Monthly Archives: April 2011
The Press office of the vatican has released a multilingual communiqué about the planned meeting in Assisi, in the meantime known as “Assisi III”. If you scroll here you’ll see the English text.
As expected, Pope Benedict will do things in a radically different manner than his soon-to-be-beatified predecessor. Among the positive aspects I would mention:
1) The express intention of avoiding the mess of the other times (particularly 1986). The statement says (emphasis mine):
Believers too are constantly journeying towards God: hence the possibility, indeed the necessity, of speaking and entering into dialogue with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, without sacrificing one’s own identity or indulging in forms of syncretism.
No Buddhas on altars, and no mistake.
2) The express mention that there will be no common prayer. People of different faith will just – to say it poetically – shut up and everyone of them will pray individually as he can. The fact that everyone prays according to his own religion doesn’t make the act “ecumenical” (in the wrong sense) in the least. This is, it seems to me, not different from what happens in a stadium before the shooting of a penalty. I will eagerly await what conservative Catholic sites write about this, but I personally don’t see any need to be alarmed by the exercise in itself.
3) The event is very much low-key: a selected group of people starting a train journey from Rome to Assisi. Also, no multi-day kermesse but a rather sober programme beginning and ending on the same day. This is no mega-gathering, rather a day out.
As largely expected, scenes like these ones are not going to be repeated; rather, Pope Benedict chooses to emphasise beforehand that he is going to make it differently. Still, I think that this is not a good thing as he is, in a way, trying to repair Assisi like Gorbaciov tried to repair communism, but the first is every bit beyond repair as the second.
Some aspects of the gathering are, in my eyes, still questionable; not “JP II-questionable”, though; rather, questionable from a purely Catholic point of view:
1) I’d have thought that the Pope’s role is to convert those who are not Catholic, not to dialogue with them. I know that dialogue is so much “en vogue” nowadays, but everytime I read about “dialogue” I have the strange impression that here the message is broadcast that Catholicism and heresy – or Catholicism and Atheism – are positions which meet on a foot of equal dignity.
They don’t. Truth meets Lie, and Faith meets Unbelief. It may be that this will be the bearer of good fruits; still, the supremacy of the Truth should be stressed by none more than by the Pope himself. This here doesn’t help.
2) Assisi I is called “historic meeting”. Historic in shame, blasphemy and heresy, yes. But to extol such a goddamn mess as an example of virtue seems to me – even allowing for the explicit clarification that this time, things are going to be made in a radically different way – way out of the mark. Again, Pope Benedict tries to repair a toy already irreparably damaged in the eyes of orthodox Catholics and no amount of totschweigen und schoenreden of the unspeakable shame of 1986 will change an iota in this.
3) this time, atheists are also invited. They are invited on the ground that they “regard themselves as seekers of truth” and feel that they “share responsibility” for this planet. This sounds rather strange to me. I’d have thought that the gathering would have a religious aspect in that it shows people of different faiths but united by their belief in the supernatural. If you extend this to atheists, well why not to homo and lesbian organisations, or neonazis, or wiccans, or the like? They all “see themselves” as “seekers of truth”, let alone think that they “share responsibility”….
Next thing you know, Satanists will asked to be invited. Hey, let’s dialogue!
4) (Achtung! Pure Mundabor-esque point!) I don’t know about you, but I still have a slight impression of easy populism whenever I hear about a “peace” event. Peace is easily said and more universally liked than football, or chocolate. It doesn’t make any news that a religious leader promotes peace. Rather, it seems to me that peace is getting too big a place at the Christian table. In my eyes, it would be high time – for a change – to start re-instructing the faithful about the doctrine of war instead of feeding them the easy fare of cunning politicians and senseless dreamers. We can’t close our eyes in front of simple realities of the human condition just because it is more convenient or popular to do so. The Truth must, I think, be said whole, not only the convenient bits. Marches for “peace” are not very scarce; nor is the message controversial; nor is there any need to stress it.
