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Brought to you courtesy of the Archdiosese of Portland, Oregon, as reported by the Catholic Sentinel newspaper:
The movement to address global warming is gaining strength in western Oregon Catholic parishes, fed in part by the realization that climate catastrophe will hurt the poor first and worst.
“This is a crossover, an environmental and social justice issue,” says Russ Butkus, a theologian at the University of Portland. “The irony of all of this is that we, the wealthy, are producing most of the emissions and it is the poor who are going to suffer most.”
In November, Butkus and UP environmental biologist Steve Kolmes lead two Archdiocese of Portland-sponsored workshops on climate change and the common good. The first is set for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at St. Pius X Parish in Portland. The second will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 18, at St. Mary Parish in Corvallis.
The two professors pose the idea of a Catholic theology of climate justice.
"Pose" seems to be a good word for it. As a friend noted in an e-mail, "Maybe if these bishops spent more time emphasizing the importance of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, (wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowlege, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord), they wouldn't have to spend so much time talking about the environment. It would be taken care of by their faithful who act upon these other most precious gifts." Exactly.
Last month, my friend Monique, an Opus Dei numerary, honoured me with an invitation to attend a traditional private mass presided over by Bishop Javier Echevarria, the visiting Opus Dei prelate. I'm one of those academic fossils who actually majored in Latin in university, so the sonorous majesty of the recitations provided me with a fillip of cultural nostalgia I could not have experienced anywhere else these days.
For the power of liturgy to lift us out of our narrow practical and material pursuits is not dependent on our understanding of every actual word we are saying, any more than our emotional submission to classical music's soaring magic is dependent on our ability to read the score that produced it. The power of liturgy to stir and inspire us isn't even dependent on our commitment to the beliefs and doctrines from which the liturgy sprang.
I see the worship service as more about belonging than belief. An ancestral, globally employed language like Hebrew or Latin provides a context for predictable and organic communion amongst those present at the service. Through regular engagement, even though rote, with a universally recognized language, worshippers are subliminally imbued with a common motivational narrative from the past, common moral goals in the present and intimations of a common destiny in the future.
But the ancient language and music of the liturgy, which unite the individual with his fellows in the sanctuary's space, also unite the individual with the eternal idea of peoplehood -- those who came before and who will come after -- in time. Under the mesmeric sway of ancestral language, the finite moment is transcended through expressions of aspirational yearning (future), emotional attentiveness (present) and nostalgia (past) to fuse in what the philosopher Henri Bergson called "intentional time," when the worshipper achieves the spiritual peace that is conferred by timelessness.
Even though Kay puts too much emphasis on nostalgia and misses (or takes likely) the intimate relationship between doctrine and liturgy (it's not an either/or proposition, as she suggests), she makes many excellent points. In fact, it is probably fair to say she "gets it" much more do many Catholic liturgists, who are intently focused on spurious innovation, celebrating the "faith community" ("Congratulations, God, for having us as your people!"), and thumbing their noses at traditional practices and music. What is the problem? Kay offers one reason:
In the 1960s, the received wisdom amongst ascendant secular humanists taught that all traditional, hierarchical institutions were intrinsically corrupt, and only an induced cultural amnesia would suffice to level the playing field. Even the Vatican was not immune to the force of the zeitgeist. But making the mass egalitarian, and literally more accessible through the use of vernacular, did not bring more people to the Church, in North America at any rate.
