Comments: adoption agency row: Blair decides

The Bishop of Durham forgets the Government is democratically elected to govern.

(Democracy of course is considerably less than 2,000 years old and is presumably part and parcel of what Durham calls a 'nouveau morality' - Love your neighbour as yourself is, though, quite an old saying).

He also is quite unwise himself in so firmly taking a partisan across the board anti-Labour stance. Given this is is happening the case for the removal of bishops from the House of Lords is fast becoming unanswerable.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 3:01am GMT

Well, of course Blair can afford this decision - as the press keeps reminding us (even in Australia), he's not going to be living at Number 10 much longer, is he?

Posted by kieran crichton at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 3:21am GMT

Let me remind Craig Nelson of a fact about Labour's mandate: in 2005 the party won 35.2% of the popular vote, which is equivalent to about 22% of the total British electorate. Not a very convincing democratic mandate, is it?

But that is beside the point. The above not very convincing attempt to rubbish the Bishop of Durham without thoughtfully engaging with his rather emotionally put point is sadly typical of many views - on every side - on this and similar sexuality/identity issues. Not very surprising I suppose, as when people feel threatened they tend to lash out.

And on this type of issue, extremism - of whatever variety! - feeds extremism. So Anglican Mainstream must be rubbing their hands with glee over every "liberal" who cannot contemplate others having the right to disagree in good conscience and acting upon that.

Like David Walker on 24 January, I've noticed that, increasingly in my (possibly flawed) observation, posts on Thinking Anglicans "descend to personal attacks and abuse." and less and less engage in what David called "genuine debate." As a result, "I'm getting more and more despondent about the tone of much of what is posted by way of comment."

Is it too much to ask that Thinking Anglicans return to being a place where we have such "genuine debate"?

To return to the point behind both Craig Nelson's and the Bishop of Durham's comments. Consider this thought, ably put by Mary Dejevsky in the Independent at

Is it really the case that the state can and must without limits impose its beliefs on religious communities, as many seem to be arguing? To put it another way, does the state having the power to do something make it right? What are the limits of conscience? What are the limits of diversity? For one of the more enthusiastic backers of the argument that [eg. Nigerian] state power has few limits is Archbishop Akinola - and indeed President Karimov of Uzbekistan - even if neither is so "liberal" as to allow an accommodation period within which beliefs must change to whatever is the dominant orthodoxy.


Posted by Rob Hall at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 9:50am GMT

"Church accuses Blair of "thought crime""!!!!

I'm laughing so hard that I'm spraying the muesli all over the breakfast table here. The cynic in me wants to know what any ecclesiastical hierarchy worth its salt (including TEC) believes when it attempts to come to grips with democratic government. The Romans are not particularly renowned for their embrace of diverse views within the fold, and they do have that rather disturbing view about the position of Pope to defend (if that is indeed possible....). And what is the Catechism if not a type of binding moral legislation for Catholics?

The question that all of this begs is exactly how much the Catholic bishops believe in a free market economy, of the type that the Blair government inherited, and has continued to operate. The best of them have spent a very long time pointing out how free market economics can marginalize people. In many ways these regulations are simply another expression of this economic philosophy; the requirement is that gay people have the same access to goods and services as anyone else. All the huffing and puffing about adoption and Christian B&Bs and rental of parish halls assumes that money can have a moral weight: free market economics sees it simply as a means of trade, nothing more.

But really, in claiming that this amounts to creating a type of thought crime the men in dresses do protest too much, given that the shoe is clearly on the other foot this time...

Posted by kieran crichton at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 9:55am GMT

+ Wright said to Ruth Gledhill: “At a time when the Government is foundering with so many of its policies – and I haven't even mentioned Iraq – the thought that this Government has the moral credibility to be able tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching is frankly laughable.”

Why does he think a Government can change the t e a c h i n g?

The Cardinal said (also to RG): “The legislation about the adoption by homosexual people of children...” He didn’t say (as most people would): “… the adoption of children by homosexual people...”

No question about what’s foremost in the Cardinal’s mind. Sex.

Which was precisely Dr Martin's point about mandatory celibacy. Abuse leading to abuse.

The PM’s statement said: “"Over the last few days I have listened to the strongly-held views on all sides on the issue of adoption agencies and the new sexual orientation regulations...”

