Monday, 27 February 2012

So far it's an F+/E- for [not so] Catholic Voices.

[Austen Ivereigh - proving that he's an 'invaluable' asset whose proffered epithets Holy Mother Church could well do without...]

Catholic Voices is a wonderful concept.

It is such a shame that its actuation and development has been so contrary to the claimed aims of its co-ordinators.

It stated it was to be of a 'Pauline' structure - taking ordinary Catholics from every walk of life of varied socio-cultural backgrounds to train them to speak for the Faith in a media environment.
Regrettably this is not the case and the majority are Oxbridge/London University graduates or members of the elitist professional lay 'establishment' via their careers, their associations/relationships/family ties or their belonging to Catholic institutions/Charities/quangocracies...

Rather than the 'team' being the main contributors within the media; of the score or more recent TV appearances a significant amount of these have involved the co-ordinators - predominantly Austen Ivereigh.

Even a peripheral read of the 'Catholic Voices' book will reveal that even though it is basically a cut 'n' paste rehash [without footnotes, references or any acknowledgements to other publications] - it is tragically ill-informed, poorly-researched and bereft of pertinent information on critical moral and ethical  issues on which it claims to be able to provide authoritative media representation.
It is also worryingly laden with unsubstantiated opinion devoid of factual or statistical evidence - on many occasions one will witness an argument's 'illogical jumps' justified by a single-sentence 'it isn't due to X- it's because of Y'
The authors are scarily ignorant of ethical terminology [e.g. in one place it declares that human beings are not to be treated as ends !!!?]
While spending many pages on the hiv/AIDS crisis it neither refers to the epidemiology of the virus nor the proven percentile effectivity/risk of condom use in preventing transmission [e.g. Cochrane 2007] - it nervously wavers around the Rhonheimer position and repeatedly makes a single unsubstantiated statement that condoms are effective in hiv transmission reduction among gay men and prostitutes [tell that to the 12.9% of gay men  in London who are hiv+] and rather than outrightly condemning anyone who is a victim of hiv [oh - wait a minute - that's politically incorrect - one must not refer to the victim of a disease as a victim - rather they are a "person living with hiv/AIDS"] engaging in sexual activity and risking their sexual partner's life ; they rather make 'appeals to guidance in forming one's conscience' on the issue.

It rapidly skates over the issue of euthanasia , ignoring the ethical arguments pro and contra [e.g. Rachels] and prefers to spend most of its time on assisted suicide [PVS-Bland and the back-door euthanasia of removal of nutrition & hydration [think Liverpool Care Pathway] are absent from the discussion]

When discussing contraception it all seems to the unobservant to be quite orthodox and straight down the line humanae vitae - until one sees the single word which turns the whole thing on its head - INTENTION! In other words it's not contraception in itself which is intrinsicaly morally disordered but the 'contraceptive intention' [Rhonheimer again!!!]

It's laden with inadvertent [and laughable] ironies [e.g. mentioning
Cafod while discussing Catholic teaching on homosexuality and
contraception] -  it doesn't understand the differences
between natural moral disorder, moral disorder and intrinsic moral
disorder [ e.g. it states NFP is ok and fails to mention that it is only
acceptable through the double effect]

It adds erroneous conditionals
[e.g. the Church sees marriage as solely between a man and a woman - for
the best interests of society!!!??]

There's inclusion of ++Hume's dodgy
homosexual comments [e.g. homosexuality is only morally disordered
because it's an inclination towards the genital acts - NOT the plain and
simple tragic fact that a poor homosexual cannot ever fulfil their love
physicaly and spritually with another and have that love overflow into
God's creative life] but then again it talks for pages on marriage
without ever considering the spiritual sacramental ontology of its very
nature - the two becoming one flesh and forming a spiritual union where
each partner belongs to the other! Maybe it's too awkward to bring in
such Doctrines?

