the confessional, waiting for penitents – after they’ve cleared out the mops and booms.”

  3. Gertrude says:

    You have both confirmed my uneasiness regarding the prospect of a two tier Priesthood. If we have Priests at present, who, when in the confessional dispensing the Sacrament, and in the person of Christ are not acting with that mercy – then our Church lost.

  4. toadspittle says:

    “So why would average Catholics feel the need to go to confession? As far as they’re concerned, if there’s no such thing as sin, and no hell, and if they’re saved anyway, what would be the point of confession?”

    What “if” average Catholics (whoever they are – Robert John seems to know for sure – maybe he sees into their hearts) actually do have an idea of sin and hell? What “if” it’s just a different idea to the one he has?
    Must obviously be the wrong idea then, I suppose.

  5. John A. Kehoe says:

    The problem is the very dramatic change over time in Catholics’ appreciation of what sin is and I think this problem is worldwide, the change occurring concurrent with, or in the immediate aftermath of Vatican !! Many of us old folk remember a time when mortal sin, or what priests then preached as mortal sin, seemed to be a regular feature of Catholic life. It was a sin to be late for Mass. Could be a mortal sin if you were very late. A sin for women not to wear headgear in Church. A sin, could be mortal, to read ‘bad books’ whatever they might be. .It was forbidden to read, without permission, any book on the Church’s banned list of books, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum- among which authors were many of the French philosophers. My student brother tried to get such permission to read such authors, as part of his university course, only to find that the local pastor he approached never heard of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. There were a variety of mortal sins occasioning a weekly rush to confession with a return visit the following week.
    Is it any wonder that people eventually started to use their common sense ? No wonder either that confession has gone into steep decline. Our local Church which I remember in the past-before Vatican II -had six working confessionals all busy at weekends, now has none. They have all been removed. I have not heard one sermon or homily over the past forty years in which ‘mortal sin’ has been mentioned. I do not know the reason for this. It is as if a secret edict had been issued from on high not again to mention mortal sin which previously had baffled and bemused Catholics.

  6. toadspittle says:

    “It was forbidden to read, without permission, any book on the Church’s banned list of books, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum- among which authors were many of the French philosophers. “
    Sartre in the “50’s! If you were forbidden to read him how could you judge his ideas?
    No wonder there’s been a turning away from religion like this.
    But we had to be like little children. God said so.

  7. John A. Kehoe says:

    The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was abolished by Pope Paul Vi in 1966. i reckon that few Catholics, or few priests for that matter, either knew of, or were troubled about its existence. I have a copy, buried somewhere among my late brother’s many books.
    Whereas there are indeed references in the gospel to the need to become like little children there is also advice in I Corinthians 13.11 ‘ When I was a child, I thought like a child….. but when I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me’. St Paul’s advice seems to be: Grow up !

  8. Mr. John at 21:02
    The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was abolished by Pope Paul Vi in 1966.
    It’s a bit more complicated than that. The Index was not abolished, and indeed even today retains its moral force, but the penalties accompanying it under ecclesiastical law have been suspended.

  9. John A. Kehoe says:

    The Hapsburg at 15.02. Yes I stand corrected on the precise issue of the Index being actually abolished but the removal in 1966 of ecclesiastical penalties for reading books on the Index amounted in practice to the essentially the same thing.My memory of reading the Index pre 1966 was that while Catholics were cautioned against reading all books on the Index- and some were pretty innocuous anyway- there were some listed with asterisks the penalty for reading them being excommunication.

    The wide ignorance of its existence and its very unavailability, even to clergy, meant that the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was in fact a dead letter for most Catholics

  10. toadspittle says:

    “Moral force,” eh? “We will decide on your behalf what you may, or may not, read, and through that – what you may, or may not – think.”

    Might do for the Hapsburg Sofa Restuffer – not for me.

  11. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe: Regarding the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, you say:
    “The wide ignorance of its existence and its very unavailability, even to clergy, meant that the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was in fact a dead letter for most Catholics.”

    Many Catholics don’t go to Mass every Sunday. What is your point? The Index is, in fact, very available, and always has been for people interested in Catholicism. Just go to Amazon. No need to sort through your brother’s library. Many people, Catholic or otherwise, clergy or otherwise, just aren’t interested in old books and old teachings, but some (millions) are.

    I’ve many books listed on the Index, and I think it’s a valuable tool when reading them.

  12. John A. Kehoe says:

    Johnhenrycn at 21.23 The point I make is not that obscure. I repeat: the Index was not available to my brother or to me or to many others as students and that was not a hundred years ago; nor was it available to our local clergy; nor was it available in college or local libraries. As I recall, we had to specially order a copy from Foyle’s Bookshop in London. You see we live in Dublin the very backward city of Joyce and Beckett et al

    Amazon was not around at the time we wished to consult the Index; nor was the internet.

    I am aware that many Catholics do not go to Mass every Sunday but what has that to do with the Index. What is your point ?

  13. johnhenrycn says:

    “As I recall, we had to specially order a copy from Foyle’s Bookshop in London. You see we live in Dublin the very backward city of Joyce and Beckett et al.”

    Of course, being a long ways away from Dublin, I can’t be expected to have heard of those two guys, but I knew about the Index as a callow Protestant teenager even back in the 60s, and could have easily found a copy of it back then before the Internet. The failure of many Catholics to be interested in it was not because it was unavailable.

  14. kathleen says:

    John A. Kehoe @ 13:25 on 30th August

    Many of us old folk remember a time when mortal sin, or what priests then preached as mortal sin, seemed to be a regular feature of Catholic life.

    But, Mr. Kehoe, sin (both mortal and venial) is and always will be a “regular feature of Catholic life”, whether we recognise this or not! Nothing has changed there, but only the general attitude towards sin. Are you criticising this fact? Has the swing of the pendulum, from that of a great (and necessary) emphasis on the need to avoid mortal sin and all the wiles of the Devil, towards that of an almost complete negation of the existence of sin (or the Devil) been a good thing in your opinion? Heaven forbid!

    Can you truly say that nowadays, when in some liberal Catholic areas, nothing is a sin any longer – misdemeanours only to be blamed on some ephemeral evil in the world around us, nothing personal – that we are better off? For IMO we most certainly are not! I would say that many growing up in the craziness reigning in the post-V2 period have been deprived of a very fundamental Catholic Truth: we are sinners, and sin can lead one to lose one’s soul.*

    Mortal sin should not “baffle” or “bemuse” a penitent, for mortal sin is only committed when it is given full and knowing assent. Sorrow for sin and a regular recourse to the Sacrament of Confession are a consoling balm to many a troubled soul. That so few make use of this wonderful Sacrament nowadays is very sad, and I agree that we do not receive enough homilies from the pulpit on this topic.

    Your own personal story of Catholic education (the one above and all that you have told us on other comment threads) is painfully negative, but my own parents’ story, and other older Catholics whom I have known and loved, was very very different. They all seemed to have been given a most wonderful Catholic grounding; they knew their Faith well and they loved it passionately. Thanks to the vast wealth of testimonies, documents, literature, etc., younger generations can still see and behold for themselves the wonders of our Glorious Faith that have not been passed down through our parishes, schools, and even many homes, these last 45 to 50 years after the Liberal Takeover (Paul VI’s “smoke of Satan”) that has invaded every area of the Church since that time. Thankfully there are signs that the ‘pendulum’ is slowly but surely starting to swing back again now – Deo gratias.

    I’m sorry your own experience was so unhappy, for it appears you were a victim of an over-scrupulous nature that went undetected by your teachers and family, and you suffered for it in consequence.