All in all, one can – I think – safely say that the worst fears have been dissipated. But one can also – I’d say, with equal security – say that this initiative still reeks a bit of that easy populism that played such a massive role during the pontificate of the late JP II.
I still wished this had never been started.
This is the text to be found on Father Corapi’s website. it comes from the former Bishop of Corpus Christi, Rene’ Gracida.
The text deserves to be read in its entirety:
The public controversy over the announcement of the accusations against Father John Corapi, SOLT, and his suspension from exercising his priestly ministry offers an opportunity to reflect on the flawed procedure apparently being followed in too many dioceses of the United States these days in the case of a priest accused of sexual misconduct not involving minors. The procedure is flawed because it inflicts grave injustice on the priest and serves as a deterrent to young men thinking of offering themselves as candidates for the priesthood.
The procedure operates something like this. A person accuses a priest of sexual misconduct (again, not involving a minor). The priest is immediately suspended from active exercise of his priestly ministry while an investigation is launched into the truth or falsity of the accusations.
There is no need for a public announcement to be made that gives the name of the priest and the fact of the accusation and the suspension, and yet, all to often such a public announcement is made. Such public announcement by a diocese almost always results in media exploitation of the news in a sensational manner to the detriment of the Catholic Church and its priesthood. It seems that rarely, if ever, is mention is made in the announcement of the name of the accuser.
The investigation may take days or months or years to complete. In the meantime the priest’s reputation is effectively destroyed and perhaps he is ‘thrown out on the street’ with no means of support. The accuser, on the other hand, enjoys anonymity and suffers no loss of reputation or negative material consequences and in the case of an accusation later proven to have been false the injustice to priest is great.
In cases where the priest is accused of having used force (rape or some other form of involuntary abuse) there is some justification for not publishing the name of the accuser. But, where there is reason to believe that the alleged sexual misconduct was effected through mutual consent there is no justification for not publishing the name of the accuser. Under the present procedure it is too easy for a person to allege sexual misconduct (again not involving minors) for a variety of possible unworthy motives: revenge, hope for monetary gain, hostility to the Catholic Faith, etc. Such is reported to have been the case of the accusation against Father Corapi. The only safe way to guard against damaging the reputation of individual priests and the Catholic priesthood in general is to not publish the name of an accused priest until an investigation has proved beyond doubt the guilt of the priest.
The Bishop does not intervene to say that Corapi is innocent, and rightly so. He points out, though, to the absurdity of the current praxis: priest exposed, accused protected in his anonimity (we still don’t know the name of the lady; but we all know that Father Corapi is suspended), great danger of permanent reputation damage and all this, in a case where minors are not involved.
It is refreshing to see a former Bishop intervene in favour of common sense. Bishop Gracida goes so far as to suggest that even the fact that an investigation has taken place should only be divulged after (and if) the priest in question has been found guilty. We are not talking of matters involving the police or the criminal courts here anyway.
Yup, makes sense to me.
After Jones’ burning exercise, UN workers have been attacked and several of them killed in Mazar-i-Sharif, a city in northern Afghanistan.
There are several considerations to be made here:
1) The freedom of Terry Jones to burn however many Korans he wants to burn must not be put into question: I have already made this point in the previous message, but repetita iuvant.
2) The cause of the killings is very obviously – though I am sure people of slow intelligence will not get this – not Terry Jones burning the Koran, but the existence of fanatical muslims ready to take every excuse to kill people.
3) What has happened in Mazar-i-Sharif not only cannot be blamed on Jones, but makes his point in the most impressive manner.
Please listen to this interview with ABC. The rather cretinous journalist continues to pose suggestive questions to Jones, all the whilst exhibiting the most sanctimonious of tones. Jones answers to them simply like one who has nothing to do with the killings, and condemns these animals. When the sanctimonious lady throws the mask and poses the question openly (whining tone, oh so virtuous): “do you fe-eel res-po-on-si-ble?” he clearly answers that he isn’t; when she asks “how wou-ou-ld you fe-el” if someone burned a bible he gives her a lesson in democracy and civilisation; when she says to him that he “en-c-couraged” the killing (an astonishing affirmation, this, not only factually wrong but showing a breathtaking illiberal bias) Jones again keeps calm (kudos to him; I could never have achieved that) and repeats his “Islam is dangerous, see events in Afghanistan” point.
