Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On the way to looking up other things, I came across some more interesting things. One of these is Cardinal Egan's take on abortion, equating pro choice people with Nazis and Stalinists, or more accurately, falling prey to the type of thinking used by Nazis and Stalinists when Nazis and Stalinists killed Jews, gays, Cossacks, and the Russian Aristocracy. He does this by encouraging us to bypass our higher thought centers by concentrating on a photograph of a five month old fetus, and responding strictly from our emotional/visual centers.

This is the center of our brains I've referred to as the limbic system. The limbic system contains our emotions and visual cortex. To say the two are linked is an understatement. Interestingly enough it was the Nazi propaganda machine which took full advantage of this phenomenon in their efforts to define Jews and gays as 'others'. I could say with some justification that Cardinal Egan is himself using the thought processes of the Nazi propaganda machine to make his point about abortion. I was offended by his blatant call for us to suspend our higher thought processes and think only emotionally. I had intended to take him on, but instead found someone else had beat me to it. Thankyou Tonysee of Catholica AU.


Another trend I've noticed, as the Republicans look to be headed for a landslide defeat, is the sudden penchant for those involved in certain family values battles to paint themselves as victims, while authoritatively stating as absolute facts things which aren't facts at all.

The latest in this line of political activism came from the pen of Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of the San Diego diocese. He wrote to the San Diego city Council just before they were to take a vote on whether to endorse Proposition 8.
In it he states that "“Defining marriage as it has been understood in every society since the beginning of the human race is hardly the stuff of which unconstitutional laws consist,” This is patently absurd as his concept of marriage has a very short track record in the history and societies of the world.

He then goes on to claim victimhood: “Why are our thoughts and feelings not worthy of equal consideration to theirs, especially when we can offer many rational, cogent arguments to justify our position? We support marriage because marriage benefits everyone; we abhor violence and unjust treatment against people who disagree with us. Nonetheless, we are accused of discrimination. Who, though, is being discriminated against now?”

Marriage for Bishop Cordileone doesn't benefit everyone, precisely if you're gay. It's the whole point of his support for Prop 8: to deny gays the benefits of marriage---to discriminate against them. I guess the best defense against blatant discrimination is to claim the discrimination appellate for one's self.

After claiming victimhood the bishop then appeals for unity while assigning blame for the disunity: “Please do not divide our community any more bitterly than it already is. Please do not betray the trust the public has placed in you. Please do not disenfranchise those who worked so hard to give Californians the opportunity to decide,”

Apparently we're to believe that the Bishop and the groups which have put proposition 8 on the ballot share no responsibility for the divisions and bitterness. Should the city council not vote correctly it will be the city council's fault.

It must also be surmised that Bishop Cordileone is forgetting that part of the democratic process is for city councils to have an opinion on state propositions which will directly effect their public domain.

The good bishop also seems to think it's perfectly all right for the city council to disenfranchise gay tax payers. And all of this is justified by good of the children and so he ends with this impassioned plea: “After having made such laudatory and inspired commitments to our youth, please, do not now sell them down the river by telling them that it’s not important for them to have a mother and a father."

I wonder if Bishop Cordileone has any idea what kind of message this sends to children who are being raised in single parent homes? Not to mention how gay kids must feel. I wonder if he even cares.


Finally, I came across a very interesting discussion on Catholica Australia about the nature of the divinity of Jesus. It too came as a result of controversy, and part of the controversy swirls around the parish which devised the Eucharistic prayer I posted yesterday.
Pay close attention to the comment written by Warren if you decide to check out this thread. Warren seems to me to be onto something very important about the converging concepts of what it means to be divinely human from multiple spiritualities. I'll have more on this idea of the impact of spiritual consensus and the influence of cosmological world views on Christology tomorrow. ( Assuming I don't get sidetracked.)


In the meantime, call the Vatican and chat with one of it's operators. I've done it.

A priest friend and I got into a heated discussion one night and decided only JPII could settle our disagreement. We got the operators, who must of thought we were too good to be true, and they kept passing us up the chain.
Eventually we had Monsignor Dziwisz, the papal secretary on the line, who thought the whole thing was too funny for words, and went to actually get JPII. (Must have been a slow day in the Vatican.) At this point my priest friend panics over the thought his bishop would get wind of our phone call and that would be a bad thing. So he hung up and we never did talk to the Pope. It's still kind of mind boggling to know we could have, and consequently I'm a big fan of the Vatican operators.

I'm not going to tell you what we were arguing about, but I will say I was the de facto winner of the argument because my priest friend hung up on the Pope. I will admit to a little vino having fueled the whole thing, and it was serious in a funny kind of way. Maybe Msgr Dziwisz thought the pope needed a laugh. Anyway, I can truthfully say, on the right day, with the right operator, it is possible to get through to the Pope. It would never have happened with a computerized system.


  1. It is really interesting how as the election approaches the conflict between the two side is polarizing and escalating. It reminds me of a house of cards, in this case, the cathoic heirarchy keeps stacking it higher and higher, and all it will take is a very small breeze to know it down.

    There was an article on MSN news today that showing that polls are indicating that as many as 95% of those who are following the election in other countries believe that Obama is the best choice for the country and the world.

    The unspoken side of that is that 95% of those in other countries who are following the election in the US are taking sides opposing the catholic church.

    On an interesting note, in class yesterday, Benedict came up in conversation, and the consensus (among non-catholics) is that Benedict is trying to undo the all of the positive changes that were made to the church through vatican II.

    Interesting, that those of us who are "progressive" are not alone, and actually have a great deal of support from the non-catholic world in general.

  2. Carl sometimes I wonder if the silence from the vast majority of our bishops, at least on the national seen, isn't their way of letting the vocal minority hang themselves.

    It seems to me that if Joe the Catholic votes for Obama that this would send quite the message to the Chaput's of the hierarchy that the pew sitters ain't listenin' to the message any longer.

    And I sincerely hope prop 8 goes down in California. I never thought I'd live to see the day that the Church would spend this much money to defeat something which will in reality have little or no effect on the Church.

    This much money--25M and counting-- can't just be about gay marriage. Some one must be attempting to see if bigoted referendums will still impact the vote for the top spot, like it did in '04 in Ohio. I'll be curious to see what the trend is between a pro vote for prop 8 and a McCain vote for president.

    If it works out that the link is significant 2012 will be a veritable forest of propositions linked to divisive causes principally designed to elect----Palin? God forbid.