    P.S. * I meant to add here that Mercy is also an important gift from God (and I presume you feel this was not taught sufficiently in your youth), though nowadays it is nothing but mercy, mercy, mercy, and the requisites before this wonderful benevolence from Our Loving Saviour is poured down upon us, i.e. sorrow, repentance, Confession, firm purpose of amendment, is often, mistakenly, not taught or talked about!!

  15. toadspittle says:

    “..mortal sin is only committed when it is given full and knowing assent.”
    Who’s to say what “full and knowing assent” is?
    Is it possible for a child to commit a mortal sin? At what age? For someone of low intelligence? If not, how high does the intelligence level have to be? How can an theist ever commit a mortal sin, or any sin, against God, in fact?
    If, as I’ve been repeatedly told, deliberately missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin, will those who do so be sent to Hell the same as someone who murders 30,000 Christians? Might, in fact, the murderer not be condemned – on the grounds that he thought what he was doing was the correct, godly, thing, whereas the Mass-missers “fully” knew they were doing wrong? Should the punishment, in fact, fit the crime? It seems not.
    Full knowledge of metaphysics, as we are talking here, is not available to humans, because we don’t, and can’t, know the limits of it. We don’t even know if there are any limits. To impose limits on any knowledge we’d have to be “outside” it.

  16. toadspittle says:

    What a lot of nonsense, Toad.

    “theist” should read “Atheist” of course.
    …reudian slip.

  17. John A. Kehoe says:

    Kathleen Sept 1 at 9.52. Where we fundamentally differ is your seeming conviction of the threat of, if not presence itself, of mortal sin in the daily lives of Catholic people and of what you call the ‘Liberal Takeover’ since Vatican II. You appear to dismiss Vatican II a Council of the Roman Catholic Church, preferring your own interpretation of Catholic doctrine, a Protestant viewpoint.
    As Toad [Sept 1 at 11.01 ] has rightly said in relation to mortal sin: Who’s to say what ‘full and knowing consent is’. I might add also who is to say what grave matter is, one of the three essential elements of mortal sin.
    What is not generally discussed is the fact that unless one knows one is in the state of mortal sin there is never an obligation to go to confession at all – ever.
    In the fifties during schooling, and at retreats and missions, we were constantly being preached at about mortal sin in all of its supposed manifestations. Reading ‘bad books’ was a regular grave sin- without telling us exactly what a ‘bad book’ was. Another favourite mortal sin was ‘impure thoughts’ – this advice given to ten year old boys who hadn’t a clue what was being spoken about, to be later confessed in confession just to be ‘on the safe side’ in case you might have had these unspecified ‘impure thoughts’. Do I reject all of that nonsense ? I certainly do.

    Your own parents and relatives may well have been grateful for the Catholic education they received. That is fine for them. However,here again for me is the parting of the ways. I reject entirely the type of ‘Catholic education’ I received with all of its pious practices, visions claimed to have occurred at Knock in Ireland and Medjegore [ I seem to have spelled that wrongly ] and I reject the regime visited on us by Catholic teachers of my time whose memory I hold in low regard.

  18. Tex says:

    I used to quibble and niggle over every little thing in my Catholic faith . . . until one day I realized that it wasn’t my faith I was quibbling and niggling over in the first place. I was simply indulging that immature urge to be “right” always and everywhere, to pick at the details in order to prove the thesis wrong.

    The Pope is sending out emissaries to forgive people who may feel unforgiven. Or unforgiveable. Period. If you don’t like it, don’t go. If it brings folks to the confessional who’ve been avoiding it, thanks be to God.

    We can never receive too much mercy, even if we trip ourselves up in legalisms along the way.

  19. Mimi says:

    Mr Kehoe at 14.25:

    “Who’s to say what ‘full and knowing consent is’.”

    That would be God, I expect, Who reads our hearts and knows our every thought, and Whose opinion is the only one that matters in the end.

    ” I might add also who is to say what grave matter is, one of the three essential elements of mortal sin.”

    That would be Holy Mother Church, who determines the gravity of an offence on the basis of Scripture, God’s commandments, and her own prudential judgement, a privilege granted her by the Lord, Who said: ‘What you bind on earth shall be considered bound in Heaven, and what you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in Heaven”. (Not to mention “He who hears you hears Me; he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects the One Who sent Me”.)

  20. John A. Kehoe says:

    Mimi Sept 1 at 15.19.
    Agreed on all of that, Mimi, but if one is not certain of full consent what then ? One is only obliged to confess mortal sins in which there is full consent.
    Similarly, if one is not certain of the grave matter of an action, what then, since Holy Mother Church is not always at hand for consultation on what is grave matter at the relevant time.
    In either case does one confess ‘to be on the safe side’ in either doubtful situation.
    I am talking here however about obligation, not the ‘safe side’. There were a multitude of mortal sins knocking around in my youth which caused people to rush to weekly confession, a practice now happily history.

  21. Michael says:

    John Kehoe @ 13:25, August 30th:

    No wonder either that confession has gone into steep decline. Our local Church which I remember in the past-before Vatican II -had six working confessionals all busy at weekends, now has none. I have not heard one sermon or homily over the past forty years in which ‘mortal sin’ has been mentioned. I do not know the reason for this.

    earlier on in the same comment:

    Many of us old folk remember a time when mortal sin, or what priests then preached as mortal sin, seemed to be a regular feature of Catholic life.

    I think, adjusting for the usual conflation of anecdotal evidence and the actual content of moral theology, you’ve kind of answered your own question there John.

  22. Michael says:

    Toad @ 11:01, September 1st:

    Who’s to say what “full and knowing assent” is?…, etc.

    This is what moral theologians are for. Again, if you really want to know the answer to the series of moral quandaries you’ve asked, there are ample resources available for you to find them. To be honest though, and putting aside the more complicated questions of what factors age and intelligence level might play in each individual case, most issues regarding personal culpability can usually be known by the person involved.

    As Mimi very rightly says, only God really knows the secrets of any human heart, but I have a strong suspicion that most people know deep down whether they are genuinely ignorant of having committed a sin, or rather are using any means possible to avoid confronting their own guilt.

    Full knowledge of metaphysics, as we are talking here, is not available to humans, because we don’t, and can’t, know the limits of it. We don’t even know if there are any limits. To impose limits on any knowledge we’d have to be “outside” it.

    Nobody, least of all the Church, claims full knowledge of metaphysics – in fact, the amount of claims she does make is, when you consider all the things that could be claimed, actually rather slim. As for having to be ‘outside’ knowledge to be able to impose limits on it – yes, so why do so many (such as yourself) take it upon themselves to limit what can be known about the world to either the purely physical, or that and some logic?

  23. Michael says:

    John @ 14:25, September 1st:

    I might add also who is to say what grave matter is, one of the three essential elements of mortal sin.

    What Mimi said above sums this up very well indeed. But if you want a more immediate, practical guide, it is usually (I believe) suggested that one look to the Ten Commandments as a touchstone of sorts – the core content, as interpreted by the Church, and any related issues*, can I think be pretty confidently said to be grave matter.

    *For example, the Sixth Commandment, whilst only explicitly forbidding adultery, can be extended to any other sins against chastity, like masturbation, use of pornography, fornication, etc.

  24. John A. Kehoe says:

    Michael Sept 1 at 16.05.
    Yes I fully understand, Michael. My experiences are anecdotal; all of yours are evidence. I understand the theology of confession. The point I have raised-and I think Toad has also- is the determination of when, in a concrete particular case, a mortal sin is committed, necessarily incorporating its three essential parts .

    I am afraid I still do not know why, over the past forty years or more, the subject of mortal sin has disappeared from sermons and homilies in Church. Maybe you do.

