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Monday, April 04, 2005

The Idiocy of the Public

AP Poll:New Pope Should Push for Change

You know what the change they want is:

Female Priests.

Married Priests.

Oh yeah, that would fix it...if it weren't for the numerous cases of female teachers, married and unmarried, molesting young boys.

"People" think his is a good idea because they think change is always good. The false god of "progress" is deceptive. It wasn't so good for Germany in 1933, was it?

UPDATE: John over at the Catholic Packer Fan sounds off eloquently.


  • The contradictions in that story abound. Don't like what a priest is supposed to be? Change the definition and still call them a priest. Don't like the teachings of the Church? Change the teachings and still call it the Church. Want the best man for the job...but want to make sure the best man comes from a certain area. Want priests to be allowed to marry, but you have mixed emotions about letting women be's own his own I guess. But whatever you do, DON'T change religions! Just change the religion to suit your wants and continue calling it by the same every time it's tried---to get what YOU want that is---don't know about what God wants though.

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 4/05/2005 07:46:00 AM  

  • "People" think his is a good idea because they think change is always good.

    Strange, it has always been my observation that people are always fearful of change.

    I guess the fear of change and the hope that things can improve tend to cancel each other out.

    I vote for hope.

    By Blogger Mark, at 4/05/2005 08:41:00 PM  

  • Hammer,
    I love you brother and I certainly don’t intend to be contentious for its own sake…but. I will point out two things and would like your response.
    1. Galatians 3:28…there is neither male nor female…
    2. I Corinthians 7:9…it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

    By Blogger Robert, at 4/06/2005 01:08:00 AM  

  • Robert,

    In my comment, I only wanted to point out that you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you're burning with passion, then I guess you should get married...but then you wouldn't fit the requirements for being a priest.

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 4/06/2005 10:41:00 AM  

  • Robert,

    Dropping scripture references isn't enough:

    1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

    Thus, clearly priests should be men, and, as priests are held to a higher standard than the laity, they should be unmarried.

    Of course, I am a married Protestant ordained minister. I am not defending the objective right-ness of the Catholic Church's position, but their right to make their decisions and honor their traditions, regardless of what the polls say.

    David's point was a bit hard for me to follow, but I think he basically said that if someone doesn't like the way the Catholic Church does business, they should go elsewhere. Otherwise, it loses its "Catholicism". I don't think this is an argument against improvements, but against change for the sake of change. After all, how does the business of the Church improve by making these changes? That is nearly always absent in this discussion.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/06/2005 11:26:00 PM  

  • Mark,
    You use the 'fear of change' as justification for change, thus showing your desire for change. That is exactly what I am speaking of - believeing in progress - that we will always get better, smarter, faster at things until the end of the universe.

    That also is the belief of most of the public. If fear of change were so great, incumbents would always win and new cars would never sell.
    No, people only fear change in their small, personal worlds within themselves and their sphere of control. They think change is good for others. Liberals especially like others changing...changing toward what the liberals think!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/06/2005 11:31:00 PM  

  • Hammer,
    I wasn’t dropping scripture for show, but rather to make a salient point. As I’m sure you know, context is key in exegesis. Re: your first reference, I and many others believe that Paul’s statement was made in light of their culture (i.e. women not teaching their husbands, as women were rarely educated). There were, however, deaconesses. With respect to I Cor. 7:1, the following verses explain its meaning. If read alone, one might be inclined to think that marriage itself is sinful.

    Not being a Catholic myself either, but theoretically their spiritual sibling, I feel that it is incumbent upon me and indeed all believers to “test all things, holding fast to that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21). It seems obvious to me (given recent events) that compulsory celibacy among the priesthood has had deleterious effects.

    By Blogger Robert, at 4/07/2005 02:10:00 AM  

  • Let's be clear about celibacy and the priesthood. Priests being "held to a higher standard" and thus not allowed to marry is a whole lot of cover-up for the churh's decision to keep priests celibate so they wouldn't give away the church's land or endowments to their heirs.

    As far as not changing, we do well to learn from our brothers and sisters in recovery. If you keep displaying the same behavior, you're going to get the same result. The only way to get a different result is to try different behavior. So, if the Catholic church wants the same results then their best choice is not to make any changes.

    Hammer, you apparently got the response you wanted. You seem to have tried to get your readers incensed about the molesting teachers back in mid-March and got no response. I guess, if nothing else, you're persistent.

    By Anonymous LiberalChristian, at 4/08/2005 11:29:00 AM  

  • Actually, I didn't want anyone to get incensed about molesting teachers (er, teachers who molest). What I wanted was to highlight the incongruity of an argument that falsely posits celibacy as a causal factor in child molestation - when in fact, it has nothing to do with it.

    I am persistent because the issue arose again - hence the link to the AP poll.

    LC, you may not like my position, but it is more reasoned and logical than you care to admit.

    Robert, there is no evidence that celibacy causes priests to molest anyone. That was the point of my post. My personal opinion is that I don't think it is necessary, but much as we are to 'regard the day' or not as unto the Lord (Romans 14), we are to not get in a big row over something not clearly outlined in scripture.

