Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So, it’s Obama versus Romney. And Romney will lose

The Republican Party appears to be going through their Hague-IDS-Howard wilderness years. And even if they find their Cameron, it won’t augur well for a victory. Now that Roman Catholic Rick has suspended his candidacy, we’re left with Mormon Mitt. The presidential election is all but lost: things haven’t looked so bleak for the GOP since... well, since the last presidential election.

To very many Americans, Santorum’s particular brand of gay-hating, contraception-prohibiting, abortion-banning Roman Catholicism was but a breath away from fascism. The caricature was ultimately inescapable. There was even speculation about his having links with the secret cult Opus Dei, and of desiring to fulfil the self-flagellating vision of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer to forge a Washington-Vatican alliance and sanctify his presidency through secular work. And so the cry today, even among many Republicans, is one of good riddance: this is not the time for the Pope to take the White House.

When the issue of the Catholicism of Senator John F Kennedy was emerging as an issue in his quest to become President of the United States of America, he made a speech which included the observation:
But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured - perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again - not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me - but what kind of America I believe in.
He was struggling to persuade the sceptical American people that the White House would not become an embassy of the Vatican, and neither would the US President do the Pope’s bidding, but, for a nation born out of the struggle for liberation from religious tyranny, his words rang hollow. The prejudices were overcome principally by oratorical skill. At times, the communication of his dreams and visions were redolent of Martin Luther King Jnr, who declared:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
That speech was made in 1960, yet even in 2012 the Land of the Free does not permit all men to be equal. Of course, the inequalities are no longer based on race or gender, but they are manifest and legion when it comes to religion. While the US Constitution affirms that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust’ (Article VI), it must be observed that Republican candidates are invariably asked at some point if they believe the Bible to be the inviolable Word of God, and none has ever quoted Article VI in response. It appears that one only becomes President of the United States by the adoption of the American Creed and with the majority assent of the American Church.

Mitt Romney has experienced not dissimilar problems from those faced by Senator Kennedy and Rick Santorum. But the hurdles presented by the Church of Rome are as nothing compared to those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon Mitt’s problems are religious, political, and religio-political. Politically, there is the perception (indeed, the reality) of considerable inconsistency on some burning issues, like deciding to become ‘pro-life’ when it was politically expedient to be so. There is also his health-care plan in Massachusetts, which tarnishes him with the high-spend, big-government plan of ObamaCare. He is phenomenally wealthy (if not smarmy); he is too close to the banking crisis, and his appeal is narrow (if not somewhat aged). There is a sense that the GOP have chosen their least worst candidate for the presidency, and so one who will gift President Obama four more years.

Add all this to the religious problems and you get a toxic religio-political unelectable. Mormon Mitt’s Mormonism will struggle to gain the trust of either the Roman Catholic or Evangelical ‘religious right’ in the South. They want orthodoxy, conviction and clarity, not an ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ candidate devoid of any ideological conviction. No matter how many appeals he may make to being a ‘regular kind of guy’, he appears weirdly cultish. He poses both theological uncertainty and a political mutually-exclusive duality which makes the tensions inherent in the Trinity appear positively superficial. His god is not spirit, but a mortal, material being of flesh and blood who progressed to deity, as all men may. If believers are good and faithful, each will be given a planet of their own to rule. The Mormon god lives in heaven in a polygamous relationship with multiple wives, and sexually reproduces. In common with Eastern religions, there is a variation on reincarnation as Mormons believe in the pre-existence of all people in heaven before they were born on earth.

The Book of Mormon tells of several families leaving Jerusalem shortly before the Babylonian captivity, making it to the New World, and forming several civilisations there before collapsing. These are not the Lost Tribes of Israel (who are elsewhere), but Mitt does believe that Christ (who is Satan’s brother) visited these people following His resurrection, in fulfillment of John 10:16. While Christ is (thankfully) not held to be American, there are ten thousand more religio-political-historical concerns with this political religion than with the alleged quest of Rick Santorum to turn the White House into an embassy to the Vatican.

So, the GOP have their candidate at last. But Mitt Romney will lose for two reasons. Firstly, in the words of Rick Santorum:
"Would the potential attraction to Mormonism by simply having a Mormon in the White House threaten traditional Christianity by leading more Americans to a church that some Christians believe misleadingly calls itself Christian, is an active missionary church, and a dangerous cult?"
However secular the State professes to be; however much the Constitution prohibits a faith test on public office, for the highest office it exists. Americans like their presidents to be Trinitarian at the very least: all non-Trinitarian religious sects and cults are basically fictional fantasies and so demonic, and Americans don’t want Satan in the White House.

And secondly, in the words of Kylie Minogue:
"Better the Devil you know."
Barack Obama is not Satan and is not a member of any demonic cult. It is invariably safer to deal with the familiar and known, even if they are not ideal, than to take a risk with the unfamiliar and unknown.

71 Comments:

Blogger David B said...

Fine post, Your Grace.

I look forward to the day when a self proclaimed atheist, agnostic, or even deist (as many of the founding fathers of America were) can be elected to the presidency, on policy and ability.

Or, for that matter, an out homosexual.

David B

11 April 2012 at 10:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Or, for that matter, an out homosexual."

Impossible. Short of appointing the President's mom, they'd have insurmountable problems with the title of First Lady of the United States of course, and the election campaign there would be undermined by surprising and incredibly witty jokes, like the one about a King and a Queen over here when the notion of a homosexual male monarch is mooted. It would never survive the chortling.