  25. kathleen says:

    Mr. Kehoe,

    For starters, although no one can stop you giving a ‘thumbs down’ tick to everyone who disagrees with you, could you please not give a ‘thumbs up’ to your own comments? It is not blog policy to do this. (The comment of yours @ 15:52 that I released from pre-Moderation already had a tick, to a ‘thumbs up’ given by yourself!)🙄

    Then you say:
    You appear to dismiss Vatican II a Council of the Roman Catholic Church, preferring your own interpretation of Catholic doctrine, a Protestant viewpoint.

    Would you kindly not twist my words, Mr Kehoe? I never said I “dismissed” it.
    It is not my “own” interpretation of Catholic doctrine that I am propounding, but the Holy Catholic Church’s Herself, taught from Her earliest beginnings, and subdued, forgotten, twisted to fall into line with Protestant thinking, and even sometimes denied, by those in the Church IN THE AFTERMATH of Vatican II.
    I have never denied the teachings of V2 myself, although I am of the opinion that many of its documents contain a shameful ambiguity which has enabled plenty of wrongful interpretations to be made by unscrupulous left-leaning theologians and others in the years following the Council.

    All your hang-ups and misconceptions about mortal sin and the Sacrament of Confession have been adeptly dealt with by Mimi and Michael, so I’ll move on to your final paragraph, where you state:

    I reject entirely the type of ‘Catholic education’ I received with all of its pious practices, visions claimed to have occurred at Knock in Ireland and Medjegore…

    There has been no final Church announcement on Medjugorje, but the apparition at Knock to 15 people has been claimed to be “worthy of belief” by the Catholic Church. So what do you base your “rejection” on?
    Perhaps you would benefit from reading this good EWTN article on Knock where, if you scroll down to “III EVIDENCE FOR APPARITION”, you can read:

    Within seven weeks a Commission composed of eminent ecclesiastics from the surrounding district was set up by the Archbishop of Tuam to investigate the event. The result of their deliberations, after taking the testimony of the witnesses, was that ” the testimony of all, taken as a whole, was trustworthy and satisfactory.” This declaration on the part of men to whom the witnesses were known, and who were qualified to pass judgment, is in itself an evidence by no means negligible. Not a single one of the original witnesses of the apparition ever doubted or recanted, not one of them ever denied the original testimony given, and the witness who first saw the apparition re-affirmed on her death-bed in 1936 her testimony of 1879. When her statement was read over to her, she made the following remarkable addition: ” I make this statement on my death-bed, knowing I am about to go before my God.” She was then an aged woman. But with her dying breath she affirmed the truth of what she had seen.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/KNOCK.htm

  26. Michael says:

    John @ 16:32, September 1st:

    Yes I fully understand, Michael. My experiences are anecdotal; all of yours are evidence.

    Haha! Given that I haven’t actually put forward any experiences as evidence, but instead looked to what the Church teaches in support of my arguments, I am at a loss to know what you mean by this John.

    I understand the theology of confession.

    I never said that you don’t.

    The point I have raised-and I think Toad has also- is the determination of when, in a concrete particular case, a mortal sin is committed, necessarily incorporating its three essential parts

    Yes, and some answers to that question have been put forward – which do you find lacking and why? Just to summarise:

    a.) Grave matter can be assessed with reference to the Ten Commandments, and topics related to their content (often clarified by the Church I might add).

    b.) Full knowledge of the nature of the sin and its gravity, whilst difficult to identify in the abstract and reduced to some general principle(s), is actually not that difficult to assess in each individual case. For really tricky cases, confessors have access to handbooks of moral theology to guide them. In the end, God only knows, but there are plenty of cases where we can confidently identify where full knowledge is lacking.

    c.) Whether consent to the sin was deliberate can also be assessed by confessors on a case to case basis.

    What would you question re the above three points?

    I am afraid I still do not know why, over the past forty years or more, the subject of mortal sin has disappeared from sermons and homilies in Church. Maybe you do.

    I can’t say for certain John, but I would hazard a guess at its having something to do with the fact that people don’t like being reminded that they are sinners, and the Church having felt the need to make itself more likeable by not talking about sin.

  27. John A. Kehoe says:

    Kathleen Sept 1 at 18.19. ‘ Many of [ Vatican II documents] contain a shameful ambiguity’.Really?
    And you are wiser than the Fathers of the Council ? Is there a little arrogance creeping in here ?

    As for Knock, people who suffer delusions are often very sincere. Remember we also had the ‘moving statues’ at Ballinspittle, County Cork a number of decades ago which some over-pious people tried to revive recently. Gullible people are forever looking for signs and wonders. There is something in the gospel about that.

  28. toadspittle says:

    “….so why do so many (such as yourself – Toad) take it upon themselves to limit what can be known about the world to either the purely physical, or that and some logic?”
    I don’t take it upon myself to limit anything, Michael. It’s simply that, as a human being, I am limited, however hard I try not to be.
    Which is why I have a problem with unlimited damnation.(yawn, as you would say) But I think I see what you are getting at. There is possibly a limit to what can be known about the world and we may reach it in a few million years. In the meantime, I believe we’d be better employed trying to solve solvable logistical problems, and not fret over what can only be speculation. Like stuff about God, fascinating though it undoubtedly is. Reading God’s mind, and interpreting His “instructions” is very big business. Keeps millions gainfully employed – which, I suppose, is something.

  29. John A. Kehoe says:

    Michael Sept 1 at 18.23.
    1.The Ten Commandments are necessarily expressed in broad terms. They are not always useful for determining gravity at the moment one is embarking on a course of action.2. By the time the action is complete not much point in pronouncing on its gravity if the gravity was not known at the outset. 3. Confessors are not mind readers. They could not determine the extent of an individual penitent’s consent at the material time.given the many possible extenuating circumstances not known to, or perceived by, the confessor

  30. The Raven says:

    John Kehoe

    You seem to be modelling the sacrament of confession on a form of judicial proceedings, with the confessor acting in the role of magistrate: probing for culpability and weighing pleas in mitigation.

    This is wholly incorrect.

    The role of a confessor is more analogous to that of a doctor: taking a medical history and then prescribing a remedy.

    Like a doctor, a confessor may discern that for some penitents the usual remedy, absolution and communion, may be death and not life.

  31. The Raven says:

    John Kehoe at 1854 on 1 September

    John,

    To be plain, the documents of last century’s Council must be ambiguous: it’s either that or much that has been done in the last 50 years in the name of that Council has been done in contradiction to those documents.

    For example, Sacrosantum Concillium tells us that Latin is to be preserved, that Gregorian Chant is to have pride of place in our liturgies, that changes to the liturgy should be organic; none of which even vaguely resembles the “reformed” rites that I and most Catholics “enjoy” day by day.

    Now you tell me: is SC vague enough to be read so that it’s explicit commands can be easily over-ridden, or is the reform in contravention of the commands of the Fathers in Council?

  32. Michael says:

    John @ 19:20, September 1st:

    The Ten Commandments are necessarily expressed in broad terms. They are not always useful for determining gravity at the moment one is embarking on a course of action.

    Hmm. They’ve always seemed quite specific to me. And as I said, it is quite straightforward to assess (which the Church has already done for us in the vast majority of cases) infer from their content whether any related sins constitute grave matter – like with the example I gave of the Sixth Commandment.

    As to your two other points, as you say, confessors are not mindreaders, but given what the one confessing relates to them, they are very well placed to assess whether or not sufficient knowledge and consent were involved. If the penitent deliberately withholds such information, then it is on their head; if they are themselves genuinely unaware, then they would not likely be confessing that sin in the first place.

    For the most part though, I think people know if they were fully aware of the gravity of a sin, and/or whether they fully consented to it. There are exceptions to this of course, but I think it a bit OTT to imagine most people* have the difficulties you imagine in assessing their own guilt.

    *This is assuming that, as people going to Confession, they actually believe in sin, and think it something worth dealing with.