Surely, it should be “"… the issue of the Roman Catholic Church and the new Goods and Services regulations…”

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 10:49am GMT

Rob Hall asks: "What are the limits of conscience?"

The limits of other peoples consciences. You may impose your conscience on your own self, but not on others.

Few do the first, many do the second.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 10:51am GMT

Craig Nelson calls the government democratically elected. It is important to realise what this does, and does not, mean:
It does not mean proportional representation.
-It is possible that committed Christians will be in practical terms debarred from holding public office. This is not because committed Christians are a small group, or represent only a few people. It is because the MPs are unrepresentative of the country as a whole. A disproportionate number of them have moved in top-university circles. To them the sort of thing that white liberals spout (or even speak) is the norm.
In how many ways are MPs disproportionate? In their age. In their social background and education. In their degree of apparent uniformity of opinion. In their refusal to consider what they call 'religious' issues. In all these ways they are not a representative sample.
We may have elected them 'democratically' - but we were only given a choice of three or so each. It is hard enough to find one of these three with whom one agrees on most core issues, let alone on all issues.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 12:01pm GMT

No-one has yet adequately explained why making value judgements about the peaceable,legal, private behaviour of others is a matter of conscience. Deciding how you personally will behave is one thing: deciding whether or not you approve of others' private behaviour is quite another.

Posted by JBE at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 12:14pm GMT

Rob Hall, above, questions the extent to which conscience and the beliefs of religious communities can and should be limited.

Human Rights legislation is very clear on this matter and has consistently been upheld by the courts. "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom .... to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance."

HOWEVER, "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject .... to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society .... FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF OTHERS."

Posted by Terence Dear at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 2:17pm GMT

The Roman Catholic Airlines right of conscience to maintain its historic flight patterns cannot be abridged without threatening wise citizens everywhere, and of course, maybe even the very fabric of society itself.

We all know the earth is flat, and indeed everybody has known that for as long as we have records. All the great ancient thinkers know the truth of the flat earth. For believers of course it is deeply informative that scriptures speak of the dome of heaven and the like in many different places. Only an overly complicated secular humanist Brainiac could possibly miss reading these references accurately, just as all the great Teachers of the Church remind us.


For obvious safety reasons, we have all agreed that the only possible legacy path for two thousand years requires all Roman Catholic Airlines flights to first fly into Rome and land briefly for a plane check, then fly back out to reach their carefully mapped destinations. Using this laborious and careful method, we have been able to locate destinations, right up to the most dangerous edges of the flat earth, and few Roman Catholics have ever fallen off, accordingly. Those long years of clear experience with nobody having fallen off the edges of the earth must be taken seriously: If the church were not true, why should people have been kept so safe?

The classical Roman Catholic flight patterns required of all pilots flying all planes to all known destinations – what has been called, a Vincentian Flight Rule - ensures that no pilot will get mixed up and mistake his routes. (We who lead the church still do insist on the legacy commitment which for two thousand years has shown us that only male pilots will do, of course. For one thing, we Roman Catholics all know so very well: only males read maps accurately. It is also helpful that, if a male pilot gets lost he needs to have the reassurance that comes from only having to ask another male in private about where he might have made a wrong turn in his travels.)

Now this upstart Galileo comes along, claiming that the earth is not flat.

What does this man offer us as proof?

Nothing but abstruse calculations, so complex that few average persons can follow them. Stuff and Nonsense. We Roman Catholics should know as we are not in the habit of making mistakes.

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 2:47pm GMT

Discuss Notes 1, to teacher.

The frame theme, that this heated controversy is all about the state forcing thought conformity upon religious conscience, can only be viable to the extent that the substance of the actual issues gets studiously ommitted, ignored, and backgrounded.

Once the actual content of these beliefs and practices is admitted to review, many citizens might have questions. How is it, again? That these hallowed views authorize and even require we close doors against a section of our citizens, categorically, ahead of time, no matter what the actual citizen(s) are actually like, and no matter what their real world values, parenting capacities, and readiness for serious family commitments might really be?

This right of religious conscience is not empty or abstract at all, insofar as it exactly defines beliefs and practices which permit or require closing doors funded generously by public money. Yes, those same doors which are to be left open for all of us who could conceivably meet a reasonable parenting test connected with the best interests of the real, particular child.

