Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cardinal O'Brien is a sign of hope for the next papacy!

No, not the Cardinal O'Brien who in the space of a few days fell from grace but the Cardinal O'Brien who a few days before that asserted that priests should be able to marry.

Think about it for a moment. Here was one of the electors of the new Pope, chosen, so we were reliably informed by journalists, either by John Paul II or Benedict XVI and thus utterly reliable in toeing the increasingly conservative 'party line' running through the past two papacies. But not so. In his heart the Scottish cardinal harboured the thought that radical change was needed in the Western rite churches of the Roman church. Thus he is a sign of hope that the new pope to be chosen will harbour similar thoughts for radical change and unleash, in due course, a spring clean of the church.

And why am I a mere Anglican thinking these thoughts?

Because it is bad for Christianity when one church creates dodgy headlines giving the impression that Christianity is on the side of oppression and violence rather than on the side of freedom and peace.

Vatican, Iran resist UN effort fighting violence on women

The true Christian spirit of Roman Catholicism does not need that reputation. Global Christianoty does not need one of the key players being associated with resistance in the fight against anti-women violence. 

Rome is desperately in need of new leadership. A cardinal now who (for instance) can entertain the thought of married priests could contemplate as pope the possibility of women in Vatican leadership which would do a lot for changing a culture which can be so bleak in political vision that it happily sides with Iran and engenders the above headline.

Here's to you Cardinal O'Brien ... wherever you are hiding.

While on matters Roman, note to media: our Archbishop David Moxon has NOT been appointed to a role 'in the Vatican': "Archbishop David Moxon preached his last sermon in Taranaki yesterday, before leaving to take up his high-ranking job in the Vatican."


Michael Reddell said...

Yes, but perhaps "physician heal thyself" is in order here.

Where is the NZ Anglican church in fighting against the legal abortion (aka "murder") of 14000 innocents a year, against a culture of divorce, or against the state's drive to up-end the definition - and nature - of marriage?

carl jacobs said...


Quite the balanced unbiased news report you offered up in that link. I couldn't detect any agenda on the part of the journalist at all.

A couple of points.

1. The United Nations is a pretentious powerless preening collection of hypocrites. It thinks itself a nascent world government. It's really nothing but a collection of useless sinecures for political opportunists who want a good income for doing nothing in particular. If the UN disappeared tomorrow, the mass of the earth would not decrease. Best to ignore its silly resolutions. If we ignore it long enough, it might just go away.

2. So why should the Vatican object, then? Because the subtext of this resolution is "Religion oppresses women." Since pretty much every secularist believes this, the resolution will be used as cover to suppress religion in then name of violence against women. Here, let me draw just one particular example conclusion. "The RCC opposes abortion. Denying women access to abortion is tantamount to violence against women. We must protect the rights of women by forcing Catholic Hospitals to perform abortions."

3. You don't support a resolutiion because it makes high-minded claims about ridding the world of violence and oppression. You support a resolution based upon what you think it will actually accomplish. You shouldn't care about the momentary posturing of the vote. All that matters is "What happens next?" The UN is powerless to affect anything. It doesn't even have jurisdiction, for goodness sake. Over anything. At all. But nations looking for political cover can use those resolutions to malicious effect. And those nations actually do have power.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael,
Is it a requirement of churches to 'fight' against such things?

Might the Anglican church be 'fighting' for the enhancement of life through its youth work, support for married couples, pastoral care of families etc?

My point is not, of course, that other churches do not need their own reforms and healings (and you and I know that Anglican churches, including our own have many problems). My point is that Christians in the mission of God together in the world, and when some unfortunate headlines appear at a time of opportunity for change, I think one might speak up for change and not be silent lest it be deemed support for the status quo.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl,

That only makes it even odder to me that the Vatican offered no comment - why not say that their opposition was focused on certain matters but in substance they agreed with the principle concern of the matter, that women should not be the subject of violence?

Further, if the UN is such a beat up to belong to, and if such moments in its life are a hiding to nothing for the Vatican, why are they there?

Father Ron Smith said...

From some of the comments on 'christian' blogs, one can hold out more hope for the United Nations work with the poor and needy and for justice than those 'christians' that prefer dogmatic purity to the basic Christian virtues.

Th United Nations has done more for international understanding than some conservative religious bodies. Thank God.

Andrei said...

I'm sorry Peter but this post is gone right off the rails.

For a start that headline is from a hard left news organization, about a UN junket for NGOs and petty Government officials to posture at. Heaps of countries besides the Vatican and Iran are not going to play ball and quite rightly so. Its all just empty spin.

