Follow the dots… if you can

Let me get this straight.

The news outlet of three African nations which form a single conference, Southern Cross, publishes an editorial against the ”anti-gay” legislation underway in some African countries, which the Nigerian bishops back.

Then Fides, a news agency associated with a dicastery of the Holy See, Propaganda Fide, republishes the Southern Cross piece.

There’s more.

And now some people want to say “Nigerians back “anti-gay” legislation but “THE VATICAN” supports the protests against the legislation”.

So, I got that straight, right?

Who am I to judge.

And our take way from this is…. what….?

¿Vaya lío?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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22 Responses to Follow the dots… if you can

  1. CrimsonCatholic says:

    The Fides link is a broken link.

  2. benedetta says:

    Why do the Obama and his cultural elites in the media believe that it’s ok that Christians are being targeted in Nigeria for execution and genocide?

  3. Nicholas Shaler says:

    Who are “Some people”?

  4. benedetta says:

    I think those some people are not contemplating clearly enough what the situation for Christians there is right now.

  5. The Astronomer says:

    The ‘take-away’ is scandal / confusion for the Faithful and implied (NOT real) endorsement of the homosexual agenda by the Holy See and the Cuddliest Pope in History.

    But then again “Who am I to judge????”

    Which is why, in the age of careful nuance, this passage from Revelations 3:16 makes me think: “But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.”

  6. Magpie says:

    ‘Who am I to judge?’

    The throw away phrase that just keeps on giving.

    (I HATE that phrase. About the worst thing a Pope could say.)

  7. Incaelo says:

    I don’t know…
    If these laws are about persecuting people for their sexual orientation, I’d say the Church would be correct in opposing them. But I don’t know what these laws say, which makes it very hard to form any opinion, really.

  8. acricketchirps says:

    I would like to see the Church abjure the notion of “sexual orientation”. There’s attraction to sin, which can never be made a crime; then there’s sinful behavior which may. For a long time laws proscribing sodomy were (quite reasonably) in force in U.S.A. and Canada. It is reasonable they are so in Nigeria. Proposed bills should be carefully vetted to ensure it is behavior (and counseling a certain behavior is behavior) that is treated by the law, and not some nonsensical notion of “sexual orientation”. I don’t know about Nigerian laws; they seem to skate close to the line–but I only have the MSM to go on.

  9. pseudomodo says:

    Teacher, Lawmaker and Judge

  10. ocleirbj says:

    Here are some details of the Nigerian legislation, from The Guardian:
    “Under existing Nigerian federal law, sodomy is punishable by jail, but this bill legislates for a much broader crackdown on homosexual people, who live a largely underground existence. … “Persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” the bill says. “Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison.” ” The Guardian also reports that at least 38 people have been arrested since the bill came into force two weeks ago, and police “have a list” of more.

    This is from the Southern Cross article – http://www.scross.co.za/2014/01/africas-anti-gay-laws/
    “…Prejudice and the persecution of homosexuals are in defiance of Catholic doctrine.
    “Even as it emphatically rejects homosexual carnal acts, the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their [homosexuals’] regard should be avoided”. The Catechism further demands that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (2358).
    “…While the Church’s teachings prevent her from standing with homosexuals on many issues, especially same-sex marriage, she has an obligation, mandated by Christ, to be in solidarity with all those who are unjustly marginalised and persecuted.”

    It is easy to see why Christians will be found on both sides of this particular problem.

  11. robtbrown says:

    “Even as it emphatically rejects homosexual carnal acts, the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their [homosexuals’] regard should be avoided”

    What is the difference between discrimination that is just and that which is unjust?

  12. Heather F says:

    @robtbrown:

    Just: marriage is limited to one unmarried man one unmarried woman

    Unjust: Firing someone from a secular job or evicting them from their home. Perpetrating violence upon people who are (or look like they may be) homosexual. 10 year jail sentences for even “indirectly” showing some sign of being in a same sex relationship. And so on.

