Outrageous hope

December 24, 2010


F is for Wryday (37)

December 23, 2010

Anyone getting an Ipad for Christmas? Remember, as good as they are, they’re not better than a newspaper in every way …

And, as a special offer for readers of this blog, I’ll let you in on a deal sent to me yesterday:

Hi Guys,

If you are interested in getting an iPad I can get hold of them through a contact.
The numbers are limited and he has 10 iPads going for less than half price – it’s first come first served.
He has already sold one (pic is below so you can see what you are getting)
Get back to me as quick as you can if you want one.

Cheers


Comes in tens

December 21, 2010

I still read CathPews from time to time, mostly to catch up on on friends (and sparring partners!) and I was more than a little amused by Fr Mark Kirby’s 10 advantages of saying Mass ad orientum. The sophistry is stunning:

1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.

Who by? God is not bound by a direction, even a traditional one. God is everywhere.

2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.

What a cracker! Most trad masses are overburdened by over-dressed clerics and their, similarly overdressed, hangers-on. It is a spectical where the centre of attention is the priest, back or front.

3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.

Whereas VatII encourages us all to actively participate in the mass.

4. The sacrificial character of the Mass is wonderfully expressed and affirmed.

Because people can’t actually see what’s going on?

5. Almost imperceptibly one discovers the rightness of praying silently at certain moments, of reciting certain parts of the Mass softly, and of cantillating others.

This is my favourite because it’s ‘almost imperceptible’.

6. It affords the priest celebrant the boon of a holy modesty.

Assuming ‘holy modesty’ is something easy to recognise, how is it a boon?

7. I find myself more and more identified with Christ, Eternal High Priest and Hostia perpetua, in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, beyond the veil, before the Face of the Father.

You find yourself, Father? And this is not ‘tiresome clerocentrism’?

8. During the Canon of the Mass I am graced with a profound recollection.

You Father?

9. The people have become more reverent in their demeanour.

Oh! The people! As opposed to the … mmm … clerics?

10. The entire celebration of Holy Mass has gained in reverence, attention, and devotion.

Probably because they’re like you, Father.

I think 10 tips for Holiday Cheer and Dining has much more going for it!


F is for Wryday (36)

December 16, 2010

Caught this on The Punch the other day. I found it very funny, especially the kicker at the end.

As a pithy economic analysis of the GFC is can’t be beat. Be warned though, there’s plenty of the ‘F’ word, the ‘A’ word and even the ‘W’ word, but dey’re all said wit a luverly Eyer-rish accent so dat makes up fer it:


Another caption competition

December 16, 2010

I’ve instigated another caption competion over at CA. Not sure how it will go, but here’s my first effort:

And here, importantly, is the context:


A very frustrating discussion

December 14, 2010

Over at Sentire I’ve just tried to engage in a discussion about the all-male priesthood. It’s been exasperating and frustrating, but I just thought I’d publish parts of it here ‘for the record’ even though the threads are a little hard to follow without the normal blog indentation.

How do people of good will conduct these conversations without getting into circular arguments and tension? I really don’t know.

Me
December 13, 2010 at 7:21 am

Well, yes, by all means, let us “discuss” the Church’s teaching, but not in such a way that the matter would be “considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force”.

I’m not sure George Orwell himself could come up with a better example of Orwellian double-speak, David. I assume ‘Discuss’ is in quotes because you don’t mean discuss in any conventional sense. In fact you mean ‘agree’. Imagine running a blog ‘discussion’ along those lines!

And Sister Butler’s ‘reasons’ have all the depth of a wading pool. Jesus didn’t choose men? It’s scriptural? Jesus didn’t choose Australians either.

Is there a scriptural reference from Jesus saying that ‘forever and for all time the church must never choose women as priests’? No? Therefore it’s not scriptural in any meaningful or binding sense.

