Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Round II: Roman Catholics besieged by Sexual Orientation Regulations

It didn’t take long. Indeed, Cranmer is quite surprised by the speed with which the Sexual Orientation Regulations are proving manifestly corrosive for religious liberties of the United Kingdom, and for individual freedom of conscience. The laws were rushed through Parliament just six months ago, when Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor led the campaign of concern in the media, threatening the Government with an ultimatum. The Catholic adoption agencies would close, he said, rather than be obliged by statute to place children with homosexual couples.

And close they have - two so far, and doubtless others will follow. One has to hope and pray that adoption agencies which favour gay adoptive parents will be just as assiduous in placing thousands of problem teenagers, as the Catholic adoption agencies have done over the years.

But the effects of the Sexual Orientation Regulations do not stop there.

The headmaster of a Roman Catholic school in Liverpool has decided to enter into a ‘civil partnership’ with his male partner, confronting directly the orthodox teaching of the church, and challenging the view of Pope Benedict XVI that civil partnerships are ‘anarchic’ and a danger to the family. Yet despite the views of the school governors, parents, and many of the faithful, he is unable to be dismissed from his position. For some, this is ‘unacceptable’. As one has said: ‘It is not unreasonable for parents sending their children to a faith school to expect the headteacher to be living according to that faith.’

Indeed not. The man purports to represent his church, and ought to abide by its moral teachings. What manner of example is he setting to those vulnerable hearts and minds to whom he has a duty of care?

The Sexual Orientation Regulations involve competing rights and are an infringement of freedom of conscience. The law which was designed to protect minorities from discrimination is riding roughshod over the rights and beliefs of the majority. There is no limit to the application of such a principle. As the Archbishop of Canterbury observed: 'By legislating to protect and promote the rights of particular groups, the government is faced with the delicate but important challenge of not thereby creating the conditions within which others feel their rights have been ignored or sacrificed, or in which the dictates of personal conscience are put at risk'.

He concluded: 'The rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well meaning'.

But Cranmer is puzzled. He does not understand why neither the adoption agencies nor the school are not prepared to continue as they always have, and let those who are aggrieved bring their cases to the courts. Would not this law then be shown for the ass that it is? Could not the competing arguments be played out in the full glare of the media? Would not sympathies of the overwhelming majority fall to the Roman Catholic Church? Would not this be a media coup?

It is unacceptable that Christians should be obliged to conform to 2007 sexual orientation legislation, when Muslims are still not conforming to 1975 gender-equality legislation. Why do the courts not involve themselves in the issue of all-male mosques? Do not forced marriages involve kidnap, coercion, or abuse? The law turns a blind eye to such practices, conveying a distinct sense of exemption from the law.

In all of the minority competing claims experienced so far, two groups have consistently triumphed – Muslims and homosexuals. These two are presently held in pre-apocalyptic tension, and the final conflict is yet to take place. When they ultimately confront each other, and be assured they will, there must be a victor and a vanquished. A homosexual headmaster of a Muslim school in a ‘civil partnership’ cannot, under the law, be dismissed. A Muslim homosexual youth worker applying for a job to teach children in a mosque cannot, under the law, be refused the position. A woman who demands admission to an all-male mosque cannot, under the law, be prevented.

But perhaps there are other ways of dealing with such inconvenient individuals…

56 Comments:

Blogger 16words said...

There is real danger in all of this even for those of a secular persuasion. The state is creating a moral monoculture where previously there have been competing moral frameworks. Can this possibly be healthy? Perhaps the state could certify certain organisations as officially Prejudiced. A Prejudiced certification would allow organisations like the Roman Catholic church to fire their headmaster, and in this way a moral ecology could be maintained.

15 August 2007 at 11:32  
Anonymous Voyager said...

One additional problem is that the burden of proof has been shifted - a presumption of guilt is assumed and the defendant must prove innocence.

Since these regulations emerge from an EU Directive,indeed several, ostensibly using the Single Market as an excuse to regulate social policy; there is the additional feature of bringing English Law into alignment with Continental Prinmciples where innocence is not presumed for a Defendant.

The ramifications of this legislation have been too readily ignored by politicians and legal theorists. It is surprising how easily principles of English Law for which 17th Century Englishmen fought and were most forthright in defending are being causually tossed overboard in a Consumerist Society fed soma by a decadent media

15 August 2007 at 11:45  
Blogger Hanson said...

Interesting as always. The thing about bringing legal action is that the pro-sodomy crowd have unlimited financial resources. It would involve bringing action against the government department responsible for the legislation would it not?

15 August 2007 at 12:21  
Anonymous oiznop said...

There isn't an organisation on the planet which equals the 'unlimited financial resources' of the Roman Catholic Church.

Money is NOT the issue. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Vatican's pathological support for the European Union, even if it doesn't agree with everything it stands for?

15 August 2007 at 12:26  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Nothing would please me more than for Archbishop Kelly along with the School governors and parents to fire Mr Coyne and challenge the government to send him/them to prison. Catholic priests are being murdered in Islamic countries and locked away in China, martyrdom comes with the job, would that the Archbishop look to the colour of his robes and recall their significance. Alas the RC hierarchy in England and Wales suffers from the same lack of conviction and confidence that affects much of the Christian west. Perhaps we shall have to look to your Graces nemesis "The Interfering Scottish Cardinal" for a lead.