Because it is bad for Christianity when one church creates dodgy headlines giving the impression that Christianity......
Matthew 7
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

A cardinal now who (for instance) can entertain the thought of married priests could contemplate as pope the possibility of women in Vatican leadership which would do a lot for changing a culture...

Celibacy is a discipline of the Latin Church. In other parts of the Church married men may be ordained and this even occaisionally happens even in the Latin Church. If the discipline of celibacy were to be relaxed and married men ordained to the priesthood this would be nothing new.

Ordaining women on the other hand, well you know what would happen and it would not be good for Christian Unity

carl jacobs said...


why are they there?

The UN is a tool of international diplomacy. It doesn't do anything of value in and of itself. Who actually listens to anything it says? You don't honestly think governments listen to these UN Resolutions, do you? They are in fact only useful in terms of the propaganda contest between and within nations. They don't actually influence as intended the lives of people anywhere. A UN resolution about violence against women is not going to lesson violence against women one iota.

The UN has no jurisdiction. It has no power to tax. It has no power to create law. It has no police force or military to enforce its will. It is a building in NYC filled up with overpaid bureaucrats. When it wants to act, it goes beggar bowl in hand to the nations - for money, people, equipment, transport, logistics, everything it needs. If it can find a nation (or nations) with the will and capacity and coincident interest, then it can see its decisions enacted. But at that point, it's not really the will of the UN. It's the will of the nation that acts.

Nations find the UN useful. They can park in the UN problems they don't want to deal with. They can cover actions with international approval. They can cover actions with international opprobrium. Do they want to bomb Libya? Get a UN resolution. Do they want to de-legitimize Israel? Get a UN resolution. Do they want to spread the gospel of condoms and abortion to the world? Get a UN resolution. Better yet, get a funded UN program. That's why nations and the Vatican are present. Because it is a diplomatic weapon, and its better to have your hand on it than not.


carl jacobs said...


Nice use of scare quotes, there. Very informative. I never knew that one's opinion of the UN was an essential of the Christian faith. At least we have at long last drilled down to the pure dogmatic core about which you will not compromise.

Th United Nations has done more for international understanding

Would that be before or after its "Peacekeepers" were found prostituting 12 year-old girls? No, leave that aside. Tell me what the UN has actually done to improve "international understanding?"


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
Left wing spin or not, the article makes its way around the world, including a version in our local Chch paper.

I did not say anything about Rome ordaining women. I argue that a few women in the Curia (or, if they are already there, in positions of greater influence) would be a good thing.

March 7, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Andrei said...

There is in Auckland an Anglican congregation that has a habit of generating headlines that make their "way around the world" most Christmases and Easters, Peter.

I wonder what is planned for Holy Week this year?

Secularism is at war with the Church and if there is a way for them to take a swipe at Christianity, it will be taken.

Father Ron Smith said...

Carl, I, for one, find your culture of endemic FEAR totally unbecoming of the Christian Faith. We know that the Church has always been a target for worldly people. But we are supposed to accept the fact and get on with the evangelical task of loving them into the Kingdom.

Judging them will not get one person to turn from a life of sin/crime. Standing beside them and trying to understand their mistrust of Christians who seem to revel in judging them. To seemingly be hell-bent on consigning them to eternal perdition, is not an attractive 'come-on' to the world. My task, as a priest in the Church is to try to get them to believe in the fact that 'God so LOVED the WORLD....."

The Gospel's "Love your neighbour" is not confined to those who think like us". Jesus went even further: "Love your enemies".

If conservatives in the Church were just a little more prepared to try to understand and love those who are different from themselves, perhaps the Churches would be full! And the Kingdom on Earth would be that much nearer.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter; I can only applaud your sentiment, expressed herein:

"Because it is bad for Christianity when one church creates dodgy headlines giving the impression that Christianity is on the side of oppression and violence rather than on the side of freedom and peace."

The only element I would add to the mix would be' Justice', which even the ancient Prophets indicated as one of God's requirements.

Our gift to the world is neither intentional domination nor willed damnation. These are the tools of the Devil, and are to be eschewed.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Your 9.17 above only just makes it through moderation.

Please don't tell conservatives not to judge then judge conservatives for not doing things. How do you know conservatives are not caring for those who are different?

carl jacobs said...


Re: Your post of March 7, 2013 at 9:17 PM

I have absolutely no idea how anything in this post connects to anything I have said on this thread. I was talking about the UN. Which last I knew was an entirely secular subject. So let me summarize:

What are you talking about?


Anonymous said...

I cannot see any connection between Ron's attack on Carl and anything Carl actually said.

Carl critiqued the UN for goodness sake. How does that rate a lecture on judging and condemning?