  33. kathleen says:

    John A. Kehoe @ 18:54 yesterday:

    And you are wiser than the Fathers of the Council ? Is there a little arrogance creeping in here?

    No, no, Mr. Kehoe, I’m not “wise” at all! But there are some outstanding bulwarks of the Church (both clerics and laymen) who are very wise indeed. They have explicitly brought to notice the “ambiguity” of certain statements contained in V2 documents.
    This flaw was the ‘crack in the door’ enabling an apparent justification for the disappearance of most holy Catholic devotions and practice that had so filled the hearts and minds of the faithful prior to the Council. (We must thank God that all these beautiful timeless devotions are making a strong comeback in traditional Catholicism.) Together with this came the direct DISOBEDIENCE and outright rebellion to other V2 documents concerning the Liturgy, as The Raven has given you clear evidence above.

    As an anecdote, and referring to your extraordinary rejection of the necessity to regularly examine one’s conscience and confess one’s sins, perhaps this quote from St. Teresa of Avila might help:

    “Do not suppose, then, that when God brings a soul to such a point [awareness of their sins] He lets it go so quickly out of His hand that the devil can recapture it without much labour. His majesty is so anxious for it not to be lost that He gives it a thousand interior warning of many kinds, and thus it cannot fail to perceive them. Let the conclusion of the whole matter be this. We must strive all the time to advance, and, if we are not advancing, we must cherish serious misgivings, as the devil is undoubtedly anxious to exercise his wiles upon us.”

  34. Michael says:

    Toad @ 19:14, September 1st:

    It’s simply that, as a human being, I am limited, however hard I try not to be.

    Yes, I agree. But this wasn’t my point – I was asking why you think it legitimate to follow the conclusions of human reason applied to non-empirical subjects such as mathematics or logic, and then deem them incapable of concluding anything in the realm of metaphysics (i.e.; why you choose to arbitrarily place limits on what we can know through reason)?

    In the meantime, I believe we’d be better employed trying to solve solvable logistical problems, and not fret over what can only be speculation. Like stuff about God, fascinating though it undoubtedly is.

    Aside from the question of why natural theology can only be ‘speculation’*, this is a false dichotomy. People have employed themselves solving problems of logistics, mechanics, and many other practical sciences as well as thinking through problems of metaphysics for a very long time – it is not an ‘either/or’ situation.

    *It seems to me that perhaps you are (or have been) persuaded by a largely positivist view of the world, yet have come to recognise the veracity of some non-empirical truths, such as the ones you’ve listed; but that the ‘hangover’ from positivism will not allow you to accept anything else you cannot verify empirically, which is why you reject the possibility of reaching any metaphysical truth. I might well be wrong here, but I cannot see any other reason why you would accept one and reject the other.

  35. John A. Kehoe says:

    Kathleen September 2 at 9.38.
    In taking it on yourself to criticize documents of Vatican II it would be wise for you to bear in mind the advice of Alexander Pope who in his time had a great Catholic education :

    ‘ A little learning is a dangerous thing,
    Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain…’

  36. toadspittle says:

    Gullible people are forever looking for signs and wonders.” ….says Mr. Kehoe

    “Fortis imaginatio generat casum,” ….says Montaigne
    (“A strong imagination begets the event itself.”)
    Which possibly explains quite a few curious “events,” involving apparitions and such.

  37. John A. Kehoe says:

    The Raven September 2 at 06.59 It is the Catholic Church itself which has turned confession into a form of quasi judicial proceedings. From the simple absolution pronounced by Christ himself to the paralytic recalled in Mark: 2:5 ‘ My son, Your sins are forgiven’ the Church has added its own conditions going back to Trent [ grave sins must be confessed as to number and kind ] to hair-splitting material in the older manuals on moral theology to the language used in some Catholic literature ‘ the tribunal of penance’ etc.

    As to the use of Latin referred to in S.C. how does this serve the liturgical requirements of most Catholics who know little or no Latin ? My recollection pre Vatican II is of attending Mass in which the celebrant raced through the Latin liturgy while many brought their rosary beads and said the rosary during Mass. Is that better than Mass in the vernacular which the congregation could understand ?

    We have Catholics here in Ireland, and no doubt everywhere else, who will only go to a Latin Mass as if that were a superior Mass.
    I personally do not have a problem with Latin, sometimes praying in that language. I learned Latin at school and by private study as part of a college degree. i still have a good working knowledge of Latin but I do not think that Latin makes the Mass a more devout experience than when said in English. As for plain chant, we learned some of that also at Catholic school, in my case without any great desire to continue with it.

  38. Michael says:

    John Kehoe @ 10:59, September 2nd:

    For someone who has made a great deal in the past of not being debated with in a civil manner, or not having enough respect shown to your positions, etc, you’ve made several comments (this one being the most recent example) that are decidedly uncivil, disrespectful and downright rude. Can you not just accept that people disagree with you without making snarky comments?

  39. John A. Kehoe says:

    Michael September 2 at 12.23. I cannot see in what way quoting appositely from Alexander Pope, renowned poet and Greek scholar, could be remotely regarded as uncivil, disrespectful, and downright rude.

    As for my other unspecified ‘several comments’ I am not aware that such exception can properly be taken to them either.

  40. toadspittle says:

    Curiously, and possibly serendipitously, Michael & Mr, Kehoe, I was tempted ( ydy @ 19.14 to quote the other best-known bit of Pope: “Know then thyself – presume not God to scan – the proper study of Mankind is Man.” In fact, since it says, succinctly and beautifully, what I was lamely aiming to get at at.
    So I will.

    “Aside from the question of why natural theology can only be ‘speculation’”
    What else can it possibly be, Michael! Virtually nobody agrees on any of it. And none of it can be subjected to any kind of “test.” Nowadays, there are even big rifts among varieties of Catholics as to what is “true.” You know that, and acknowledge it. Whereas, e.g. ALL scientists
    ( bar utter loonies) agree on the fact of Natural Selection.
    It might be possible to come to a correct conclusion re “natural theology.” Trouble is, we’d never know for sure whether we had or not, would we?

  41. Michael says:

    John Kehoe @ 12:46, September 2nd:

    My mistake. Nothing impolite implied by the quote from Pope from at all – perfectly innocuous…

  42. Michael says:

    Toad @13:15, September 2nd:

    What else can it possibly be, Michael! Virtually nobody agrees on any of it.

    Given that I was referring to natural theology – what can be known about God via reason alone – what you say here is plainly incorrect. You seem to be confusing such knowledge with what is claimed as revealed knowledge by the various world religions – with respect to the latter, there is a great deal of disagreement yes, but that is not what I was talking about. Your claim is that nothing can be known with any real confidence about God, and that all such knowledge is speculative.

    And none of it can be subjected to any kind of “test.”

    Yes it can – the ‘test’ of whether a particular claim is reasonable, which is precisely the sort of ‘test’ you accept in logic, but for some reason not in metaphysics. If by ‘test’ you mean something that can be verified empirically, then you have to reject mathematics, and any other logic you accept. But seeing as you don’t, you are being inconsistent in accepting one and rejecting the other.

    Whereas, e.g. ALL scientists
    ( bar utter loonies) agree on the fact of Natural Selection.

    There are actually a great many positions held within the scientific community regarding evolutionary theory* – precisely because it is a non-falsifiable theory. Following your argument, it should then be discounted.

    *The only thing that is widely shared by the majority is that there is some kind of observable change over time within and across species. But there is a big difference between the ability of Natural Selection being the theory that best accounts for such observations (which, it has to be said, leaves out a huge number of anomalies, particularly in the fossil record) so far, and its being some kind of stone-cold fact. There is much legitimate disagreement about the theory, now exhaustive it is, and what its limits are.

