St Mary’s “X Church” in Exile

From this report in Cathnews, it looks like things are finally sorting themselves out at St Mary’s in South Brisbane. But one thing seems a little unclear. Check this:

Fr Kennedy said he was still a Catholic priest with the right to conduct masses and baptisms.

Initially masses will be held at the Trades and Labor Council building but this would not be the new community’s permanent home, and the hunt was on to find a place to rent, Fr Kennedy said.

Fr Kennedy will begin holding Mass at the new location on April 20, starting with a march from St Mary’s.

“I think we’ve lost the fight by being pushed out of here, by being excluded from here, but have they won the battle? That is the question,” Fr Kennedy said.

So, Fr Kennedy will have achieved his goal. He will still be the pastor of a group of people called “St Mary’s”, but it will not be able to (nor indeed be obliged any longer to) call itself “St Mary’s Catholic Church”.

Fr Kennedy is also right in that he is indeed still a Catholic a priest, with the right to say mass and conduct baptisms. But how long will that last if he goes down this road of forming a “rival” parish to St Mary’s? He certainly does not, as a priest of the Church, have the canonical authority to do what he is planning to do.

Fr Kennedy may very well be right about the battle not yet being over. However, he is mistaken if he thinks that it is a battle out of which either he or the Archdiocese or the parish of St Mary’s will, in any real sense, emerge the victor.

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49 responses to “St Mary’s “X Church” in Exile

  1. Tom

    Unfortunately he has more or less left the communion of the Church. If you saw on the ABC, he was part of a paneled interview team that were talking about (amongst other things) what was happening in Brisbane and what was happening in Brazil.

    He argued that if women were a part of the Magisterium then things like Abortion and Contraception would not be regarded as grave evils, and that the Church would be respecting the ‘rights’ of women, and more broadly the oppressed (such as the blessing of homosexual unions).

    As such, to the best of my reading he has rejected the culture of life. Love of the other has been transformed into giving the other whatever they want without taking on the responsibility of being a neighbour and letting them know that sin is a reality.

    It is unfortunate that he believes this is a good thing, because in the end a communion of death will end, ultimately, in death. Who can take joy in a culture that celebrates death, sterility and hedonistic pleasure? Who will honestly want to continue the fight for something that kills itself?

    It’s cruel, but he has served his own dinner, and will take his own dessert as well. A man entrenched in wickedness cannot easily extricate himself. In fact, it is impossible.

  2. But why St. Mary’s? I mean what does saint mean, and who is Mary to the Kennedyites, as they might be called.

    Also, what is Mass? I seriously wonder whether the intention to say Mass can be present in such circumstances.

  3. I think it evident that he and his pack of rebels will in due course be excommunicated – it is intolerable (literally, not to be tolerated) that he and they should confuse the faithful by claiming to be in communion with the Catholic Church, when they are not: they do not accept nor teach her teachings, nor obey her hierarchy, nor assent to and strive to follow the morals she asserts ought be lived. Hence, they have no right to the name of Catholic or Catholics.

    It would be honest if they simply called themselves some new name and officially became another sect – since that is what they are, a conventicle gathered in rebellion.

    Interestingly, their congregation includes, the media reports, many senior figures in Catholic education in Brisbane, and many religious – how embarrassing if they all get excomm’d!

    What a mess Bathersby’s negligence has created.

  4. Tony

    I’m just slightly amused at what appeared below this entry:

    Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)
    – Supporting St Mary’s On Facebook
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    Beyond that Joshua, I’m not sure why your comments directed at +Bathersby don’t exceed David’s toleration for ‘rudeness’.

    I’m also glad you’re not a Bishop!

    • He was being critical, Tony, but not rude, I don’t think. Anyway, he wasn’t being rude to anyone on this blog. If His Grace wants to join the commentry team of SCE, he is more than welcome to, and I would hope that if he does, we would all treat him with the courtesy that the dignity of his office deserves. I might even go down to my cellar for that bottle of 1985 vintage port I have tucked away…

  5. Sorry, Tony – but I really do think that Abp Bathersby does stand in the dock on this one: he let the situation at St Mary’s fester for well over twenty years, as Fr Kennedy has confirmed (“turned a blind eye”, etc.), and only finally, slowly, and very weakly acted when goaded to do so by Rome. Even after the debacle of the invalid baptisms was uncovered, and adjudged, he did no more than say “naughty, naughty”, and St Mary’s thumbed its nose at him. Surely a priest who has botched thousands of baptisms, and refuses to admit any wrongdoing, deserves to go!

    It is negligent of Bathersby to have allowed this debacle, a deep embarrassment to his archdiocese, and I can’t see why I shouldn’t say so. Are bishops conceived immaculate?

  6. So, Tony, what precisely is rude about what I’ve said?

    A cat can look at a king, as the proverb has it.

    And of course being a bishop would be hard, and of course I’m completely unsuitable to be one – but the same could be said about the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and we all of us sit in judgement on them come election time. While we don’t (thank God) vote for bishops, as Anglicans do, it seems to me perfectly permissible to with reason criticise them: otherwise we would be the worst sort of “yes, Father, no, Father, three bags full, Father” Catholics, who would stand on their heads and never complain if told to do so. That type of attitude is a perversion of the idea of obedience.

  7. The truth is that many Australian Catholics (including those of the aCatholic mould) vastly prefer Bathersby to Pell, or Hart, or Elliott, or Jarrett, and so they react when Bathersby is criticised – whereas those same Catholics are usually active in writing nasty things to the newspapers against Pell et al. Saying “oh, dreadful, one cannot criticize Bathersby” could be perceived as hypocritical if the same person tolerates or approves of any criticism, let alone the vitriol and abuse directed as a matter of course against Pell – or the Holy Father himself.

