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May 25, 2012


Spirit of Vatican II

Info on FS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Solidarity


"It should be noted that David Norris, in Norris v. Attorney General, 1980, had three clergymen among his witnesses"

Arguably this is very misleading to your readers since one of these three clergymen was in fact yourself. From 'The Irish Press', 28th June, 1980: ("Present homosexual laws are unjust says Catholic theologian")

"A Catholic theologian who was asked in the High Court yesterday about the criminalising of homosexual behaviour said the Catholic Church would never approve of a law which was unjust, and the present law could be considered unjust.

Fr. Joseph O'Leary was giving evidence during the fourth day of the hearing of an action by David Norris (36), president of the administrative council of the National Gay Federation, who is challenging the constitutionality of sections 61 and 62 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861, which makes sexual acts between males a criminal offence.

[...] Fr. O'Leary said that the Catholic approach to the morality of homosexuality was very diverse. It had undergone a tremendous change in recent years, and that change was in the direction of a more liberal, more understanding view.

[...] Fr. O'Leary, now a chaplain in a Drumcondra convent, said he would consider himself as well informed as any of the other 200 Irish theologians."

Interestingly, you do not make any attempt to explain (either in the court case or in the above article, which I assume wasn't published) why exactly laws against homosexuality are intrinsically unjust. If it's because you view homosexuality as an involuntary and unmalleable predisposition (questionable), one could equally argue that laws against hard drugs are unjust because drug users are frequently predisposed or addicted to the habit. Either homosexuality is wrong or it isn't. If the former is the case (as the Church maintains) then laws against the practice are NOT unjust.

Irritatingly in the above piece you also conflate homosexual attraction with 'gay' identity - ignoring the fact that many people who are homosexually inclined have no wish to define themselves by it. After all few heterosexually inclined men self-identity as 'straight'.

On a related note, I was delighted to see a British poll recently which confirmed for me that views in the 'gay community' on 'gay rights' are anything but homogeneous: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9317177/Gay-marriage-poll-suggests-doubts-in-gay-community.html


I was rather surprised to read this in the 'Irish Independent' from the same day ("Laws against gay people 'unjust' - priest"):

"[...] Fr. O'Leary was then cross-examined, by Mr. Aidan Browne, S.C., who asked whether masturbation between adult males was natural. He said that mutual masturbation was unnatural, but masturbation could be considered quite natural in certain circumstances. He would give the same answer in relation to buggary."

Buggary can be 'natural' in 'certain circumstances'? Absolutely shocking! Did they teach you that in Maynooth? If so, is it any wonder the Irish Church is in such a crisis?

Spirit of Vatican II

I wonder what decade Shane is living in?

On the injustice of the law I made several arguments in June 1980. One was that a law that is ignored in practice is a bad law that inevitably produces bad effects. Note that the law equally condemned gestures of affection between adult males and molestation of minors, so it could be called a pedophiles' charter as much as a blackmailer's charter.

Also, I argued that law should respect privacy and freedom of conscience, human rights, as much as possible, with due respect for public order and the common good. I said that this was in line with the teaching of Vatican II.

I also pointed to the pastoral practice of the Church that often shores up stable gay relationships (as in the famous comments of Visser, one of the co-authors of Persona Humana.

I quoted Thomas Aquinas on the homosexual orientation as natural secundum quid. Asked about sexual acts, I rejected the idea that masturbation is unnatural, as most people would today; in response to a follow-up question on buggery, I said that it would be similarly natural, irrespective of how it is morally judged, as an expression of natural sexual-affective instincts.

I don't recall saying that mutual masturbation was unnatural. There is a transcript, "Norris v. AG".

Spirit of Vatican II

Note that Persona Humana (1975) could be taken to see homosexuality as a natural instinct. Homosexualitatis Problema (1985) tried to close this "loophole" by saying the orientation itself is intrinsically disordered.


"I wonder what decade Shane is living in?"

The current one, sadly.

And thanks for the clarification but where exactly does Persona Humana imply that homosexuality is a natural instinct? I've just read it and that is certainly not apparent to me.

"One was that a law that is ignored in practice is a bad law that inevitably produces bad effects."

Utter nonsense. If this were true, we'd repeal laws against drugs, prostitution, etc.

Personally I'm agnostic about laws criminalizing homosexuality, but I fail to see how they violate anyone's human rights. There is no right to do wrong.

The true tragedy (which is what made the legalization of homosexuality inevitable) is the abandonment (among your generation of priests, who have single-handedly destroyed Catholicism in Ireland) of catechesis and preaching about human sexuality as a result of the (*groans*) Second Vatican Council.


