Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When did Tutu announce his retirement had ended?

I am mystified by the life Archbishop Desmond Tutu now leads. I had read a while ago that he had retired from public life (i.e. retired from the life he has been living since he retired as an 'active/licensing' archbishop). But at the moment a bizarre story is emerging of the formerly retired from public life archbishop engaging with the possibility of appearing at a conference only to turn it down because Tony Blair would also be at the conference. Bizarrely we are now treated to the spectacle of Tutu, by way of self-justification for boycotting the conference, denouncing Blair (and Bush) as war criminals (and sort of treating President Obama as one by implication).

Moral: go out at the top, reputation intact, and stay out.

PS I fully expect a comment or two attacking this post because Tutu is a living saint etc etc :)


Father Ron Smith said...

You won't be too surprised then, Peter, that I have decided to put my spoke in!

As you may discover, much later, the word 'retirement' is mostly provisional for Church pastors. Why even former bishops like Carey, Nazir-Ali, Akinola & Duncan have plenty to contribute - although one wonders whether it is always for the common good.

Bishop Desmond Tutu is an African national treasure - much more highly regarded internationally than many former Church dignitaries: primarily, for his championing of the poor, the marginalised, the despised and the down-trodden. In fact, quite like the Master he meets frequently in the Eucharist which he treasures.

carl jacobs said...

When you compare the justification for intervention in Bosnia with the justification for intervention in Iraq, you will find that the intervention in Iraq has far the better case. And yet Iraq earns so much hostility. Why? Because the Iraq War fell outside some infallible parameters established by the enlightened intellectual classes who think they have the authority and standing to define such things.

1. There are many intellectuals who wish to see the use of military power submitted to an international governing authority. In effect, they want military power to become an international police force under the control of an international "civilian executive" charged with enforcing "International law." Military power would cease to be an agent of national policy and become instead an agent of an international judiciary. The Iraq war rejected this model. President Bush made it clear that he did not require the approval of any international agency to commit US forces to war. That is the principle reason for the hostility. President Bush demonstrated that powerful nations could act with impunity in the face of this "enlightened" consensus.

2. The Iraq war was prosecuted for explicit geo-strategic reasons that benefited the interests of US policy. This is consistent with the traditional idea of military power as an instrument of national policy. It is not consistent with the idea of military power as an instrument of international law enforcement. In the eyes of the later, it becomes (at best) vigilante justice imposed by the powerful on the weak. At worst it becomes a naked exercise of power for naked self-interest. The Iraq War was undeniably an exercise of military power intended to achieve certain policy goals favorable to the US. It thus undermines the idea that war should only be undertaken for selfless noble purposes. In the real world, of course, war is never undertaken for noble selfless purposes.

3. The military campaign in Iraq was entirely too successful. War is an incredibly effective (and sometimes irreplaceable) tool for achieving certain necessary policy objectives. Those who would see the nature of military power altered would have preferred that a prohibitive cost had been imposed on the Americans in order to deter such efforts in the future. Said cost would counterbalance the effectiveness of war in certain circumstances to achieve specific policy objectives.

In essence, you have a bunch of intellectuals who are quite happy to keep around the Behemoth that is the US military, but only so long as they get to tell the Americans when and how it is to be used. They want it to be used in the service of "International Do-Goodism" where they get to define what "doing good" means. They dislike intensely the idea that this force can be used without their permission or approval. That's why they opposed this war with such ferocity.


Shawn said...

Well said Carl.

I do not and never have bought into the "saint Tutu" myth. His left wing and anti-Western politics being one reason, his anti-Jewish bigotry being another.

Google "Tutu and Jews" and see what comes up.

Shawn said...


Good article on the incident here. Apparently Saint Tutu will not share a stage with Blair but will happily join a march that includes Islamic.terrorists and leaders who call for the killing of Jews.

Just another example of what is wrong with so-called liberation theology.

Turnip Ghost said...

Societies where the clergy have power are, ipso facto, backwards and dysfunctional.
Religion and politics mixed are as toxic as chlorine bleach and ammonia.

Father Ron Smith said...

A good observation Turnip. Did you hear that, Shawn?

Shawn said...