11 April 2012 at 11:42  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

I am reminded of the old one about a man during a former US election campaign who woke up from a bad dream with a start and in a terrible sweat.

'What's up honey?' asked his wife.

'I had a terrible dream! They had had the election and either Reagan or Carter had won!'

and the other quip made the last time Teddy Kennedy was running for the nomination, 'Their best won't run and their worst won't quit'.

It was also said that General Colin Powell had thought about running but his wife talked him out of it for fear that as the first credible black US presidential candidate he would likely be targeted for assassination.

Hey ho, the wind and the rain. We had a rotten choice at the last UK election and I fear a worse one next time. I keep thinking of the line from the old Gun song (covered by Girdschol and Judas Priest) 'Race with the Devil'

'Strange things happen, if you stay,
the devil will catch you anyway.'

11 April 2012 at 12:03  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

Sorry, Girlschool. Or shouldl that be 2 s's?

11 April 2012 at 12:07  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Elwin Daniels @ 12.03

Thanks for the old one, here's a new one:

Angela Merkel arrives at passport control in Athens:

"Nationality...?" asks the immigration officer.

"German" she replied.

"Occupation...?"

"No, just here for a few days..."

11 April 2012 at 12:35  
Blogger martin sewell said...

I read the Republican runes differently. I read various blogs/commentators and whilst they have had different preferred candidates al are united in the view that this a crucial election for the future of the USA not least because its debt now exceeds the EU and UK combined.

Most take the view "anyone but Obama" and if that means giving a pass on some parts of his life/ platform then sobeit.

Many would rather vote for Satan than see Obama back - some reason that at least Satan ( unlike Obama's radical friends) believes in God.

Romney has a lot going for him. He was a good Governor winning a normally Democrat State and working "across the aisle".

He is a sound family values man- no trouser malfunctions/smoking bimbo's here.

He has an eye for business and its needs and as such has been a winner.

He can benefit from the Clinton try-angulation technique - anyone right of him ( a majority in the swing States) are likely to stay with him.

Many Obama folk are disillusioned with his "Hope and Change" rhetoric remembering he had a super majority for two years and achieved little but debt and rising unemployment.

As Jmaes Carvill said "Its the economy stupid".

Romney has a number of good VP picks. Paul Ryan - moderate trusted and with a viable budget on the table which many Democrats could accept.

Marco Rubio would bring hispanic voters and was every contenders VP.

Chris Christie - the USA Eric Pickles is a great and sincere communicator.

Even Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum will endorse and bring key votes from the Tea Party and blue collar workers.

All is far from settled and as Obama seems intent on being the great divider ( race/gender entitlements) the patriotism of the US majority will help him.

His faith is perhaps less worrying than you think. Harry Reid John Huntsmen and others have done well in high office despite being of this minority faith and many share the view of Bod Beckel ( Democrat apologist) that I have never met a Mormon I didn't like. It was certainly my experience in Salt Lake City. Their values are pure USA and their voting shows them to be solid Conservative which will reassure many as they go to the polls.

We cannot afford 4 more years of this appalling President and must wish Romney well as he brings the wide coalition of interests together.

11 April 2012 at 13:09  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Strangely enough, I had just posted my latest blog http://mr-integrity.blogspot.co.uk/ on the significance of denominational beliefs. That is what American politics seems to have become and understandably so.
Here in the UK, we have become divided in politics between Christian, Cameron Christianity, and Secularism. How do we want to be governed? Those without religion argue that that there should be no religion in politics. That would be like saying that politicians have no adversarial belief. A concept that defies belief. Everyone is motivated in their belief system, even if they don’t recognise it.
Fifty years ago the politics of the day were about policies. So why now religion? It must be because the secularists have become aggressive towards traditional Christian values that the Christians have now stood up to be counted and are fighting back.

11 April 2012 at 13:10  
Blogger Gareth said...

It's been pointed out that if Obama gets in again, he will likely be able to appoint two - three judges to the supreme court during his term, which spells disaster for those campaigning to get Roe vs Wade overturned.

11 April 2012 at 13:46  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Gareth - How amusing, whilst making lunch I thought of that and logged on and was about to post a P.S. to my comment above!

It is not just the Roe v Wade point but Romney is likely to appoint strict Constructionist Judges which will suit Christians and Conservatives alike.

If "Paris was worth a Mass" this alone justifies a Mormon in the White House.

11 April 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger Bryan said...

Romney will lose because he is insufficiently different from Obama in both rhetoric and past deeds. Obama is more distinct from himself (in rhetoric vs. deeds) than Romney, and actually has the ability to inspire. Either way, the American people lose, and the world loses.

Ron Paul is working a coup at the Republican National convention which, albeit is a long shot, is the only path to the defeat of Obama and the Socialism and world-wide military interventionism for which he and Romney stand.

11 April 2012 at 14:12  
Blogger Jimbo said...

"Barack Obama is not Satan and is not a member of any demonic cult"

So the Rev Wright's Church of the Latter Day Marxists doesn't really count.

11 April 2012 at 14:16  
Blogger will said...

"Barack Obama is not Satan and is not a member of any demonic cult. It is invariably safer to deal with the familiar and known, even if they are not ideal, than to take a risk with the unfamiliar and unknown."