'The true tragedy (which is what made the legalization of homosexuality inevitable) is the abandonment (among your generation of priests, who have single-handedly destroyed Catholicism in Ireland)'

Here here.Young people are sick of the appeasement of Vatican II turncoats.Kick them all out of the Church.Let's go back to actually believing in the faith, not pandering to sexual deviants.

Spirit of Vatican II

Shane and Stephen, I just heard of a rash of suicides in NI as a result of police crackdowns on "cottaging" -- something that is directly attributable to the homophobic hatred you both are vehiculating.

Spirit of Vatican II

"I love gays, throw 'em in jail; I love Jews, send their young men to work-camps." O caritas christiana...


What Spirit seems to be implying is that if you even question the moral basis behind homosexuality then you have blood on your hands. In any event abusing the memory of people who committed suicide for cheap rhetorical purposes is shameful.

I wonder whether Spirit would regard Ss Augustine and Aquinas as hateful homophobes too?

Spirit of Vatican II

Shane, the European Court of Human Rights found the imprisonment of gays to be a breach of human rights. Apparently you know better.

The suicide of young gays and of elderly gays in Ireland because of the mystificatory attitudes you project is not a matter of memory but of biting actuality. Nice to be in an armchair where you can treat your victims as -- what's the word? -- collateral damage.

Aquinas believed in the Holy Inquisition, which put heretics, witches, and gays to death -- he was a man of his times -- today to repeat his views is indeed hateful.

Someone at the Nuremberg trial urged the authority of Luther for putting Jews in workcamps. It did not wash with the judges.


"Shane, the European Court of Human Rights found the imprisonment of gays to be a breach of human rights. Apparently you know better."

What's this supposed to mean? That one cannot dare to dissent from whatever is decreed by a few dozen divinely-inspired and all-knowing elders in Strasbourg? Frankly I couldn't care less what they think.

Anyway this is just another appeal to authority, a propensity to which you are exceedingly susceptible. Previously you rebuked me for suggesting that a homosexual orientation could be potentially malleable and appealed instead to the consensus of the 'medical profession', by which you actually mean the 'medical establishment', since any honest psychiatrist will readily admit that sexual orientation is still an extremely primitive topic and we really don't know a lot more about it than we did in Kinsey's time. (I'm afraid that the medical establishment, like every establishment in the western world - especially universities and the Church, and here you are an example where both are concerned - are utterly dominated by leftist, liberal progressives).

"Someone at the Nuremberg trial urged the authority of Luther for putting Jews in workcamps. It did not wash with the judges."

Ever hear of Godwin's Law? To compare laws proscribing homosexual sex to the Nazi holocaust is grotesque. (Personally I have about as high an estimation of the Nuremberg trials as I do for the Stalin Show Trials - both were politically-motivated, vindictive farces and neither merit being invoked as an example of equitable justice.)

"Aquinas believed in the Holy Inquisition, which put heretics, witches, and gays to death -- he was a man of his times -- today to repeat his views is indeed hateful."

Did the Inquisition put people to death for commiting homosexual acts or for having a homosexual orientation? The former of course, since gay identity is a recent invention. Neither St Aquinas nor any inquisitor would have known what a 'gay' person was. Would that we all were blessed with similar ignorance.

Spirit of Vatican II

Shane, you seem to have uniquely self-formed notions of human rights. I would add to my arguments from authority that of Msgr Celestino Migliore who said at the UN that the Vatican is against the imprisonment of adults for consensual sexual relations.

You yourself are misled by "authorities" when you say that "gay identity is a recent invention" -- there is plenty of evidence that the homosexual orientation was recognized throughout history (even in Aquinas, who says that for some people is it a natural instinct).

I hope you have the courage to tell your gay friends to their face that you would have no objection to seeing them dumped in jail.

"To compare laws proscribing homosexual sex to the holocaust" -- I didn't. But note that your use of Thomas Aquinas would cover not only such unjust laws but also the judicial murder of gays, something the Nazis imitated from the Church, just as their treatment of the Jews has much medieval Catholic precedent (along with Luther's notorious tract). There are at least 2 monuments to the gay victims of Nazism here in Berlin. Your willingness to dismiss the human rights of gay folk puts you in evil company.


(1) I don't necessarily support laws making homosexuality a criminal offence, but I do think the state has a right to enact such laws. People with a homosexual orientation should have the same rights as everyone else, but same-sex sex can NEVER be a human right. There is no right to do wrong. (I take the same view with fornication - does that make me heterophobic?) Homosexuals are not biologically obliged to engage in homosexual sex - they do so out of their own volition.