    David, tell me honestly, since I don’t want to misbehave: is any of this wrong to say? Let me know quick, that I may repent.

  8. Herman

    I am sadened by the event as I feel I can understand Fr Kenedy’s need and desire to be charitable and l0ving to his congregation.

    Having been inviolved in pastoral care for some years (6) I understand that we can easily become mislead by our desire to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not always easy being a Catholic and holding a sound ballance between orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

    I think it would have been better to inform Fr Kenedy compassionately of some of his errors three years earlier and I also feel that he needed more supervision and support that could have prevented much of this.

    I often ask what would Jesus have done in his place. I am constantly reminded that Jesus did not change the law and rules he tried to teach us to be motivated by love alone and not by rules and regulation.

    During a television interview I watched he became quite emotional many times and he seemed under a great amount of stress. I feel he needs some rest understanding and theological support which hopefully can get him back on track.

    I have the impression that Fr Kennedy needed some counselling and rest much earlier, after he left the prisson work before he started work in his parish.

    I just hope that when the media publicity settles down someone with great understanding and compassion can counsell Fr Kennedy and help him and guide him with the same understanding Christ would give to him. (gentily and softly) I am sure that Fr Kennedy has a heart that is bleeding at the moment, for both his congregation and the God of his vision.

    I will pray for him

    Herman

  9. Lucian

    Roman Catholic Church Outside Rome. 8)

  10. “However, he is mistaken if he thinks that it is a battle out of which either he or the Archdiocese or the parish of St Mary’s will, in any real sense, emerge the victor.”

    He might be mistaken, but I think that St Mary’s and the Archdiocese are the victors, even if the latter has contributed to the problem by not putting its foot down sooner. The scandal of publicly tolerated heterodoxy has been banished. Iassume the Archdiocese will stop paying him any sort of salary as well.

    • Herman

      We must never forget Christs message. We must be driven and motivated by our love for God and for our neighbour.

      I therfore think that there are no winners or losers, there is just problem that requires much compassion and unfderstanding

  11. Frank

    Kennedy can thank the Devil that he is lving in these apostate times, in the good old days he would have been forcibly removed with his mob and thrown into prison and dealt with by the Holy Inquisition, which is what should have happened. He has become just another apostate like Luther, Calvin et al.

  12. matthias

    Frank with respect,I am thankful that the Holy Office does not have authority in these apostate times,as i believe it’s excesses brought great harm to the church. But having said that,I also believe that Calvin’s sanction of the persecution of the AnaBaptists was an appalling indictment upon the name Reformed. The persecution of Catholics in England from the Protectorate onwards was a great stain upon Anglicanism and Puritanism .It could be argued that the aftermath of the battle of Culloden was not only a massacre of rebels ,but more importantly religious genocide-with Catholic highlanders being put to the sword by Protestant lowlanders and Enlgishman
    As for Kennedy,perhaps his church will flourish,but I pray that the new parish administrator will be filled with the Holy Spirit and thus St Mary’s will be revitalized .

    • Frank

      matthias you display a lack of understanding regarding the work of the Holy Office. It always did it’s work and handed over offenders to the State. They were perhaps at times treated uncharitably by the State but his in no way reflects on the Holy Office. Please name excesses committed by the Holy Office and in the name of the Church with Papal approval. I think you may be hard pressed to finad many. The attitude that society has against the Holy Office is the product of protestant prejudice and religious indifferentism.

  13. An Liaig

    Fr. Kennedy is mistaken if he believes that he still has the right, as a priest, to celebrate Mass or the other sacraments. A priest gets the power to celebrate the sacraments from his ordination but the authority to do so only comes from his bishop. If he does not have faculties from his bishop, a priest can do very little. It was Vatican II that reaffirmed the position and authority of the bishop. Could it be that Fr. kennedy hasn’t read ALL of the documents?

  14. SAINT MARY'S?

    Ironic that this poor priest who on radio said it was dificult for modern people to be expected to accept the concept of the Virgin Birth should even want to keep the name Saint Mary’s for his community in exile. It is a sad way for an ardent priest to live out his end days. Earlier intervention and mentoring would have helped.Perhaps Mother Church should have compulsory in services every now and then and make sure our priests are getting sufficient time to rest and reflect? I am leaving him in the care of Mary whose virginity he failed to defend.

  15. Tony

    It would appear that ‘rudeness’, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and, in this little corner of cyberspace, the beholder is our host! On that basis Joshua, I withdraw my implication that you were being rude.

    What I find interesting is that +Bathersby is being roundly condemned here but not by those who supervise him … ultimately the Pope.

    So, given that this allegation has +Batherby seriously ‘neglecting’ his role for 20 years and, apparently, those concerns about neglect being communicated by person or persons unknown (to me, at least) for many of those years, there are surely only two conclusions?

    Firstly: Rome is as ‘negligent’ as you accuse +Bathersby of being.

    Second: you’re wrong.

    Is there a third?

    Beyond that, I have heard no evidence that Fr Kennedy’s faculties have been withdrawn or that he has been declared a heretic. So, said in the spirit of fraternal correction, simmer down folks!

    Note to Frank: the old days have gone and they’re not coming back.

  16. Peregrinus

    One further point occurs to me. Although, to the modern sensibility, teachings framed as anathemas aimed as certain opinions sound harsh, judgmental and bullying, from an intellectual point of view they may actually be more liberating than positive, affirmative teachings.

    If I authoritatively rule out a particular opinion (“well, that’s wrong, anyway”), I may still leave a host of other opinions, as well as the possibility that yet new opinions may be formulated and proposed. Whereas if I affirm a particular opinion as the truth, I am actually ruling out a lot more.