Mr Oiznop

Please share with us the source of your ridiculous claim that “There isn't an organisation on the planet which equals the 'unlimited financial resources' of the Roman Catholic Church.” Go and find out the Income and Expenditure of the Vatican over the last decade, you will find it has been in the red for most of its recent history and only went into the black in 2005. It may surprise you to know that the NHS has 10 times the budget of the Pope.

15 August 2007 at 13:07  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Recusant, it's interesting how you describe my words as 'ridiculous' - can't you just engage without rubbishing a claim or just asking politely for more detail?

The official books of the Vatican are unimportant - any accountant knows how to make official accounts appear to be in the red. It avoids tax.

What are the Vatican's assets? Buildings? Land? Investments? Works of art? Are all these material possessions more important than assertions of Christian morality? They could sell just ONE painting or ONE statue (God wouldn't care!), raise millions for their court case, and that's it. Simple.

15 August 2007 at 13:18  
Anonymous SparkyD said...

Yes, but he has the Pope-mobile

15 August 2007 at 13:19  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

This is one of the great advantages of Diversity to the lefty mind: it affords more and more opportunity for poking and prying into private behaviour and thoughts and for gathering power into the hands of the state and its agents. 'Equality' is a) undefinable; b) unmeasurable if definable; c) unattainable if measurable. And it's never pursued anyway when a privileged minority has the advantage or will object: the aim, now and always, is to topple the white male Christian heterosexual 'hegemony'. Mass immigration has been used to recruit footsoldiers for the war on the old order, but the Muslim regiment has its own ideas of what kind of victory it's fighting for.

15 August 2007 at 14:30  
Anonymous Observer said...

Nothing would please me more than for Archbishop Kelly along with the School governors and parents to fire Mr Coyne and challenge the government to send him/them to prison

You misunderstand. It is not prison it is bankruptcy.

The Case would go to a Tribunal which would demand proof from the Church that there was a failure to perform contractual obligations preceded y written and verbal warnings.

The Tribunal would have to find for the plaintiff unless the Church could find a convincing case to absolve their predetermined guilt.

The damages would then be assessed.

15 August 2007 at 15:55  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Mr Oiznop,

I described your statement as being ridiculous because that’s what it was, ridiculous, it was not an ad hominem attack on you just a matter of fact. An accountant may be able to fiddle the books, are you suggesting that is what the Vatican does, if so that would be two ridiculous statements? As for selling a piece of art, which one do you have in mind, a bit of the Sistine chapel? Just chip it off and flog it on ebay or how about the Bernini columns above the Apostle, the bronze alone must be worth a bob or two, Michelangelo’s Pieter perhaps. There are some paintings of course, would you want a picture of Innocent I or Paul III. As for land and investments, the Vatican is not the CofE, it has no investments in BAE and does not own significant tracts of land any more, the Papal States have long gone. The Vatican owns and primarily invests in the City State of the Vatican itself, the smallest state in the world. It could sell St Peters, I’m sure Saudi would snap it up and do a quick Hagia Sophia conversion job on it.

If you ever get the privilege of visiting the Vatican Museum you will find that the treasures on display apart from walls and ceilings are ancient vestments, alter furniture, Roman and Greek antiquities, some Egyptian and Persian curios and of course old books, bibles and the like. The value is in their relevance and historicity to the Catholic Church not simply their coin.

Then there are the archives; you know the secret ones that prove Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and the RCC is just one big con for the benefit of a few privileged men, who happen to hate women, and gays. Alternatively the Church could sell its reliquary, bits of bones from long dead saints, interested in a leg of St Catherine or fancy a link from St Peters Chains, a bit of the true Cross perhaps. The price of everything and the value of nothing spring to mind

There are a few jewel encrusted chalices left but Napoleon had most of them away when he looted the city in 1808 and France has not seen fit to return or compensate Rome for them since. Bankruptcy really came when Eugenio Pacelli - Pius XII liquidated the few remaining assets as you term them, to bribe German and Italian Nazis; the money was used to save Jews and Gypsies from the gas chambers. Remember that when next you say that the RCC is wealthy beyond imagination
As for what God would or would not mind, well that surprised more than a few when he was on the earth, and you presume to know his mind? Now that’s the most ridiculous statement yet.

15 August 2007 at 16:27  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Recusant, you're talking rubbish. I’ll set aside your ‘ridiculous’ assertion that all the Vatican’s wealth and treasures are just in St Peters. It is the largest owner of historic, architectural and artistic buildings in the world. Not only these buildings but the land is prime real estate. It is worth billions in city centres all over the world. And the art isn’t as obscure as you ‘ridiculously’ say – there’s Boticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Titian. In fact, when some ‘small’ paintings were stolen from the private apartments of Pope Paul VI, they were estimated to be worth £2million. And a Titian was stolen in 1972, worth another £2 million. And the Vatican does sell them sometimes – a Velasquez was sold in the UK for another £2 million in 1971, and Titians galore to the National Gallery.

You need to check the Vatican’s own inventory of its art treasures carried out in 1971. Churches, monasteries and convents are not steeped in poverty, which is why Cardinal Heenan told them all to sell their treasure and give the money to the poor.

And you say the Vatican owns no land? Ridiculous. Who owns the shrine at Lourdes or Fatimah? Who owns the grounds where Francis of Assisi walked? Everywhere Mary is supposed to have appeared has become Vatican property. Do you know how much Lourdes receives in its offering box every year? I’ll tell you – it’s almost £3 million a year.