The absolute stupidest comment ever written, particularly by someone who professes to be Christian. We here in the USA understand Obama and his pro death, pro homosexual, pro socialist agenda all to well.
Stick to UK matters Cranmer you are out of your depth here.

11 April 2012 at 15:44  
Blogger DaveR said...

*Sigh* It seems like this is a topic you just can't help getting wrong Cranmer. LDS belief *is* very different from traditional trinitarian beliefs, but you do not represent them accurately - indeed much of terminology you use is used solely by the professional evangelical "counter-cult" movement.

"His god is not spirit, but a mortal, material being of flesh and blood who progressed to deity, as all men may."

God the Father is not mortal, nor does he have a body of flesh and *blood*, but a "body of flesh and bones, as tangible as man's; the Son also;" (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22). The idea that the Father is embodied is different, yes, but it is not a mortal body, and neither is Christ's.

[quote]If believers are good and faithful, each will be given a planet of their own to rule[/quote]

This whole terminology is only thrown around by professional anti-Mormons. For comparison, let's take Brigham Young (the usual source of "controversial" comments) words:

"If men are faithful, the time will come when they will possess the power and knowledge to obtain, organize, bring into existence and own. 'What, of themselves, independent of their creator?' No. But they and their creator will always be one, they will always be of one heart and of one mind, working and operating together; for whatsoever the Father doeth so doeth the son, and so they continue throughout all their operations to all eternity." (Journal of Discourse 2:304)

Again, no this is not traditional trinitarian belief - but it is not accurately phrased as being "given a planet of their own to rule."

"The Mormon god lives in heaven in a polygamous relationship with multiple wives, and sexually reproduces."

LDS belief affirms the Father's fatherhood of our spirits, but the how and means of that have not been stated or revealed.

"In common with Eastern religions, there is a variation on reincarnation as Mormons believe in the pre-existence of all people in heaven before they were born on earth."

Preexistence and reincarnation have little or nothing to do with each other - the only reason to associate the two is to attempt to generate hang-ups about 'the other'. Is preexistence different from traditional Christianity - yes (though the idea does pop up in early Christianity before being discarded). But it isn't reincarnation.

I am gratified that you recognise that the Book of Mormon is *not* about the lost tribes, an oft misunderstood point which gives me some hope here, but then you throw in the bit about 'Satan's brother', a misleading notion (no Mormon talks in such terms). Technically, we believe *you* are Satan's brother - and lest you feel slighted by that, the same's true of anyone reading. God is the father of the spirits of all men and women, including him who happened to fall before the world was. But Mormons don't believe that Christ (who is deity) and Satan are equal, or have ever been equal.

I am not trying to minimize here the difference between LDS belief and that of Protestants & Catholics - but what I am concerned about is the continued repetition of phrases, entirely unused by Mormons, that misrepresent or mislead as to their actual doctrines, many of them the product of those who financial profit from spreading such notions around. If truth is important (and I believe both of us believe it is - your concern over doctrine is surely rooted in that), then surely even if we believe someone is wrong, it is important to be accurate and truthful about what they actually think.

11 April 2012 at 16:53  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr DaveR,

His Grace is, as ever, appreciative.

But for the references you avoid, and for the sake of clarity, where is the historical evidence that Jesus ever visited North America?

And, please note, there was not one reference to your religion being 'racist', though Mitt Romney is responding poorly to allegations that it (and so he) might be.

11 April 2012 at 17:09  
Blogger David B said...

Interesting that much of the criticism of Obama here focusses on why I would like to see him have a second term.

The idea that he is pro death, pro homosexuality and pro socialism is bizarre - as bizarre as Mormon doctrine.

David B

11 April 2012 at 18:16  
Blogger IanCad said...

Sounds like a lot of sense to me YG and for that reason alone we should expect the opposite to happen. We have a profound inability to predict what the US will or wont do. I have learned not to be surprised by the surprising.

"It is invariably safer to deal with the familiar and known, even if they are not ideal, than to take a risk with the unfamiliar and unknown."

Good advice for those Tories contemplating defection to UKIP. Change must come from within the party soon or it will come from without. Time is getting short.

11 April 2012 at 19:14  
Blogger Reformation said...

Sorry, Archbishop Cranmer, your analysis is flawed, but we do love your 1552 Book of Common Prayer.

Donald Philip Veitch
Eastern United States

11 April 2012 at 19:22  
Blogger Homeschool on the Croft said...

Is Ron Paul not even worth a mention??

11 April 2012 at 20:05  
Blogger Span Ows said...

"Better the Devil you know."

Surely here we have the perfect example of this NOT being the case. Obama is hopeless in every aspect and if he had any integrity at all wouldn't even stand for a 2nd term.

11 April 2012 at 22:08  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

Your Grace,

But what prey tell has Obama actually done [ aside from spending billions of dollars on wasteful projects?].

And even if the Republicans don't win the Presidency, if they control Congress that is significant. I think the American allies on this blog hint at that- you see American politics as if it were compatable with Westminister. However American is not unitary state, dominated by party machine. And unklike Britain, the American Parliament actually has powers.

Martin sewell comments on the supreme court. Hoewever the Senate has to approve these appointments (unlike the UK, where Dave can appoint his best mate into the post). So there is still much for the American right to fight for!

11 April 2012 at 22:14  
Blogger anna anglican said...

Your Grace.

Having googled Rick Santorum, I thought is this the Inspector General of this blog? Seems like the Inspector's perfect candidate for office!