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 2:58pm GMT

"Is it too much to ask that Thinking Anglicans return to being a place where we have such "genuine debate"?"

Genuine debate? Could that be the expression of only those views which you find politically palatable? The administrator of this blog seems to be entirely capable of running it without your intervention.

Posted by Richard Lyon at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 3:29pm GMT

Rob Hall asks 'Is it really the case that the state can and must without limits impose its beliefs on religious communities'.

My understanding of the present situation is that the 'State' isn't. Our elected, democratic Government (and, yes, it may have been elected by less than 50% of the population, but that's how democracy works in our society) has proposed that those dealing with the adoption of children must accept a particular piece of legislation. If this is passed by Parliament (not the State, which is another concept) then it will become Law. Isn't that how we do things in our country?

The Law will not 'impose its beliefs on religious communities'. I do not see any suggestion that we change the Credo: but where religion seeks to play a part in society it must, surely, acknowledge, as part of that society, the Law.

If the church (which one?) were granted an exemption from Equality legislation (and I understand this to be the point) then any religious group could claim exemption for some aspect off it's teaching (not belief) and continue to excercise discrimination.

And then we'd really be up s*** creek.

On another note, did anyone else listen to 'Today' and notice a subtle (?) change on the Cardinal's stance when he said to the interviewer that the real reason why the RC Church objected to the proposals was that it believed in the necessity of children being brought up in a fmaily where there is a father and a mother? Or did I dream that is what he said?

Posted by John-Francis at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 4:05pm GMT

In the light of Rob Hall's post, here's something you might like to be 'Thinking' about.

The American Constitution states, rather simply, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

The European Convention on Human Rights seems also to establish the ‘right’ to freedom of religion, but ultimately confers on the State the ‘right’ to limit this freedom. Article 9:1 thus states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”. But then Article 9:2 adds, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject ... to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society”.

The American Constitution thus seems to say that the most important thing to protect is the right to the free exercise of religion. The European Convention makes this secondary to the views of what the State deems 'necessary'.

I know which view of rights I would rather have - and which I believe is more fundamentally conducive to the practice of Christianity!

Posted by John Richardson at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 5:02pm GMT

Maybe I missed a previous clarification on this, but do British adoption agencies receive state funding or not? Surely this make a difference. I would be more tolerant of private agencies, as long as there are sufficient public ones to provide access for all.

Posted by Patrick Coleman at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 5:55pm GMT

Yes, the Roman Catholic adoption agencies in England (at least, I'm not sure of the figures for Scotland) receive most of their funds - I believe in excess of 75% of the total - from government sources.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 6:56pm GMT

When the Cardinal talks about “conscience” it is important to remember that it may not quite be what most people listening understand it to be. The Roman Catholic Church has, it is important to note, abolished conscience.

Since Veritas Splendor conscience, once supreme has become an empty space merely awaiting the correct completion by absorbing the teaching of the Magisterium.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 6:58pm GMT

UK Liberal Totalitarianism wraps itself in virtue - pretending that it is achieving a social good by excluding people and groups from the public square who do not affirm same-sex partnerships as equal to male-female marriage, and exposing them to potential prosecution if anyone feels upset when they express their views.

But what harm is this protecting homosexuals from ? It is not alleged that these people and groups actually hate homosexuals, or are physically attacking them, or are inciting others to do so. They are not trying to exclude homosexuals from public life, or fine them, or take away their property or charities. They are not trying to force homosexuals to behave differently, nor saying that homosexuals are less equal as people..

The alleged harm is to refuse to approve of same-sex sex, or to agree that same-sex partnerships are equal to marriage, and to want to be able to speak and act in accordance with your beliefs. For this 'sin' most of the above ills are being threatened towards these people and groups! Meanwhile, back in Reality, UK Social Liberalisation has presided over huge increases in real harm** over the last 50 years. Yet its proponents feel ever more emboldened to marginalise all who 'sin' against their philosophy! Disproportionate or What ?!

** Violent Crime, Sexual Crime and Theft have all increased by 30-50 times(!!);people who really are weak and vulnerable do not feel safe; marital and relationship breakdown have increased hugely; single parent families, stress, depression and suicide are up, Teenage pregnancies are booming, nearly 200 000 unborn babies are killed every year, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases are through the roof at 1 million NEW infections a year. That's what I call progress... not!