And where is that Vatican Bank’s £1.4 billion that’s been missing since the death of Roberto Calvi? What of all the banks stocks and shares? Why haven’t you mentioned them?

And it’s kind of you to pretend that all the Vatican’s dosh was spent protecting the Jews from the holocaust. That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read on any post on this blog. It was complicit in the systematic murder of Jews, the Pope did nothing for them, but everything to protect Vatican assets from the fascists of Italy and the Nazis of Germany.

Did you know the Catholic Church in the US has paid out more than $3 billion (yes, THREE BILLION DOLLARS) to victims of sexual abuse. So where’s all that come from?

Peter’s Pence is really and truly incalculable. It is a complete lie to insist that the Vatican and the Pope are mired in poverty.

15 August 2007 at 16:54  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace - I am confused by what upsets you. Is it that Christians are obliged to follow the law per se? Or is it that while they are required to do so, it would seem that Muslims are not?

15 August 2007 at 17:30  
Anonymous Observer said...

It is the largest owner of historic, architectural and artistic buildings in the world. Not only these buildings but the land is prime real estate.

Untrue - all churh property in France and I think Germany belongs to The State as does much of it in England. THe only place the Roman Catholic Church owns property of any great value is in the USA and some of that has been sold to pay damages.

In an era when the tallest buildings in the world are banks not churches we can reflect on the true wealth in the modern world. Goldman Sachs or any major trading company such as Shell, Exxon, Microsoft, Gazprom has wealth way beyond the realm of any Church.

oiznop reminds me of the old fishwives convinced every Jew was a Rothschild

15 August 2007 at 17:31  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Ms Snuffleupagus,

It is always a great pleasure to hear from you.

His Grace agrees with Archbishop Williams - one cannot legislate against the rights of conscience.

His Grace is not upset but mildly irritated by the undeniable reality that minority faiths appears to have a number of de facto opt-outs from UK law.

By the way, en passant, His Grace was touched that you voted for him at Mr Iain's Dale's Diary, but His Grace appears to be the only blog you consider worthy of your generous acknowlegement. Mr Dale has announced that one may not vote for one blog only, therefore your vote appears to be invalid.

Perhaps you would consider augmenting your list by a few more most worthy blogs. You appear to have until midnight tonight.

Mr Oiznop,

An impressive inventory of the Vatican's concealed wealth. But Mr Calvi's £1.4 billion is not in the possesion of His Holiness; it ended up with the Freemasons.

15 August 2007 at 17:53  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

it ended up with the Freemasons.

Do you refer to Lodge P-2 and Signor Gelli ?

15 August 2007 at 17:56  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

The obvious remedy for believers is to remove their children from the school with a gay headmster.

15 August 2007 at 18:32  
Anonymous bob said...

To say that the Vatican owns the lands of Fatima, Lourdes or any other church outside of Rome is a misunderstanding of how the Catholic Church functions. For example, the shrine at Fatima belongs to the diocese of Leiria, the shrine at Lourdes belongs to the diocese of Tarbes et Lourdes, the shrine at Knock belongs to the diocese of Tuam. The Pope appoints the bishops to these diocese, but he has no more command over the assets of a diocese than he has over the assets of Buckingham Palace. To say the Pope can sell any piece of Catholic real estate in the world and that he would benefit from it is simply untrue. The beneficiary would either be the diocese or the parish in which the real estate is situated, or the order to which the real estate belonged.

15 August 2007 at 18:37  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Mr oiznop, when you're wrong at least have the good grace to admit it

As early as December of 1940, in an article published in Time magazine, the renowned Nobel Prize winning physicist Albert Einstein, himself a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, paid tribute to the moral "courage" of Pope Pius and the Catholic Church in opposing "the Hitlerian onslaught" on liberty:

Being a lover of freedom, when the Nazi revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom: but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the Catholic Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised, I now praise unreservedly.


OR This

That being the case, it is inconceivable that the Israeli government would have paid the travel expenses for the entire Philharmonic to travel to Rome for a special concert to pay tribute to a church leader who was considered to have been "Hitler's Pope." On the contrary: The Israeli Philharmonic's historic and unprecedented visit to Rome to perform for Pius XII at the Vatican was a unique Jewish communal gesture of collective recognition and gratitude to a great world leader and friend of the Jewish people for his instrumental role in saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews.

On the day of Pius XII's death in 1958, Golda Meir, Israel's Foreign Minister, cabled the following message of condolence to the Vatican: "We share in the grief of humanity…When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace." Before beginning a concert of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Leonard Bernstein called for a minute of silence "for the passing of a very great man, Pope Pius XII."