  13. robtbrown says:

    Heather F says:

    Just: marriage is limited to one unmarried man one unmarried woman

    Agree.

    Unjust: Firing someone from a secular job or evicting them from their home.

    Not good examples. Do you think it’s unjust not to rent/sell a domicile or hire due to sexual preference?

    Perpetrating violence upon people who are (or look like they may be) homosexual.

    Agree. That is assault and already against the law.

    10 year jail sentences for even “indirectly” showing some sign of being in a same sex relationship

    Why is it unjust to criminalize homosexual relations?

  14. ocleirbj says:

    @robtbrown “Why is it unjust to criminalize homosexual relations?”

    I think because not every sin is a crime? Some sins are crimes that society legitimately punishes by means of its civil power. But other sinful actions are not considered threatening to the civil order and are a matter for one’s conscience only. In different societies, over time, some sins have been considered crimes and punished as such, and others not, and these have changed from time to time. At the moment, in western society, some sexual sins [e.g. adultery] are not considered crimes, however sinful they may be, while others [incest, rape] still are crimes. Maybe it also has to do with the consent of the parties involved? I don’t know, I’m just trying to think it out. But personally I don’t believe it’s right and just for a government to arrest, beat up and imprison someone for engaging in homosexual relations, no matter how sinful it is.

  15. Heather F says:

    “Do you think it’s unjust not to rent/sell a domicile or hire due to sexual preference?”
    Entirely, unless there is a legitimate reason to have a “moral code of conduct” (i.e. working in a religious organization where you must profess to be a Catholic in good standing – and even then you better be fair about it and fire people in irregular heterosexual marriage situations too. And you said “preference” – would it be just to refuse to hire someone who was living a life of chastity in keeping with Church teaching if they admitted that if they WERE to be tempted to unchastity it would be with the same sex rather than the opposite?)

    “Why is it unjust to criminalize homosexual relations?”
    Because not all immorality warrants criminalization. Unless you think it just to criminalize (heterosexual) adultery, (heterosexual) premarital sex, masturbation, telling any lie whatsoever, and, oh, let’s say gluttony, as well, it’s unjustly discriminatory.

  16. Incaelo says:

    Thanks for those texts, ocleirbj. It clarifies matters.

    It sounds a lot like what the media here in the Netherlands are all about these days, in the run-up to the Olympic Games: the Russian “persecution” of homosexuals, which is of course something that Dutch politicians should be up in arms about…

    People are not persecuted, but actions are criminalised. And that’s really the only possibility when it comes to just laws pertaining to criminal activities.

  17. robtbrown says:

    Heather F says:
    “Do you think it’s unjust not to rent/sell a domicile or hire due to sexual preference?”
    Entirely, unless there is a legitimate reason to have a “moral code of conduct” (i.e. working in a religious organizationhere you must profess to be a Catholic in good standing – and even then you better be fair about it and fire people in irregular heterosexual marriage situations too. And you said “preference” – would it be just to refuse to hire someone who was living a life of chastity in keeping with Church teaching if they admitted that if they WERE to be tempted to unchastity it would be with the same sex rather than the opposite?)

    I should have distinguished because theoretically, no one knows what someone does away from their work. But I will say this: In hiring practices, the personality of the prospect is not only a factor but is the principal factor. In a former life I was in IT. Interviewing for jobs, I was told by the head hunter, that despite being a profession that can have very specific experiences and qualifications, rapport with the interviewer was 75% of whether someone would be hired. And every manager needs to consider whether someone will fit in.

    What you’re say regarding renting/selling domiciles would deny rights to many. For example, there is now being built in Florida a Catholic community. According to what you say, it would be unjust for those Catholics to deny a homosexual couple to buy or rent there.

    “Why is it unjust to criminalize homosexual relations?”
    Because not all immorality warrants criminalization. Unless you think it just to criminalize (heterosexual) adultery, (heterosexual) premarital sex, masturbation, telling any lie whatsoever, and, oh, let’s say gluttony, as well, it’s unjustly discriminatory.