And in fact, the man is perfectly right in this: that the koran burning exercise is juts the last excuse for something fanatics want to do in the first place. You want proof?
1) Even the most moronic islamic fanatic can go on youtube and delight himself with Koran burning galore. I have already pointed out in the past to the fact that on Youtube, “every day is burn a Koran day”. Why do the chaps wake up only today? Where have they been all the time? The videos have been on youtube for years and there are many more where they come from……
2) I am not aware of any islamic fanatic ever being short or reasons why he should behave like a fanatic. If it’s not the burning of Koran it is the threat to burn Korans; if it’s not the threat to burn Korans it is a cartoon about their most famous child rapist, Mohammed; if it’s not Mohammed, the child rapist it’s the invasion of Iraq (supported by a couple of dozens Arab countries); if it’s not the invasion of Iraq it’s the presence of American boots on Saudi soil, & Co, & Co. Still, the slow of intellect will, no doubt, have problems in getting the point.
3) Even within the very liberal, champagne-sipping walls of the ABC the simple principle of responsibility of one’s actions should find application. To ask terry Jones whether he feels responsible for what fanatical asses have done in Afghanistan is not only a betrayal of common sense, but a blatant disregard of that principle.
4) As already said, the events in Kabul prove Terry Jones’ case. The more the idiots react with such fanaticism to him, the more they prove that the problem is their fanaticism, and the religion fuelling it.
Terry Jones is not a genius, but he certainly has a point.
One can safely say that Terry Jones is, well, not a genius. One is at a loss to understand how a man can decide:
1) to announce that he is going to burn a Koran
2) to announce that he will wait for signals from the Holy Ghost about what to do;
3) to announce a very broad palette of events which he would consider being the word of the Holy Ghost not to do it;
4) when no one of the events occurs, to decide not to do it anyway;
I do understand that some of our erring Proddie brothers make a great deal of what they imagine the Holy Ghost is telling to them, but from the way Terry Jones acts the Holy Ghost would seem to be rather unstable; which leads us to the unavoidable conclusion that the unstable one is, well, Terry Jones himself.
The Terry Jones saga now has a new chapter written (er….. burnt?), as the man, probably on the look for some more attention or needing some money, decided that the Holy Ghost has evidently changed his mind once again and has organised a sort of trial of the Koran (these people complain about the Holy Inquisition, I am sure…) at the end of which they, well, decided to burn it.
Let me say what I think of this specific action:
1) It is perfectly within the right of Mr. Terry Jones, or of every Mr. Joe Average, to burn a Koran. Mr. Jones lives in the Land Of The Free (USA) instead of in the Land Of The Politically Correct Cowards (United Kingdom) and he therefore has all the rights to exercise his freedom as he thinks fit.
2) The idea of staging a “trial to the Koran” is very childish. It shows once again that the man is on the look for a publicity stunt, and that his followers are certainly not picked amongst the brightest minds of that great nation.
3) The idea of burning the Koran (instead of, say, pronouncing the Koran heretical, or blasphemous, or outright idiotic and leave it at that; it’s a book, for Heaven’s sake, and it’s not even a trial!) is further proof that the man will do whatever brings him some notoriety. I am still waiting for an explanation from him about why the Holy Ghost would change His mind so often on the matter, but perhaps I’m asking too much.
In conclusion, I think that we can safely say that the man shows all the worst traits of Protestantism and is, certainly – not because of the burning of the Koran in itself, mind; but because of the ridiculous “Holy Ghost circus” and “wannabe Inquisition” habits of his – not good publicity for Christianity.
Having said that, the man most certainly has a point.
Which will be the subject of the next blog post.