OR This

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, tributes to Pope Pius came from several other Jewish leaders who praised him for his role in saving Jews during the war. In 1943, Chaim Weizmann, who would become Israel's first president, wrote that "the Holy See is lending its powerful help wherever it can, to mitigate the fate of my persecuted co-religionists." Moshe Sharett, who would become Israel's first Foreign Minister and second Prime Minister, reinforced these feelings of gratitude when he met with Pius in the closing days of World War II: "I told him [the Pope] that my first duty was to thank him, and through him the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish public for all they had done in the various countries to rescue Jews…We are deeply grateful to the Catholic Church." In 1945, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, sent a message to Msgr. Angelo Roncalli (the future Pope John XXIII), expressing his gratitude for the actions taken by Pope Pius XII on behalf of the Jewish people. "The people of Israel," wrote Rabbi Herzog, "will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the foundation of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world." In September 1945, Dr. Leon Kubowitzky, the Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, personally thanked the Pope in Rome for his interventions on behalf of Jews, and the World Jewish Congress donated $20,000 to Vatican charities "in recognition of the work of the Holy See in rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecutions." Dr. Raffael Cantoni, head of the Italian Jewish community's wartime Jewish Assistance Committee, who would subsequently become the President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, similarly expressed his gratitude to the Vatican, stating that "six million of my co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis, but there could have been many more victims had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII." On April 5, 1946, his Union of Italian Jewish Communities, meeting for the first time after the War, sent an official message of thanks to Pope Pius XII:

The delegates of the Congress of the Italian Jewish Communities, held in Rome for the first time after the Liberation, feel that it is imperative to extend reverent homage to Your Holiness, and to express the most profound gratitude that animates all Jews for your fraternal humanity toward them during the years of persecution when their lives were endangered by Nazi-Fascist barbarism. Many times priests suffered imprisonment and were sent to concentration camps, and offered their lives to assist Jews in every way. This demonstration of goodness and charity that still animates the just, has served to lessen the shame and torture and sadness that afflicted millions of human beings.

Many other Jewish tributes to Pius came in the years just proceeding, and in the immediate aftermath, of the Pontiff's death. In 1955, when Italy celebrated the tenth anniversary of its liberation, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities proclaimed April 17 as a "Day of Gratitude" for the Pope's wartime assistance in defying the Nazis. Dozens of Italian Catholics, including several priests and nuns, were awarded gold medals "for their outstanding rescue work during the Nazi terror."

15 August 2007 at 19:37  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Nice twist of subject, but my original point was the Catholic Church has incalculable walth some of whoch could be used to pay for a court case on the topic of Cranmer's post. All you do is argue against the history of Hitler's Pope or the fact that Germany or Englan own Catholic Church land (which I doubt, but that's not the point).

I've given you NUMEROUS examples of where the Vatican could raise a couple of million quid IF IT WANTED TO, because it has done in the past. As has been confirmed abovem the US Catholic Church has already sold its assets to pay assuage its conscience ovre paedophile priests.

Why should it raise billions for that, but not just a few hundred thousand to finance a court case for the Catholic school in Liverpool?

Address that, instead of all your favourite hobby horses which are completely irrelevant to my initial point.

15 August 2007 at 20:47  
Anonymous bob said...

Well if one were to assume that you were to sell off assets in the diocese of Liverpool, then the most logical to sell would be real estate assets, as, to the best of my knowledge, the diocese of Liverpool does not own any priceless works of art. Therefore we're talking about the sale primarily of churches and schools, which in the long run, in the eyes of the diocese, might be seen as a false economy, as those assets are serving a very practical function. It might be considered a little radical, for example, to sell the catholic school in question in order to fund a lawsuit against in order to protect the ethos of the school.

15 August 2007 at 20:59  
Anonymous Observer said...

but not just a few hundred thousand to finance a court case for the Catholic school in Liverpool?

It would lose the case. There is no case to be won. The law automatically finds the defendant guilty. Read the legislation.

15 August 2007 at 21:31  
Anonymous oiznop said...

I give up.

Cranmer wrote this:

""He does not understand why neither the adoption agencies nor the school are not prepared to continue as they always have, and let those who are aggrieved bring their cases to the courts. Would not this law then be shown for the ass that it is? Could not the competing arguments be played out in the full glare of the media? Would not sympathies of the overwhelming majority fall to the Roman Catholic Church? Would not this be a media coup?"

We all know the case is lost, Cranmer said so. But it would raise the issue for the whole world to see. Bad laws are only repealed whjen they're shown to be stupid laws.

15 August 2007 at 21:42  
Anonymous Voyager said...

But it would raise the issue for the whole world to see. Bad laws are only repealed whjen they're shown to be stupid laws.

This CANNOT be repealed it is an EU Directive. It has simply been gold-plated in Britain without the opt-outs for Churches given in say Germany.

The law is simply the expression of an EU Directive

16 August 2007 at 07:00  
Anonymous Jack Target said...

I've always been curious about this business of homosexuals in positions of prominence in the Chruch or its schools. Working for a church and studying in a seminary I happen to know plenty of homosexual priests, including some living with other men in long-term relationships. Also of a couple of Bishops. Nobody seems to mind, unless somebody mentions it to the press in which case a furore erupts.

Churches routinely use the title 'religion' as a shield for their bigotry as much as muslims do. I do however agree that it is a shame that the government seems to have a drastic bias against churches while showing favour to mosques.

16 August 2007 at 10:40  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Aye Jack, but Keble and St Peter's enjoyed a reputation....and of course Staggers has its own quirky reputation.

The issue is what purpose the Church of England serves. It enjoys little respect, its bishops are ridiculed, and it is a bit of an old galleon drifting on the high seas.

It has spent so long obsessed with personnel issues that it is closed to the outside world.

The Church has always had its homosexual members - both congregation and cleric...but it is the manifestation of this clique demanding that The Church conform to its secular agenda that has blown open the issue.

There is no way that Scripture can be rewritten nor reinterpreted to suit employees of the Church; and the slender justification for paid full-time priests is only justified by Leviticus.