  43. kathleen says:

    John Kehoe @ 10:59

    In taking it on yourself to criticize documents of Vatican II…

    Clean your specs Mr Kehoe!
    At 9:38 I had clearly stated that I was relying on some “outstanding bulwarks of the Church” (who, by the way, include Archbishop Schneider and Pope Benedict XVI) for my opinions. These wise and faithful men have declared that certain wording contained in some of the documents of Vatican II have been “misunderstood” and “misinterpreted”, i.e. due to their ambiguity. Secondly, it is common knowledge that much that has been clearly stated in V2 has been blatantly ignored or simply disobeyed outright.

    Michael is right; your comments are decidedly “snarky”, and I would add deplorably pessimistic and pompous. You are a pick-and-choose Catholic (e.g. your not recognising the Church’s positive declaration on the Knock apparition) whilst accusing others (falsely) of not holding to the Church’s Magisterium.

    But what makes any discussion with you a real chore (unlike squabbles with our Most-Exasperating-Toad, where we can still manage to chuckle sometimes) is your total and absolute lack of a sense of humour!😦

  44. John A. Kehoe says:

    Kathleen September 2 at 14.31.

    1. I don’t wear ‘specs’ as you call them; therefore no need to clean them
    2. On September 1 2015 at 18.19 you said, inter alia’ ‘ I am of the opinion that many of its documents CONTAIN a SHAMEFUL ambiguity’.That is plainly criticism of the documents themselves i.e. that there is ambiguity WITHIN the documents themselves, not just that they are being allegedly misinterpreted or misunderstood by someone else, as is the case put forward by Archbishop Schneider and Pope Benedict XVI.
    3. Michael has since withdrawn his complaint that I had made a ‘snarky’ remark. See his post to-day at 13.43.
    4. As for your opinion that my comments are ‘deplorably……pompous’ I am happy to defer to you in the area of pomposity as witness your criticisms that Vatican II documents contain ambiguities which you impliedly suggest would have been better written by yourself or someone of like mind.
    5. The Church does not oblige anyone to believe that an apparition occurred in Knock. That is a long way from the Church’s Magisterium. The Church has approved Knock as a Marian shrine. It is also a basilica. Pope John Paul II on reaching Knock in 1979 said ‘ I have reached the end of my pilgrimage’. He did not say that there was any apparition there. That is a matter for personal belief or otherwise. I have visited Knock several times and prayed there . My not believing in an apparition at Knock does not make me a pick-and- choose Catholic. Like many others, I believe Knock was simply a magic lantern image played against the gable end of the Church there in 1879 . That does’t make me a heretic or does not detract from the genuine Marian devotion evident at the shrine which itself however does not prove that an apparition ever occurred there.

  45. toadspittle says:

    Well, Kathleen, Toad has often been castigated in a manner that struck him as decidedly lacking in humour – even dubbing him “blasphemous,” and “thick” and “unkind,” to boot. (Not you, of course.) Poor Old Toad. He don’t care, though. He has implicit faith that the next world will be kinder to him than CP&S has been so far.
    …And Poor Old Mr Kehoe. Can’t win for losing. Not even funny enough for Kathleen. Cripes! What an indictment – as the late lamented Jabba was wont to declaim.
    How funny do you have to be, for God’s sake?
    …Are we now to regard Kathleen as “The Tommy Cooper* of the CathTrads?” Let’s pray so! Big fun!
    Or is it to be Kathleen as “Eric,”and Mr. Kehoe as “Ernie?” Either way, a feast of fun for all concerned.

    “You seem to be confusing such knowledge with what is claimed as revealed knowledge by the various world religions…” No, Michael – I’m conflating it. The innumerable varieties of religious rascals all think they – and they alone – know “what God wants.” Absurd. You will whole-heartedly agree.
    Which debatable “knowledge” is obtained via, I suppose, “Revealed Knowledge,” whatever that is. Something someone got out of some tatty old, scarcely comprehensible, book – of Mormon, or The Koran, or The Bible, or Dan Brown, or The Wit and Wisdom of C.S. Lewis, (the world-famous Protestant ) – I suppose.
    Wish I personally knew “what is what,” myself. Would be nice. Comfy.
    Still, I’ll keep on rooting. Even a blind pig can find the occasional acorn.
    One never know, do one?

    *“Slept like a log all night. Woke up in the grate.”

    750 “thumbs down.” So far.

  46. toadspittle says:

    “There are actually a great many positions held within the scientific community regarding evolutionary theory* – precisely because it is a non-falsifiable theory. Following your argument, it should then be discounted.”
    Michael, I can’t believe that you appear to think we can’t distinguish between regarding a theory with reasonable suspicion – and outright discounting it.
    I’m prepared – like any sensible person – to accept an alternative theory for Natural Selection, just as long as I find one that makes a more convincing case than Darwin did. So would he. He said so.
    As you, no doubt, are prepared for one that demolishes Catholicism in your mind. (No – I, like you, doubt such a theory exists.)
    I accepted Christianity – until it seemed to me that other ways of looking at the world seemed less unconvincing. I may have been wrong. But until now, I’m stuck with that.

  47. Michael says:

    Toad @ 16:56, September 2nd:

    “You seem to be confusing such knowledge with what is claimed as revealed knowledge by the various world religions…” No, Michael – I’m conflating it.

    But why conflate them? They are different questions – one can accept the possibility of finding truth through reason in natural theology and still reject most, if not all, claims to revelation. Whilst I do very much believe that the various claims made in this respect are by no means equal in merit, and one can quite reasonably adjudicate between them to a successful conclusion, this is all really smokescreenery is it not? You still neglect to address the question of why you adopt the inconsistent position of accepting human reason’s ability to discern non-empirical truths in one arena but not another.

  48. Michael says:

    John Kehoe @ 15:36, September 2nd:

    Michael has since withdrawn his complaint that I had made a ‘snarky’ remark. See his post to-day at 13.43.

    Erm, I thought this was fairly obvious and I wouldn’t have to make further clarifications, but I was being sarcastic John.

    I don’t wear ‘specs’ as you call them; therefore no need to clean them

    I hope this is an attempt at humour John, as opposed to just an insanely literal response to something clearly meant proverbially. As to that proverbial point, I really wish you would clean those specs – Kathleen suggested nothing along the lines of the Vatican II documents being written by herself, or ‘someone of like mind’ (whatever that means to you). Your second point is also redundant, given that Kathleen had already plainly said herself that there were ambiguities within the documents. Maybe there was a magic lantern playing against your computer screen when you read the comments?🙂

  49. kathleen says:

    John Kehoe @ 15:36

    Dear Mr Kehoe, I’m afraid I am a busy colleen, with a lot more important things to have to do than having to rebut your reams of twisted and misunderstood remarks on my comments. This last post of yours was just the limit though. You and Toad should dance off to cloud cuckoo land together where you can gabble happily past each other till the cows come home. [N.B. That was a JOKE! Don’t get all peevish with me again pleeeeeeese.]

    So, let’s see where you’ve ‘got it wrong’ this time in your last numbered moan…

    1. I don’t wear ‘specs’…
    Well, perhaps you should, for you appear to misread everyone’s explanations every single time.

    2. On September 1 2015 at 18.19 you said, inter alia’ ‘ I am of the opinion that many of its documents CONTAIN a SHAMEFUL ambiguity’.That is plainly criticism of the documents themselves…
    Well, yes, exactly! A criticism because of the ambiguity contained in the documents that lead to so much misinterpretation, this error could be called “shameful”. That is, if it really was intentional; we can’t be sure. There are many in the Church who are of the opinion that the authors, intimidated by the Liberals and Modernists, who had infiltrated the Council, that this was indeed so. At best it was a serious lack of caution by the Council Fathers, as the outcome in V2’s aftermath has tragically demonstrated.

