Sunday 30 January 2011

Corrupting the majority for the sake of the minority...

James Preece has posted a link to Patricia Wocial's TV appearance about sex education in school. Patricia is very sensible, and many of the comments very supportive.

But I think it instructive to look at those with opposed views. For example:

It's all well and good for Patricia to be saying that loving parents should teach their lovely children about lovely sex. But what about kids without parents? What about kids who have parents who are unwilling to talk about the subject, or are not exactly 'experts', to put it nicely.

This is the argument that is repeatedly used, and has some face-validity. However to design progammes for everyone based on the minority is potentially very problematic. In fact it seems to me to be a main driver of our current problems with teenage promiscuity (leading to STDs, abortions and other tragedies) and marital breakdown.

The argument goes that in a few cases something terrible happens (eg a girl gets pregnant because she didn't know that's how babies are made); therefore we must minimise that risk by teaching EVERYONE all there is to know about how babies are made.

Or some marriages really do break down irretrievably. Therefore we must avoid moralising or stigmatising, and make it as easy and acceptable as possible for people to divorce.

In both cases, the small minority argument drives a policy that exacerbates the problem - so we now have a huge number of promiscuous teenagers (as opposed to the very small numbers before all this 'enlightened' practice was introduced) and catastrophic rates of marriage and relationship breakdown.

Saturday 29 January 2011

A Sad Case

Fr Z comments on Fr Cutié - a Catholic priest who was caught in an inappropriate relationship with a divorced woman, and left the Catholic priesthood, who now attacks the Church on many issues of morality, and is setting up a chat show on Fox TV.

One sad thing is that his initial reaction (as seen in this early TV interview) was that he knew that he was wrong to break his vows, he believes in and supports celibacy and so on.

It is sad that his behaviour has now led him so far from the Church.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Popular or right?

Thinking about ethics and politics; how popular and right are two very different things, and any action may be:
  • Popular and right
  • Popular and wrong
  • Unpopular and right
  • Unpopular and wrong
But modern thinking (or the lack thereof) has a double tendency that tends to destroy these distinctions: the glorification of democracy as the only absolute value; the denigration of concepts of right or wrong as absolutes, reducing them to (in the post-modern world) social constructs of particular times, places and political groupings.

And the pollsters said to Our Lord: do not go to Jerusalem, for they will kill you there.

And Our Lord went to Jerusalem, because it was the right thing to do.

And the pollsters were right about His being killed there...

And Our Lord was right to go there.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Abortion - the UnChoice

A www site well worth visiting: Abortion is the UnChoice

covers issues of coercion, suicide etc etc related to abortion, with evidence (US-based)

Sunday 23 January 2011

Deadly thought experiments

At they have some fascinating thought experiments. One is about abortion and as you answer the questions about parallel issues of rights, you can feel yourself being drawn down a road that is not the one you might wish to travel.

Thus answering the questions honestly, I got a report that suggested that whilst I am morally opposed to abortion, I respect a woman's right to choose as I place a high value on personal autonomy.

To the site's credit, there is also a critical article suggesting reasons why the thought experiment might not be valid.

What I liked was that the site forded me to think hard about why I had answered the questions the way that I had, and why I disagreed with the final analysis.

In fact, I disagree with the final analysis for two reasons: one is that the parallel situations are not really parallel: they select some features of the moral arguments about abortion as salient and build a parallel around those, but seem to me to miss other important aspects.

The second is that the questions they ask are also limited: they ask about whether the 'other' in the example they create, has rights in relation to your body/wellbeing. What they do not ask is:

If you believe they have no rights, do you therefore believe that you have the right to kill them by (for example) saline poisoning, decapitation and crushing etc.

What I dislike about the thought experiments is that they are clearly constructed to lead in one direction, and that they may actually convince people that, for example, the position 'I believe abortion to be morally wrong, but believe women have the right to choose' is a laudable moral stance.

Thus the other question they don't ask is: 'if you approve of abortion, is it morally right to construct so-called experiments that are actually covert attempts to influence how people perceive this moral issue?'

I would be particularly concerned if the 'thought experiments' were taken for use in schools as a way to 'explore' the issues, as they are not neutral, tend in one direction, and require a level of sophistication (or Faith) to resist...

But if you are a clear thinker, able to resist the covert influence, I do recommend going and having a look, as they may well make you think more deeply; and I'll be interested in any comments.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Ex BBC senior journalist on BBC Bias

Peter Sissons is a journalist with a successful career working both for the independent television news (ITN) and the BBC.