Is perhaps the problem with Mitt, not his faith but his wealth and wall street buddies?

They need some-one from Dixie... not some Goldman placeman!

11 April 2012 at 22:25  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Fairish point - but if you get Obama and Democrat wins in House and Senate ? The point is - the stakes are very very High.

11 April 2012 at 22:55  
Blogger DaveR said...

"But for the references you avoid, and for the sake of clarity, where is the historical evidence that Jesus ever visited North America?"

What *historical* evidence is there that Christ rose from the grave? We have the New Testament, but many scholars wouldn't regard that as even eyewitness testimony, let alone evidence, but we both believed it happened. There's mention of hundreds of witnesses of the resurrected Christ in 1 Cor 15, but we only know of that example through one man's letters. There's many scholars who take the gospels quite seriously as evidence of something, yet disbelieve the resurrection.

I wouldn't expect a one-off visit by the Risen Christ to one unknown portion of the Americas (North or South - Mormons tend to differ on the geography) to even leave much external evidence in the first place (it's not like the precolumbian history of North America is that well known anyway). There's the account in the Book of Mormon, and as to whether that is true, the Book itself challenges its readers to ask God directly. There're the witnesses to the gold plates themselves, and some LDS scholars and apologists have sought external evidence (IMO, none of it definitive), but it is ultimately to that supernatural witness the Book of Mormon appeals and for adherents rests.

As for Mitt Romney's responses - well there's nothing in the Articles of Faith that requires me to believe that Mitt Romney is a good politician! He's made a lot of unforced errors, but then so have his primary rivals, or you wouldn't be making this post.

11 April 2012 at 22:57  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

" ... this is not the time for the Pope to take the White House."

Indeed. It would be way too costly to refurbish along Roman lines.

However, maybe it is past time that Christ returned to the White House. No Church, Papist or other, would "tell" the President what to do. One hopes, a President would listen to the Gospel message and follow it.

Alpha
"If believers are good and faithful, each will be given a planet of their own to rule."

Truth or fiction?

12 April 2012 at 00:53  
Blogger OldSouth said...

An insightful post, and thanks for your thoughts. In addition to your observations re Mr. Romney, he has shown himself to be a person with ice water in his veins. Witness the scorched-earth approach he took to Messrs Cain, Gingrich and Santorum in turn. There is is something about this man that frightens me as much as Obama appalls me. There is no limit to his ambition, every life is fair game, a means to his end. There is no conscience, no 'there' there. Just ambition.

And, for another joke to add to the stack:

The Pope is awakened just before dawn by a group of cardinals. The spokesman for the group says timidly 'Your Holiness, we have good news and bad news. Which do you wish to hear first?'

Pope says: 'Give me the good news.'

Cardinal: 'Your Holiness, the blessed day has arrived. Our Lord himself has reappeared on Earth. The Second Coming has occurred!!'

Pope: 'And the bad news?'

Cardinal: 'He's on the phone now, wants to speak with you. He's calling collect from Salt Lake City...'

12 April 2012 at 04:58  
Blogger Albert said...

DaveR,

What *historical* evidence is there that Christ rose from the grave? We have the New Testament

So your view is that people believe in the resurrection because it is written in a book - and only for that reason? What about the evidence of the existence of the Church?

What we know historically is that Jesus was crucified by the Roman state. From this, we can reasonably infer that the state of mind of his followers was as found in the NT: fear, bewilderment and disappointment: "We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel." Yet suddenly a movement kicks off with huge energy, proclaiming what no one actually expected and which contradicted their world-view: that Jesus was risen from dead. We have good reason also to believe that the tomb was empty.

Now I'm not arguing that that the resurrection is the best explanation of the historical evidence, only that there is historical evidence that it explains. So, to return to Cranmer's question: where is the historical evidence that a visit by Jesus to North America would explain?

12 April 2012 at 08:06  
Blogger Albert said...

As a matter of interest, DavidR, how do you square the idea of Jesus visiting America with the belief of the earliest witnesses to Jesus that he had ascended into heaven? This is a genuine question, not a rhetorical one!

12 April 2012 at 08:20  
Blogger len said...

The Pope claims the authority to 'rule over Kings' and indeed has done so.


1. "The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not mere man, but as it were God, and the vicar of God."
(#1. "Papa tantae est dignitatis et cesitudinis, ut non sit simplex homo, sed quasi Deus, et Dei vicarius.")

#13. "Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions."
(#13. Hinc Papa triplici corona coronatur tanquam rex coeli, terre et infernoram.")

The Popes authority (is considered by all those under the spell of Catholicism) to be total!.

12 April 2012 at 08:27  
Blogger Albert said...

And your point is, Len?

12 April 2012 at 09:41  
Blogger Jon said...

Your Grace - a brilliant article. I rather enjoyed this take on the likely Republican nominee too

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/a-quantum-theory-of-mitt-romney.html

DanJ0, obviously, we've had gay monarchs and PMs in the UK before, but these were before the days of social media. I would assert that it's the insufficiently fabulous nature of modern politics which would preclude us from taking our rightful place, rather than nomenclature. Instead, we'll just have to content ourselves with owning everything from the shadows, like the freemasons, but with Prada.

Will - just a tip - when you write things like "We here in the USA understand Obama and his pro death, pro homosexual, pro socialist agenda all to well." you sound a bit deranged. How is Obama "pro- death"? And exactly what has he done that's socialist (I mean actually socialist, rather than your Letts Guide to socialism version)? And as for pro- homosexual, he is still someway from where we'd like him to be so keep your toupe on.