    This should lead, I think, to a degree of caution about positively affirming a particular opinion. Given the limitatations of human understanding and human language, the definitive “last word” on any particular aspect of divine revelation is not possible. All our formulations are inadequate and, the more authoritative our formulations are, the more cautious we should be in how we frame them, for fear that they set a limit to the growth of our understanding of revelation.

  17. Paul

    I’m interested to know why Fr Kennedy and his followers want to still identify with the Catholic Church (even if one of the supporters called it the Australian Catholic Church rather than the Roman Catholic Church). I don’t understand the logic of denying the authority of the Bishop and Pope, and saying you are “pre Constantine church” but still wanting to act as part of the “post Constantine” Church.

    I have (perhaps uncharitably) assumed this indicates either craziness, malice (attack the Church from within) or pragmatism (keep the keys of the church building and whatever money they receive from the diocese).

    Now that Fr Kennedy no longer has the use of the building, the visible links to Rome are getting weaker, but apparenly they still want to keep the name of St Mary’s, and maybe also the name Catholic. Why is this so??

    Despite all his statements to the contrary, could this mean Fr Kennedy still sees the Church as representing Christ?

  18. Tony,

    The way things are done in Rome, a bishop never gets told off in public – he just retires all of a sudden (as when Abp Little of Melbourne retired, allegedly because of ingrown toenails…)

    Yes, Rome was negligent – everyone knows that JPII, God rest him, made some rather critiquable appointments of bishops; and whereas once bishops were supervised more closely, obviously they haven’t been – with predictable results.

    I wish I were wrong on this, but knowing many priests and prelates, I can assure you that things are as I state them: would they were otherwise!

    Fr Kennedy hasn’t been declared a heretic, strangely, nor have his faculties been withdrawn – it seems to me that both should be done, and pronto, but I don’t make such decisions. Perhaps it is felt that doing so, however deserved for his blatant denial of dogma (e.g. the Virgin Birth, the Divinity of Christ) and mucking around with the liturgy (e.g. invalid baptisms, making up his own Eucharistic Prayers), would make a pseudo-martyr of him.

    Frank: the good old days may not return; but one can work and pray for a restoration of Catholicism.

    • Tony

      Joshua,

      Your notion of ‘retirement’ is pure speculation – cynical speculation at that – and very shaky ground on which to build an argument of substance. Notwithstanding that, this dispute has been in the public square for 20+ years and +Bathersby was old enough in any year of that time to be shuffled off with some sort of health excuse if that was required.

      Your speculation is not convincing; without evidence to the contrary I think we’re obliged to assume that he has the support of Rome.

      You then build a critique of PJPII on ‘everybody knows’ and ‘knowing many priests and prelates’.

      Well I ‘don’t know’ and I also know ‘many priests and prelates’.

      You really think Rome would be constrained by fear of making Kennedy a ‘pseudo-martyr’? Again, a very thin argument.

      Finally, can you explain to me how your message to Frank is not textbook dissent?

  19. Frank

    Joshua, for some of us the good old days have NEVER departed.

  20. Tom

    Frank,

    It was discussed on this blog many months ago as to whether or not it belongs to the law to punish every vice or to legislate every virtue. This includes theological virtues (and their opposing vices). If you know your Aquinas, I am referring to questions 90-98 (I think, it has been some time since I last checked) in Volume II of the Summa Theologica.

    At this point in time, I am of the opinion that it would cause more harm than good to re-institute the imprisonment of heretics. The law, where-ever it is, always has the object of the common good (at least for it to be just law).

    In that vein, any attempt to bring in the punishment of heretics by temporal authorities would constitute a shocking assault on the common good as it would institutionalise disobedience to the law, something which no society is able to tolerate. In short, with the shift of culture comes a shift of law. Recognition of the Freedom of Religion means that people cannot be imprisoned for the views on Religion.

  21. matthias

    I understand your point frank and the same could e said about the Reformed Churches asking the magistrates to execute AnaBaptists,but in both cases the offices of the Church- Catholic or reformed-were tainted by the prosecutions of heretics by the Government.

    • Frank

      matthias if the heretics asked the state to execute other heretics that is one thing, I have yet to see evidence that the Church requested the State to execute heretics. Can I ask does anyone here belive in a Catholic State?

  22. “Can I ask does anyone here belive in a Catholic State?”

    I do.

    • Frank

      Please to hear that you do. I am fast coming to the conclusion that nearly everyone on here is a modernist Catholic. Eeven debating the celibacy/marriage point is risiculous for a Catholic. Everyone knows that the Angelic Life is higher. That has always been Catholic teaching. If things don’t get better here I’ll be signing off.

      • Tom

        Frank,

        Just to be clear, is it your opinion that if someone does not agree with a Catholic State they are not orthodox? I’ve just read your previous comment, and I wanted to make sure I have understood it.

        Tom.

        • “is it your opinion that if someone does not agree with a Catholic State they are not orthodox?”

          The question was addressed to Frank, but for my part:

          It would depend on precisely what you mean by “agree with a Catholic State”. If a Catholic holds that

          “the best constitution of public society and (also)[sic] civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.”

          then he is in grave error; the error was condemned ex Cathedra by Bl. Pius IX in the Encyclical Quanta cura. And if a Catholic holds that the common good is not the proper criterion by which the State should judge whether or not to restrain offenders of the Catholic religion then he is also in grave error, since Leo XIII taught, in the Encyclical Libertas, that it is

          “for the sake of the common good (and this is the only legitimate reason), [that] human law may or even should tolerate evil”

          Could you elaborate on your opinion please, Tom?

          • Tom

            “the best constitution of public society and (also)[sic] civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.”