That is a nice turn of phrase: "induced cultural amnesia." Perhaps another way to put is that "chronologically snobbery" won most of the day back in the late 1960s and early 1970s when it came to liturgy in the West. The "mass egalitarianism" insisted that everyone to be an active participant in the liturgy by doing something. In the words of Joseph Ratzinger:
Of course, external actions—reading, singing, the bringing up of the gifts—can be distributed in a sensible way. By the same token, participation in the Liturgy of the Word (reading, singing) is to be distinguished from the sacramental celebration proper. We should be clearly aware that external actions are quite secondary here. Do ing really must stop when we come to the heart of the matter: the oratio [The Eucharistic Prayer, the "Canon"]. It must be plainly evident that the oratio is the heart of the matter, but that it is important precisely because it provides a space for the actio of God. Anyone who grasps this will easily see that it is not now a matter of looking at or toward the priest, but of looking together toward the Lord and going out to meet him. The almost theatrical entrance of different players into the liturgy, which is so common today, especially during the Preparation of the Gifts, quite simply misses the point. If the various external actions (as a matter of fact, there are not very many of them, though they are being artificially multiplied) become the essential in the liturgy, if the liturgy degenerates into general activity, then we have radically misunderstood the “theo-drama” of the liturgy and lapsed almost into parody. True liturgical education cannot consist in learning and experimenting with external activities. Instead one must be led toward the essential actio that makes the liturgy what it is, toward the transforming power of God, who wants, through what happens in the liturgy, to transform us and the world. In this respect, liturgical education today, of both priests and laity, is deficient to a deplorable extent. Much remains to be done here. (The Spirit of the Liturgy. Read more excerpts here.)
Yes, much remains to be done. And restoring Latin to its proper place in the liturgy could well be a step toward a better understanding of what liturgy is and how we participate in it.
No. But that isn't keeping some from trying. Dr. Ed Peters writes:
LifeSiteNews is reporting that
the Canadian priest Raymond Gravel, notorious for his voiciferous
disagreement with Church teaching on just about every major social
issue, has obtained permission from his bishop to run for national
governmental office. This claim, however, seems impossible to reconcile
with sound canon law.
On November: All Souls and the "Permanent Things" | Fr. James
V. Schall, S. J. | October 31, 2006
A seminary in Ireland,
now closed, was dedicated to the training of priests for foreign missions, for
strange places such as California. It was called "All Hallows", that is, All
Saints, November 1. Oxford University in England has a college called "All
Souls," November 2. Taken together, all saints and all souls are designed to
cover all of the final combinations of the human race except all the still
living, who are waiting to join one or the other of the previous categories.
Come to think of it, all "all saints" all have souls. What are left are all
lost souls who, presumably, have already also made their final choices about
how they are permanently to be.
Most of my relatives are buried in the Catholic Cemetery
just at the edge of Pocahontas, a small county seat in rural northwest Iowa. My
mother's grandparents, my grandparents on both sides of my family, my mother
herself, and, I believe, all but one of her thirteen brothers and sisters are
buried in this neat cemetery. Two of my father's brothers are also there; his
other brother is a few miles east in the cemetery in Clare. Two of my father's
four sisters are buried there, as well as numerous cousins and their families,
though many are scattered in later years. My own father is buried in the
cemetery in Santa Clara, and my brother in the cemetery in Spokane.
From ZENIT, the Vatican translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave on October 15, recognizing four newly canonized saints: Rafael Guízar Valencia, Filippo Smaldone, Rosa Venerini and Théodore Guérin:
The Saint is exactly that man, that woman, who, responding with joy and generosity to Christ's call, leaves everything to follow him. Like Peter and the other Apostles, as St Teresa of Jesus today reminds us as well as countless other friends of God, the new Saints have also run this demanding yet fulfilling Gospel itinerary and have already received "a hundred fold" in this life, together with trials and persecutions, and then eternal life.
Jesus, therefore, can truly guarantee a happy existence and eternal life, but by a route different from what the rich young man imagines: that is, not through a good work, a legal tribute, but rather in the choice of the Kingdom of God as the "precious pearl" for which it is worth selling all that one possesses (cf. Mt 13:45-46).
The rich youth is not able to take this step. Notwithstanding that he has been the object of the loving gaze of Jesus (cf. Mk 10:21), his heart is not able to detach itself from the many goods that he possessed.
Thus comes the teaching for the disciples: "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God!" (Mk 10:23).