    3. Michael has since withdrawn his complaint that I had made a ‘snarky’ remark. See his post to-day at 13.43
    Oh dear, Mr Kehoe, I’m beginning to feel embarrassed for you. Michael has done no such thing!

    4. As for your opinion that my comments are ‘deplorably……pompous’…
    No, I didn’t. I said they were “deplorably PESSIMISTIC”… and yes, I said they were “pompous” too. However, I apologise for calling you pompous; that was a bit rude. (And I don’t expect a return apology from you for your rudeness to me, so don’t worry.)

    5. The Church does not oblige anyone to believe that an apparition occurred in Knock, etc.
    That is true, one is not “obliged” to believe in any apparition site, but there are a lot of significant details in the Knock apparition site that appeared so unexpectedly “at a time of distress” in Ireland, and that the Church has pronounced is “worthy of belief”, that your adamant refusal to even be open to the possibility of Our Blessed Lady appearing with St Joseph, St John Evangelist and the Lamb of God, just amazes me.
    I still say you are a pick-and-choose Catholic though; your expressed contrary views on sin, the Sacrament of Confession, the Church’s teaching on the Family as Doctrine, etc., make me very dubious as to your real beliefs.

    Finally, I am not your enemy, Mr Kehoe. I wish you well – I truly do – though I disagree very much with your negative, querulous ways.

  50. toadspittle says:

    “You still neglect to address the question of why you adopt the inconsistent position of accepting human reason’s ability to discern non-empirical truths in one arena but not another.”
    Let’s use examples we’ve already cited, Michael.
    I believe all life on earth started from a single cell. (I may be wrong, and, given convincing evidence, will cheerfully alter my view.)
    Tests, DNA, etc, indicate, so far, that this appears to be the case.
    However, I don’t believe you can ever turn wine into blood by saying a few words. I don’t see how this can, or could, ever happen. (I may be wrong. It may be demonstrable. Until then, I will sceptically reserve judgement on the matter.)

  51. Mimi says:

    I must be suffering from an excess of humour. I had assumed that Michael’s comment at 13.43 was a fine example of sarcasm.😉

  52. Mimi says:

    Oh, I’m a day late and a dollar short, as usual. I see that Michael has already cleared that matter up!🙂

  53. Michael says:

    Toad @ 18:27, September 2nd:

    Sorry, I didn’t see this one before. Anyway, you’re right – I don’t think that we ‘can’t distinguish between regarding a theory with reasonable suspicion – and outright discounting it’. My point was that, following the means by which you accept evidence as sufficiently certain, a non-falsifiable theory (i.e.; one you can’t actually comprehensively ‘test’ for – c.f.; your old favourite Karl Popper on this point) would have to be discounted.

    @ 19:02, September 2nd:

    Tests, DNA, etc, indicate, so far, that this appears to be the case.

    Putting to one side the already-mentioned diversity of opinion on how evolution is pictured and what it implies, I don’t see how this conflicts with the possibility and/or existence of miracles. When you say you don’t believe wine can be turned into blood via the words of a priest, because it isn’t ‘demonstrable’, then you are essentially saying that knowledge can only be limited to the empirically verifiable*. Yet you accept some things that are not empirically verifiable, but not others – why so?

    Anyway, I must be off now – ta ta until tomorrow!

    *As for whether miracles are possible, if one answers in the negative, this leaves two options – firstly, philosophical naturalism, which is not only self-refuting, but its implied positivism you already reject; secondly, to say ‘they just can’t’, which is a position based not on reason, but on prejudice.

  54. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 16:56

    Well, Kathleen, Toad has often been castigated in a manner that struck him as decidedly lacking in humour – even dubbing him “blasphemous,” and “thick” and “unkind,” to boot. (Not you, of course.)

    Well, if I never called you any of those stark truths, Toad, I shall happily do so now!
    Your comments on this thread alone (and that our Moderators have shown great tolerance in allowing through) are perfect examples of all three of those above adjectives.
    (BTW, the other day I saw a most horrible comment of yours aimed at our dear GC that I sent straight into ‘spam’. Forgot to tell you about it. But it was very “unkind” indeed… so IOW, I did you a favour; it would have put you in a pretty bad light.)

    And don’t do the “poor Toad” bit on us por favor; you relish every bit of confrontation and mockery of everyone and everything, as you well know. No joke!

  55. John A. Kehoe says:

    Kathleen September 2, 2015 at 18.56.

    In your post of September 1 at 18.19 you say ‘I have never denied the teachings of V2 myself…’However in your post of September 2 at 18.56 at point 2 you admit your challenge to Vatican 2 documents : ‘ambiguity contained in the documents’ … ‘ serious lack of caution by the Council Fathers…’ and you agree with my comment made in my post at 15.36 of September 2, 2015 that you are plainly criticizing the documents themselves. Your words : ‘Well,yes, exactly’.

    I am afraid that your position on this matter is untenable : not denying the teachings of Vatican II and at the same time severely criticizing them.

  56. toadspittle says:

    “And don’t do the “poor Toad” bit on us por favor; you relish every bit of confrontation and mockery of everyone and everything, as you well know. No joke!
    Toad cannot deny that soft impeachment, Kathleen.
    (Do you happen to know what’s up with GC, then? She doesn’t seem her normal self these days. I worry, you see.)

  57. toadspittle says:

    “Putting to one side the already-mentioned diversity of opinion on how evolution is pictured and what it implies, I don’t see how this conflicts with the possibility and/or existence of miracles”
    No, I suppose it doesn’t, Michael.. Nor does it conflict with the possibility of astrology, or unicorns, being true. Just that I brazenly discard astrology. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I simply don’t see how it can be true. Nor am I saying miracles are impossible, just that I personally don’t see how they can be possible. Very likely the fault is mine.
    I also suppose there’s a possibility unicorns exist. Except possibly they look like horses these days, having been transubstantiated. And that raven over there may really be a writing desk.

  58. Mr. J.K. at 20:23 2015-09-02
    I am afraid that your position on this matter is untenable : not denying the teachings of Vatican II and at the same time severely criticizing them.
    Kathleen’s position (and she may correct me if I misstate it) seems rather to be that while upholding the authoritative teachings of Vatican II (and not the spirit of Vatican II, which is another animal altogether), she nevertheless laments the lack of clarity with which these teachings were stated, which allowed all sorts of error to be taught in the name of Vatican II.

    This position certainly seems tenable to me.

  59. Michael says:

    Toad @ 1:45, September 3rd:

    I was actually rather looking forward to a robust discussion about why it is or isn’t possible for miracles to occur (and what transubstantiation actually means), but unfortunately you have produced a load of Dawkinsite tripe about unicorns instead. Oh well. Very briefly though, the only things it seems worth saying at this juncture are that a natural, albeit fantastic, being, such as a unicorn, is in a completely different category to miracle, as it would be subject to the same regular laws of nature as everything else (whereas by definition a miracle goes beyond those ‘laws’); and transubstantiation is a change in the essence of a thing, not its accidents.

  60. John A. Kehoe says:

    [Moderator to John A. Kehoe – Enough John! You have made your position abundantly clear. This debate on Vatican Two (not on topic to boot) has gone on for far too long and is now becoming tedious. Move on please.]

  61. toadspittle says:

    “I was actually rather looking forward to a robust discussion about why it is or isn’t possible for miracles to occur..”
    Well, you won’t get it from me, Michael, as I have no idea whether it’s possible for miracles to “occur” or not. All depends on what we mean by miracles, I suppose. We might suppose it’s some sort of a miracle human beings haven’t entirely wiped themselves out by now, over what Montaigne called “differences of opinion,”
    And don’t repine regarding “Dawkinsite” tripe about unicorns.
    I have it on good authority he doesn’t believe in them – any more than you do.