I do not know why the Church of England should sustain a professional clergy seemingly unversed in XXXIX Articles or Scripture, and come more and more to see the Free Presbyterian model as perhaps more appropriate than those who think they are a caste apart and can change the rules to their own satisfaction.

There are simply too many bishops - 149...when I think we really need no more than 15-20...Nigeria has more Christians but far fewer bishops.

I think the Church needs to "modernise" and start to run lean, to go back to basics and lay off large numbers of supernumeraries. I find the institution moribund and stuffed with Unbelievers

16 August 2007 at 10:52  
Anonymous Jack Target said...

voyager

You may well have a point. For the colleges you mention, I'm at Staggers, with its 'quirky reputation of its own'. I don't quite know which of our many reputations you're referring to, but I find them all plausible. For the record and to save a large number of assumptions and wasted text I should probably mention that I'm an atheist, and not studying for the priesthood.

Repeating my earlier phrase: "Working for a church and studying in a seminary" I also see priests as mostly redundant - their pay isn't high but the benefits are pretty good and more to the point you can get by by doing no more than 4 hours work a week. I've never witnessed a Bishop's typical working week, but I can imagine that it is largely either empty or full of unimportant and unnecessary self-appointed tasks.

On the other hand there are aspects of the CofE that I like. Among the world's main churches is it the most progressive (which I agree is not saying much) and prominent parts of it are leading the charge on issues like homosexuality. I wrote about my opinion of what the Bible says about it here, and although I always welcome new readers you can simply take it that I think there is extremely scant justification in the Bible for anti-homosexual beliefs.

16 August 2007 at 11:11  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Mr ozinop,

You pointed out that the Catholic Church in America paid enormous sums in compensation payments, don't think for a second I will defend the reasons for this but the point is the Vatican did not pay, the US diocese did. This is because the Vatican, as previously stated, does not own or have responsibility for the assets of international diocese any more than one diocese has for another. That’s just a fact take it or leave it, and like the Vatican neither will the US pay any invoice on the part of the Liverpool diocese for legal costs, as that annoying TV ad says 'It doesn’t work like that'

You pointed out that the RCC has "incalculable walth" and cited its works of art, I responded that that wealth was largely unrealisable and to do so would be destructive to said Art. Now you say the Pope has valuable paintings he could sell as he has done before. Although he only holds them in trust, perhaps he could arrange to sell one but he is not going to just as the Queen will not sell paintings in her possession, many of which, in common with the Pope, are presented as gifts from foreign heads of State, admirers or supportive organisations. It is however a rather naive, simplistic position to think that any state, let alone the Vatican, will sell its national treasures to buy off every local difficulty; equivalent to holding that the Queen should sell a Rembrandt if the NHS gets in a spot of bother.

You repeated my observation that the Vatican has paintings by renowned artists such as Michelangelo, I tried to explain that they are painted on plaster, on the walls of numerous apartments, you seem to reject this, do you suppose the papal apartments are a portrait gallery equal to the Louvre or the Prado, they are not, I've been there.

As for the Vatican museums I forgot the tapestries, there are quite a few tapestries but again they are not for sale, as are the Vatican gardens. The revenue from visiting these attractions is taken care of by salaries, preservation and restoration costs, the Last Judgement was recently cleaned, I don't know how much that cost and I don't care, it looks fantastic.

As for Pius XII and my hobby horse, I did digress but you made a serious charge against a great mans reputation and one which, although unfounded, has the currency of popular anti-Catholicism, Its source (The KGB) and propagation by the likes of John Cornwell have been thoroughly discredited. I trust you will now think twice before repeating the calumny, unless it is made through malice rather than ignorance.

You’re knowledge of the basic structure and organisation of the Holy See and how it related to the Vatican State is deficient to such a degree that it detracts from you’re arguments. Likewise you flail about making wild and unsupported accusations against targets of opportunity like the Vatican Bank, Nazism and the Pope, a little less Dan Brown and a bit more Eamon Duffey would do the trick.

16 August 2007 at 13:05  
Anonymous Jack Target said...

recusant -

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Pope also the Bishop of Rome? I would guess that Rome must be an exceptionally wealthy diocese, if not the most so. Under the arrangement you outline that would give the Pope a great deal of access to resources. Also, to put it crudely, if the Pope says jump Catholics jump - and quite a few Anglicans too. What you're saying is akin to saying that the Prime Minister doesn't run the UK, because of the cabinet. That may be literally true, but in reality the PM sets the message and leads the way. The same is true of the Pope. Surely?

16 August 2007 at 13:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I understand Rowan Williams is Archbishop of Canterbury....there are no doubt quite a lot of expensive houses down there he could appropriate and sell at auction. No doubt Canterbury is real estate appertaining to the Archbishop....no doubt he is on sabbatical getting an appraisal

For your point to hold any credence would require cloise reading of The Lateran Treaties no doubt and the details of the deposition of the King of Italy.

One of the remarkable things about a Church is that land records are not quite as you might think - indeed the oldest Land Registry in eNgland only goes back to 1714 in the case of The West Riding......I really don't know who owns St Paul's Cathedral, presumably some government department though really I should have thought it was Crown Estates in view of the Tudor involvement.

The real issue is why The State can dream up crackpot laws and then hold the population to ransom to try and buy their fredom from them.

16 August 2007 at 14:05  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
I am only reading this today and have just tried to update my list with Iain Dale. It seems I am too late. What a silly rule. I'm sorry that my two cents will not be counted.