Posted by Dave at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 7:02pm GMT

We've had a long experience in dealing with the public/private dichotomy in freedom of religion issues in the U.S., owing partly to our unfortunate history of discrimination based on race. Our Constitution protects the right to freedom of speech, religion and association, but recognizes the need to restrict those in the public realm. I'm sure that in Britain, as in the U.S., the government regulates most aspects of the adoption business, to prevent abuses which have occurred, and probably still occur, both in secular and religious agencies. In the U.S., religious organizations recieve public subsidies to provide these services. Religious providers are not allowed to discriminate based on their beliefs. They are operating in the public realm, and must abide by the laws. If they don't want to comply, they can stop taking government funds and stop providing the service. Very few religious organizations make that choice, since 1) they determine that it's more important to provide the service than to stand on principle and 2) they employ large numbers of people to staff these programs, who would lose their jobs if they closed shop. Freedom of religion means they can preach discrimination all they want in their religious community--they just can't practice it in the public realm.

Posted by Henry at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 7:46pm GMT

It's 'VeritaTIS Splendor'. Roman Catholicism has always qualified the claims of conscience with the need for conscience to be informed. Otherwise you would have mutually contradicting 'consciences' all laying claim to the truth; and it is truth [veritas] (not the individual conscience) that claims obedience. A man sincerely following his conscience may not be subjectively guilty but still participate in objective evil (e.g in some wars). What consenting adults do in private arguably may not be a matter for the State (though there are still limits here - consensual killing or mutilation remains a crime), but that is not how Christians reason. A child should not be brought up intentionally without a mother and a father, and it is wrong to engineer such situations. If you accept homosexual adoption, then logically you should accept adoption into polygamous households as well - as they at least have a certain amount of cultural 'traction' across the world (and increasingly in the UK, among Muslims).
It is only a matter of time before public criticism of homosexuality will become a criminal or at least civil offence in Europe. This is already the case in Canada, and is virtually so in Sweden, as our friend Goran will know, with reference to the case of Pastor Ake Green - a matter I don't believe Goran has yet commented on?

Posted by Steve Watson. at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 8:11pm GMT

Stick to producing bad theology, Tom. How anyone in the CofE dares to talk about people 'getting things wrong' - well, arrogance isn't the word. Stupidity, maybe, but that's what you get from an over-rated conservative bigot.

This is a sensible decision. The Catholic Church have no right to discriminate, and I would be delighted to see their agencies close if they cannot comply. They are such hypocrites anyway - stuffed to the gills with closet gays, unable to deal with the very real problem of child abuse - really, we would be better off if they abandoned their meddling in child care.

I think its about time that religionists of all stripes recognise that their homophobia is unwelcome outside their temples of prejudice

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 9:31pm GMT

Drdanfee wrote in jest: “All the great ancient thinkers know the truth of the flat earth.”

In fact – and many more ancient and even greater thinkers k n e w it wasn’t flat but round, giving its circumference at the approximation of a foot or two ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 9:44pm GMT

John Richardson wrote: “Article 9:2 adds, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject ... to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society”.”

This article has been a pillar of European and International law – indeed of civilised society – since 1648. It’s called the principle of Ordre public. Despite the French it is Swedish, going back to the failed attempt to impose Calvinist Supper in 1563.

This principle protected the Eucharist against further State sponsored attacks, at the same time as it assured religious freedom for the Calvinists, as long as and on the condition, that they did not disturb the Peace.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 9:45pm GMT

Terrence Dear seems to be quoting something other that the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Freedoms. I think that the UK Government might be falling foul of Articles 54, 7, 10:1, 11:1 and 22 by trying to interprete one part of Article 21 too rigidly - even over other parts of Article 21!! Where rights and freedoms conflict they should not be interpreted in such a way as to destroy one or more of them, or push them (disproportionately) out of the public square:

Article 7: Respect for private and family life. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.

Article 10: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion. 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

Article 11: Freedom of expression and information. 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers

Article 21: Non-discrimination. 1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.

Article 22: Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.

AND Article 54: Prohibition of abuse of rights. Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognised in this Charter or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for herein.