Reply
An Liaig says:
December 13, 2010 at 10:48 am

Oh dear! This form of argument has been used many times by the proponents of women’s ordination but it has a major problem: it equates the fundamental difference of gender with incidental differences such as nationality. Gender is a fundamental character of the human person. It is a property of WHAT you are. It is written into your very DNA. Only baptism has the same (or greater) determinitive force and no non-baptised person can be ordained either. To equate differenceds in gender with differences in nationality (or anything else) is simply silly. If gender is recognised as having a determinative effect on human nature in a way that is unique, then the scriptural argument holds. It is only if you ignore the function of biology that it does not.

Reply
Schütz says:
December 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

Thanks, Doctor. The usual way of making this distinction is (I believe) that a person’s nationality is an “accident” while a person’s sex is “substance”. From another perspective, in one of the blog discussions linked above, Matthew Blecker asks why it is necessary that someone to have a penis to be a priest/pastor. Of course, putting the question this way he is attempting to reduce the “substance” of masculinity to the “accident” of “having a penis”.

Reply
Me:
December 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Again, David, if Jesus wanted to make a substantive point about the nature of ministry being inextricably linked to masculinity, surely he would have?

By the standards of his time, Jesus challenged prevailing attitudes to women. Why would it not be more reasonable to continue that tradition?

Reply
Schütz says:
December 13, 2010 at 3:23 pm

It is a matter of following an example, Tony. Take the footwashing, for instance, and Jesus’ admonition that his disciples should do the same. Since this was a case in which jesus washed the feet of the disciples as a metaphor of service, it may be asked whether we “imitate Jesus” by:
1) physically washing other people’s feet?
2) physically washing other people in some way, whether it is their feet or their hands?
3) metaphorically “washing people’s feet” by serving them?

Or agian, when Jesus took bread and wine and blessed them and gave them as his body and blood and said “Do this in rememberance of me”, did he mean:
1) that only wheat bread and fermented wine can be consecrated as his eucharistic body and blood
2) we can use any kind of food for this purpose (eg. rice crackers and rice-wine)
3) the important thing isn’t the bread or the wine but the remembering?

The Church makes certain judgements in this area. Especially in the case of the Eucharist, it judges that the substance of Bread and Wine is significantly important that to use anything else other than wheat bread and fermented grape wine would be to fail to follow the example of Jesus. However, it doesn’t matter if the bread is leavened or unleavened – this is not seen to affect the substance.

So in the case of the Jewish males whom he selected to be his disciples: Because maleness belongs to the substance of a man’s being, whereas race is accidental, maleness is judged to be significant in the example set by Christ. However, there are three fundamental reasons for ordaining males only, and Christ’s selection of only males is just one of them. The other two are the practice of the apostles (who continued to ordain only men, but not only Jews) and the continual unbroken tradition of the Church (who also continued to ordain men of all races).

As for following Jesus’ example in challeng[ing] the prevailing attitudes to women, I think the Church does a fairly good job of this in today’s context of feminism and over sexualisation of women. It is precisely because we “challenge the prevailing attitutdes to women” that we know that we cannot ordain them as priestesses.

Reply
Me:
December 13, 2010 at 4:49 pm

So in the case of the Jewish males whom he selected to be his disciples: Because maleness belongs to the substance of a man’s being, whereas race is accidental, maleness is judged to be significant in the example set by Christ.

Tempted as I am David, I’m not arguing about the substance of ‘maleness’. I’m challenging that the way Jesus chose his disciples indicates a strong linking of priesthood with maleness. It doesn’t.

If, for Jesus, maleness was so fundamental to the nature of the priesthood, it is reasonable to ask ‘where’s the evidence?’. The only evidence for this apparently rock solid rule is speculation about the way he chose some of his followers.

The other two are the practice of the apostles (who continued to ordain only men, but not only Jews) and the continual unbroken tradition of the Church (who also continued to ordain men of all races).

There’s no doubt about the tradition, but there are all sorts of other factors that contribute to that. If the foundation of that tradition is scriptural however, it’s a weak foundation.

If the foundation is tradition, it can be changed. Tradition is something we make.

As for following Jesus’ example in challeng[ing] the prevailing attitudes to women, I think the Church does a fairly good job of this in today’s context of feminism and over sexualisation of women. It is precisely because we “challenge the prevailing attitutdes to women” that we know that we cannot ordain them as priestesses.