            I do not consider a society that makes no distinction between truth and lies a good one. I will elaborate shortly.

            “for the sake of the common good (and this is the only legitimate reason), [that] human law may or even should tolerate evil”

            Correct. Now, the common good is a very complex idea, and various philosophers have had many different opinions about such a thing. To my mind the common good is ‘that which is good, in common, for all citizens.’ The easiest example to understand is systems of Justice; the police, the courts, the gaols, etc.

            For example, Everyone receives benefit by a system of Justice, even those people who are caught in put in gaol are still receiving a true good (I should note, that I mean systems of Justice that are not corrupt; when innocent men regularly goto Gaol due to intentional corruption, or Guilty men manage to regularly go free, this is part of the destruction of the common good).

            Anyway, in the end what is important is that Laws are made on a very specific foundation.*

            By this, I mean that without the culture of a Nation State being specifically and radically Catholic, it is not possible for the State to call itself Catholic and manage to survive.

            By ‘the culture’ I don’t mean if they have catholic festivals or celebrate holidays at Christmas or Easter; I mean if their (the citizens) notion of the good, virtue and habit are all in line with the Catholic Church, then a Catholic State is possible.

            This is part of why semi-Catholic states existed back in the middle ages (c. 1100-1500) because as a culture they were unashamedly religious. Ours is not.

            For a Catholic State, as I understand it to be, to exist it would require that Laws were passed which are far beyond the capacity of a non-Christian to conform too. This also does depend in large part on what punishment is given to those who break various laws. Do we go down the same garden path as Saudi Arabia and institute police of Vice and Virtue? It’s just not possible; without the state being extremely oppressive, you cannot convert people by making it the law to be converted.

            My point is, for the sake of the common good, we must tolerate wickedness – not all wickedness, but lesser wickedness must often be tolerated in order to prevent greater wickedness. The greater wickedness threatening us here, is the destruction of Law and Order.

            My argument runs thus:
            p1/ Peoples actions and decisions are based on their dispositions (their virtues)
            p2/ People can be more or less virtuous; that is some people have the capacity to act with high regard for the good of others, some do not.
            p3/ Law must aim for the common good, in order to be Just.
            C1/ Therefore, In order for a law to not cause the breakdown of obedience to the law in general, all laws that are enforced (laws that are not enforced are not in fact laws) need to be generally obeyed.
            p4/ To pass a law that is beyond the capacity of the virtue of a culture to obey (such as making sodomy a crime punishable by gaol, or making abortion illegal today) creates a systematic disobedience to the law.
            p5/ Such disobedience is habit-forming, and will create further disobedience to the law, laws which otherwise would have been obeyed.
            C2/ Therefore, in the end the State ends up unable to enforce very few laws because law everywhere is so dis-regarded.

            That is a much greater wickedness and destruction of the common good; to have the breakdown of law and order rather than it is to have a few particular evils tolerated.

            I do not think there is no hope however – there are real social problems at the moment, and I just mentioned two of them. The difficulty is, as Aquinas says, Laws work best when they don’t have to be enforced. I think our time is somewhat unique; not in its wickedness, nor in its depravity – there is nothing new about the wickedness of today, and there is nothing extreme about the lengths of its depravity. Ancient Rome, Babylon and other Great Cities in history have been just as depraved as ours is today.

            What I do think is unique (quoting from Budziszewski) is that today immorality holds the moral high-ground. Once we have reached this point, our society stands on the precipice of falling to pieces.

            Basically, we wouldn’t need a Catholic state if everyone acted as a Christian should. Because so many today acts like pagans (think 40 million abortions in the US in the last 40 years, think Madi Gras, think cloning) we have a pagan state. The direction of a Christian state is a tough reality.

            For this, it doesn’t require more laws, and more police, and greater intervention of the state. It requires a cultural renewal. It requires witnesses and martyrs; in short, our time doesn’t need more law, it needs more Saints.

            ____________________________
            * Laws that are founded on revelation or faith cannot be enforced as Laws; laws must be promulgations of Reason – Reason can know the difference of right and wrong, but Faith is not given to everyone, nor in equal measure to those it is given to.

          • Tom

            “the best constitution of public society and (also)[sic] civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.”

            I do not consider a society that makes no distinction between truth and lies a good one. I will elaborate shortly.

            “for the sake of the common good (and this is the only legitimate reason), [that] human law may or even should tolerate evil”

            Correct. Now, the common good is a very complex idea, and various philosophers have had many different opinions about such a thing. To my mind the common good is ‘that which is good, in common, for all citizens.’ The easiest example to understand is systems of Justice; the police, the courts, the gaols, etc.

            For example, Everyone receives benefit by a system of Justice, even those people who are caught in put in gaol are still receiving a true good (I should note, that I mean systems of Justice that are not corrupt; when innocent men regularly goto Gaol due to intentional corruption, or Guilty men manage to regularly go free, this is part of the destruction of the common good).

            Anyway, in the end what is important is that Laws are made on a very specific foundation.*

            By this, I mean that without the culture of a Nation State being specifically and radically Catholic, it is not possible for the State to call itself Catholic and manage to survive.

            By ‘the culture’ I don’t mean if they have catholic festivals or celebrate holidays at Christmas or Easter; I mean if their (the citizens) notion of the good, virtue and habit are all in line with the Catholic Church, then a Catholic State is possible.

            This is part of why semi-Catholic states existed back in the middle ages (c. 1100-1500) because as a culture they were unashamedly religious. Ours is not.

            For a Catholic State, as I understand it to be, to exist it would require that Laws were passed which are far beyond the capacity of a non-Christian to conform too. This also does depend in large part on what punishment is given to those who break various laws. Do we go down the same garden path as Saudi Arabia and institute police of Vice and Virtue? It’s just not possible; without the state being extremely oppressive, you cannot convert people by making it the law to be converted.