(2) Even the most squalid prison conceivable would be a luxurious 5-star hotel compared to where they (or anyone else) will end up if they die in a state of mortal sin.

Spirit of Vatican II

You cannot make "fornication" and homosexual relations a crime without trampling on human rights, such as the right to privacy. Why not imprison people for masturbation while you are at it?

Thinking of all the loving gay and lesbian couples that I know, I wonder at your inhumanity. I fear you have spent too much time in the necrophiliac archives, burnishing your cult of Msgr Cremin and Abp McQuaid. As Diarmuid Ferriter has revealed, they did not preside over a humane and decent society. The Irish people has only the most benighted ideas of sexual morality and sexually transmitted diseases were twice as common as in Britain.

The "morality of the sacrosanct semen" (Congar) has misled you into thoroughly retrograde attitudes. I suggest that you might find healing through looking at Shakespeare's great play, "Measure for Measure".


Spirit, I don't take the modern concept of human rights very seriously. I concluded long ago that the cult of human rights is the greatest superstition of our time - with scant foundation in true philosophy or theology.

Msgr Cremin and Abp McQuaid were both great men who had the misfortune to see the Second Vatican Council and its toxic legacy. Your generation of Irish clergy has comprehensively undone all the fantastic work of your predecessors. When they were on the scene Mass attendance among Irish Catholics was close to universal. Now it is rapidly heading towards rock bottom and the Irish Church will be effectively dead in two decades. Are you proud of that?

Spirit of Vatican II

Human rights a superstition? Vatican II toxic? If such were the price of having bumper mass attendance, it would be a price too high to pay. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not composed for nothing. It came after the greatest human rights catastrophe in history, the de-humanizing of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, blacks as "vermin" by the forces of unreason. It came amid the ongoing crimes against human rights in the Communist world. You may dislike its philosophical parentage in Rousseau, Kant or whoever you "blame" for it, but it has been warmly espoused also by the Roman Catholic Church -- the Church of Vatican II, not that of Pius XII and the earlier Piuses. As to the demise of the Irish Church, it can be "blamed" equally on the failure to accept and enact Vatican II, compounded by the failed Restoration of John Paul II and his successor. Vatican II has been blocked all the way by archconservative laudatores rerum praeteritorum and idealizers of the pre-Vatican II Church, which as we now now was full of abuse (and idolized itself and Holy Ireland in a ridiculous and deluded way). But the basic issue is not blame, but realization of the huge change in society that has overtaken the Church, and to which the Church has responded inadequately. The "no change" ethos of Msgr Cremin and Abp McQuaid had a great purchase on the Catholic mind and it frustrated whole generations of professionals who met again and again a totally frustrating lack of intelligent dialogue from the Church.


"the pre-Vatican II Church...idolized itself and Holy Ireland in a ridiculous and deluded way"

As a student I'm well used to self-important, well-paid university professors feeding their superiority complex by snobbishly sneering at the piety and values of those backward, penniless peasants of the past. Such people probably get a kick of how 'enlightened' they feel by comparison. Personally I find it rather pathetic.

I disagree with you that the preconciliar Irish Church 'idolized' itself and Ireland. One of the great problems with Irish Catholics (no doubt a legacy of historic British oppression and colonialism) has been a seemingly ineradicable inferiority complex. The Church in Ireland in the 1950s had many great strengths and many reasons to feel proud - but I don't think it was unreasonably so, or at least not as much as it could have been. In fact I would take the exact opposite view and say that the Church didn't nearly appreciate enough the many great strengths and advantages that it had. A few months ago I came across an interesting article from the early 60s by an Australian who visited Ireland and complained that Irish Catholics were too self-critical.

I'm aware of the historical context for the UDHR's creation but the political order in which Europe today exists is largely a product of the two world wars - that doesn't mean it can't be criticized. We can't in live in chains to the past. The push for European federation is also a product of WW2. You shouldn't need some bureaucrats and politicians to draft a human rights 'declaration' in order to know that genocidal murder is wrong. Indeed many of the countries that have signed up to the UDHR have been guilty of truly grotesque violations of human dignity and liberties (including genocide) and the victors of WW2 were quite happy to sign over half of Europe to Stalinist slavery. (Never forget that the Soviet Union murdered more people than the Nazis did.) I suspect the papal championing of the document reflects the deluded optimism that shaped post-war Europe.