Great twist David!

I believe we can challenge the prevailing attitutdes to women in the church and ask, ‘Is this what Jesus really wanted?’.

Schütz says:
December 14, 2010 at 6:44 am

“If, for Jesus, maleness was so fundamental to the nature of the priesthood, it is reasonable to ask ‘where’s the evidence?’”

The evidence is that the apostles continued to ordain only men. Since they exercised the authority of Jesus and carried out his mission, we can take this as the authentic fulfillment of Jesus’ commandment.

Me:
December 14, 2010 at 7:33 am
The evidence is that the apostles continued to ordain only men. Since they exercised the authority of Jesus and carried out his mission, we can take this as the authentic fulfillment of Jesus’ commandment.

What commandment?

It is every bit as reasonable to speculate that the ordination practices of the early church were more to do with culture than commandment.

But, again, let’s assume for the sake of argument that you’re right. They interpreted Christ’s actions as a commandment and we follow in their footsteps to the extent that the church believes it doesn’t have the authority to change.

On what basis then, does the church assume the authority to make a rule that priests must be celibate given the clear action of Jesus appointing Peter?

This side of Orwellian double-speak, David, it doesn’t stack up.

Me:
December 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm

My argument didn’t equate gender with nationality, An Liaig. What it did do is use the same argument that the church uses about gender (Jesus didn’t choose women, therefore we shouldn’t … or should I say, can’t).

It assumes that because Jesus apparently didn’t do some thing, he meant it as a kind of ‘command’ for us, from that day forward, to do the same. It’s a very tenuous form of argument and not a very solid foundation to build such an absolute rule.

The nature of gender and nationality in this context is a red herring.

Reply
Schütz says:
December 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Your argument fails in the following example.

Jesus took bread and wine, blessed them etc. and said “Do this in rememberance of me”.

The church sees his example as a command and therefore uses only wheaten bread and fermented grape juice as suitable matter for the eucharist.

However, by your argument, there is no reason why we should not use coke and pizza, since Christ did not specifically tell us not to use coke and pizza.

By his actions, Christ gave sufficient indication of his intentions. Where there is any uncertainty, we look to the apostolic practice for confirmation. Where the Church has continued an apostolic and dominical practice unbroken for 2000 years, we have no authority to change that practice.

Reply
Me:
December 13, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Again, David, ‘by his actions’ Jesus chose married men as his closest followers. Why doesn’t that qualify as ‘significant indication’?

I also suspect that if a world-wide plant epidemic wiped out all traces of wheat and grape (God forbid!) the church would approve other staple foods.

Reply
Schütz says:
December 14, 2010 at 6:42 am

Marriage, like race, is incidental to the nature of the person, not of the substance of the nature. And we do not know that all the apostles were married, only that it is probable that some of them were.

Reply
Me:
December 14, 2010 at 7:39 am

We know that Peter was married, David. So, if the ‘scriptural logic’ of male priesthood follows it must surely mean that we’re doing the opposite of what Christ intended for the priesthood (and the Papacy no less!) by insisting that they’re not married.

I can not see how you can logically assert that what Christ did in one instance is a ‘forever commandment’ and what he did in another is something we have the authority to change.

Reply
Schütz says:
December 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I can not see how you can logically assert that what Christ did in one instance is a ‘forever commandment’ and what he did in another is something we have the authority to change.

Let me spell it out:
1) In the matter of ordaining men only to the ministerial priesthood, the Apostles followed the example of our Lord, and the Church ever since without exception has done likewise.
2) By the fact that Christ appointed both married and unmarried, celibate and uncelibate men as apostles, and that the apostles and the Church thereafter have also ordained both celibate and married men, shows that celibacy was not and is not a universal and eternal prerequisite for the Church. But this the Church understands. Even in the Western Latin Rite, married men may be ordained. So I don’t see what your argument is.
3) Finally, as An Liaig and I have both been saying, but you seem to fail to appreciate, marriage is incidental to the person, not of their substance. Maleness is of the substance of a person. The distinction is important. You are not comparing like unto like.