            My point is, for the sake of the common good, we must tolerate wickedness – not all wickedness, but lesser wickedness must often be tolerated in order to prevent greater wickedness. The greater wickedness threatening us here, is the destruction of Law and Order.
            ____________________________
            * Laws that are founded on revelation or faith cannot be enforced as Laws; laws must be promulgations of Reason – Reason can know the difference of right and wrong, but Faith is not given to everyone, nor in equal measure to those it is given to.

          • Tom

            My argument runs thus:
            p1/ Peoples actions and decisions are based on their dispositions (their virtues)
            p2/ People can be more or less virtuous; that is some people have the capacity to act with high regard for the good of others, some do not.
            p3/ Law must aim for the common good, in order to be Just.
            C1/ Therefore, In order for a law to not cause the breakdown of obedience to the law in general, all laws that are enforced (laws that are not enforced are not in fact laws) need to be generally obeyed.
            p4/ To pass a law that is beyond the capacity of the virtue of a culture to obey (such as making sodomy a crime punishable by gaol, or making abortion illegal today) creates a systematic disobedience to the law.
            p5/ Such disobedience is habit-forming, and will create further disobedience to the law, laws which otherwise would have been obeyed.
            C2/ Therefore, in the end the State ends up unable to enforce very few laws because law everywhere is so dis-regarded.

            That is a much greater wickedness and destruction of the common good; to have the breakdown of law and order rather than it is to have a few particular evils tolerated.

            I do not think there is no hope however – there are real social problems at the moment, and I just mentioned two of them. The difficulty is, as Aquinas says, Laws work best when they don’t have to be enforced. I think our time is somewhat unique; not in its wickedness, nor in its depravity – there is nothing new about the wickedness of today, and there is nothing extreme about the lengths of its depravity. Ancient Rome, Babylon and other Great Cities in history have been just as depraved as ours is today.

            What I do think is unique (quoting from Budziszewski) is that today immorality holds the moral high-ground. Once we have reached this point, our society stands on the precipice of falling to pieces.

            Basically, we wouldn’t need a Catholic state if everyone acted as a Christian should. Because so many today acts like pagans (think 40 million abortions in the US in the last 40 years, think Madi Gras, think cloning) we have a pagan state. The direction of a Christian state is a tough reality.

            For this, it doesn’t require more laws, and more police, and greater intervention of the state. It requires a cultural renewal. It requires witnesses and martyrs; in short, our time doesn’t need more law, it needs more Saints.

            • “Now, the common good is a very complex idea, and various philosophers have had many different opinions about such a thing.”

              The common good is an analogical concept: the common good is to civil society what health and well-being is to the body. Providing an exhaustive list of the elements of the common good is therefore difficult, but Pius XI provided the best brief definition of the common good that I know of in Divini Illius Magistri (if I recall correctly).

              “without the state being extremely oppressive, you cannot convert people by making it the law to be converted.”

              Who ever said anything about forcing conversions?

              “* Laws that are founded on revelation or faith cannot be enforced as Laws; laws must be promulgations of Reason – Reason can know the difference of right and wrong …”

              Reason can also judge whether God exists, whether Christ is God, and whether the Catholic Church is his Church. The State can make these judgments and infer the corollaries that follow from them; it is a juridical and a moral person.

              “To pass a law that is beyond the capacity of the virtue of a culture to obey (such as making sodomy a crime punishable by gaol, or making abortion illegal today) creates a systematic disobedience to the law.”

              Traffic laws—including ones on life-or-death matters like speed limits—are routinely flouted, but no-one argues that we should abandon them.

              “Basically, we wouldn’t need a Catholic state if everyone acted as a Christian should.”

              Even if every person in a society professes the Catholic religion it is still necessary that people as a society profess the Catholic religion—that is, that the State professes the Catholic religion—if the Social Reign of Christ is to be realised; it is more than just the sum of the individual Reigns of Christ, so to speak.

  23. Tony, of course there is an internal war going on in the Church – Bathersby (or +Brisbane) if you prefer is the darling of the left, as Pell is of the right; news about St Mary’s only finally reached Rome recently. There is no reason to assume B. has Rome’s support – these days bishops do pretty much whatever they like, with little fear of consequences. I criticised the late Pope’s appointment of bishops, and I could give multiple examples if asked. I think Kennedy should be got rid of; the only reason I can see he hasn’t been is fear of him being a ‘pseudo-martyr’ – but that would be fear on B.’s part, not Rome’s.

    My message to Frank, to work and pray for Catholic restoration, is not dissenting at all! What a horrifying thing to claim! Surely we all should work to restore the Church, which pretty obviously is in a state of decline and confusion. Like most liberals (I hope you’re not one, of course), do you think that any breath against Vatican II is the only remaining mortal sin? It can hardly be said to have been overwhelmingly successful, and success is the mark of a pastoral council intended to bring about a New Pentecost.

  24. The Catholic Encylopedia provides a helpful summary of this issue:

    “The Church, following this teaching of St. Paul, has always considered the state of virginity or celibacy preferable in itself to the state of marriage, and the Council of Trent (Sess. XXIV, Can. 10) pronounces an anathema against the opposite doctrine. Some heretics of the sixteenth century understood Christ’s words, “for the kingdom of heaven”, in the text above quoted from St. Matthew, as applying to the preaching of the Gospel; but the context, especially verse 14, in which “the kingdom of heaven” clearly means eternal life, and the passage quoted from St. Paul sufficiently refute that interpretation. Reason confirms the teaching of Holy Scripture. The state of virginity means a signal victory over the lower appetites, and an emancipation from worldly and earthly cares, which gives a man liberty to devote himself to the service of God. Although a person who is a virgin may fail to correspond to the sublime graces of his or her state, and may be inferior in merit to a married person, yet experience bears witness to the marvellous spiritual fruit produced by the example of those men and women who emulate the purity of the angels. “

  25. And the latin I think is much clearer than the various translations, partial translations or attempt to deconstruct the sentence:

    “Can. 10. Si quis dixerit, statum coniugalem anteponendum esse statui virginitatis vel caelibatus, et non esse melius ac beatius, manere in virginitate aut caelibatu, quam iungi matrimonio (cf: Mt 19, 11s; 1 Cor 7, 25s 38 40): an. s.”