While I understand the gripe with how different faiths are treated in the eyes of the law, I am not sure I understand what 'legislating against the rights of conscience' means. Could Muslims not argue similarly with regard to the various practices that the law forbids them?

When one speaks of 'rights of conscience', I fear it then becomes impossible to argue against, and any kind of behaviour could be defended under its umbrella.

16 August 2007 at 16:31  
Anonymous bob said...

I believe that the richest Catholic diocese in the world are Cologne and Chicago. Rome, as far as I'm aware, is not a particularly rich diocese. The Vatican has been operating in the red for some years now. The diocese is rich in terms of artistic and real estate assets. The issue of the artistic assets is debatable, but the real estate generally boils down to churches and schools, and I don't think selling a church or a school which is serving the needs of a parish is a viable option. Also a lot of buildings in the diocese of Rome are owned by various orders, congregations, societies, etc, and are therefore outside of the remit of the diocese, and cannot be sold in order to raise money for the Pope. Also it should be borne in mind that if a church is sold, the beneficiary of that sale is usually the parish to which the church belonged, as generally speaking, they own the title deed, not the diocese. So even if the Pope did order it's sale, even within his own diocese, he would not necessarily benefit from the sale.

16 August 2007 at 18:59  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

Could Muslims not argue similarly with regard to the various practices that the law forbids them?

I wonder what those might be ? They have halal slaughter....but in a country that is Christian with Census recording 73% as such it seems strange to ignore such a large body of opinion.

If you don't know what "rights of conscience" are I fear your education is deficient, but to enlighten you think of conscientious objectors who refuse to join the Army when conscripted.

In Nazi-Germany conscientious objectors were executed - I am not sure whether Britain was right not to execute people who would not fight, but it did not.

Jehovah's Witnesses cost the NHS a great deal of money as I believe Communicant Terry Hamblin once mentioned by requiring a blood substitute for transfusions rather than take blood.

I am also unclear Snuffleupagus why majorities should have any regard for minorities. What possible benefit is it to the majority to grant special rights to minorities ?

Surely everyone should be compelled to fit into this society and punished for deviation from the norms of the mainstream population ?

16 August 2007 at 19:03  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Mr Jack Target

Pope Bishop of Rome - Yes he is, however the wealth of the Roman Diocese belongs to the Roman Diocese which consists of 19 Suffragan Dioceses so it is quite big. It does not belong to the worldwide RCC or the Vatican. I have no doubt being so closely physically linked these distinctions get a bit blurred but that is the theory.

Pope says jump Catholics jump - Fair question and if it were so I believe none of the scandals previously mentioned would have occurred. Many folk outside the RCC think of its government like an oligarchy consisting of the Pope and the Curia or for the less sophisticated a dictatorship (look a German Pope, say Seig, see the sausage). The Pope doesn’t run the Catholic Church, he is the head of it and as you point out sets the agenda but it is too big, The Curial departments do most of the running but implementation is down to national Church organisations, In the case of the UK it is the Bishops Conference headed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and these set national agendas

In reality it is more akin to a loose federation of like minded communities (but nothing like an ecclesiastical community which only applies to Protestants [Leg pull for His Grace]) and I use the term like minded advisedly. Subsidiary (surprisingly enough) is the name of the game. Occasionally Rome will issue a document (encyclical, apostolic letter, exhortation, take your pick) usually in Latin which adds a bit of mystique to the whole affair and then the press report Rome is calling the shots again. You will find that on these occasions the documents are received with less enthusiasm than a root canal job by some national Churches, loyalty to the Pope seems more evident in the laity than the clergy or a bench of bishops who are not generally great fans of ultramontanism. That being said it has always been the case, the battle for power between the Curia and the Pope has swung both ways over the millennia.

The sticky bit comes with the whole infallibility thing but I’ve covered that somewhere before.

16 August 2007 at 19:07  
Anonymous The recusant said...

“it does not belong to the worldwide RCC or the Vatican.”

That’s a daft thing to say, I mean in the sense that they can have unrestricted access to Roman diocesan funds.

16 August 2007 at 19:11  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Very interesting and informing discussion.

Bless you all.

Who owns this though? Could this long-lost treasure not be sold to pay for a (litigiously-fruitless but media-fruitful) challenge in the courts?

:o)

16 August 2007 at 19:16  
Blogger Cranmer said...

There appear to be demons in His Grace's hyperlinks today.

The 'this' is here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070816/ts_nm/austria_cross_dc

16 August 2007 at 19:19  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
So what did Britain do to those who refused to fight? Was there not some sort of prison sentence? Where is Voyager when one needs him?

If there was any kind of consequence (I am certain there were tribunals at the very least), then you have merely presented an example where Britain did indeed legislate against the rights of conscience.

As for your Jehovah Witnesses, I am really not sure we should be allowing them to cost the NHS money. Are you?

Lastly, I think it may be foolish to assume that the norms of mainstream society are always the best way of living. Minorities of all kinds can bring much to any society, precisely because they are different. Granting rights to minorities not only enhances a community in a very obvious and tangible way, (say by diversifying restaurants), but it also teaches its inhabitants how to have respect for what is unknown and to embrace it. And the latter is, in my humble opinion, of greater value.

16 August 2007 at 22:53  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

So what did Britain do to those who refused to fight?

They were sent to work in hospitals and non-military work but they still let others do the fighting for them....perhaps Britain was wrong to allow them to freeload.