  62. Tom Fisher says:

    Moderator to John A. Kehoe – Enough John! You have made your position abundantly clear

    God knows what he said. I certainly don’t. I know it’s silly to say this, but I wish you guys would let comments you don’t like stand or fall on their merits. But I appreciate that this blog takes a lot of work to maintain at the best of times.

    [Moderator replies – You should know, Tom. John’s 10:37 comment was an almost identical replication of his comment at 20:23 on 9/2 and numerous previous entries. Such tedium!]

  63. John A. Kehoe says:

    I was one against the rest of conservative contributors to this blog. I now withdraw to leave the rest in happy agreement among themselves, asking only that my name be not raised again by any other in this blog.
    I wish to thank the moderator for the opportunity of stating my views on the topics herein.

  64. Tom Fisher says:

    I was one against the rest of conservative contributors to this blog. I now withdraw to leave the rest in happy agreement

    That seems more petulant than heroic🙂

  65. Farewell, Mr. John A. Kehoe, it’s been a wonderful time. The conservative contributors on this blog will unhappily devolve back into petty squabbles, due to the lack of a thought provoking intelligent conversation. All of the pent up ire created by your presence will be unleashed on poor Toad, who will be forced to act as an unqualified substitute for yourself. Maybe you’ll stop by again and comment someday. I hope so. It would be a refreshing break from our favorite amphibian.

  66. toadspittle says:

    A kind and thoughtful word in a sordid and naughty world for Poor Old Toad – from The Stentorian Sofa Stuffer himself – whose reward will not be on this earth.

  67. Michael says:

    I have no idea whether it’s possible for miracles to “occur” or not.

    Well in that case, for someone who claims to be agnostic on the topic, you seem to lean rather heavily in the direction of their not being possible. Ach well. And no, I agree, Dawkins doesn’t believe in unicorns – his beliefs are considerably more ridiculous.

  68. toadspittle says:

    “Well in that case, for someone who claims to be agnostic on the topic, you seem to lean rather heavily in the direction of their not being possible. Ach well.”
    Yes, that’s a fair assessment, Michael. I’m very dubious indeed of miracles. Not enough imagination, I suppose. If I were to believe in them, where would it all end? Unicorns and astrology, maybe, and a 7,000 year old planet – where plaster statues nod and wink. Och, well.

  69. kathleen says:

    The Hapsburg Restorationist @ 15:13
    😆

    Feeling relieved I wasn’t going to have to battle any further with Mr Kehoe’s misinterpretations, owing to your precise response @ 2:31 to him on my behalf – thank you kind sir – and the Moderator’s interventions after that, I wasn’t going to comment further on this thread.

    However, before retiring, and in all fairness to Mr Kehoe and his Grand Farewell @ 14:03, I have to say he may have misinterpreted (yet AGAIN) what was being said to him by the Moderator with these words: “Move on please!” That, I believe, was not telling Mr Kehoe to move off the CP&S blog altogether, but just to move on from the topic he was boring everyone to tears with!

    Am I right? Please Mr/Mrs Moderator, correct me if I’m not!😉

  70. toadspittle says:

    Either some of my replies here in the last 24 hours are going into the spam, or they are being killed unspoken.
    If it’s the latter, can someone have the decency to verify this, then I will stop posting. There’s no point in me going on in such absurd fashion.

  71. toadspittle says:

    Heavens, how pompous Toad sounds above.
    But also, on this sadly boring topic, Kathleen told me yesterday she had killed something I said about GC, Fine, no doubt she was quite right to do so – but is she actually a “moderator” or not?

    Viz: “Am I right? Please Mr/Mrs Moderator, correct me if I’m not! ;-)” She clearly denies it here..

  72. kathleen says:

    Morning Toad,

    Yes, I saw and rescued just now two of your comments that had gone automatically into ‘spam’. I’ve no idea why this happens to some of your comments but not others. (When comments get sent purposely into spam by one of us, a little note on the side tells us who’s done it!😉 )

    All the Team on CP&S has moderating rights, but we have no way of knowing who is doing the moderating to the comments already up on the blog.
    Hope that helps, and I’ll keep a closer eye on the spam folder in future.

  73. Michael says:

    Yes, that’s a fair assessment, Michael. I’m very dubious indeed of miracles. Not enough imagination, I suppose.

    It’s got nothing to do with a lack of imagination Toad. In fact, I’d say it requires a great deal more imagination to hold together the bag of contradictions that materialism leads one to affirm. As for the ‘when will it all end’ line of thinking, well, if you genuinely can’t recognise the differences between say, the Miracle of the Mass, and the existence of unicorns (and, quite frankly, I have literally no idea what the age of the earth has to do with this at all), then I don’t know what else to say, apart from that I’m a bit disappointed. Strange as it may seem, I expected better from you!🙂

  74. Tom Fisher says:

    Michael, that’s an interesting remark you just made to Toad:

    if you genuinely can’t recognise the differences between say, the Miracle of the Mass, and the existence of unicorns (and, quite frankly, I have literally no idea what the age of the earth has to do with this at all), then I don’t know what else to say, apart from that I’m a bit disappointed.

    Presumably you’re contrasting the profound significance of the Mass with the banality of unicorns. But on the flip-side, surely the Miracle of the Mass only has significance if it is in fact real (ask a protestant). In which case all supernatural phenomena start off on the same footing, and we only assess their significance after we are convinced of their reality. — Just as a point of procedure. (One must always establish what the facts are before worrying about what they may mean So purely in the context of your debate, the “difference” isn’t so clear

  75. toadspittle says:

    As always, a graceful explanation from Kathleen @7.23. Many thanks. It is what I expected. Maybe it’s God who sends my comments to spam – cut out the middle-man, as it were?

    “if you genuinely can’t recognise the differences between say, the Miracle of the Mass, and the existence of unicorns…”
    Tut, Michael. That is lame, and way below your usual standards. The point I’m trying, and clearly failing,-to make – is that we all have different levels of “faith” or belief (or unbelief, come to that) even Catholics. You might well laugh, but there are Catholics who believe the world is fewer than 8,000 years old. Possibly, they also believe in unicorns, and stone statues floating in air.
    My personal position is that it’s best to treat all statements – particularly metaphysical ones – with a considerable, indeed vast, amount of suspicion until their potential veracity is satisfactorily explained to me. Because, once you get into “miracle” territory, where do you draw the line? Just behind one’s own heels, I suspect.
    You see it differently. OK.

    Wonderful if someone did produce a unicorn out of the Borneo jungle or wherever.

  76. GC says:

    Wonderful if someone did produce a unicorn out of the Borneo jungle or wherever.

    You rang? Et voilà!

    Weren’t they just rhinoceroses? Assumed extinct in the wild on Borneo, I’m afraid, but a few hundred survivors on Sumatra (where Polo saw one) and the Malay Peninsula (possibly).

    Marco Polo was actually describing a rhinoceros and not a unicorn, as he thought.

    All in all they are nasty creatures, They always carry their pig like heads to the ground, like to wallow in mud and are not in the least like unicorns of which our stories speak in Europe. Can an animal of their race feel at ease in the lap of a virgin? I will only say one thing: this creature is entirely different from what we fancied.

    Nothing miraculous there.

    If you leave your particulars with the moderator, Toad, I shall do my best to have a breeding pair sent to you in Castile & Leon, care of the Peaceable Kingdom. Should make for an interesting addition to the morning walkies?

  77. GC says:

    To retrace the topic of the article, some people are quite cross with Papa Francesco and his compassionate gesture and it isn’t traditional Catholics! (I do hope Ms Ford gets over it soon enough.)