    It’s true that not all immorality warrants legislative prohibition. Essentially private acts cannot really be legislated. Lying about minimal things is not worthy of legislation, but perjury is obviously against the law. Also any lie that is essential to any contract, including marriage, can void that contract.

    BTW, before no fault divorce, adultery was a factor in adjudicating divorce.

  18. MGL says:

    We modern Westerners should keep in mind that the Nigerians are far more in line with our own historical practice and tradition than we are. We moderns smugly believe our own values and mores to be self-evident, and have no qualms about imposing them on more traditional cultures, but it is we who are the far, freakish outliers, and even our own recent ancestors would be revolted by our decadence. For example:

    “You might as well legalize sodomy as recognize the Bolsheviks.”
    - Winston Churchill, 1919

    Just 95 years ago, when one of the world’s greatest statesmen needed a handy simile to express the utter unthinkability of recognizing the Bolsheviks, what did he come up with? The legalization of sodomy. That’s how far we’ve come, baby.

    What startling new insights led to this legal and social revolution? What new things did we learn about human behaviour and psychology that had hitherto escaped the notice of our forefathers? What process of careful deliberation did we follow in order to effect this complete overturning of the wisdom of the ages?

    Well, none. Sexual liberation was (cf. Churchill) one of the fruits of the early Bolshevik revolution in Russia, including the promotion of sexual freedom, the liberalization of divorce laws, and the decriminalization of abortion and sodomy. It took about 10 years before the Soviets realized the disastrous societal consequences of liberated sexuality, and two things followed:

    1) Soviet sex laws were de-liberalized under Stalin.
    2) The Soviets began to promote these very same reforms through their Western proxies.

    That’s not the whole story, of course. Western societies were also moving towards sexual liberation on our own parallel track (Thanks, Enlightenment! Thanks, Reformation!). But the important takeaway is that we didn’t reason our way into the current situation, so much as we blithely threw away those ancient constraints which made for a healthy, productive, and fertile society.

    Put yourselves in the shoes of those reformers of the 1960s, and imagine someone opened up a time portal through which they could view the 21st-century fruits of their endeavours. How would they react to, say, a Pride Parade with its public acts of sodomy in front of children? What would they think of the unquenchable flood of internet pornography, every act and brutalization accessible to anyone, at any time, in complete privacy? Would they view with equanimity the endlessly metastasizing and shrill LGBTAIOQPP movement, continually discovering ever-more farfetched constituencies to “liberate”? Would they approve of sex education courses in public schools that begin at the earliest grades and which promote all kinds of sexual activity in the name of pleasure and self-determination? Or would they run screaming in the opposite direction?

    Well, the Nigerians do, in effect, have that time portal, so it’s not surprising that they want nothing to do with our enlightened moral disorientation. They can see that Western society is on the fast road to collapse largely due to our endless quest for “liberation”, and that one of the first casualties when we fall will be the demonic regime of sexual freedom.

  19. catholictrad says:

    No person is an island to themselves. Our sins, however small do affect our family, neighbor and nation.

    Thus if I take up a sterile relationship with man or woman, I deprive the surrounding society of the population it needs to create wealth. And my Church will have no vocations, no priests, to parishioners. My insistence on sterile sex multiplied in society by pop music, bad movies, immoral politicians, spineless pastors and the unwillingness to persecute “private personal” sins is the death and end of the civilization.

    The smallest cancer left unchecked will kill the man. The smallest sin left un persecuted will in time kill the society.

  20. Priam1184 says:

    @catholictrad Everything you say is true, but the reverse is also true. An individual who strives to live a virtuous life in a depraved society will end up being contagious as well, through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is the essence of taking up one’s cross I think. I often think these days of what Pope Benedict wrote in his book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were like an exorcism for the ancient world. That we forget now how dominated that world was by the demonic powers and how the Crucifixion changed all of that and broke the back of the satanic hold on the world. I guess that is why the Cross is so odious to the enemy because the Cross is obedience.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that it is the Cross that persecutes sin. And when we learn again, as individuals and communities and as the Church, to pick up our cross every day and bear the ills and torments of this world in obedience to the will of God, whatever may come, then the back of evil that now disturbs us will be broken.