Earthly riches occupy and preoccupy the mind and the heart. Jesus does not say they are bad, but that they distance one from God if they are not, so to speak, "invested" for the Kingdom of Heaven, spent, that is, to come to the help of those who are poor.
Understanding this is the fruit of that wisdom of which the First Reading speaks. As we were told, she is more precious than silver or gold, and more beautiful, healthy and full of light, "because her radiance never ceases" (Wis 7:10).
Obviously, this wisdom cannot be reduced merely to an intellectual dimension. It is much more; it is "the Wisdom of the heart", as it is called in Psalm 89. It is a gift from on high (cf. Jas 3:17), from God, and is obtained by prayer (cf. Wis 7:7).
In fact, it has not remained distant from man; it has come close to his heart (cf. Dt 30:14), taking form in the law of the First Covenant between God and Israel through Moses.
The Wisdom of God is contained in the Decalogue. This is why Jesus affirms in the Gospel that to "enter into life" it is necessary to observe the commandments (cf. Mk 10:19). It is necessary, but not sufficient!
In fact, as St Paul says, salvation does not come from the law, but from Grace. And St John recalls that the law was given by Moses, while Grace and Truth come by means of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 1:17).
To reach salvation one must therefore be open in faith to the grace of Christ, who, however, when addressed, places a demanding condition: "Come, follow me" (Mk 10:21).
This is an illustrated book of wonderful activities for children and families to better understand and celebrate the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons. A large size, spiral bound volume, this is perfect for families to learn together and share the joys of this happy time of the liturgical year. Filled with a variety of family activities, saint’s celebrations and crafts, this book has something for everyone in the family.
Family activities include making an advent wreath, a Jesse Tree with all its symbols, cloth Nativity figures, words for 21 advent and Christmas songs, recipes for special cakes and breads and more. Also included are stories of special saints for the season with activities and prayers. Finally, it offers numerous craft activities including cross stitching Christmas patterns, gift boxes, table-top and Christmas tree Angels, table runners, and many coloring pages. It also includes a helpful index.
From Chris Burgwald, Director of Adult Faith Formation for the Diocese of Sioux Falls:
I'm hoping you might mention the novena our diocese is
encouraging for the successful passage of our state's abortion ban. The novena
begins tomorrow, Sunday the 29th, and concludes on Monday, the 6th, the day before the election. You can find
more information and the text of the novena at the diocesan website for the Campaign to
Affirm HB 1215.
Amy Welborn has some recent news about the status of the abortion ban and how Planned Barrenhood is spending lots of money to, well, abort it.
Sandra Magister offers a selection of comments by Catholic theologians and a Muslim scholar on the matter of God and reason, all made in response to Benedict XVI's Regensburg lecture. Over at NRO, John F. Cullinan provides a thoughtful analysis of the response made on October 12th by 38 Muslim scholars. Cullinan introduces his remarks by stating, "Rather than engage in a point-by-point commentary on the open letter, it’s more useful to consider its meaning and import under the general headings of scripture, tradition, and authority." Well worth reading.
The prophet of English translation was a priest named William Tyndale, whose version of the New Testament appeared in 1526. A decade later, precisely for this translation, he was burned as a heretic, but the English people hungrily consumed his outlawed verses, both as readers and as hearers, transforming not only the faith, but the language.
Ah, if only if were so simple. But it's not, as this article explains. Carroll offers another bit of historical revisionism:
The first vote taken by the bishops of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 concerned liturgical reform, centering on use of the vernacular at Mass. If the Council fathers had voted against worshipping in language ordinary believers could understand, the revolutionary impulse driving that Council would have been stopped dead in its tracks, but the tally was overwhelmingly in favor. The Latin Mass was finished. With that single vote, the Council set loose a current of change that is still running.
Carroll should try this little exercise: go to an online copy of Sacrosanctum Concilium and do a word search for "Latin". Ponder the results:
36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.
4. Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above. ...
54. Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them. ...