Reply
An Liaig says:
December 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm
Tony,
Your argument involves an equivalence. To say you are using the same argument but simply substituting nationality for gender is to hold that the substitution makes no difference to the substance of the argument. My point was that this is not the case. The argument based on gender, in the context of history and the tradition of the Church, is actually very strong. In the same context, an argument based on nationality would be trite. Your demand for a specific comand about ordination is also meaningless since the Church does not interpret or use scripture in this literalist way. The scriptures form part of the living understanding of the Church and the bishops, in union with Peter, are the appointed overseers of this living tradition. Jesus, in fact, said very little about how to organise and run the Church. What he did was give us his example and his Spirit.

Reply
Me:
December 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Your argument involves an equivalence.

Yes it does. The equivalence is, however, how a rule was arrived at not gender and nationality.

The argument based on gender, in the context of history and the tradition of the Church, is actually very strong.

But the foundation — Sister Sara Butler’s first point about scripture — is weak. We are assuming that Jesus said something substantial about the nature of the priesthood and masculinity and, on that basis, make a rule that is set in stone.

Your demand for a specific comand about ordination is also meaningless since the Church does not interpret or use scripture in this literalist way.

Which makes the notion that an all-male priesthood being ‘scriptural’ even weaker.

The scriptures form part of the living understanding of the Church and the bishops, in union with Peter, are the appointed overseers of this living tradition.

They do and this is why the notion that we ‘can’t change’ seems a little self serving. ‘We’ — as in the leaders of the early church — made the rule and ‘we’ can surely unmake it?

Jesus, in fact, said very little about how to organise and run the Church.

Spot on! How we organise and run the Church is up to us. To say we ‘can’t change’ this aspect of how the church organises and runs itself because we don’t have the authority seems to contradict the fact — the scriptural fact, if you will — that Jesus did leave it up to us.

If we used your logic in relation to priestly celibacy we’d see that Jesus chose married men for his closest followers — the first Pope no less! — and, on that basis, clerical celibacy has no ‘scriptural basis’ and to insist that priests be celibate goes against his ‘example and his Spirit’.

Reply
An Liaig says:
December 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Tony,
You still fail to see the basic error in your argument. The equivalence in the form of the argument is only valid if there is substantive equivalence in the elements of the argument. This is why the fundamental nature of maleness is important as compared to the incidental nature of nationality or, indeed, celibacy. Maleness and femaleness are constitutive of our humanity. This is why, although the Western Church holds to a tradition of celibacy, it does not teach that it is impossible to ordain a married man. It does teach that it is impossible to ordain a woman. Jesus had many women among his supporters and ,in defiance of tradition, among his intimate friends. However, he did not choose any woman among his leadership group. This is a powerful discrimination which can not be waved away with false comparisons. In the Catholic Church scripture is always, always interpreted in the context of tradition. Tradition is not something that we make – it is something we are given to preserve and pass on. Tradition, in the church’s sense, is not something that is up to us – it is the work of the Spirit in the community.

Me:
December 13, 2010 at 8:47 pm

You still fail to see the basic error in your argument. The equivalence in the form of the argument is only valid if there is substantive equivalence in the elements of the argument.

And the equivalence in my argument was about the nature of how we derive rules from scripture. That is, if you derive a rule that Jesus didn’t ordain women so we can’t, if follows that if Jesus didn’t ordain Africans, we can’t.

The second proposition is silly but I think the same about the first.

This is why the fundamental nature of maleness is important as compared to the incidental nature of nationality or, indeed, celibacy. Maleness and femaleness are constitutive of our humanity.

Yes they are BUT we have no direct evidence (or, I’d suggest, any more than speculation) the Jesus chose men because he was telling us something substantive about maleness and priesthood.

As you say yourself, Jesus really left things like that up to us and, knowing that, we do have the authority to change it.

However, he did not choose any woman among his leadership group. This is a powerful discrimination which can not be waved away with false comparisons.