Finally, as in many things, South Park has the definitive word on Mormonism.

http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/59507/detail/

12 April 2012 at 10:04  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

len

I know, and petrol is now £1.40 per litre. How shocking!

12 April 2012 at 10:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

How is Obama "pro- death"?

Abortion works by killing the unborn. As for the extreme nature of Obama's views on this, read this from Daily Telegraph:

as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.

Be clear on what this means: a nine month old unborn child aborted 10 minutes before the mother would have gone into labour, has to be left to die and the argument Obama gave in defence was defeated by the legislation itself.

It sounds like being pro-death to me. If you don't want to call that pro-death, then I'm left wondering what would constitute pro-death in your mind. Do you support Obama here?

12 April 2012 at 10:27  
Blogger Albert said...

Sorry: struggling with the preview function. That should have read a nine month old unborn child born alive after having been aborted 10 minutes before the mother would have gone into labour

12 April 2012 at 10:29  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert, I see. So we're back to abortion again. I thought Will had something new on him - that he stalked the Capitol with a socialist scythe cutting down capitalist interns with gleeful malevolence or something...

My position is basically the same as DanJ0's - I'd like to live in a world where there were no abortions, but I can see why in certain circumstances, they're necessary and I don't think I should be legislating the difficult choices that a woman has to make over her body (and potentially the foetus inside her). Neither do I think the final say on a young woman's body should go to a decrepit male virgin in Rome.

I'm also unsure why a foetus is being aborted at 9 months here, and without a link, I can't verify the source or the story, so I can't help you, I'm afraid.

Perhaps you'd like to clarify though, why the candidate you presumably supported, the good Catholic Rick Santorum, and his party lied about "socialised" medicine, and "death panels" - getting themselves in such a tizzy that they suggested that Stephen Hawking would have died if left to the evil socialist ministrations of the NHS (misdiagnosing the nationality of the patient there - oops!). Subsequently, people without proper health insurance are denied access to proper healthcare because they're too poor or ill. Your position on life is inconsistent - you're (admirably) happy to be a voice for the voiceless but sadly only when it suits your political aims. How many adults die, or live in pain, because they can't get proper healthcare in the richest country on earth because your candidate's party wouldn't extend it?

I suspect you neither know, nor care.

12 April 2012 at 11:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Your position on life is inconsistent - you're (admirably) happy to be a voice for the voiceless but sadly only when it suits your political aims. How many adults die, or live in pain, because they can't get proper healthcare in the richest country on earth because your candidate's party wouldn't extend it?I suspect you neither know, nor care.

An amazing comment really, considering you do not know me. Being British, I am entirely supportive of the NHS and believe the state has a duty to ensure the poor have proper health care. I don't altogether understand the Catholic right in the US - their support of the death penalty and Bush's wars seems to me to go plainly against Catholic teaching.

I don't think I should be legislating the difficult choices that a woman has to make over her body

Within limits, neither do I as it happens, but an abortion is not primarily an act on the woman's body, but on the unborn child. The same principle of non-harm that tells me I should leave a woman's body alone and support laws that protect her from harm, tells me I must protect an unborn child from her mother.

You believe in a woman's right to choose, do you agree with sex-selective abortions? If the mother discovers the father was Jewish and she is an anti-semite, do you support her right to abort just because the child is Jewish? If it becomes possible to predict homosexuality in utero, do you support the woman's right to abort because the child will be gay and she is homophobic?

I'm also unsure why a foetus is being aborted at 9 months here, and without a link, I can't verify the source or the story, so I can't help you, I'm afraid.


Here's
the link to the Telegraph article. But leave the authenticity of the article aside - do you agree that a child born through a botched abortion, after 9 months in the womb, should not be cared for but left to die?

I'd like to live in a world where there were no abortions

Why? What's so wrong with abortion in your view?

12 April 2012 at 11:57  
Blogger DaveR said...

Albert,

"So your view is that people believe in the resurrection because it is written in a book - and only for that reason?"

Not at all - historical evidence isn't the only sort of evidence, and believing something just because it was written in a book would quickly lead to confusion - but the New Testamental writings in many cases are the earliest sources that actually mention the resurrection. Most Greco-Roman writings that mention Christ are from the 2nd Century and don't mention resurrection - evidence for the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, but not the resurrection. Then there are other sources like Josephus, but the section that actually mentions resurrection is the controversial Testimonium Flavianuium. Likewise direct evidence for an empty tomb is limited (is there any mention in near contemporary sources aside from the New Testament? The existence and growth of early Christianity may be suggestive, but does it constitute direct evidence (this may be a semantic issue here)? This is particularly true since it depends on certain inferences about the state of Second Temple period Judaism, which can be problematic (the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, really tended to underline how both Christian and Jewish scholars had got the Judaism of the Second Temple period badly wrong).

For the Book of Mormon, the task is complicated by lack of geographical certainty (as mentioned above there's internal debates about that), the lack of evidence the Book of Mormon itself would lead one to expect (since it records the civilisation that Christ appeared to later being exterminated), and the lack of evidence about pre-Columbian America in the first place. Take, for example the Hopewell tradition in North America which would be approximately contemporaneous with the cultures described in the Book of Mormon - we know so little about them, we don't even know what they called themselves, let alone origin or history. That's not to say that people haven't tried, so some scholars and apologists examine or appeal to cultural features of certain groups, or pre-columbian myths, some of which is interesting but again there's issues (lack of data, impossibility of definitive results, possible contamination of said myths by conquistadors etc), and I think some mistaken myself.