101. 1. In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office. But in individual cases the ordinary has the power of granting the use of a vernacular translation to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave obstacle to their praying the office properly.
Yep, the Second Vatican Councill certainly did have an axe to grind with that nasty, dusty, life-killing Latin, didn't it? Finally, Carroll gets to the payoff:
Once Catholics entered into the mystery of the Mass as literate participants instead of as dumb spectators, an unprecedented renewal took hold. The vitality and warmth of today's typical liturgy, involving intelligible encounters with sacred texts, has Catholic parishes surprisingly full, even in a time of widespread disillusionment with clerical leadership.
Surprisingly full? Surprisingly full?!
Carroll is writing from Boston, where about 15% of the Catholic population attends Mass each week. Dozens of parishes are closing, because there aren't enough parishioners tossing nickels in the collection baskets to pay the fuel bills. Pick one of the surviving parishes at radom, pop into a Sunday Mass, and you'll see row upon row of empty pews.
I suspect that Carroll's grasp of statistics and the situation in most parishes in the U.S. today is about as good as his understanding of ecclesial history. But why let facts get in the way of Important Work of Saving the Catholic Church by attacking those doctrines, practices, and traditions that don't jibe with your post-Christian, liberal Protestant, "progressive" views?
Fanatic Anti-Christianity | Dr. James Hitchcock | IgnatiusInsight.com
Scarcely a day goes by without some new warning that
religious fanatics are destroying American liberties. One of the most widely
publicized is by former Senator John Danforth of Missouri, who is both a lawyer
and an Episcopal clergyman and also speaks as a Republican who longs for the
good old days when the party was interested in things like balancing the
budget, before it was "captured" by religious fanatics.
Stanley Kurtz of NRO assesses the political ins-and-outs:
Yesterday the New Jersey supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, or its equivalent, just without the name “marriage.” It is not entirely clear what will happen next, but here is a preliminary evaluation of the situation. There are three possible outcomes in New Jersey: 1) the legislature will legalize full-fledged gay marriage; 2) the legislature will authorize Vermont-style civil unions that are marriage in all but name; or 3) the legislature will reject the state supreme court’s decision entirely, either by directly defying it, or by authorizing a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
At the moment, it looks like the second possibility — Vermont-style civil unions — is the most likely. The governor and the leading Democrats (who control the legislature) have already authorized domestic partnerships, while also saying they believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman. And since yesterday’s court decision, the Democratic legislative leaders have said and/or implied that civil unions would be the most likely outcome.
Yesterday’s Lewis v. Harris
ruling by the New Jersey State Supreme Court is truly unfortunate. In a
4-3 split decision, all seven justices cited the state’s efforts to end
discrimination based upon sexual orientation against individuals to defend their decision to extend the equal protection article of the state constitution to homosexual couples.
The justices unanimously agreed that the New Jersey legislature must
create a legal framework for same-sex unions on par with opposite-sex
unions (i.e., marriage). The dissent was over only whether these had to
be called marriages. The majority said no: “The name to be given to the
statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same sex
couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the
democratic process.” In other words, the people cannot decide whether
same-sex unions serve the public interest, only what to name them. Make
no mistake about it: This is same-sex “marriage,” just in sheepskin.
All entities in the State of New Jersey will be forced to treat
same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage.
I just noticed that National Catholic Register has posted two of my recent book reviews, this one of Blessed Columba Marmion's Christ, the Life of the Soul; the other of The Pope’s Army: 500 Years of the Papal Swiss Guard by Robert Royal.