The Daily Mail Online (not something I am given to reading, but someone twittered about it...) carries an extract from his book which really gets under the skin of BBC bias. Well worth reading, including lines such as:
In my view, ‘bias’ is too blunt a word to describe the subtleties of the pervading culture. The better word is a ‘mindset’. At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left.
It reminds me of something incredibly revealing that the late Brian Hanrahan once said: 'Of course we don't just base our views on our opinions: we talk with friends and colleagues to get a sense of what the public are thinking.' Oddly enough, the friends and colleagues whom BBC journalists talk to in Ealing and Highgate may not be a completely representative sample of the views of the people...

The way we live now...

From the BBC WWWsite:

This week a study revealed that one in eight UK children rarely or never see their father.
So can one man have 13 children by eight different partners, have married six times and still be a good father? Well, ask Steve Ginger.
"I try to be a good dad," says the 49-year-old, who lives in a Bedfordshire village along with wife number six and three of his four stepchildren.
Steve's first two marriages lasted just a few weeks and yielded no children. He admits to spending a wedding night with someone other than his new bride.
The next four marriages were more productive, as were the relationships with four further women.
Steve has 13 children, plus one of disputed paternity who calls him dad. Their ages range from four to 27, and around half are now adults.

The BBC, ever mindful of its mission to educate and to present balanced stories, naturally accompany this with both the research on the impact on children of broken relationships, and comments from a prominent pro-traditional-family campaigner.
Oh, wait a moment...

Perhaps more surprisingly, they didn't even comment on the fact that the man had clearly had 'unprotected' sex with a series of women.

Thursday 20 January 2011

Diocese to eliminate unfair life

It has come to the attention of the Diocese of Westminster that of all the planets in the solar system, only one has sentient life. And it is no coincidence that the one planet that has life is also the source of all the pollution in the solar system, and consumes all the mineral wealth used.

As local leaders were unwilling to address this inequality, the diocese has installed its own team, and they are going to make sure that there is a level playing field between planets. The objections of inhabitants of planet earth against being eliminated are of course local and trivial compared to the wider issues of justice and peace.

What's all this about? Ask the parents of the Vaughan School...

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Sauce for the goose but not for the gay

A Christian couple who run a hotel in Cornwall have lost a legal case brought by a pair of homosexual men who complained that their policy of only allowing married couples to stay in double rooms was discriminatory.

So no Christian can now run a hotel in accordance with traditional Christian beliefs.

This apparently is all about equality.

Yet strangely, equality is a one-way street. It is apparently perfectly ok to advertise:

Guyz Hotel has been run as a gay hotel for the past 24 years,
and is one of the most popular and longest established gay
hotels in Blackpool, catering for gay couples, singles and
groups who want a gay environment
with quality accommodation.
Previously voted 3rd best gay hotel in UK!!

Just in case that is not clear, this is indeed a hotel that excludes anyone except homosexual men:

Guyz is a GENUINE Gay Hotel.
That means it is a hotel owned and run BY gay people FOR gay people,
but beware there are some straight owned ‘Pink Pound’ friendly Hotels
locally that display the pride flag trying to cash in on gay money,
and it isn’t until you check in that you discover they may be mixed, or even have
STAG & HEN parties staying.!!!
If you are specifically looking for a Gay Hotel be sure to ask if it is exclusively
gay when booking to avoid possible disappointment.

Clearly, the legal, political and social developments in this country are nothing to do with equality, but rather pro-homosexual and anti-Christian.

Monday 17 January 2011

UK Parenting 2011

The recent revelations that some Pakistani men have been grooming young white girls for abuse seem to me to have prompted only half the questions they should have done. The focus has been on whether there is something about the British Pakistani culture that needs addressing. But nobody has raised the question of whether the British white culture that raises girls who are seen as easy targets should be questioned.

Then today we have
reports of widespread grooming and abuse of children as young as 10, with the average aged down from 15 to 13.

The advice to parents from Ms Anne Marie Carrie, Barnardo's new chief executive, is that there are
a few typical signs that parents should look out for.

"First of all, that children get gifts they couldn't possibly pay for on their own - they're given mobile phones and various things, they're taken out, they're treated [with] things.

"Secondly, that children begin to be a bit more quiet and secretive about their friends.

"And thirdly, that they have very suspicious sleep-overs. Suddenly, sleep-overs become more prevalent."

Should that even need saying? What are parents about if they need to be told this?

And what kind of a society is it that raises large numbers of people who get involved in arranging for the systematic rape of young girls?

another story, it seems mums are lying about how they raise their children, rather than admit that they are not raising them as they, or other parents, think they should.

Is it me, or are these all signs of a society that has completely lost its way in terms of bringing up children?