As to the Ascension - they're not felt to be in contradiction. 3 Nephi 11 describes Christ descending from the Heavens, and the remainder of the book has him teaching the people and then ascending back. This is not in any way felt to constitute the Second Coming, which is regarded as yet future.

12 April 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger DaveR said...

Actually, speaking as someone presently hiding in a theology department, if I were Protestant or Catholic I'd be far more worried about the Theologians and Biblical scholars who profess Christianity but disbelieve the miracles or the resurrection than I would the Mormons. To paraphrase a fairly widespread opinion in the words of a work on the NT I had to read: "these things [i.e the resurrection, feeding of the five thousand etc] may be not be historically true (in the sense that they may well have never happened) but they may be theologically true."

I have no idea how that thought actually coexists in someone's head...

12 April 2012 at 14:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Thanks for replying DaveR. As to your first paragraph, I think my point would be that there is more to historical evidence than just texts. We might find a monument for instance. In this case, I would appeal to the Church as a movement - that's not direct evidence, but what is, in history?

Regarding texts however, we know that the NT texts are ancient and come from very close to the source. We have very many and very early texts.

The Book of Mormon however is a different matter. What is the evidence that these texts are so old? Published in 1830 and what happened to the golden plates? Similarly, whereas we do have evidence of the resurrection (as I said in my previous post), where is the historical evidence of Jesus in America. I recognise that there are difficulties here - but that's an explanation of why there is no evidence, not a disclosure of evidence.

The Ascension: do I take it that Christ ascended came back and then ascended again and will come back again, again?

Certainly, those who profess to be Christians but deny core doctrines are a real problem (though perhaps less so these days than 30 years ago). As to your comment about historically vs theologically true, the point seems to be to get a theological truth behind what might be called the "myth". This makes no sense if one takes it to mean "this story was made up to show the theological truth that Jesus did such things." If on the other hand, we had good reason to suppose a particular miracle is intended by scripture to be understood as a kind of parable, then that would not be a problem, provided such a position did not entail or arise from a denial of miracles, and did not deny the core miracles, like the resurrection.

Why are you hiding BTW?

12 April 2012 at 14:34  
Blogger Albert said...

What is the Mormon attitude to the OT & NT?

12 April 2012 at 14:34  
Blogger Oswin said...

A case of the USA being 'caught between a Barack and a hard place'?

12 April 2012 at 18:15  
Blogger len said...

albert, (nice to see you back hope you had a good Easter.) My point is why would the Americans wish to return to the shackles of Catholicism?.( I was addressing the point about Rick Santorum`s Catholicism and his suspension of his candidacy)
The 'Pilgrim Fathers' left England for America because they thought the Anglican Church was 'too Catholic',so what would they have thought of ' real Catholicism?'.
Am I right in thinking that any Catholic must put the Pope above all other Earthly leaders and who would any Catholic President owe his first allegiance to?.
I would think this question would be in the forefront of most Americans minds.

12 April 2012 at 20:02  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

Thank you for your welcome - and I hope you have had a good Easter too.

I was addressing the point about Rick Santorum`s Catholicism and his suspension of his candidacy

Sorry, I missed the connection. However, I don't think the texts you cited have any authority.

The 'Pilgrim Fathers' left England for America because they thought the Anglican Church was 'too Catholic',so what would they have thought of ' real Catholicism?'.

No, that was why the left the CofE. I think it was the persecution perpetrated by the Anglicans that was the reason for leaving England.

Am I right in thinking that any Catholic must put the Pope above all other Earthly leaders and who would any Catholic President owe his first allegiance to?

No, it would depend on the issue. Let us suppose that the state required me to believe something heretical like "Mary is the fourth person of the Godhead", then in that case, the Pope's denial would take precedent. Or suppose the state required me to submit to the proposition "Gay sex is not sinful" then I would have to side with the Pope. But on these points, I hope it is obvious that I wouldn't so much be siding with the Pope, only with the gospel, which the pope had proclaimed afresh.

Suppose however, that the pope had declared that a particular war was immoral, and I was convinced in my own conscience that he was wrong, and the state wanted me to fight, then I would be able to fight. Or suppose the pope told me that it was legitimate to drive at 50 mph in a built up area, I would have to obey English law.

Do you see the distinction: Church and state have different spheres of authority. I do not see that that is different in Catholicism or Protestantism: we would both reject the state if it contradicted the faith on matters of faith or morals. We would reject church authority if it pontificated on matters which properly belong to the secular state.

Make sense?

12 April 2012 at 20:43  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

@Dodo,

No, the Mormon Empire covers only one solar system. Koblos I think.

12 April 2012 at 20:58  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

actually I do apologise. The system is called Kolob.

12 April 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

@alpha,

"Mormon Empire?!"

12 April 2012 at 22:11  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Alfred
Clear but may I ask an awkward question?

What about the abortion laws? What duty has a Catholic leader to follow Church definitive teaching on this? Same with homosexuality and contraception and divorce.

At what point in the temporal-spiritual divide does being a Catholic in full communion with the Church, require faithful following of authoritative Church teaching?