    The Bible does not say that priests must be celibate - nor does it say that they must not. Therefore, it is up to the church to decide, as they feel led and can agree. The leaders of the Catholic Church agree on this point, (no matter the origin, LC), so there is no reason to change it. Those who do not like it have myraid other worship options, if they are so opposed.

    As far as the male/female priests thing goes, here is a perspective from outside the Catholic Church. An excerpt:

    "The Bible reveals this pattern of male leadership in the church and in the home as enduring and authoritative. We have no right to reject or to compromise clear teachings of the Bible in order to meet the demands of today’s political correctness. The Word of God is eternal and totally true. Without a firm biblical foundation, the church ceases to be a church in anything but name. It has become nothing more than a voluntary association with a liturgy."

    Claiming that a part of the Bible is merely "cultural" is a road that leads instantly to relativistic interpretation which justifies my own, personal acceptance or rejection of any part of the Bible.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/08/2005 01:08:00 PM  

  • Which part is reasoned and logical?

    By Anonymous LiberalChristian, at 4/08/2005 01:38:00 PM  

  • Simple:

    Many claim that celibacy in the male priesthood causes child molestation. My presentation of female married and single teachers who molest students shows that this argument is false.

    The lack of ANY scientific evidence to show that celibacy causes child molestation hammers it down as downright ignorance. Any other questions?

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/08/2005 02:03:00 PM  

  • Hammer,
    I completely respect your position, even though I take issue with it slightly. The fact is, there are many cultural references in Scripture that have evolved over time. For example, I Timothy 6:1 Let as many slaves as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honor (we no longer view slave masters as honorable), I Cor. 11:1-16 …if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. And the decree to circumcise all males on the eighth day, as was Christ, but then the law was subsequently fulfilled (Col. 2:11-17 …having wiped out the hand-writing of requirements that was against us…

    For the sake of clarity, I firmly believe that the Word of God is eternal, divine and inerrant. As hermeneutics dictates, the Bible must be understood in the sense in which it is intended, not merely in a wooded literal sense. That is, parables, metaphors and literal texts should be read and understood accordingly. A prime example is offered by none other than Jesus, who healed on the Sabbath and did not force his disciples to “wash their hands” before eating (on at least one occasion). The point He was making is that tradition is not superior to the truth of Scripture. This is one reason I disagree with the article that you linked to: ”For nearly 2,000 years, the Christian church has limited the office of pastor to men.”

    The Catholic Church and indeed all congregations are free to codify any rules they like. I’m certainly not suggesting that they be censored or regulated by the state. What I am saying though, is that legalistic traditions can “make God’s commands of no effect”, at least for those traditionalists. Not all traditions and customs are improper, and some are efficacious. God has granted celibacy to some, but not all. Mandating this for all priests has absolutely been a factor in their malfeasance and rationalizing it will not help. My point is that some priests "burn" and are forbade to marry, so apparently they acted inappropriately. The fact that some unscrupulous married teachers molested their students does not minimize the priests’ sin. And Paul’s suggestion to marry if one has not been “gifted” by God to remain single is fairly clear and convincing evidence, in my view.

    Also, as I see it, Paul’s reservations about women were largely informed by his training as a Pharisee, coupled with the broader patriarchal culture. I think it’s a bit misguided to assume that Paul was instituting a new law, as though God would not use women as ministers. Don’t forget, Timothy’s mother and grandmother were his spiritual teachers. The male only “doctrine” seems obsolete.

    By Blogger Robert, at 4/08/2005 03:01:00 PM  

  • Robert,
    I am having trouble correlating your scripture references to the point you are trying to make. Please, steer me back if I mis-step:

    1) Slaves. The command is clearly for slaves to treat their masters with respect, just as the general Christian is to treat those who oppress us with respect, and by doing so heap coals of fire upon their heads. I feel your comment was about those of us who are not slaves - and hence, is not related to the text.

    2) 1 Cor 11:1-16 is a rebuke by St. Paul against the unseeming conduct of some women in the church who were causing contention by rejecting a cultural norm of the head covering. Thus, the admonition, "if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God" explains that it is not the custom of the churches of God to buck cultural custom and cause contention in families where it is not necessary. The head covering was not prohibited, nor mandated by Christ and the church, so the church cannot be claimed as justification for it.

    Circumcision was never a requirement of the church. I'm not sure how that can support an argument of an evolutionary theology (evolving commands).

    I actually agree 100% that tradition is not superior to scripture. What I think is our disagreement is the level of honor that we hold tradition to. I believe that it is below scripture, but above cultural norms. You seem to place cultural norms above tradition. My position on our disagreement is: no problem. That a benefit of denominations (there are down sides, too, but I digress), that we can attend a church that we are comfortable with thier practices, as long as their doctrine is true.