Sunday 16 January 2011

Non Praevalebunt

Every now and then, I am tempted to despair. Naturally optimistic by nature, I look around and it sometimes seems too much:

The CES Scandals, taking the Catholic out of Catholic Education, and promoting the culture of death;
The various CAFOD Scandals, including but not limited to condomania and bankrolling dissent
The Soho Masses Scandal
The Vaughan School Scandal
The Birmingham Oratory crisis
Connexions in Catholic Schools facilitating abortions for our children,
The widespread capitulation on contraception
The closure of seminaries, religious houses, parishes
The lack of the most rudimentary education and formation in the Faith in so many areas
The inability or worse of the bishops to address these and other issues effectively

...and so on.

And then I look in the mirror: at my own inadequacies in addressing any of these issues, or even addressing the basic obligations of my state of life; my habits of sin and reluctance to go to confession, ... and so on.

At such times all I can do is throw myself back on the promises of Our Lord, in particular those in the Tu es Petrus:

Et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam.

And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her (The Church).

Saturday 15 January 2011

A Failing School

Imagine a Catholic School in a major city.

It has committed parents, children from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and from all social strata, including a disproportionate number from poorer backgrounds; it has a higher than expected number of children with special educational needs.

The children attend Mass weekly, say the Angelus daily, and make the sign of the cross at the start of lessons.

It has outstanding academic results, and has produced vocations from both staff and pupils in both of the last two years.

Clearly it is a failing school.

Fortunately, the diocesan education service has recognised this as a priority to address, and has ousted the governors, replacing them with people whom the diocese can rely on to impose the necessary changes to bring the school into line.

For more information, you could try contacting the diocese - but you will get no response, of course. Or you could look at the information put out by the disaffected parents. And then pray.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Churching queers or queering the Church?

The scandal over the Soho Masses will not go away. Now, as James Preece has highlighted, we have the extraordinary phenomenon of a Mass being advertised on the Durex www site (By the way, remember that line from the Beatles song: Love is all you need? The Durex slogan is ‘Durex all you need.’ What’s love got to do with it...?)

To the uninformed, there may be a reasonable case for the gay masses: to reach out to people of a homosexual, lesbian, or other disordered sexual orientation and lead them back into the church. In fact that is the gloss put on them in comments on blogs by someone signing himself Terence or Terry.

Strangely a character called Terence runs a blog called Queering the Church. This Terence is involved in organising the Soho Masses, and a quick glance at his blog reveals that his agenda is not at all about bringing queers (his word...) back to Church so much as making the Church queer. Hence the title and content of his blog.

Archbishop Nichols said, referring to critics of the Soho Masses:
and anybody from the outside who is trying to cast a judgement on the people who come forward to communion really ought to learn to hold their tongue.

What he doesn't get is that it is his policy we are criticising: this whole debacle is causing grave scandal and risks losing souls.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Outstanding Bishops' Letter on Sex Education

I hadn't come across the Lux Occulta blog before, but Laurence at That the bones... pointed it out. It carries a fantastic letter from the Bishops of England and Wales on the subject of Sex Education.

Inter alia, they write:

The remedy is to be found not so much in the imparting in public of fuller and more systematic knowledge of sex from the physiological or biological standpoint as by the removal of external temptations and by the general and determined inculcation of the practice of Christian virtue and our dependence on divine grace.

They also quote Pope Pius Xl:
‘...ignoring what is taught by facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace’.

Later, they assert:
Information alone will not produce a healthy and sound nation; much less will it be sufficient to prepare souls for their eternal destiny in the next life. It is not so much information as formation which is required — formation of character, the training of the mind, the heart, and the will with the necessary assistance of religion.

And they include this wonderful statement:
We regard our Catholic schools as sanctuaries wherein our children are mightily strengthened in the faith and its practice.

Why is it that I do not need to tell you that this is not from our current bishops, but from those of a previous generation? Can you imagine the current bishops expressing such sentiments? Especially in such terms?...

Go to Lux Occulta to read the whole thing: it is well worth it!

Thursday 6 January 2011

Happy Epiphany

We drove to the Cathedral today for Low Mass (EF) to celebrate the feast.

It's quite rare for us to get to a Low Mass, and it was wonderful; so much space for prayer.

Next it's supper by the light of the Christmas Tree candles before we de-decorate.

The cribs, of course, will stay up till 2 February (after all the kings have only just arrived!)

And a Happy Epiphany to all my readers.

Sunday 2 January 2011

New Year

A Happy New Year to both my readers...

We had a great New Year: a counter-cultural family came to stay (as they do every new year) and so we went for lots of walks in the day time and played lots of games as the evenings drew in, as well as musical and dramatic entertainment from the kids.

This year's show was Peter Pan, including the adaptation of a current hit (originally by Elton John) for the Crocodile (played by Goldie decorated with green tinsel) which began:

It's a little bit funny - this ticking inside...

And as they are a Catholic family too, they came to Mass, joined in saying prayers and so on. As ever, what we strive for is that mix of Faith and Fun: it seems to be a winning combination.