12 April 2012 at 22:52  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Alpha

My sources tellme the Moronic Empire is located in the planetary system known as Genitalibus. The planetS most prized are Testiculos
and Mutinium in the region Ileum.

Have I been misinformed?.

12 April 2012 at 23:00  
Blogger len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 April 2012 at 08:11  
Blogger len said...

Albert, thank you for your answer.

You seem to be saying that the authority of the Pope is not total?.
That other factors can override the Pope?.
Who has the greater authority the Pope or Scripture?

13 April 2012 at 08:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

Certainly the Pope's authority is not total - it is simply the highest authority in a particular sphere.

Who has the greater authority the Pope or Scripture?

Scripture - the Pope is never an additional source to scripture. When he speaks with his full authority he is nothing more than the highest authority interpreting scripture/revelation.

13 April 2012 at 08:58  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

Did you just call me Alfred? I'm offended!

What about the abortion laws? What duty has a Catholic leader to follow Church definitive teaching on this? Same with homosexuality and contraception and divorce.

Yes, because they fall into the moral sphere - which is the position the Church has authority over and which Government doesn't.

So what about the just war example? This is simply in a question of the application of the just war teaching - does this war meet the criteria for being just or not? That isn't a question reserved to the Pope, but ultimately to conscience.

Similarly, the Pope says that natural family planning is acceptable because it does not violate the Church's teaching on sexuality. But if a couple believed it did they would be bound by their own conscience and by unable to use natural family planning.

In all these cases though, the person has to inform his conscience first - not least by giving due reverence to the Church's official position. But if, in the application of the Church's teaching a person comes to the view that the Pope's application of that teaching is mistaken, he must follow his conscience.

I hope I've got that right - I may need to return to Newman on this one!

13 April 2012 at 09:04  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 April 2012 at 10:20  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Albert
Apologies for calling you Alfred. And welcome back to the wacky world of Cranmer.

Ummm ... I recall a lot of debate at the time about Humanae Vitae, its status and the role of individual conscience. I was an adolescant at the time and this divided my local parish. We had a 'modernist' priest who implied contraception was okay if it squared with one's own conscience, and that the encyclical was not authoritative.

There are debates within the Church about what is authoritative and binding teaching, whether this can be changed in the light of new knowledge, and was is infallible and binding for all time.

Surely no Catholic could, in good conscience, support abortion under any circumstances? Or homosexuality? Or divorce? The problem is Catholics may not know the full reasoning behind Church teaching and so not be exercising fully informed decision making.

Ignorance can bliss under certain circumstances - for a time.

So far as the modern political sphere is concerned, my understanding is that a Catholic leader would be required to do all s/he could to advance Christian ideals whilst giving due attention to the realities and responsibilities of office in a pluralistic democracy.

Far easier to be a Protestant Prime Minister or President in a liberal, pluralistic democracy!

13 April 2012 at 11:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

No need to apologise. When I came back to blogging I looked up what Cranmer had written on a particular subject that had interested me during Lent. This was probably 4 or 5 weeks into Lent and therefore, after I had stopped blogging. To my amazement, I found Dan slagging me off. But you came to my defence, and I thank you for that.

This question of conscience is certainly difficult. As far as I can see, non-definitive doctrine requires an "obsequium of intellect and will". But Len's worry is more to do with the actual application of Church teaching - it's here that informed conscience comes into play. I don't think that that can permit opposition to Humanae Vitae, or church teaching abortion, or homosexuality as these are Church teachings, not applications. It certainly couldn't permit dissent on divorce as I suspect the doctrine underlying it is dogma.

But to be honest, I am a bit hazy about the role of conscience in relation to Church teaching, since (having converted) I don't struggle with any Church teaching I've properly studied and so I've never had to work out what would happen if my conscience conflicted with Church teaching.

13 April 2012 at 12:21  
Blogger John Thomas said...

Obama may not, indeed, be Satan, but with his world-wide promotion of abortion, and other things, he may as well be. And when he has has his hour or two, and gone his way, Satan will surely find someone else to fill the role very easily, and the work will go on.

13 April 2012 at 14:22  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Albert
I find I have a similar experience too with Church teaching and it seems a great pity people do not read Papal encyclicals or the catechism before attacking Rome's doctrine's.

As a political leader the realities of power and influence come into play and the 'lesser of two evils' can, I think, be legitimately applied.

So, for example, if a President knew it would be impossible to abolish abortion he could seek to limit its use to more carefully defined situations and shortwer periods and save the lifes of children. It would not be 'all or nothing'. He would be acting against Catholic teaching if he did nothing to prevent it being extended.

13 April 2012 at 18:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Agreed Dodo,

You cannot use the "lesser of two evils" to do an evil act, but you can use permit a lesser evil if you cannot stop both the lesser evil and the greater evil.

13 April 2012 at 18:42  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

@Dodo,

The primary system of the Mormon Regime is Kolob, as I have been there for the past few days and am feeling quite pleased with myself. You may or may not be aware that Mormons have special religious undergarments (google it if you don't believe me) similar to the corset.

Now I have won a contract to supply the Mormon non-human faithful with said undergarments (designed specifically for each species); and given that there are about 9 billion non Human Mormons and at 500 space bucks a garment I'm onto a winner!

13 April 2012 at 18:44  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

@Paul Twigg,

I use the term "empire" to describe most governments- it is the translator not working properly. The Mormon Regime is a theocratic government, with elements of democracy.

