Friday, February 17, 2012

My Take on the News: 'Wikileaks,' Italian Style; Conscience and the Constitution; Same-Sex Attraction

More posts about forcing Catholics to violate our conscience:
The Department of Health and Human Services vs. Conscience
There's a lot going on, as usual. Including this:
  1. Vatican Document Leak: Drama, Reason, and Selling Papers
  2. HHS 'Ignore Your Conscience' Mandate
  3. Living With Same-Sex Attraction
About the first item: Emotion and reason don't play well together. I think reason is a better guide to decisions. Incidentally, there's a reason why it's hard to think straight when our emotions are whipped up:

1. Vatican Document Leak: Drama, Reason, and Selling Papers

I posted about this on Wednesday:
"Vatican Spokesman Calls for Calm, Clear Thinking" Responds to Series of Leaked Memos Causing Italian Media Uproar ZENIT, via EWTN (February 14-15, 2012)

"The director of the Vatican press office advises remaining calm, as a series of leaked Vatican documents has created something of a media storm in Italy....

"...'We must, then, remain calm and keep our nerve, make use of reason, something which not all media outlets tend to do,' he suggested...."

"Vatican spokesman says leaks are incentive for further reform"
CNA (Catholic News Agency (February 14, 2012)

"In the face of leaks of various Vatican documents, Holy See officials must not become caught up in controversy and confusion but should stay committed to reform and 'authentic transparency' in government, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said on Monday afternoon.

" 'Both sides bear responsibility: firstly the suppliers of documents of this kind, but also those who undertake to use them for purposes that certainly have nothing to do with pure love of truth,' he said in a Feb. 13 statement. 'We must, therefore, stand firm, not allowing ourselves to be swallowed up by the vortex of confusion, which is what ill-intentioned people want, and remaining capable of using our reason.'..."
I think the drama brewing in Italy shows that:
  • Everyone on the Vatican staff is a human being
    • " himself begets mischief, as sparks fly upward."
      (Job 5:7)
  • Reporters and editors need to sell newspapers
    • Drama helps sell newspapers
  • Interoffice memos and reports generally aren't dramatic
    • Until they're 'properly' presented
Here's how I put it in Wednesday's post:
"...Looks like there's another 'Wikileaks' situation brewing: this time with the Vatican as the star attraction. If I thought that the Vatican was staffed by perfect people, or that the Pope could do no wrong,1 I might be shocked. As it is, not so much.

That doesn't mean that I think the Vatican's up to no good: or that whatever's been leaked is a pack of lies. The way it's presented may be something else....

"...As for the way news media seems to be covering the story? Which do you think would sell more papers: a detailed analysis of an accountant's report; or 'VATICAN MONEY MISMANAGED?!'..."
(February 15, 2012)

2. HHS 'Ignore Your Conscience' Mandate

This could get interesting. Looks like close to a quarter of state-level attorneys general have read the Constitution: including the First Amendment.
"Twelve attorneys general threaten to sue over contraception mandate"
CNA/EWTN News (February 16, 2012)

"Attorneys general from a dozen states say they intend to sue over the Obama administration's contraception mandate that requires many religious employers to violate the teachings of their faith.

"In a Feb. 10 letter, the attorneys general voiced their 'strong opposition' to the mandate, which they called 'an impermissible violation of the Constitution's First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.'..."
Maybe the state attorneys general who haven't threatened to sue are waiting to see what happens next. I've posted about the current administration's efforts before:I am concerned about the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) mandate. I think it's wrong to force folks to violate their conscience.

Cautious Optimism and the 'Good Old Days'

I'm cautiously optimistic. Antics in Washington remind me of the 'good old days,' when a WASPish establishment was tearing itself to shreds.

Folks in today's establishment aren't likely to say, "the KKK is an old American institution,"2 and go commie-hunting in a Federal Writers Project. But I think they've got the same sort of disconnect from the world we all live in.

I also think that an increasing number of folks have started to notice.

One question we need to ask ourselves is, 'do we really want that lot in charge?' There's an election coming up in November, by the way.

3. Living With Same-Sex Attraction

Some folks believe that Christians hate homosexuals. I can see why:

(Reuters photo, via, used w/o permission)

I don't think that lot is typical of American Protestants. They emphatically don't reflect what the Catholic Church teaches.

We're not allowed to hate anybody. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033) That includes homosexuals, used car salesmen, and Lithuanians - which are three quite different sorts of categories, and that's another topic.
"CNA columnist begins series on living with same-sex attraction"
CNA (Catholic News Agency) (February 16, 2012)

"In a new series of guest columns, CNA contributor Patrick Einheber will discuss his experience as a faithful Catholic with same-sex attraction.

" 'I was born and raised as a Catholic and have experienced same-sex attraction for as long as I can remember being aware of attraction,' said Einheber, a 37-year-old software engineer from Denver, Colorado.

" 'In college I abruptly and naively came to the conclusion that the Church was wrong about its views on same-sex relationships and marriage,' he told CNA. 'I rebelled against the idea that Catholics need to understand and believe everything the Church teaches and so I stopped going to Mass.'

"But after college, 'I experienced a profound emptiness that God eventually revealed as a longing for him,' he recalled. 'When I again sought the face of God and tried to learn why the Church teaches what it teaches, I began to see its wisdom and beauty and have been drawn onward ever since.'..."
My own experience is a little like Patrick Einheber's. I was raised in a nice, normal, non-Catholic American family. I assumed that what the Catholic Church taught about artificial contraceptives was stupid. So I read Humanae Vitae: and eventually became a Catholic.

I don't experience same-sex attraction. That's no virtue on my part: just part of the package I deal with. My run-in with Catholic teaching had more to do with my disordered view of human sexuality.

I recognized that sex was an integral part of human nature, but didn't realize how important being open to the creation of new life was. There's more about that on the Vatican website:

'Either - Or' Ain't

"...In his remarks to CNA, the new columnist criticized the media's presentation of a 'false dichotomy' between 'authentic, traditional Christians' on the one hand, and people who experience same-sex attraction on the other.

"These categories are not mutually exclusive, Einheber noted.

" 'The world needs to know that there are people who experience same-sex attraction and still want to follow Christ on the narrow road.'..."
(CNA) [emphasis mine]
Maybe you've run into a Catholic who hates homosexuals. Or used car salesmen. Or Lithuanians. Some of the 1,100,000,000 Catholic alive today don't behave well. That's an individual. Sometimes malcontents get together and form a sort of club. Individually, or in a group: they don't speak for the Church.

This isn't all there is to say on the subjects, but it's one way to wrap up this post:
  • I'm not allowed to hate anyone
    (Catechism 1033)
  • Homosexual behavior is wrong
    • So is unjust discrimination against people who engage in homosexual behavior
    (Catechism, 2358)
Like I've said beforeRelated posts:

1 Papal infallibility doesn't meant that a Pope can't make mistakes. I've been over this before. (January 11, 2012)

2 Source:


Brigid said...

I know the headline puts the plural there, but it sounds wrong: "close to a quarter of state-level attorneys general have"

You have two '1' footnotes.

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


The footnote thing is fixed: Thanks!

The plural form is correct. It sounds funny, but it's correct. More than one attorney general is attorneys general. I confirmed this in the Associated Press stylebook I use as a reference for my blogs.

My guess is that we're looking at contemporary American English being influenced by French - or possibly Latin - grammar. For some interesting historical and cultural reasons, Latin was the standard legal language in European courts until quite recently.

Basically, it was the one language that a judge and the lawyers could be expected to have in common.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.