  26. Oops I’ve posted to the wrong thread, apologies! Pls delete the last tow postw here David!

  27. Frank –

    Have a care!

    Newman’s about to be beatified… that means that (1) the miracle is still being examined, but more importantly for us (2) his writings and doctrine have been examined and declared free from error – such is always necessary when a person’s cause is introduced.

    Hence, given the fact he is already Venerable, not only is he declared to have exercised all the virtues to an heroic degree, but his teachings are sure guides to Catholicism.

    Surely you know that at his speech at the time of being appointed Cardinal, he declared that all his life he had been an enemy of liberalism?

    It is wrong and uncatholic to impugn the entire orthodoxy of this great man, soon to be raised to the honours of the altars.

    And while you’re at it, I am no Modernist, and greatly resent such a cheap jibe: for I entirely assent to all that St Pius X declared against that pestilential heresy.

  28. matthias

    Frank, believe it or not i believe that the Catholic confessional state is the only alternative to the threat of the Jihadists Sharia state and the only hope for the secular one. Perhaps the classic postmillenial view is the Catholic confessional state .

  29. Tom

    First, the common good is not an analogical concept only. You can try and explain it by analogy, but the common good is one of the most fiercely debated concepts in Politcal Philosophical History.

    The first person to use the term ‘common good’ was Aristotle. Aquinas was the next most important development. For both of them, the common good was seen primarily as Justice; it was also in this context that Aquinas talked about the role of just and unjust laws.

    “Reason can also judge whether God exists, whether Christ is God, and whether the Catholic Church is his Church. The State can make these judgments and infer the corollaries that follow from them; it is a juridical and a moral person.”

    Yes, No and No.
    Reason can know the existence of God through natural theology, but reason cannot know Christ as God or the Catholic Church as His Church; for this we need revelation, or Sacred Theology. Otherwise these would not be matters of belief or faith.

    Traffic Laws qua Laws as such are only not abandoned because society still sees the importance of enforcing them. In fact, because they are seen as that important, they are more and more autocratically enforced, e.g.: speed cameras, hidden speed traps, red light cameras, R.B.T.’s, etc. etc. In short, because we are flouting these laws, the state has to work harder to enforce them. If everyone, at once, decided to start flouting the traffic laws, the Police would abandon them, no traffic infringements would ever be issued again, because the Police, and Law Enforcement do not exist to stop the tide of wickedness that is in the heart of man, they exist only to curb it.

    This goes back to the point that a law that does not need enforcing is the best kind of law. eg: Murder Laws, I know it’s becoming contentious, but our society hasn’t fallen so far down the sink-hole that we consider Murder an every-day thing, we still expect the police to investigate and arrest people. Because it’s something that so few people do, it is still enforceable; in this sense it curbs only the cruelest excesses in the heart of men.

    And I tell you; if the technology to enforce speed limits without remote enforcement was not possible, the situation on the roads would be much worse. Police have found, in this instance, something where their reach can be greatly, efficiently and cheaply extended.

    The point of those extended paragraphs was that the law works best when it doesn’t need enforcing. For a law not to need enforcing, you need strict cultural and moral norms that the law itself is based on; such as what was the case around 70-80 odd years ago, where Abortion was seen as a real wickedness, the instance of Abortion was radically less. The cultural shift (at least in Australia) resulted in Abortion being legalised, which resulted in an even greater cultural shift.

    The reason I argue this is because there will come a point when certain laws are still on the books, but no one enforces them any longer, rendering them non-laws. Abortion is the best case in point. Crimes Act of NSW 1900 is still our primary piece of criminal legislation – Section 12 i believe deals with Abortions. It is against the black letter law to perform abortions, which is why the state doesn’t fund them, only the federal government can.

    The point of all this Pole is that a Catholic State, or as you say, the ‘Social Reign of Christ’, at this point, cannot happen. The purpose of my previous comments were it could happen, if, and only if, all the individuals within, professed the Catholic Faith. The two aren’t the same, you are correct, but they are linked.

    To establish this social system otherwise, without first having the cultural base for it to exist would create such systematic disobedience to the law, that it would lead to a much greater destruction of the common good, than it does to allow the state to remain Secular.

    That’s the only reason I’ve talked so far about the common good and just and unjust laws; you said ‘who ever said anything about forcing conversions’; well, the Social State of Christ will do that your Eminence. It will pass laws that affect the whole community, that are matters of Faith; and if the people in the community are not Catholics (as, by and large the ones in Australia are not), then you will see rapid social decay as systematic disobedience to one law, becomes systematic disobedience to law in general.

    Your Social Reign of Christ at this point, becomes your Reign of Terror by those who claim they act in the Name of Christ.

    Changes to the political system in which we live take a long time; they always have, they always will. Fundamentally they cannot be external to the society proposing them. For a society that has rejected the Church, the only way to bring about a Catholic State is to get society to once more accept the Church. As I said before, we don’t need more laws, we need more Saints.