Cynthia Nielsen, who maintains the "Per Caritatem" blog, has posted two pithy introductory essays by Michael Joseph (of the "Evangelical Catholicism" blog and "Theophemenon" website) on the ressourcement movement and Henri de Lubac. Part 1 is on the historical context of the Ressourcement movement; part 2 focuses on the key role of the French theologian de Lubac. A couple of excerpts:
If one were pressed to isolate a single trend with the contemporary
Catholic theological milieu whose powerful impact and enduring presence
has most affected Catholicism from the top of the episcopal hierarchy
down to the anonymous layperson in the pew, one would most certainly
conclude that the ressourcement movement of twentieth century
Catholic theology would be the only viable and worthy candidate for
isolation. What began as a loose trend among a few Catholic scholars in
the early twentieth century to rediscover the authentic thought of
Thomas Aquinas burgeoned into a sweeping ecclesial tour de force
emanating renewal and reform throughout academia and the Catholic
Church itself. Indeed, the current shape of Catholic theology,
spirituality and ecclesial perspective is by and large a direct product
of the ressourcementmovement.
Henri de Lubac—French priest, scholar and cardinal—stands at the center of the Ressourcement movement in Catholic theology. While he certainly was not the progenitor of Ressourcement,
there seems to be little doubt that de Lubac is its most important and
influential exponent. When one attempts to lay hold of the very heart
of Ressourcement, one can do no better than to begin with de
Lubac’s theological enterprise. Remarking on the manner in which de
Lubac’s first book, Catholicisme (1938), affected his own
theological orientation, Pope Benedict XVI—then Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger—wrote in 1988: “(De Lubac) makes visible to us in a new way
the fundamental intuition of Christian Faith so that from this inner
core all the particular elements appear in a new light…Whoever reads de
Lubac’s book will see how much more relevant theology is the more it
returns to its center and draws from its deepest resources.” Indeed,
one can extend this sentiment to the whole Lubacian corpus.
What characterizes Ressourcement
is that which characterizes the entirety of de Lubac’s thought: the
conviction that the treasury of Patristic theology does not wear thin
along the historical terrain traversed by Christianity and that
Christianity cannot meet the exigencies of modern times without
rediscovering its essence through a return to its sources in the Church
Is modern art merely a load of old rubbish--or, rather, a load of old new
rubbish? Certainly much that passes as "art" in our muddled modern
world is not worthy of the name. Take, for instance, the garbage posing as art
during an exhibition of the shortlisted "artists" for the 2004 Beck's
Futures Prize at London's Institute of Contemporary Art. Among the finalists
for the £20,000 prize was a British "artist" who had produced a video of two Cilla
Black impersonators singing the star's first big hit, Anyone Who Had a
Heart. Another finalist, who described
himself as an avid train spotter, had produced a twenty-seven-minute video of a
freight train. The winner, however, was a Brazilian "artist" who
specialized in making sculptures of animals by scraping fluff from new carpets.
Meanwhile, in Cardiff, the Artes Mundi prize, worth £40,000, was won by a
Chinese "artist" who had gathered dust from the ruins of the World
Trade Center and had scattered it on the floor before tracing a short verse
about dust in the dust. Works of "art" honored with major prizes in
previous years include piles of bricks, soiled nappies (or soiled diapers for
our American readers), an unmade bed decorated with debris such as condoms,
dead animals, "sculptures" made by urinating in snow, and the work of
an "artist" who specialized in sewing things to the soles of his
feet. Et cetera ad nauseam.
Tim Drake interviews actor Jon Voight for National Catholic Register and discusses Voight's Emmy-nominated role in the "Pope John Paul II" movie, as well as his thoughts about the late John Paul the Great:
What insights about him did you gain by portraying him?
He was so loving of people, so much fun. People always found themselves laughing when they were with him. He was tough. He was strong. He was a sportsman. There was also a certain steel that he had, a strength that he had from his growing up among very heroic priests and archbishops in Krakow and Warsaw who were the protection of the people from the Nazi regime and the communist regime. These priests were strong people who had to do battle. He was one of those people. He was not a lesser of those guys. He confronted head-on these guys and knew the line to step up to without endangering people. He knew how to use the Catholic Church as a weapon against tyranny. He knew all the symbolism of the Church and the weight of the international Church, and he played these cards against these international villains. He knew who the enemy was.