Lastly, I think it may be foolish to assume that the norms of mainstream society are always the best way of living.

You are Anti-Democratic. You want minority rights to challenge the majority. Why should the majority permit minority viewpoints ?

it also teaches its inhabitants how to have respect for what is unknown and to embrace it.

"teaches" - you are didactic. If a People cannot impose its own will and cultural values in its own homeland, where then ?

17 August 2007 at 07:18  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
Hmm yes, I think you are right: I do not believe democracy is always the best course. But you are too hung up on this concept of 'rights' and people not being able or allowed to impose its own will. Are you at all religious? Forgive me, but you do not seem to be so. Religion attempts to 'teach' people to be better than they would be otherwise. Life is about learning, not just at school, but throughout one's lifetime. A truly rich man is one who dies having learnt much, both morally and academically.

Having minorities amongst a People makes the individuals richer. The majority's rights are not being taken away. Rather, they are being enhanced.

Learning to love one's enemy is always most beneficial for the one who learns it best.

17 August 2007 at 15:48  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

Forgive me, but you do not seem to be so. Religion attempts to 'teach' people to be better than they would be otherwise

But religion bows to civil law. Law is whatever legislators or judges deem it to be.

Today it might be right to kill people with red hair, tomorrow it might be illegal. Once it was illegal to abort a child now it is commonplace.

How can religion stand up to the power of laws ? We can simply pass laws making it criminal to supply halal meat and halal meat will disappear.

We can pass laws to make it a criminal offence not to eat pork.

With laws we can do anything we please. It is 'Legal Realism' - the law is whatever we say it is and only by obeying what we say are you a good citizen.

17 August 2007 at 15:59  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
I think the law tries to keep order, as it should. Often, the law and religion coincide: views on murder for instance. And yes, the law develops and changes according to the times. I don't see this as a bad thing. Neither do you. This is precisely how a society is able to impose its will and cultural values - something you actively seek. You seem to be critical of the WAYS in which some of our current laws have changed, and that's a different point.

It is not the case that without religion, we only have moral subjectivism. One can believe in an objective morality without believing in religion.

17 August 2007 at 20:00  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

There is no Law. There are judgments which are arbitrary decisions which must be obeyed under threat of punishment.

Of course they can be ignored - they exist only so long as the power can sustain them. They have no eternal status.

The rule of lawyers is merely the control exercised by a ruling clique - once their power is destroyed their laws implode.

the law develops and changes according to the times

It is whatever the rulers of the moment wish it to be. Today it is one thing and tomorrow another. It is simply the expression of the ruling caste imposing its will on those who dare not challenge its power through fear.

17 August 2007 at 22:26  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
I'm not sure law making is as random as you suggest. Certainly we can see patterns in development and we can give reasons for why certain laws have changed.

Having said that, I accept what you say about the ruling elite exerting their power to a certain extent. But what alternative is there? Surely you are not suggesting we do away with the law?

18 August 2007 at 00:54  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

Surely you are not suggesting we do away with the law?

There is no such things as The Law

I suggest you use google and insert the phrase "Legal Realism" and read what arrives......and then read my biography in Google

18 August 2007 at 06:29  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
I have done as you suggested. But your name is just a bit of a joke, isn't it? And yes, I agree, laws are made from people's individual senses of what is morally right. But that doesn't mean that an objective morality does not exist. Perhaps objective laws do not exist, but the very fact that we argue about whether or not X action is right or wrong, suggests that we believe there is an objective answer. And we do not need to look in a religious text to figure it out. We need only to think about it. Some of us get it right, and some of us get it wrong.

18 August 2007 at 19:29  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

I agree, laws are made from people's individual senses of what is morally right

Wrong. A law is the expression of power of one group over another.It has no morality. Law is without morality - it is power.

Now read up on Legal Positivism

Dr Mabuse

You have no existence except as my tool. The individual has no being except insofar as he is part of a machine. The individual is nothing; the machine is everything."

— Dr. Mabuse, The Crimes of Dr. Mabuse


http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/35/mabuse.html

Conveniently enough, Mabuse and Baum’s metaphysical origin point is Nietszche’s Superman, proffered by Lang as an egomaniac bent on the destruction of those he considers mere animals, pawns in the game. But Lang takes Nietszche’s theory out of philosophy and into his version of international politics, into practical application. "He was a man who knew this world was doomed, and he offered us salvation,"

Dr. Mabuse is a master manipulator and hypnotist. A mysterious and largely unknown force, he manipulates the stock market to disrupt the business and lives of those who are abusing and eroding the German economy. He controls the minds of the idle rich who gamble away money, when millions of Germans languish in hunger on the streets outside the gambling clubs. Mabuse seeks to destroy those who are nothing to him but worthless cattle.

18 August 2007 at 20:10  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
I understand what Dr Mabuse is about. What I don't get is what this means for your views.

You can't possibly believe that laws are only about control - at least not so in a democratic country. You may not agree with some of the laws we have or even with the process of change, but you must see that the machine is not everything. Sometimes it has too much power, but it is not everything. That's why you are allowed to think as you do, and we are allowed to have such discussions. And we can march in the streets and shout it from the rooftops if we want.

Take abortion - When we argue about the laws that govern it, we immediately refer to the morality that drives our decisions.