Posted by Dave at Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 11:37pm GMT

Good. Let the RCC exercise their conscience and get out of the adoption business. Who needs them? There will be other agencies to take up the slack. No child will not get adopted because of this stance.

Posted by ruidh at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 4:06am GMT

DAve said
** Violent Crime, Sexual Crime and Theft have all increased by 30-50 times(!!)

You've been reading the Daily Mail again, haven't you, you naughty boy! Now go away and read some reputable social history and write out one hundred times, 'I must not believe everything Paul Dacre writes'.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 11:55am GMT

Steve Watson we are not ROMAN Catholics (you may be). This is an Anglican site. Had you not noticed ?
So forgive me if I do not rush to have my conscience informed, formed, shaped or otherwise interfered with, or bullied, by the bishop of Rome or his denominational representatives in the UK.

"Not today - thank you !"

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 1:26pm GMT

Regarding Henry's comment on religious adoption societies in the US, it seems the question there is one of public funding. Essentially, whoever pays the piper calls the tune, and if an agency takes public money then (quite rightly in my view) it must modify its stance in some areas.

On Göran Koch-Swahne's point about the Ordre public, that was, of course, all very well when Europe had a broadly Christian basis. The problem now is that we have what I have called elsewhere a 'godless Calvinism' - all the controls and none of the faith. This will, in the end, issue in totalitarianism of the mind just as dangerous to humanity as any religious fundamentalism.

Posted by John Richardson at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 2:06pm GMT

Dear Dave,

I was quoting from the Human Rights Act 1998, which gave effect to the “rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights.” The Convention was a product of the Council of Europe. The Charter you quote from is a non-legal document of the European Union. It reads much the same as the Convention except that the “Scope of Guaranteed Rights” is listed in Article 52:

“1. Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and … limitations may be made only …. to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
3. In so far as this Charter contains rights which correspond to rights guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the meaning and scope of those rights shall be the same as those laid down by the said Convention.”

Unfortunately for some, British and European law does not allow for the unrestricted practice of religion, certainly not in the public realm.

As an aside, it should perhaps be an issue for the CofE that the Human Rights Act was passed by a legislature in which it participates. There must surely be some moral question around an organisation seeking exemption from laws that it has a hand in passing!

Posted by Terence Dear at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 2:34pm GMT

"the thought that this Government has the moral credibility to be able tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching is frankly laughable."

The Blair government may not have the "moral credibility" to dictate to the Roman Church, but is the good bishop suggesting that the RC Church DOES have such credibility? If so, he is totally ignorant of the effect of the child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Church on this side of the pond. Even those who have remained faithful have had a hard time dealing with the Church's manifest evil in this regard. Sorry, a Church that hides pedophiles, spends huge amounts of money to avoid compensating its victims, and tries to shift the blame to gay people really has no moral credibility at all.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 3:59pm GMT

Steve Watson wrote: "This is already the case in Canada, and is virtually so in Sweden, as our friend Goran will know, with reference to the case of Pastor Ake Green - a matter I don't believe Goran has yet commented on?"

I have. At length. Ask Dave. He knows.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 7:15pm GMT

Perhaps Tom Wright is in the wrong Church ?

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 8:16pm GMT

Exactly, Ford.

I would ask whether the RC church is a fit organisation to have any sort of contact with children

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 9:41pm GMT

Merseymike is right. It is intolerable that an organisation with so many table-topping schools should have anything to do with children.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 1:00pm GMT

Well, given that the vast majority of pedophiles self identify as heterosexual, I would have to ask if it is at all safe to allow heterosexual men to have unsupervised access to children:-)

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 2:10pm GMT

Ford, you naughty boy! only Christopher's statistics are r e a l statistics.


Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 2 February 2007 at 11:41am GMT

Sorry, but I do not share your respect for the academic "success" of RC schools. Such "success" is bought by terrorising children, as all of my friends who went through that system can tell you, and it is a system tainted by the sins that have come to light in the past 20 years.