    There’s only one positive to possibly come from this, and that is that women oppressed by the religious doctrines of their communities or indeed even their own religious guilt may seek a temporary reprieve from both those things. Fear of excommunication or ‘sin’ is not to be underestimated – if practical reproductive health care can now be sought without guilt by those who need it (at least for the period of the Jubilee Year), it could save lives.

    But therein lies the kicker. Access to comprehensive family planning services SAVES LIVES, particularly for those people living in deeply religious communities that are also defined by poverty and a lack of services. Women don’t need to be ‘forgiven’ for the choices they make regarding their bodies. And they certainly don’t need to be forgiven by men who have historically wielded far too much power over arenas that are absolutely none of their business while celebrating a structure that is entirely patriarchal and exclusionary.

    What women need is for their bodily choices to be accepted and respected, without fear of judgment, shaming or community shunning. If the Pope really cared about people who have the capacity to bear children, he’d do as we’ve been telling the Church for over 40 years and he’d get their damn rosaries out of our ovaries.

    Ah yes, the reproductive health care. Ahem.

  78. toadspittle says:

    A pair of rhino/unicorns? What a treat! Send ’em round GC. Beautiful creatures, clearly not made in God’s image, like say, Donald Trump.
    Interesting, philosophically, that Wittgenstein had a violent row with Russell – saying that Bertie could not prove there was not a rhino in his study. Had he (Ludwig) been a Catholic . . . [A moderator says: Catholic teaching on the Holy Eucharist does not involve rhinos, Toad. 26 words deleted]

    *The “T” word might constitute blasphemy. (and also it’s hard to spell.)

  79. kathleen says:

    It is blasphemy with or without the ‘T’ word, Toad. How can you say such a terrible thing on a Catholic blog? It is highly offensive and insensitive of you to our feelings.

    Read the post I’ve just put up today about the “Miraculous Mass of Saint Gregory the Great” (whose feast day we celebrated yesterday in fact). There have been countless well-documented Eucharistic miracles these last two thousand years that Our Blessed Lord has permitted for doubters and cynics like you, who disbelieve in the Real Presence.

  80. toadspittle says:

    Very apposite and scary a story it was too, Kathleen. As you know, there was a very similar one in
    O Cebreiro.
    One question: Why would the woman in the story laugh? She might not believe – but how, or indeed, why – would she think it funny? Which is to say, I’m somewhat dubious of the story’s veracity. (If it’s not blasphemous to say so)
    I think she laughed to make the punchline stronger. But I’ve no more idea than anyone else.

    I don’t disbelieve in the Real Presence. I just don’t know. And I believe nobody knows for sure. So I reserve judgement on this issue. What people (including myself, certainly) actually do know for sure, is that they are convinced that they know something to be true,
    …Which is not the same thing.
    (The process Is similar to memory. We don’t remember the event itself, we remember the last memory we had of it)

    So much we are apparently frightened even to speak the name of. Odd.

  81. Michael says:

    But on the flip-side, surely the Miracle of the Mass only has significance if it is in fact real (ask a protestant). In which case all supernatural phenomena start off on the same footing, and we only assess their significance after we are convinced of their reality.

    Tom, this is precisely my point. Toad, in my opinion, does not seem to want to engage in the question of whether supernatural phenomena are possible at all, preferring to lump things like the Miracle of the Mass together with unicorns (because it makes it easier to dismiss the one in conjunction with the other), rather than seriously considering why any non-materialist account of reality might perhaps have more explanatory power than one that allows for something beyond the material.

  82. Michael says:

    The point I’m trying, and clearly failing,-to make – is that we all have different levels of “faith” or belief (or unbelief, come to that) even Catholics.

    And my point is that this is irrelevant – when discussing the question of, for example, whether the miraculous is possible or not, this is not a question of faith, but of what view of the world one has, which is based on particular philosophical presuppositions (whether consciously articulated or not). If your position re miracles is really just one of blind faith (or lack thereof) then it is simply without foundation.

    You might well laugh, but there are Catholics who believe the world is fewer than 8,000 years old. Possibly, they also believe in unicorns, and stone statues floating in air.

    I’m not laughing about it, and I know there are young-earth creationist Catholics, but I fail to see what this has to do with the strictly philosophical question of whether miracles can occur or not; similarly, the existence or unicorns is irrelevant to that debate – it is a category mistake.

    My personal position is that it’s best to treat all statements – particularly metaphysical ones – with a considerable, indeed vast, amount of suspicion until their potential veracity is satisfactorily explained to me. Because, once you get into “miracle” territory, where do you draw the line? Just behind one’s own heels, I suspect.

    Again, you still have not advanced one single reason as to why metaphysical statements should be treated with any more suspicion than any other non-empirical statements. To say that their veracity has not been satisfactorily explained to you is just to say that someone who has an unreasonable prejudice against the miraculous will not accept anything that supports a view of the world which can contain the miraculous within it.

    Where do you draw the line? With your reason – which is exactly what I’ve been trying to say! If unicorns exist, one would expect to be able to document their existence, as one amongst many other physical beings. If miracles have happened, one would expect them to have been witnessed – and they have. Yet you refuse to accept such testimony on seemingly arbitrary grounds (‘it just can’t happen’) – you can’t claim any philosophical disagreement without committing yourself to a philosophical naturalism which itself discounts any non-empirical claims, including mathematics, geometry and ‘some’ logic.

  83. toadspittle says:

    “Yet you refuse to accept such testimony on seemingly arbitrary grounds (‘it just can’t happen’) “
    When did I ever say that, Michael? Far too dogmatic for me. I will say I have an ethical problem with the notion of miracles as well as a logical one*. We are to believe, I gather, God has laid down a set of rules for the operation of the universe, which we cannot break, (nor would we want to) but spend our lives trying to understand. That’s science. But God can, and does, dispense with them, it seems at whim, from time to time.
    It’s as if playing chess, He suddenly decides to move his rook diagonally. Why? That seems wrong.

    But then of course, 100 years ago the idea of being able to stand in a cornfield in Essex and converse normally with someone in Madrid would have been miraculous.

    *Naturally. Logic and ethics are one and the same, says Wittgenstein.

  84. Michael says:

    When did I ever say that, Michael? Far too dogmatic for me. I will say I have an ethical problem with the notion of miracles as well as a logical one*.

    You haven’t said that precisely as I wrote it, formally and explicitly no, but you keep saying you reject (or are extremely sceptical of) the possibility of miracles, but without actually advancing a consistent reason for doing so. You have put forward a moral reason for your position here just now – that I can accept as an alternative view and can discuss, because it is a coherent reason for opposition. But, given the lack of any logical* reason for such scepticism, you can perhaps see why your position on miracles seems (from the perspective) arbitrary.

    Anyway, your moral problem with miracles is that God occasionally ‘dispenses with’ the laws of nature. Well, for starters, why not? It is, as you have often pointed out, his ‘train set’. This doesn’t seem wrong to me, so much as unexpected, which is of course precisely what a ‘miracle’ is. I can see the moral problem of why God would intervene in a certain place and way, but not that He intervenes at all.

    The other issue is that, whilst nature does work according to regular, observable principles. God is not bound by these, and one does not have to see miracles as a disruption – it is rather that at certain times and places the veil between Heaven and earth is removed, or becomes thinner, so that His action is more direct, in order to produce some significant effect. If you like, it is not the laws that have been changed at all, but the ‘input’ at the start of the process. There is a lot more that could be said about this, but the main point is that you don’t have to see any moral issue with God occasionally intervening more directly than usual. It is his prerogative to do so, and it is the unexpected nature of the miraculous which draws our attention to it (and what it signifies) in a way that isn’t possible via the natural course of events (which we very often take for granted).

    *Logic and ethics are the same? They are grounded in the same source, but I don’t see how they are the same at all, other than that they are things we cannot prove but must accept as axiomatic. Perhaps Wittgenstein could explain (via a quote)…

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