19 August 2007 at 13:33  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
Taken from Wikipedia on Legal Positivism:
It is a common mistake, therefore, to think that positive laws, as willful and changeable, are therefore arbitrary. Precisely because positive laws are willful, positive laws are those laws that must justify themselves with reason. Positive laws are precisely those laws most in need of reasons and justifications. It is for this reason that the rise of positive laws is accompanied by the rise of legal science as a means of offering these reasons and justifications.


Law and ethics
Legal positivism implies that law is something that can be separated from ethics. In this view it is possible that there are laws without ethical content or legal rules that have no ethical component, and laws that are positively evil, such as the laws of slavery and segregation.

Some natural lawyers argue that even the most pedestrian of laws carry the moral or ethical requirement that the State of Nature may be abridged only for the basic maintenance of the greater society. Such order is a moral imperative. Thus, a law requiring driving on the right side of the road indeed has a philosophically moral basis. Not that right is socially preferable to left but rather that right is socially preferable to nothing.

Of course, not all legal decisions are as free of ethical content as this one is. Legal positivism is not synonymous with ethical positivism, or for that matter with moral relativism. It is at least a possible viewpoint that there exists a natural ethical code while maintaining that its translation into law remains local and contingent. The argument of legal positivism is not that ethics is irrelevant to every law; rather, that law and ethics are two different things, two fields that occasionally overlap but whose underlying logic remains separate. The legal positivist emphasizes that the law that forbids theft and the law that commands that you drive on the proper side of the road are two exemplars of the same phenomenon.

Against this view, it may be argued that law has its own internal morality; for example, laws must be promulgated, announced to the public; intelligible; and not baldly self-contradictory. Unless laws fulfill these requirements, they cannot fulfill their role in the social order, for without fulfilling these requirements, it would be impossible for anyone to know the laws or obey them. These requirements are ethical requirements, and they constrain law even without regard to any rules of ethics exterior to the legal process.

Legal rule is ethically relevant since it affects freedom. It is of obvious ethical significance.



Right - So I'll give you the point that not ALL laws involve ethics. But some do. Indeed, most do. Law and ethics are different (of course), but they are inextricably linked.

19 August 2007 at 13:57  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

Legap Positivism

the key ideas of legal positivism are straightforward. Legal systems are sets of rules (interpreted in a broad sense) applied by judges as part of societal regulation by states. Laws are laws by virtue of their form, rather than of their moral or political content

Finally, legal positivism, unlike other approaches to law, is more likely to counsel scepticism on the subject of whether 'international law' actually exists, on the grounds that there is no Grundnorm or rule of recognition which can establish the authorized source of 'international law'.

19 August 2007 at 16:21  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

You can't possibly believe that laws are only about control - at least not so in a democratic country. You may not agree with some of the laws we have or even with the process of change, but you must see that the machine is not everything. Sometimes it has too much power, but it is not everything. That's why you are allowed to think as you do, and we are allowed to have such discussions. And we can march in the streets and shout it from the rooftops if we want.


The laws are about control. Under a system of Common Law I am free but laws are passed to circumscribe my freedom - I do not consent to those laws. They are imposed.

I have never heard of any law being discussed with the public.

There are rights guaranteed in The Bill of Rights 1689 which are set aside by laws....there is the Habeas Corpus of 1679 set aside by laws - even the Magna Carta which predates Parliament is set aside by laws.

What legitimacy do these laws have ?

I have not accepted them ? I have never even been asked to elect a politician to pass them .

They are imposed.

Not one EU Regulation is discussed either with voters, nor in Parliament. It leaves Brussels as a British Law

19 August 2007 at 16:26  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
Ah, well that is where we disagree. I don't believe your consent is required for a law to have been derived from a moral premise. Yes, laws are imposed. Thank Goodness! Forgive me Dr Mabuse, but if you were so concerned with law-making, why didn't you seek a career in politics?

I am happy to live in a society where laws are made, and where if I disagree with a particular law, there are systems which will allow me to voice my opinions. I am not sure one can expect anything more without stepping on the toes of arrogance.

20 August 2007 at 01:41  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

but if you were so concerned with law-making, why didn't you seek a career in politics?

Politics has nothing to do with laws. They are not even debated.

20 August 2007 at 06:54  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
I think we have to agree to disagree. Of course laws are not debated! But politics change society's way of thinking and that thinking necessarily influences law-making.

You are asking for too much from society. You have a great deal of freedom and you can choose to have influence if you want it. What more can you want?

20 August 2007 at 15:59  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

You have a great deal of freedom and you can choose to have influence if you want it. What more can you want?

Freedom is circumscribed and shrinking - you are oblivious to the direction of travel. The GDR is the future of this country and the points are set

20 August 2007 at 17:52  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Dr Mabuse
You are more dramatic than Shakespeare! Ha ha. You do make me laugh.

20 August 2007 at 19:36  
Blogger Merseymike said...

The mistake made is that the catholic Church would benefit from losing these cases. they would not.

Essentially, with civil partnerships largely uncontroversial and mainstream, the church trying to sack a perfectly good and very popular Headmaster who everyone knew was gay in any case would hardly win them any friends.

And with regard to adoption, the church knows the score - they have until 2008 to enter into other arrangements, accept the new law, or close. There are plenty of other agencies willing to take their place.

Note that both adoption agencies and RC schools are fully funded by the State. of course, the RC school concerned could go private - can't see many in inner-city Liverpool being able to afford it, though. And there is no such thing as a private adoption.

if the Church accepts the State's money, then of course they must accept the law as it stands.

24 August 2007 at 01:09  

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