John Paul II was the most liberal pope in the history of the Church. The idea that he wanted to restore the preconciliar ancien régime is laughable. Vatican II was not 'blocked' in the Irish Church; by 1970 the Church in Ireland had been drastically transformed (wholly for the worse) from what it had been 8 years previous. As for the accusation that the preconciliar Church was 'full of abuse', 94% of all the accusations against priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin relate to AFTER 1960: http://www.dublindiocese.ie/content/child-protection-update-2012


"a totally frustrating lack of intelligent dialogue from the Church"

You talk a lot about the need for the Church to engage in dialogue but I suspect this is only with people you agree with, and not 'reactionaries' like me. At the ACP blog you suggested that conservative seminarians should be told simply to 'grow up'. Not much dialogue or tolerance there!

Over the last 45 years Progressives have dominated all the leading institutions and positions in the Church while traditionalists were ruthlessly persecuted by the Vatican, the Roman Curia and (especially) episcopal conferences. You have nothing to complain about.

Spirit of Vatican II

I refer to professionals in many services, including people who were willing to devote themselves to helping others in Catholic programs, as once seemed perfectly possible in the open and engaged church of the 1960s and 1970s. They are not complaining on their own behalf but on behalf of those who could have been better helped if the Church had retained the dialogal concern that marked it then.

"Over the last 45 years Progressives have dominated all the leading institutions and positions in the Church " -- only if you adopt the Lefebrite definition of "Progressives" -- that is, only if you count the Popes of this period as Progressives, "Judases" etc. The current episcopacy worldwide is marked above all by the systematic exclusion of anyone perceived as "Progressive", hence their abysmal quality.

Counting back 45 years I come to the year 1967, when Paul VI published Populorum Progressio -- a progressive encyclical in the very best sense of the word -- which his successors refer to very little. The following year "Progressive" bishops gave a measured reaction to Humanae Vitae, and were not thanked -- the Vatican has thoroughly undercut the authority of episcopal conferences since then and has made "having no problem with Humanae Vitae" one of the principles for selecting bishops. As to the "ruthless persecution" of those who rejected the teaching of Vatican II on the Jews and on religious freedom and who proceeded to illegal ordinations of priests and bishops, I am not very impressed. I think people who complain about being persecuted are egotists; the complainants I referred to are not complaining about their own treatment but about the hungry sheep who are not fed. Ever heard Schileebeeckx or Curran complain? Even the narcissistic Kung is obviously far more concerned with the welfare of the Church and the World than with his own bruises. Perspective, please. And may I add a small piece of advice: please study some decent theology. Trawls through the archives of the Irish Ecclesiastical Record and The Messenger of the Sacred Heart are OK if you are collecting historical material but they will not give you a wholesome theological outlook.


''Cottaging is a British gay slang term referring to anonymous sex between men in a public lavatory.''

SPirit, would you suggest that the police turn a blind eye to this activity? What about the children and young people, and ordinary people who wish to use public facilities for their intended purpose and free from sexual behaviour?

Spirit of Vatican II

I am not saying the police should turn a blind eye to objectionable public behavior (though there is often room for suspicion). I am saying that the fact that so many men resort to furtive behavior, and then commit suicide when caught out, indicates high levels of homophobia in the society.

James M.

"If by rehabilitation is meant change of orientation, the demand that one seek it is a piece of psychological violence reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984: only gay people who hate being gay are socially acceptable. If renunciation of sexual activity is what is meant, it would be logical to exact the same price of heterosexuals who wish to be accepted by the community. But a community which ostracizes its members if they are thought to be lacking in sexual purity is an oppressive theocracy, as in Calvin's Geneva."

## How is this different from life in the CC today ? The Church seems to want us to be at war with ourselves. It took me years to "accept myself" (LOL) as gay - that may be what God wants for gay Christians: to stop agonising about being gay Christians rather than straight ones, to accept being gay as His gift, and get on with life; the life God has given.

Being gay is not comparable to being dishonest, or quarrelsome, or vindictive, or bad-tempered or avaricious or lazy or [insert sin]. AFAICS, it is "pre-moral", a mode of being human, and thus, of existing as a human. It can't be discussed in quite the same terms as heterosexuality, because it is incommensurate with heterosexuality - because it is not a variant of it. Like heterosexuality, it is a variant of human sexuality, & cannot be reduced to heterosexuality, any more than an orange, though as genuinely a fruit as an apple, can be reduced to identity with an apple. Why is it hard to believe that the Bible is not the last word on Christian sexual ethics, when the CC's own theological & exegetical method does not treat it as that ? And, if the Bible is not the complete & final word on zoology or astronomy or geography, why must be the last word on human sexuality ? Australia exists, despite the complete lack of any Biblical mention of it, and the serious theological difficulties that believing in its reality raises - how is being gay any different ?

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