When they chose him as Pope, the cardinals evidenced a great wisdom at the time. There was a great deal of politicking and discussion and weeding out, but for some reason this youngish man emerged who had been very key to the work on Vatican II. He expressed himself in such a way that his intellectual abilities became evident. He had poise, charm, wisdom — so many things. He came forth and was the perfect fellow for this time period in world history. He had experienced most of the villains of the time and was able to revitalize aspects of the Church. He wasn’t going to be some remote figure hidden behind the walls of the Vatican.
Go here for more info about the movie/DVD, John Paul II books, and related materials.
The Role of the Laity: An Examination of Vatican II and Christifideles Laici | Carl E. Olson
G.K. Chesterton once observed that the process of
"discovering" the Catholic Faith
is most enjoyable, "easier than joining the Catholic Church and much easier than trying to live the Catholic life."
right he was! It did not take much time, as a former Evangelical Protestant, to
see that no little confusion existed among many of my fellow Catholics about a
variety of issues, including essential matters like the nature of the Church
and what it means to be a Christian. And I did not have to wait long to stumble
upon an expression of this confusion. Following the Easter Vigil Liturgy in
1997, during which my wife and I were confirmed and received Holy Communion, there
was a reception in the parish hall. Jim, a cradle Catholic and a regular
extraordinary Eucharistic minister, introduced himself and offered his
congratulations. Upon discovering that both my wife and I were converts from
Protestantism and that our families had been less than pleased about our
decision to become Catholic, he shook his head sympathetically and offered this
thought: "I look at it like this: everyone in the world is in a different boat
on the ocean of life, but we are all going to the same place, regardless of
which boat we are in." He was visibly pleased with his analogy, apparently
missing the irony of his remark. If what he said was true, why did I bother
even becoming Catholic? And what was the point of being Catholic?
conversations with various Catholics have revealed that this sort of sincere
indifferentism is not only common, but is apparently considered by many to be a
good thing, the result of some strange entity called "the spirit of Vatican
II." Although most Catholics are bothered when their children or relatives
leave the Church, many see it as "none of our business" and carry on, perhaps
puzzled but quietly accepting the "private decisions" of those involved. Most
would never contemplate talking about the matter with the ex-Catholic; fewer
still would consider talking about their Catholic beliefs with non-Catholics.
put, far too many Catholics have bought into the modern perspective that
insists religious beliefs are private and the sharing of such beliefs should
not take place in public. According to this sentiment, discussions of such
"personal" matters in public are not only insensitive, they are also raw
displays of arrogance which decent people cannot tolerate. And this view, quite
common in American parishes, is even held by some as the official stance of the
"post-Vatican II" Church.
The Vatican has instructed the Catholic bishops of the US to discontinue the practice of allowing extraordinary Eucharistic ministers to assist with the purification of chalices after Communion.
In an October 12 letter to Bishop William Skylstad, the president of the US bishops' conference, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship reported that Pope Benedict XVI ordered an end to the American practice. Cardinal Francis Arinze was responding to a request from the US bishops' conference, asking for approval to continue the policy.
Bishop Skylstad, in turn, wrote to all American bishops on October 23, informing them that "it will be necessary to inform all pastors that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may no longer assist with the purification of sacred vessels at Mass."
ZENIT has a two-part transcript (part one and part two) of a recent debate between Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," and David Quinn, columnist for the Irish Independent, which took place on an Irish radio program. Dawkins states that God is a type of an "imaginary friend," and that "I think I'd reserve the word delusion for real theists, who actually think they talk to God and think God talks to them." What is striking — and has been noted by others, including apparent non-Christians — is how little Dawkins really knows about theism in general and Christianity specifically. Even more notable is how little interest (none!) he shows in understanding what he is critiquing.