Well, I have never advocated clergy running society. And did you hear it? Because it seems to me that certain clergy are quite keen to involve themselves in politics when it comes to "gay rights" and so-called "social justice" issues. Thats not me. Look to yourself.

Father Ron Smith said...

You deliberatley missed the point again, Shawn. That overt politics and spirituality don't mix.

Justice issues within the Church are not, expressly, political issues, they have much more to do with 'Mishpat' - a biblical ethic.

Your talk of Marxist/Liberals is merely political name-calling. This has little to do with true religion

I fear people whose politics are more evident than their spirituality - especially when they blog on Church sites.

MichaelA said...

"Apparently Saint Tutu will not share a stage with Blair but will happily join a march that includes Islamic.terrorists and leaders who call for the killing of Jews"

Interesting point. I wonder if ++Tutu's defenders have anything to say about that, or would they prefer to quietly ignore the point and hope it goes away?

Turnip Ghost said...

Why do I have to take someone seriously just because he's wearing a purple shirt?
Is Africa that pathetic that it has to listen to people with-literally-no visible means of support?
If the Italians can get rid of the Papal States, why can't Africa get rid of its clergy? Why can't Iran, for that matter? Are some societies so dysfunctional, so warped, that they have to wait for "pie in the sky" to do anything?

carl jacobs said...

Turnip Ghost

I am going to take a wild guess, and suggest that you are an atheist who doesn't really care about Desmond Tutu or his opinions. Instead I think that all you really wanted to do was use him as a vehicle to express your disdain for all those intellectual primitives out there who (unlike yourself) believe in God. Did I get that just about right?

You also realize that those of us who post here are confident in our position. You understand that posts about 'pie in the sky' or the 'flying spaghetti monster' or 'the Big Sky Fairy' or whatever don't make any actual impression on us at all, right? They are the argumentative equivalent of saying something like "So there!"

Just trying to be helpful.


Father Ron Smith said...

"Just trying to be helpful."

If this is a mark of friendship, I certainly wouldn't want to be 'an enemy'

carl jacobs said...


i·ro·ny /ˈīrənē/

Noun: The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Why do you make comments like this? Turnip Ghost was using this thread as a soapbox to insult people on this thread - including me. I was responding to him without taking him seriously. That's the way to treat such comments.

Do you really not understand these things?


MichaelA said...

I don't follow you, FRS: Carl didn't write anything about friendship.

I thought Carl asked a fair question as to what Turnip Ghost meant - he doesn't seem to like African clergy in general!

Peter Carrell said...

Moderated from Shawn:


Far from deliberately missing the point I adressed your double standards.

Chrstian spirituality and politics do mix. The Christian Gospel is not merely an otherworldly spirituality. It adresses the whole of life.

My use of terms like Cultural Marxist is not name calling. It is accurate discernment if the roots of what passes for "social justice" today.

[Hi Shawn: I am not going to publish "you" and "your" comments about another commenter. Or at least try to minimise such comments! Please do not talk about the views of X being a cover for other views: that is not helpful for congenial comms!]

Shawn said...

Hi Peter,

I was responding to yet more personal attacks from Ron, which are not congenial to good communications.

Once again a thread hass been highjacked by Ron as a forum for his personal abuse, forcing both Carl and myself to defend ourselves rather than discuss the actual issue.

Please deal with this rather than removing my right to defend myself.

Peter Carrell said...

Hello Shawn, Ron, other commenters,

I am getting to the point where comments will not be moderated, just deleted without explanation if the comment moves from discussing a comment made to discussing, even by implication, the commenter.

I suggest we all watch the last part of our comments where we have a tendency, having properly discussed a previous comment, for a last throwaway remark or two about the commenter.

The golden rules are:

do not speculate on other things the commenter may believe

do not propose that the commenter is less than a worthy person, loved by God and loving God with all their heart (e.g. that they are some kind of 'hater' or 'bigot' etc)

avoid "you" language

All commenters are welcome here. I love receiving comments. But it becomes tiresome when (and I blame no single commenter for beginning conflict, bygones are bygones) comments are made about comments in respect of those comments being abusive, derogatory etc.

I would prefer to be a publisher of comments than a referee.

Shawn said...

Hi Peter,

I think what you suggest in your first paragraph is a fantastic idea! I would support it 100 per cent.