Nor can we assume things about it which are simply not there. To say that it is ‘powerful discrimination’ is speculative at best.

Tradition is not something that we make – it is something we are given to preserve and pass on. Tradition, in the church’s sense, is not something that is up to us – it is the work of the Spirit in the community.

Working through us!

Schütz says:
December 14, 2010 at 6:47 am

A couple of things:

1) The “fundamental reasons” are not Sister Sara’s, but those cited repeatedly in the magisterial teaching of the Church

2) The Catholic Church does not defend the practice of restricting the priesthood to men only on the basis of “Scripture alone”, but upon the dominical command, the apostolic example and the continual tradition of the Church. I did once belong to an ecclesial community that reduced the “fundamental reasons” to “scripture says”, and they are still arguing about whether or not scripture alone restricts the ministry to men.

Me:
December 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

1) The “fundamental reasons” are not Sister Sara’s, but those cited repeatedly in the magisterial teaching of the Church

Not sure what point your making David. Is Sister arguing something different from the arguments of the Magisterium? If so, please explain.

2) The Catholic Church does not defend the practice of restricting the priesthood to men only on the basis of “Scripture alone”, but upon the dominical command, the apostolic example and the continual tradition of the Church.

Dominical command? Not sure what that is.

Your assertions don’t explain why the Pope contends that the church doesn’t have the authority to change in this case but assumes the authority to change in the case of mandatory celibacy.

I did once belong to an ecclesial community that reduced the “fundamental reasons” to “scripture says”, and they are still arguing about whether or not scripture alone restricts the ministry to men.

You mean they’re having a ‘discussion’ in the accepted meaning of the term? Good on ‘em!

Schütz says:
December 14, 2010 at 11:44 am
A dominical command is a command from the Lord. An apostolic command (which has exactly the same authority) is a command from the apostles.

You keep comparing the rule of celibacy to the rule of a male only priesthood.

Dogmatics 101 would teach you that the former is a discipline (which may be altered according to the wisdom of the Church) and the latter is a dogma (which the Church has no authority to alter). You have demonstrated quite clearly that the Church does not have an unbroken Tradition of mandatory celibacy. We all know that. For that reason (among others, such as marriage not being of the substance of the human person) it is possible for a married man to be ordained. But not a woman, as there has been an unbroken Tradition from Christ and the Apostles of ordaining men only.

Your argumentation demonstrates exactly why so many democratically governed churches have finally capitulated to the demand for the ordination of women. Those who support it, no matter how flimsy or easily disproved their case, will just keep on saying “But wwwwwhyyyyyyy, Mummy?” like a bleating child in a supermarket until they get what they want.

Sorry. That probably wasn’t “nice”. But it’s how I feel at the moment in this “discussion”. It probably shows the wisdom of the Church is saying that this topic is “not to be discussed”. Possibly I should close this combox now…

Me:
December 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm

A dominical command is a command from the Lord. An apostolic command (which has exactly the same authority) is a command from the apostles.

So the rule of male-only priesthood is a ‘Dominical command’? Surely this is where scripture does come in? And if this is so, surely the act of appointing Peter is as much ‘Dominical’ as the male-only ‘command’?

You keep comparing the rule of celibacy to the rule of a male only priesthood.

Let me be clear: I’m not comparing the nature of the rule. The fact that one is a ‘rule’ and another is a ‘discipline’ (or whatever) is not the subject of comparison. It’s the way both were derived.

You have demonstrated quite clearly that the Church does not have an unbroken Tradition of mandatory celibacy. We all know that. For that reason (among others, such as marriage not being of the substance of the human person) it is possible for a married man to be ordained. But not a woman, as there has been an unbroken Tradition from Christ and the Apostles of ordaining men only.

OK, I’ve let this through to the keeper for argument’s sake. What we recognise as priesthood today didn’t occur (according to my reading) for a couple of centuries after the death of Christ. In that time there were accounts of women having leadership positions that make the ‘unbroken male-only’ tradition at least questionable.