Meanwhile, Quinn goes right to the heart of the matter, demanding that Dawkins follow his presumptions and assumptions to their logical conclusion:
If you're an atheist, logically speaking, you cannot believe in objective morality, you cannot believe in free will. ... These are two things that the vast majority of humankind implicitly believe in. We believe for example that if a person carries out a bad action, we can call that person bad because we believe that they are freely choosing those actions. An atheist believes we are controlled completely by our genes and make no free actions at all.
Dawkins' response: "I am not interested in free will." That alone should alert readers to the fact that Dawkins is not a serious thinker, at least not when it comes to philosophy and religion. Or even science. He continues:
What I am interested in is the ridiculous suggestion that if science can't say where the origin of matter comes from, theology can. The origin of matter is a very -- the origin of the whole universe -- is a very, very difficult question. It's one that scientists are working on, it's one that they hope, eventually, to solve.
So he is a man of faith after all! Of course he is, because all of us, even atheists, rely on faith in something, whether it be God or ourselves or science (or, in Dawkins' case, scientism).
Almost sixteen years ago, in January 1991, whilst attending Briercrest Bible College in Saskatchewan, Canada, I attended a debate, held at the University of Saskatoon, between atheist and devoted abortionist Dr. Henry Morgenthaler and Evangelical scholar and apologist William Lane Craig.
The debate was similar in both tone and content to that between Dawkins and Quinn. The topic was the existence of God: Is it rational? Is there evidence? It was obvious, very quickly, that Dr. Morgenthaler was not only arrogant, he was unprepared. His lone interest was in condemning the "infantile" and "childish" notion of theism and bragging about the wonders of abortion (Abortion, he said, saves children from bad homes and bad lives. Which makes perfectly obvious the connection between abortion and euthanasia). He was condescending, mean, and woefully inept on an intellectual level. And he proudly stated, in his conclusion, "I don't believe in absolutes." Absolutely, of course.
Dr. Craig, who has doctorates in both theology and philosophy (and has participated in a number of debates with atheists over the years), thoroughly destroyed Morgenthaler's "arguments". He kept coming back to the fact that science is supposedly the sole basis for a secular humanist/atheistic value system, yet that very value system cannot be proven by the scientific method. So, for example, upon what basis does Morgenthaler believe Home A is "bad," while Home B is "good"? Because Home A is poor and the children aren't fed well? If killing an unborn baby is morally acceptable, what moral basis do we rely upon to say that starving a four-year-old boy is unacceptable? And if we are all simply accidents of nature who live in a meaningless universe, why even bother to make such moral judgments?
Yet Dawkins, in his debate, states: "Stalin was a very, very bad man, and his persecution of religion was a very, very bad thing. End of story. It has nothing to do with the fact that he was an atheist." Yet he insists that every evil act committed by religious people is due to their religious beliefs. But, again, if those who believe in God (or gods) do so simply because of infantile desires and may not even possess free will, is it logical to so passionately condemn them? Or is it done simply out of a desire to survive? And, if so, does Dawkins have a better chance of surviving in a Christian environment or a truly atheistic environment? Would he prefer to live in the U.S.A., which is supposedly on the cusp of becoming a theocracy, or in the U.S.S.R., circa 1950?
With two Catholics vying for the state's
top elected office, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput avoided critiquing
either candidate in an interview Monday but made clear that abortion
should be a "foundational" issue for Catholic voters.
The shepherd of 385,000 registered Catholics in northern
Colorado chose his words carefully in discussing the governor's race,
noting the archdiocese is barred by law from getting involved in
But Chaput did say a position allowing the fewest
exceptions to abortion tracks closer to church teaching that the
procedure is always wrong.
Republican nominee Bob Beauprez opposes legalized
abortion except when the mother's life is endangered while Democrat
Bill Ritter opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, risk to
the mother's life and fetal anomalies.
"We expect that Catholics should take seriously the
teachings of the church regarding our responsibilities for society -
that we be good citizens, we vote, that we expect Catholics who run for
office would do all they can to protect the dignity of every individual
and make decisions for the common good," Chaput said.