When speaking of religious freedom it
doesn't mention Truth subsisting in the One, Holy, Catholic and
Apostolic Church,

When dealing with Anglicanism it doesn't mention the
invalidity of its orders.

discussing the clerical abuse issues it commits a grievous slur upon
His Holiness by quoting John Allen's opinion that the Pope was an
ignorant negligent cardinal 'in denial'[!!!!!???] before 2001, the
authors simply don't understand the crucial differences between
suspension and laicisation [and the canonical ramifications] ; they're
oblivious to the direct orders of Crimen Sollicitationis [1962]
commanding the reporting of abuse within 14 days under the pain of
excommunication and aren't exactly au fait with the intricacies of de
delictis gravioribus.[2001] One shameful mistake being the serious error
in dating the letter of cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal Jose Lara [where
he professes his frustration over the laicisation process] as 1998 when
it was actually sent on Feb 19 1988!!

Their oecumenical diatribe regarding anglicanism fails to address
crucial issues and falls back into the fundamental heterodoxies of the
Cormac era - thus aggravating a situation by failing to be clear on the
boundaries and differences .

When dealing with embryology it makes a
fundamental error of not understanding the reasons behind the 14 day
limit for embryological experimentation - talking of the 'primitive
streak' like some dodgy fifties biology textbook. It makes categorical
errors in discussing viability [specious] and the scientific failure of
embryological stem cell research [what if it does start working?]

Who is Austen Ivereigh? A self-professed 'media expert' with an educational
background of political 'theology' [specialising in Argentinian
church/state relations].
He's neither an ethicist nor a moral
theologian; and it shows at every turn.
Jack Valero is a glorified town
planner with some internal Opus Dei training.
Kathleen Griffin is a
self-confessed 'liberal catholic' and we all know what that's a
euphemism for - so we should feel compelled to ask 'does she actually
believe half of what she's purportedly written in the Catholic Voices
book?' Maybe it's more a 'grin and bear it and hope for a new Pope with 'progressive policies'' scenario?
It's not libellous nor defamatory to suggest she may not be the most magisterially orthodox  if she
maintains the 'liberal' handle.

I truly wish Catholic Voices had
done what I'd suggested right at the start - doubled the number of the
team and have half as media spokespersons and half as researchers into
all the critical issues - then they wouldn't have made so many mistakes
and failed to recognise crucial facts and information which could assist
them in their arguments.

But then again take a look at their book - "win hearts not arguments"

I've usually found that sincerity, authentic dialogue and openness of
heart generally begins with the truth - not obfuscation, equivocation,
watering down of principles and the dismissal of differences.

One thing to be noted - this book certainly kept +Vin happy by failing to mention ,
let alone condemn the scandals of [secret abortion on demand]
Connexions in Catholic schools or the euthanasia mandating Liverpool
Care Pathway ; also keeping to party lines on issues like the Vaughan. [One should remember that Ivereigh advised Vaughan parents to basically get back in their box and shut up once they lost their court-case]

...other Catholic bloggers have reported major recent CV gaffes  - "The Church is not against condoms", "There is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay", "The Church does not oppose Civil Partnerships", "Marriage is not a religious issue" and the absolute doozie "if...['pro-Choice']...means simply someone who accepts that abortion should be legal, most Catholics -- including the bishops of England and Wales, who advocate incremental restrictions, but not yet a total ban -- would fit that description."

...sure the last part was retracted and 'corrected' [twice!]
...and although as yet CV have been silent regarding the CBCEW clarification last week countermanding and repudiating their "the Church does not oppose CPs" position ; they must make a retracting statement at some time in the future.
...and other CVeebies have been quick to jump to the defence of their team members with qualifications and excuses that they have been inadvertently 'mis-speaking' or have been taken out of context...

{Incidentally the vitriolic online activities of some CV members have left a lot to be desired - I don't claim to be guiltless in my interactions with them; but their responses have fallen very short of the CV 'win hearts not arguments' paradigm} 

...but isn't it all indicative that "By their fruits shall ye know them" ?

If the entity is to continue it must learn from its grave mistakes and bring some informed, orthodox experts into the team to advise, inform and instruct regarding what Church teaching and praxis really is - rather than what a few autocratic loose-cannons want it to be....


Ben Trovato said...

What they need is a Frank Sheed - along with the Catholic Evidence Guild standards of training and instruction.

Anonymous said...

The man who had been with the Catholic Evidence Guild for maybe 50 years and had therefore studied so much, Leonard, has just died : ( RIP (Apparently he made a lot of tapes.)