Your argumentation demonstrates exactly why so many democratically governed churches have finally capitulated to the demand for the ordination of women. Those who support it, no matter how flimsy or easily disproved their case, will just keep on saying “But wwwwwhyyyyyyy, Mummy?” like a bleating child in a supermarket until they get what they want.

But, so far, you haven’t demonstrated anything like the ‘flimsyness’ of my case. You’ve just said, ‘Daddy says so and what Daddy says goes’.

Sorry. That probably wasn’t “nice”. But it’s how I feel at the moment in this “discussion”. It probably shows the wisdom of the Church is saying that this topic is “not to be discussed”. Possibly I should close this combox now…

Ahem.

Schütz says:
December 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

So the rule of male-only priesthood is a ‘Dominical command’? Surely this is where scripture does come in?

Only if you limit the Word of God to Scripture and do not also include Tradition as a source for revelation of the Word of God. Again, we do not seek a “written” command in the Tradition on this matter. That is the very meaning of the distinction between Scripture and Tradition. Tradition is unwritten, but nevertheless still the Word of God. Essentially it means this: because we have always ordained men only and never ordained women, and because the Apostles themselves did this, and because Jesus himself did this, this is Tradition and it is a revealed command of the Word of God. If you have trouble with that, you might be a Protestant.

Schütz says:
December 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

What we recognise as priesthood today didn’t occur (according to my reading) for a couple of centuries after the death of Christ. In that time there were accounts of women having leadership positions that make the ‘unbroken male-only’ tradition at least questionable.

The structures in which the ministerial priesthood were exercised may have looked very different from our structures today, but it is an article of our faith that the ministerial priesthood was established by Christ and that it has only been conferred on adult male human beings. A “leadership position” in the Church does not equate with the ministerial priesthood, although of course those who exercise the priesthood would also probably have some leadership role.

Your position rests on:
1) the idea that the Church, not Jesus (or even the apostles), established the ministerial preisthood
2) equating “leadership positions” with the “ministerial priesthood”
3) asserting that because women had leadership positions in the early Christian community, they therefore must have been ordained ministerial priests.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Sorry.

——————

And so it goes on.


F is for Wryday (35)

December 9, 2010

A male patient is lying in bed in the hospital, wearing an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose, still heavily sedated from a difficult four hour surgical procedure.

A young student nurse appears to give him a partial sponge bath.

‘Nurse,’ he mumbles, from behind the mask, ‘Are my testicles black?’

Embarrassed, the young nurse replies, ‘I don’t know sir. I’m only here to wash your upper body.’

He struggles to ask again, ‘Nurse, are my testicles black?’

Concerned that he may elevate his vitals from worry about his testicles, she overcomes her embarrassment and sheepishly pulls back the covers.

She raises his gown, holds his penis in one hand and his testicles in the other, lifting and moving them around and around gently.

Then, she takes a close look and says, ‘No sir, they aren’t and I assure you, there’s nothing wrong with them sir!’

The man pulls off his oxygen mask, smiles at her and says very slowly, ‘Thank you very much. That was wonderful, but listen very, very closely……

A r e – m y – t e s t – r e s u l t s -b a c k ?’


F is for Wryday (34)

December 3, 2010

Some of the artists of the 60’s & 70’s are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate ageing baby boomers ….

New Releases Include:

Herman’s Hermits
Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Walker

Ringo Starr
I Get By With A Little Help From Depends

The Bee Gees
How Can You Mend A Broken Hip?

Roberta Flack
The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face

Johnny Nash
I CAN’T See Clearly Now.

Paul Simon
Fifty Ways To Lose Your Liver

The Commodores
Once, Twice, 3 Times To The Bathroom

Procol Harum
A Whiter Shade Of Hair

Leo Sayer
You Make Me Feel Like Napping

ABBA
Denture Queen

Helen Reddy
I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore

Lesley Gore
It’s My Party and I’ll Go To Bed If I Want To

Willie Nelson
On the Commode Again

The Animals
The House of the Setting Sun

Del Shannon
Walkaway

The McCoys
Hang on Sloppy

The Troggs
Mild Thing

Lulu
To Nurse with Love