  30. “For both of them, the common good was seen primarily as Justice”

    I’m curious about this; surely the common good is primarily about prudence? The State may permit an injustice if such permission would be prudent, but it must never permit imprudence in order to serve justice. Furthermore, if we think of the common good as the ‘size of the pie’, then surely justice is ‘how the pie is divided up’, since the essence of justice is to render to each what he is owed? Could you provide a citation from one of St. Thomas’s works to back up your thesis here?

    “Yes, No and No.”

    Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Now I used the word “judge” rather than a word like “deduce” precisely in order that I didn’t fall into the error of saying that the truths of the Faith can be deduced from natural reason or without supernatural revelation. So when I use the word “judge”, what I am saying is: if the proposition is put to a State “that Jesus of Nazareth is God”, then the State can look into the motives for credibility of this proposition and judge whether it (the State) thinks that the proposition is true or false. (It goes without saying, though, that the State’s judgment can only be one of moral certainty, not the certainty of Faith.) Indeed, your third “no” is clearly condemned in my quotation from Quanta cura, since how else but by the State’s rational judgment is the State to know which religion is true and which religions are false?

    “well, the Social State of Christ will do that your Eminence. It will pass laws that affect the whole community, that are matters of Faith”

    It’s true that a confessional State would pass laws that are matters of Faith, but that does not imply forcing anyone to convert. For instance, how would a confessional State’s law against Sunday trading and labour imply a forced conversion? Also, laws that involve an Act of Faith on the part of the persons affected by those laws would be aimed only at Catholics; think of civil laws requiring Catholics (but not non-Catholics) to attend Mass on Sunday. (Both these examples of confessional State laws are perfectly legitimate examples of the assistance that the Church is entitled to expect from the State.)

    “and if the people in the community are not Catholics (as, by and large the ones in Australia are not), then you will see rapid social decay as systematic disobedience to one law, becomes systematic disobedience to law in general.”

    But this is a bad slippery-slope argument. Slippery-slope arguments aren’t in themselves logical fallacies, but it is fallacious in the way that you use it here. You don’t seriously think that people are going to stop obeying just laws because there are some laws that they regard as unjust, do you? Think of the position of us as Catholics in societies that are passing increasingly conscience-violating laws; I, and surely you too, can resist such laws without it leading to me resisting laws that I know are perfectly just, such as the aforementioned traffice laws. People can separate the good from the bad.

    • Tom

      You and I can resist such laws because of a developed conscience. The difficulty with disobedience in general is that the first slip, makes the second slip easier. It is not something that happens over-night, but it is something that happens. It can take generations; but how else have we arrived at the point that Abortion is not widely practiced, legal and federally funded?

      Also, I should note, it is one thing to resist a conscience-violating law that is simply abstaining from the practice, as opposed to laws that require an act in obedience. For example, a law requiring me to abort every child after the first 2 or 3, would be something I must resist, and that is a proper resistance. Simply abstaining from Abortion for me is not the difficulty. What is the difficulty is for those who have had abortions to prevent acting on them in the future.

      I will look up the quotes from Aquinas about Justice and the Common Good, but that will probably have to wait a while; i’m in the middle of some very harsh deadlines at the moment; I have more time next week. It will be somewhere between questions 90-107 (Volume II) though. However, off the top of my head I do remember the quotes from Aristotle come from the book on Justice (Bk V) in his Nichomachean Ethics.

      I’ve just noticed the time, so I wont be able to finished answering your extended argument. But your Eminence, please regard the main thrust of what i’m saying: We don’t need a Political Revolution, we need a Cultural one. We don’t need more laws, we need more Saints.

  31. “The difficulty with disobedience in general is that the first slip, makes the second slip easier.”

    But I continue to dispute this notion. To sum up my objection to your slippery-slope thesis: people don’t (or at least, rationally they shouldn’t) disobey laws out of disrespect for the legislator, but out of a conscientious judgment that the law was unjust.

    “how else have we arrived at the point that Abortion is not widely practiced, legal and federally funded?”

    But that’s a poor example for your slippery-slope thesis, because the change came about, not by a gradual process of increasing disobedience to a law that was regarded as just nonetheless, but by a process ending in widespread denial that the original law was ever just in the first place.

    “Also, I should note, it is one thing to resist a conscience-violating law that is simply abstaining from the practice, as opposed to laws that require an act in obedience.”

    I seem not to have I made myself clear earlier–I am talking about laws that require an act in obedience (in violation of one’s conscience); in the particular case of abortion, the recently-passed Victorian Abortion Law Reform Bill requires doctors and nurses who have a conscientious objection to abortion to assist at emergency abortions in spite of their objection. So indeed, I am talking about acts in obedience, not just abstaining from acts that the State permits but does not mandate.

    “We don’t need a Political Revolution, we need a Cultural one. We don’t need more laws, we need more Saints.”

    What I object to in your arguments is that you seem to think that once a ‘cultural revolution’ has occured, it will render superfluous a ‘political revolution’ (using the term ‘political revolution’ loosely, I hasten to add–I do not advocate sedition!). Once the ‘cultural revolution’ (or rather, counter-revolution) has occured, it needs to be expressed in and by the civic authority, in its constitution and laws, in order for the Social Reign of Christ to be realised. I’m not sure if what we have here is really just a difference of emphasis, so let me ask you: do you hold that the realisation of the Social Reign of Christ requires that the State itself acknowledge and honour Christ as its King and unite itself to His Church?

  32. Tom

    “But [abortion is] a poor example for your slippery-slope thesis, because the change came about, not by a gradual process of increasing disobedience to a law that was regarded as just nonetheless, but by a process ending in widespread denial that the original law was ever just in the first place.”

