Daily Archives: June 3, 2008

New Blog "Jews Christians and Muslims working together"

These three ugly fellows (Reader: You can talk, Schutz!) were my companions in recent days at the 2008 JCMA (Jewish Christian Mulsim Association of Australia) Conference. They are Dave Moskovitz (a Jewish New Zealander), John D’Alton (Antiochian Orthodox Priest, preivously a Church of Christ minister), and Mark Pederson (a convert Muslim)–knaves all three, but excellent fellows to boot. They have a new blog, which you might like to check out: Jews Christians and Muslims working together.


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A Jesuit who has his Sun mixed up with his Moon

Spengler has an interesting entry on the First Things blog: “Italian Jesuit Attacks Magdi Allam”. You will remember the issue (Sandro Magister at www.chiesa covered it in depth): Magdi Allam was the nominal Muslim whom the Pope received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil at St Peter’s this year by baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist.

Anyway, according to Spengler, an Italian Jesuit by the name of Fr. dall’Oglio has decided to have a go at the Pope for getting it all wrong. According to Fr. dall’Oglio, the Pope is unaware that the Second Vatican Council declared a “Copernican Revolution…in favor of Islam”. In this “Copernican Revolution” the “The moon of urgent concern for freedom of conscience and religion” is supposed to go around “the sun of charitable discretion, of respect for Muslim feelings, and of the renunciation of proselytism.”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong (I’m sure you will!), but I rather think the good Jesuit has his cosmology a little mucked up. I had always been under the impression that (to continue the analogy) the “urgent concern for freedom of conscience and religion” was Vatican II’s “Sun” to the “moon” of “charitable discretion”, respect for others and renunciation of morally unethical proselytism.

Now, friends, you know me. I am all gung-ho for friendly dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters (heck, I had a very enjoyable lunch with a group of them today in which they said their community suspected them of being crypto-Catholics just as much as our community suspects us of being crypto-Muslims!), but I do pride myself in knowing first order issues apart from second order issues. And freedom of conscience and religion is a first order issue without which there can be no respect for the other, no charity, and no ethical proselytism/evangelisation.

Maybe Fr. dall’Oglio needs to go on retreat with his brothers at the Vatican Observatory. They might not teach him anything about theology, but he might get his comsmology straight…

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Is a Valid Eucharist dependant upon a Valid Priesthood?

We have spent many kilobytes on this blog arguing about the necessity (or otherwise) of ordination by a bishop in the apostolic succession for a valid priesthood. What we haven’t talked about is: Does it even matter?

I mean, what point is there in arguing over whether or not the priesthood/ministry of any particular ecclesial communion is valid, if that communion does not consider the validity of the other sacraments to depend upon such a valid priesthood/ministry?

For Catholics, the question of valid orders is essential because the validity of most of the sacraments (ie. Eucharist, Absolution, Confirmation, Anointing the Sick and, of course, ordination itself) depends upon the validity of priestly orders. Hence the very nature of any given communion as “Church” depends upon the validity of priestly orders.

But for (eg.) Lutherans, the validity of pretty well each of these sacraments is considered to be solely dependant upon three factors:

1) the Word of God

2) whether the sacrament is administered according to Christ’s institution (the interpretation of which never seems to include validly ordained ministers)

3) reception of the Sacrament in faith (although strictly speaking, Lutherans deem this necessary only for the efficacy of the sacrament not for its validity).

I do not know of any protestant theologian who would hold that the validity of the sacraments depends upon the validity of the orders of the minister administering them.

Hence, many protestants–even Lutherans–can make allowance for lay consecration of the Eucharist, even if they insist that (for the sake of good order) only ordained ministers should normally do so.

Therefore, here is the issue for discussion:

A key difference between Catholic/Orthodox Churches and Protestant churches is that Catholic/Orthodox Churches would never regard a “eucharist” confected by a lay person as valid; Protestants would and do.


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Premier’s fresh plan to curb Extra-marital Sex

Source: The Age Date: June 01 2008

(With apologies to Dan Harrison and Melissa Fyfe who did a very nice job writing the original article)

FILMS, plays and other arts projects that feature extra-marital sex would see their government funding extinguished under a radical proposal by the Australian Medical Association.

The AMA is calling on the state and federal governments to amend arts funding guidelines to prohibit government support for any projects that “glamorise, feature or promote extra-marital sex”.

The AMA’s Victorian branch has declared that the arts should not “act like a de facto affiliate of the pornography industry”.

“The Victorian Government, through Arts Victoria … should not support any program that features extra-marital sex,” it states in its draft sexual responsibility policy.

The call comes as the Brumby Government considers a crackdown on sexual promiscuity that would banish pornography from shoppers’ sight and get rid of all advertising that uses sex to sell its product.

The Department of Human Services has told The Sunday Age it is likely the State Government’s yet-to-be-released Pornography Control Strategy, a five-year plan to further curb sexual promiscuity in society, will follow the lead of other states.

…Health authorities say 9.9 out of 10 sufferers from sexually transmitted diseases start as teenagers — tripling their chances of developing STD’s compared with those who start sex in their mid-20s — so it is vital to limit their temptation.

AMA Victoria president Dr Douglas Travis said arts projects featuring extra-marital sex undermined other government efforts to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and to curb the annual number of abortions from unwanted teenage pregancies.

“What it serves to do is to create the image that extra-marital sex is normal, extra-marital sex is cool, all of those things we’ve been trying to get away from,” Dr Travis said.

If adopted, the AMA’s proposal could result in hundreds of film, TV, visual and performing arts projects being denied government funding.

…Director NN, whose 2006 film X featured extra-marital sex and received support from Film Victoria, said there was a danger extra-marital sex would acquire a mystique if it vanished from films.

“I sympathise, of course — I don’t want my child to engage in extra-marital sex, either — but the way to stop people from sexual promiscuity is to continue to speak clearly, but not shrilly, about the price you pay for sex outside of marriage,” he said.

In its response to the AMA, Film Victoria said sex in films was a censorship issue best addressed by the National Classification Scheme. “Film Victoria is not involved in the actual censorship of film projects,” acting chief executive Jenni Tosi said. “Our role is to support projects based on their quality, innovation and marketability.”

An Australia Council spokesman said the role of the Federal Government’s arts body was “to provide financial assistance for Australia’s creative arts, not to dictate their content”.

A US study of children aged 10 to 14, published in 2003, found that those who were exposed to extra-marital sex in films were three times as likely to engage in sexual activity as teenagers.

Oh, sorry, I read that wrong. It was smoking that they were trying to stamp out, not extra-marital sex. Silly me.

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