13 April 2012 at 18:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Drop the word "use" in that sentence, I was going to say "use the principle" but dropped it. I don't mean to say that you can use evil.

13 April 2012 at 18:49  
Blogger Alpha Draconis said...

Albert is clearly a human Sharman or wise man- it is clear from his while beard and smoking device. I shall note my files accordingly.

13 April 2012 at 21:39  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Alpha
Kolobs indeed, Sir!

I have heard of these garments that provide protection against evil. They are said to help the wearer resist temptation, fend off evil influences, and stand firm for right.

Looking at them on Google, it's difficult to see how one could stand firm in such regalia!

13 April 2012 at 22:25  
Blogger len said...

Albert, I find your answer somewhat puzzling.

'Scripture - the Pope is never an additional source to scripture. When he speaks with his full authority he is nothing more than the highest authority interpreting scripture/revelation.'
13 April 2012 08:58'

Albert, You seem to be claiming that the Pope is a 'higher authority' than God?.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us
'But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.'(John 16:13)

The Muslims interpret these scriptures as Mohammed being 'The Guide'.Can Catholics be equally wrong in their interpretation of these scriptures?.Can we actually make scriptures say whatever we want them to say to align with our own wishes?.

14 April 2012 at 07:36  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

Albert, You seem to be claiming that the Pope is a 'higher authority' than God?. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us

The Church in her teaching is guided by God the Holy Spirit. So the Pope is a lower authority than either scripture or the Holy Spirit - just higher than lone ranger readers.

14 April 2012 at 10:08  
Blogger len said...

Albert.
IF the Catholic Church is guided by the Holy Spirit He seems to be contradicting and opposing Himself.

Now we both know that cannot be happening so who exactly IS guiding the Catholic Church ?.

15 April 2012 at 07:19  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

Obviously, the Holy Spirit does not contradict himself, but the Catholic Church does not contradict the Holy Spirit and you haven't given any reason to think she does.

15 April 2012 at 10:07  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Holy Spirit vs Roman Catholic Church..A comparison!

If the Word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit, then the RCC has erred most grievously against Him.

HS
Jesus is the Rock and Peter is "a stone". 1Cor.10:4 and Jn.1:42
Peter had just confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. It was upon this truthful confession that Jesus planned to build his church and says such.
I Cor.10:4 tells us that Christ is that "rock" (petra, massive rock). I Cor.3:11 says: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

RCC
St Peter is venerated as the "unshakable rock of the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church..http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p4.htm)

The episcopal college and its head, the Pope

880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them."398 Just as "by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another."399

881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.400 "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head."401 This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful."402 "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."403

and further

RCC
Pope Gregory VII drew up the Dictatus (a list of twenty-seven theses outlining his powers as “Peter’s vicar”. Pope Gregory VII (the only pope to canonize himself. LOL, BIGTIME) drew up a Dictatus (list) of twenty- seven theses outlining his powers as "Peter’s vicar, Prince of the Apostles and Chief Shepherd".

Pope Gregory VII claimed the Pope had the following eight (8) powers:

1). The Pope can be judged by no one on earth.

2). The Roman church has never erred, nor can it err until the end of time.

3). The Pope alone can depose bishops.

4). He alone is entitled to imperial insignia.

5). He can dethrone emperors and kings and absolve their subjects from allegiance.

6). All princes are obliged to kiss his feet.

7). His legates, even when not priests, have precedence over all bishops.

8). A rightly elected Pope is, without question, a saint, made so by the merits of Peter

HS
Salvation is "not of works". (Eph.2:8-9 Tit.3:5)

RCC
They misuse James 2:26 to prove they must work for salvation.

Just a couple to help jog memories!

Ernst

15 April 2012 at 17:32  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Ernsty

Gregory VII was beatified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1584 and canonized in 1728 by Pope Benedict XIII as Pope St. Gregory VII.

His writings need to be understood in the the political, theological and ecclesiastical context of the early 11th Century.

Like all great historical figures he attracks supporters and detractors along Catholic and anti-Catholic lines.

For me, the Holy Spirit ensured Gregory's greatest achievement was the following confession which he used his Papal authority to promulgate:

"I believe in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine that are placed on the altar are, through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the words of the Redeemer, substantially changed into the true and proper and lifegiving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that after the consecration they are the true body of Christ."

Just wonderful how the Holy Spirit works through men in the Church.

15 April 2012 at 21:52  
Blogger len said...

Tragically the Catholic is prevented from receiving the spiritually eternal life that Christ offers by the doctrines he is following.
Rome claims to "control the merits Christ won" and dispenses them in 'instalments'.(Thereby retaining control of 'salvation' because the Mass must be performed endlessly)

Where did Christ 'give His Flesh?' not at the last supper but on the Cross of Calvary.

16 April 2012 at 08:18  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dodo going all wistful and giddy

"Just wonderful how the Holy Spirit works through men in the Church." Wouldn't know, my boy, as I have never come across one inspired by Him within the RCC. We wait in hope??

Ernsty

16 April 2012 at 13:30  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

len
You don't believe Christ shared His Body and Blood with the Apostles before Calvary?

What can the bible mean? Is the account of the Last Supper a fabrication?

Ernsty
Try starting with Saint Peter, the Apostles, the Church Fathers. I could go on.

So you attend Catholic Churches now do you and follow Catholic doctrine?

18 April 2012 at 01:11  

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