In Newfoundland in the 1980s, it was revealed that priests had been sexually abusing boys; the Irish Christian Brothers were doing the same in an orphanage they ran; the Church, the police, and the government all had colluded to cover it up; the governmental Department of Social Services had been so poorly structured as to be unable to even identify the problem. It had gone on for decades, till it all came out in a massive public enquiry. Still, Newfoundland is a small place, so the Church was able to hide it from the wider world till it broke nearly a decade later in the American Church, at which point it couldn't be hidden any longer. The Church's response then was to mount a witch hunt against gay people in the seminaries! Still absolutely no understanding of the nature of the problem, and no willingness to learn from their previous experiences in Newfoundland. The damage done to the faithful has been enormous, and generally unappreciated by the Church, which still expects the "pay up, pray up, and shut up" Catholicism that led to this mess. The Church is still in the courts, trying to avoid paying damages to Her victims. I guess they're waiting for those who have not yet killed themselves to go the way of those who have. Then came allegations of physical abuse of girls by nuns in a similar situation to the Brothers. Sorry, no, academic "success" should not be bought at the cost of terror and abuse.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 2 February 2007 at 4:27pm GMT

Hi Ford-
How can one generalise from one or two schools to all the thousands of catholic schools worldwide?

Your point about child abuse is not true. The only reason that *somewhat* more abusers are 'heterosexual' is that very substantially more *people* are 'heterosexual'. A given homosexual is *more* likely (as opposed to actually likely) by a factor of something like 75 times (if one takes together the various complementary stats quoted in Gagnon 'the Bible and Homosexual Practice') to have perpetrated a given individual case of child abuse than is a given 'heterosexual'. These are stats and averages and are not to be taken as anything different from that, nor as applying necessarily to a large proportion of the homosexual community. They involve, rather, a comparison between two communities.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 2:00pm GMT

So your "statistics" come from Gagnon, Christopher?

Who would have thunk it.

Over here (the still 1st Millennium Church of Sweden) we never had Mandatory Celibacy (Lateran II 1139). The Cardinal William of Sabina tried to "institute" it in the 1248 Provincial Council of Skänninge, but failed.

Even, an "exemption" was given in 1258 by the Bishop of Rome for the Diocese of Upsala, on the request of the Archbishop, and for whole of the Province (Sweden and Finland) in 1259.

Some Bishops of Åbo or Turku, that is Finland (all grand uncles) actually tried to impose celibacy, charging moinies for "exemptions" to their priests, but this never was more than temporary and exceptional.

(so there seems to be a precedence for exemptions... ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 10:34pm GMT

... which to say, that we never had any of the accompanying "troubles" of Mandatory Celibacy...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 10:35pm GMT

"one or two schools"
Dear God! I would love to have you try to make that argument to any of my Roman friends, even those who are still practicing. Granted the horrendous sexual abuse might not have been universal, though given the Church's ability to cover it up, how would you know? The terrorizing of students that passed for discipline was not isolated, however, as you'd know if you talked to anyone who graduated from a Catholic school before the late 1980s. Cripes, Christopher, your dismissal of the pain and hurt caused by this is laughable. I have to assume you are not North American. Anyone on this side of the pond in the past 20 years would know how damaging his has been to the faith of ordinary Catholics, they having ample experience of this sort of abuse of power. As to Gagnon, I don't know him, but I will find out. At last, you are citing a source!

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 5 February 2007 at 3:13pm GMT

Don't even try Ford!

Gagnon is so distorted it would take at least 6 months only to de-cut and de-edit his references!!!

Not worth the effort.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 2:12pm GMT

Thanks, Goran. I finally found out about Gagnon. He may well be a good NT scholar, but he's no social scientist, not if he quotes Satinover! Christopher, I hope you read this. I can understand why you were so reticent about naming the sources for your "statistics". Christopher, the people Gagnon cites do "studies" designed to "prove" what they want to "prove". One "study" of gay people and mortality claimed that we have a shortened life span based on information taken from obituary columns in gay newspapers! This isn't science, it is propaganda.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 1:04pm GMT

Well, I wasn't referring to his Cameronian end chapters. Not my line of buisness at all.

I was talking of his exegesis, history & c.

I repeat that his references - and the claims he makes about them, whether he says they support him or not - are cut and edited as to bear little or no resemblance to what the authors actually mean.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 8:29pm GMT

And the "science" is also dubious. How shocking then that a work such as his could be used by the CofE for info on developing its "gay issue" policy. I sincerely thought we were better than this. As I said, lesson in humility.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 9 February 2007 at 1:19pm GMT

Indeed so.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 10 February 2007 at 9:51am GMT
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