    My point precisely. We’ve arrived at the bottom of the slippery slope; how else, but by systematic disobedience of the Moral Law, have we come to regard the Moral Law as immoral, and what is immoral as moral? You slipped the word ‘process’ in there; that process IS the slippery slope.

    I would refer you to J. Budziszewski’s work “What We Can’t Not Know” or his more recent book, “Revenge of Conscience” – in this he details the way in which the moral conscience works. This is what is important; as you seem to think the slippery slope is some kind of decision.

    I disagree, the slippery slope is the inevitable consequence of disobedience to the Moral Law. The conscience naturally directs the individual to obey the Moral Law; any attempts to confuse, disobey or disorder the conscience are like trying to force a rectangular object through a circular hole. It simply wont be done; the consequence is severe damage to the individual. You and I would call this more colloquially, the damage of Sin.

    Budziszewski talks about it like a high pressure spring. When there is no moral wickedness, the spring is relaxed, without tension. When pressure is put on the spring, it maintains pressure to attempt to be without tension again; but the longer pressure is kept on the spring, the greater and greater the chance of the spring producing a different effect, like popping out to the side. It produces one of several disorders like attempting to justify sin, rather than acknowledge it, attempting to evade the consequence of sin, rather than pay the price, etc. etc. Obviously here I am giving a highly summarised version; I would recommend reading it, it is very easy to read, and explains the reality of Human Conscience very well.

    The point is, these side effects of disobedience to the Moral Law that are not repented will produce the first steps towards that ‘slippery slope’. In short, the slippery slope is two things; it is both a description of the process overall, but it is also just a part of what happens to humans who are wicked.

    This is also one of the reasons for confession (not just being repentant for your sins, but actually going and repenting); it is part of what corrects this moral disorder.

    People disobey the Law once or twice, maybe, by rational choice; after a while it becomes an obligation, because to obey the Law after disobeying the Law is to acknowledge a prior act as wicked – it is an telling thing that women who have had one abortion become substantially more likely to have a second; let alone a whole host of other post-traumatic symptoms like a ten-fold increase in the chance of drug and alcohol abuse, among a plethora of other problems.

    My Parish Priest talks in his homilies about the slavery of freedom; he keeps telling us that to be truly free, we must be obedience, like Christ, obedient to death. This is the true freedom, someone who always says ‘yes’ to the Will of God, is free always to say yes or no. The one who says no, puts himself at odds with this reality, making it harder and harder to say ‘yes’ again; in short, the one who is truly free, is the one who is the servant. Christ was the man who was totally free, because he remained always in obedience to the Father.

    [I should probably have made a more regular pattern of it, but for the sake of convenience from here-on-out I shall refer to the Moral Law as Law (with a capital L) and the law of the land as law (with a lower-case l); simply for ease of expression]

    “I seem not to have I made myself clear earlier–I am talking about laws that require an act in obedience (in violation of one’s conscience)”

    The point I was making about both the law and the Law is that they are related. Just laws are based on Law. That was what that whole spiel about Common Good, Aquinas/Aristotle etc. was. However, it is still part of the Law that the law is obeyed, except when the law is counter to the Law. (If you’re reading this out-loud it sounds very funny; the whole l L distinction would make this a very odd-sounding lecture)

    Further, another point I would make is that it is wrong to make a law that pertains to an incomplete community. Making a law for Catholics only would be against the Law. It is one of the first things that Aquinas says, law must be a promulgation of reason to a complete community.

    However, to arrive at your final question; No, I do not think the Social Reign of Christ requires the State itself to acknowledge and honour Christ. It is not what the State is for, nor what it was ever intended to be for. Further more, as I was trying to say, unless there is a Cultural counter-revolution, any attempt to produce a Catholic State will be meaningless because we’ve one of two options,

    Option a) The State makes laws of Faith that are for all citizens, that will generally be disobeyed by those who are not Catholic, leading as I have argued above to a decay in the respect for the law generally. This I argue is such an assault on the common good that such a law is better off disobeyed in order to maintain the good of social cohesion and harmony.

    Option b) The State makes laws of Faith that are for Catholics only, which is more or less preaching to the choir and what it would probably do is that those Catholics who have one foot out the door would just be pushed further away.

    Also, it would be akin to making a Caste Society; this in itself leads to various other moral wickedness – those who are Catholic thinking themselves better than those who are not Catholic. It’s a tempting thought, but its sure as hell not true. Every Christian is just as much a sinner as non-Christians; what’s worse is we know it, and we receive the grace to resist it, yet we still sin.

    If however, we have the cultural counter-revolution that was being spoken of, then I consider that the Social Reign of Christ would be a true reality; at this point making laws for what should be dictated by custom, or by social mores is unhelpful.

    Your Eminence, I will give you the last word; but I am of the opinion that we will simply end up having to agree to disagree.

  33. “No, I do not think the Social Reign of Christ requires the State itself to acknowledge and honour Christ.”

    Well, there we go then. It took long enough, but it’s finally out. Yes indeed, Bl. Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, St. Pius XI, Pius XII (not to mention all those Popes, Bishops and Saints who taught the contrary implicitly by living it out) and I will have to agree to disagree with you. You, and who else, I ask? You are in grave error. See what the Popes have to say on these matters.

    “It is not what the State is for, nor what it was ever intended to be for.”

    The State’s purpose–what the State is for–is the common good. It receives from God the authority to direct the populace towards the common good. Since it receives its authority from God it must, as a matter of justice, acknowledge Him and do Him homage. You are in grave error.

    “If however, we have the cultural counter-revolution that was being spoken of, then I consider that the Social Reign of Christ would be a true reality”

    But a society is more than the sum of its individuals; what you are speaking of is the Sum-of-individual-Reigns of Christ, so to speak, not the Social Reign of Christ.