    I also have a problem with many of the Catholic Churches traditions, which is why I became a Protestant. The day I left was the day I lost my 'dog in that fight'. I am not defending the command of celibacy for priests. What I am defending is the right of the Catholic Church to choose that restriction for priests, and the subsequent restriction of those who would become priests. Contrary to what you write, there is no evidence that the priests molested boys because they were celibate. I was celibate for five years withnary a hint of attraction to boys. The female teachers who molest boys were not celibate, or at least not celibate males. Hence, the argument that celibacy causes child molestation is false. You cannot even argue that it is a contributor, because child molestation is so (heartbreakingly) widespread. For example, there are 18, 507 registered sex offenders in L.A., Orange, Riverside and SAn Bernadino Counties - that's one in every 890 people. How many of them were living lives of celibacy that lead to their crime? 1? 0?

    I don't think that any of these 18, 507's crimes makes the priests' sins any less sinful. What it does is clearly indicate that sex crimes do not result from a life of celibacy.

    I have to go home - I'll go back to the 'women preists' discussion later tonight - but it's not much different.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/08/2005 05:17:00 PM  

  • You "guys" are never going to work this out. It is a disagreement that will always be--and you know what? I say we leave it up to God. I'm not Catholic, but I know that God is in control so lets just trust in Him to sort this all out and do what "HE" wants. I enjoy change, if it is from the Lord, but I've also learned that tradition has it's benefits as well and take the example of the apostle Paul: if it is going to cause a major issue with some, and it's not going against God, leave it be.

    By Blogger Teresa, at 4/08/2005 09:55:00 PM  

  • Hammer,
    Since folks have argued for centuries about this, we may not agree, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are many things that we’ll not know until we reach “the other side”.

    My references were simply meant to demonstrate that some prescriptions in the Bible are less than “commandments”. The head covering issue was an object lesson, but not an emphatic rule. My point about slaves was that today “we” don’t accept slavery by reverently honoring slave masters. At the time, Roman slavery was not ebbing, so resistance was indeed futile. Therefore, Paul was not legitimating the compulsory servitude of believers, but rather acknowledging the current reality. While the Word of God shall never pass away, secondary customs are subject to change. This is evidenced by the dispirit traditions and denominations (that have changed over time), which are all under the umbrella of the Church.

    Circumcision was never a requirement of the church. I'm not sure how that can support an argument of an evolutionary theology (evolving commands).

    While I agree, the earliest believers did not. Paul had to call Peter out in public to resolve the issue. My point here is that circumcision was a commandment of God, but He declared a paradigm shift, that was disputed at first (by most).

    With respect to women, I’m simply arguing that “male only” was certainly “the Law” before Christ. But, Paul’s instruction to Timothy reflects culture and custom, not dogma. There is precious little on the subject. For those who refer to “Church history and tradition”, I would point to the Protestant Reformation. Since then, there has been a constant splintering. If you stand on tradition, I would ask which one(s) and from which denomination(s)? Not being omniscient myself, I try to read the Scriptures with 2 Peter 1:16-21 in mind.

    By Blogger Robert, at 4/08/2005 10:09:00 PM  

  • Robert,
    I'm glad we have run across each other in blogdom. I am blessed and smarter for it.

    We are much closer in our positions than I have made clear. Traditions are worthwhile only as long as they do not detract from the business of the church and the Gospel message. Because there are currently many denominations that do not restrict their leaders in the fashion that the Catholic Church does, I see believers as free to go to them instead.

    If a tradition is a stumbling block to someone, they can either seek to change that tradition, or, if they cannot tolerate it while they work, select a denomination with which they are more comfortable.

    I am uncomfortable with female clergy, so I don't attend churches that have them (I have before, but do not now). However, it is not my place to tell a church, of which I am not a contributing member, what customs and traditions they should follow.

    Teresa, you said it best. "Us guys" would do well to listen to you!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 4/09/2005 02:09:00 PM  

  • I concur.

    By Blogger Robert, at 4/09/2005 05:38:00 PM  

  • Hammer,

    I must have mis-estimated my audience with my cake comment. It puzzles me that it can be as difficult to communicate up as it is down. One would think that if a person could grasp a nuanced idea pregnant with implications, they could easily grasp a simple one. Not so! I'm finding out. Let me try this another way then.
    If there has been anything in this world that has been proven to us laymen, it's that the Bible can be interpreted however the interpreter wants it interpreted---it confuses the heck out of us poor, simple folk. That's one reason why I've thrown out the whole business. A person simply cannot turn to the Bible for the "truth" unless (and how is this for a implicatedly pregnant idea? :) one who believes so is willing to say that many on this Earth are doomed to eternal damnation which then forfeits Gods promise through Jesus Christ that all men might be saved. And then along comes some who believe that only a select few will be saved which then forfeits the freewill that others say we possess.
    My point about cake and Catholics was that you cannot have an institution, then change that institution and still that same institute.
    And the idea that priests are molesting little boys because their flesh is burning is ridiculous. It might hold water if they were locked away somewhere with access to only little boys; but these priests mingle freely with ladies who would be more than willing to accommodate their burning flesh---never mind what Hammer said about what is "unsexy" So isn't denial of the pleasures of the flesh that causes them to molest little boys...and allowing priests to marry won't change the reason they do.
    Now I could give a rats behind about priesthood...but I do feel it is necessary to point out faulty arguments when I run across one.

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 4/09/2005 05:51:00 PM  

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