  21. Imrahil says:

    Hm.

    It seems to have become the standard “defense” of finely orthodox Christians that, well, homosexuality is bad of course, but by all means let’s stay away from punishments, that’s really what they did in the past because they were still less civilized then we are.

    And not that there would not be some logical arguments for it. It is true that saying homosexuals should not be punished is completely orthodox; and as we Catholics are always on the side of freedom (yes, we are), the thought “hm, two consent to sin with each other while doing no harm to society, why punish?” does merit to be thought about.

    Only… let’s go with the same logic and apply it to incest.

    Most people would say that: yes, by the same logic, incest should be free of punishment. Only – hey, it’s incest! that is heinous! there must be some punishment for those who dare do such things!

    Well, the same feeling most of mankind has for homosexuality. We are the exception.

    (I’m not suggesting it should be punished in Western societies. If someone does things that, while objectively immoral, are societally accepted and has thus any excuse to do nothing but what a decent citizen does, then normally other methods than punishment need to be used to set things right, at least at first. But – other societies must not be subjected by foreign powers to what is but the specific situation the Western societies have now.)

    Venial sins, sins of thought, sins of expression (unless insulting or libellous), or – normally* – sins against the specifically religious duties should not be punished. [*The Franconian empire seems to have had a law that forbade professing Christians under most grievous penalties to eat meat on a Friday or so, and I don't say that was wrong, but I'm generalizing and becoming inaccurate in detail...] There are good reasons not to punish fornication or masturbation – “young people will have their passions”, as Fr Brown says. Or adultery – because imprisoning the rueful spouse does one more hurt to the family – however, he who declared it was a “victimless crime”, as some did in the 1960s, was obviously suffering from partial blindness.

    But a sufficiently dangerous sin can, and should, be prevented by penal legislation if that makes it possible to reasonably contain it and if the punishment does not the greater damage.

    Any punishment is, in a sense, unjust. While homosexuality happens to be worse than fornication, as the Church teaches, still we simply cannot set a penalty on fornication, because otherwise jails would be full and streets would be empty. The specific condition of Western societies today set aside, we can set a punishment on homosexuality (acted-upon). “There is no equality in treatment of injustice” is the founding principle of all penal law.

    That said, “up to ten years” seems too much, to me.

    Quoth the German Constitutional Court (BVerfGE 6,389 B III 1.),
    Hence, even where the relationships of adult men are concerned, it cannot be established that any public interest in upholding the penal law would be lacking.

    Quoth the design for a reform of the German Penal Code, as presented to the Reichstag, 1927 [note: before 1933!],
    The legislator must ask himself, whether § 175 [against homosexuality], despite the hardships to which is application can lead, and despite the restricted practical applicability [because the crimes are mostly unknown], does not still set up a barrier which cannot be put aside without damage to the health and purity of popular life. In this, we must proceed from the fact that in German opinion the sexual relationship of man to man is seen as an aberration [as indeed it is], and one capable to wreck character and to destroy moral feeling. If this aberration proceeds to gain ground, it will lead to degeneration of the people and to decay of its power.

    Quoth Chancellor Adenauer (1962),
    [if the penal law were dropped], especially, there would be nothing in the way to the homosexuals to hinder them harrass their immediate environment by cohabitation in marriage-alike relationships. [...] More than in other areas, the order of law has the task, w.r.t. male homosexuality, to use the moral-building power of the penal law to establish a a dam against the spreading of a vicious drift which, should it gain ground, would mean heavy danger for a healthy and natural order of life within a people.

    (It seems possible to say, now, that the long-time experiment we are now taking part in does seem to speak against the idea of homosexuals privately committing the sin they favor without intent to do anything to the shaping of society. In so far, Adenauer seems to be proven right.)