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"Vatican 'is going back to days of Inquisition'"


Guest Warwick Green

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Guest Warwick Green

The Vatican's threat to excommunicate scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research was criticised by fertility experts yesterday as intellectually incoherent and "a step back to the Inquisition".

As Catholic Church leaders gather in Spain, scientists responded to the claim by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, that excommunication "will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos and to the politicians who approve the law".

Dr Stephen Minger, of King's College London, said: "Having been raised a Catholic I find this stance outrageous. Are they also going to excommunicate IVF doctors, nurses and embryologists who routinely put millions of embryos down the sink [instead of using them for research]? I would argue that it is more ethical to use embryos that are going to be destroyed anyway for the benefit of mankind."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml...MC-new_08072006

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The Vatican's threat to excommunicate scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research was criticised by fertility experts yesterday as intellectually incoherent and "a step back to the Inquisition".

I see a few things wrong with this action. Firstly, it's another example of exaggeration for effect, which we have quite enough of in the public sphere. Secondly, why are fertility experts commenting on internal policies of the Roman Catholic church ?

As Catholic Church leaders gather in Spain, scientists responded to the claim by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, that excommunication "will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos and to the politicians who approve the law".

Dr Stephen Minger, of King's College London, said: "Having been raised a Catholic I find this stance outrageous. Are they also going to excommunicate IVF doctors, nurses and embryologists who routinely put millions of embryos down the sink [instead of using them for research]? I would argue that it is more ethical to use embryos that are going to be destroyed anyway for the benefit of mankind."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml...MC-new_08072006

The article does a disservice by allowing Dr. Minger to point out something that seems to be a contradiction in the church's policies without explaining either what this process is all about (ie. putting embryos "down the sink") nor getting a response of any kind from the church.

The link doesn't work, by the way.

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I see a few things wrong with this action. Firstly, it's another example of exaggeration for effect, which we have quite enough of in the public sphere. Secondly, why are fertility experts commenting on internal policies of the Roman Catholic church ?

I agree but should we not reverse the question and ask what the Roman Catholic church is doing commenting on something completely unrelated to them.

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Guest Warwick Green

I see a few things wrong with this action. Firstly, it's another example of exaggeration for effect, which we have quite enough of in the public sphere. Secondly, why are fertility experts commenting on internal policies of the Roman Catholic church ?

I agree but should we not reverse the question and ask what the Roman Catholic church is doing commenting on something completely unrelated to them.

Given the RCC's belief that life begins at conception I doubt they would regard commenting on the use made of embryos as being "something completely unrelated to them".

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I see a few things wrong with this action. Firstly, it's another example of exaggeration for effect, which we have quite enough of in the public sphere. Secondly, why are fertility experts commenting on internal policies of the Roman Catholic church ?

I agree but should we not reverse the question and ask what the Roman Catholic church is doing commenting on something completely unrelated to them.

Given the RCC's belief that life begins at conception I doubt they would regard commenting on the use made of embryos as being "something completely unrelated to them".

Absolutely. The Church is entitled to believe what it wants to believe. Catholicism is made up of key values. If a Catholic is flushing humans down the sink, then obviously he should be excommunicated since he obviously doesn't believe in his faith. Pretty straight foward. I back the Vatican on this one.

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Given the RCC's belief that life begins at conception I doubt they would regard commenting on the use made of embryos as being "something completely unrelated to them".

Just being the devil's advocate here but given most fertility experts' views on life; I doubt they would regard commenting on the use of embryos as being something completely unrelated to them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hopefully, this will cause Catholic scientists to examine their faith and its values more closely. As a result some of them may abandon the (IMO) draconian religion and continue their important work. Plus, examination may benefit the church as well. Does the RCC really want moderates posing as Catholics anyway? If enough false Catholics leave the faith it can really become the anachronistic society they are trying to be.

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Hopefully, this will cause Catholic scientists to examine their faith and its values more closely. As a result some of them may abandon the (IMO) draconian religion and continue their important work. Plus, examination may benefit the church as well. Does the RCC really want moderates posing as Catholics anyway? If enough false Catholics leave the faith it can really become the anachronistic society they are trying to be.

That is one of the stupidest things I've read all day.

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Hopefully, this will cause Catholic scientists to examine their faith and its values more closely. As a result some of them may abandon the (IMO) draconian religion and continue their important work. Plus, examination may benefit the church as well. Does the RCC really want moderates posing as Catholics anyway? If enough false Catholics leave the faith it can really become the anachronistic society they are trying to be.

That is one of the stupidest things I've read all day.

Try reading one your own posts..

I take it you're Catholic?

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I explain what I mean more specifically. First off, I think the RCC can excommunicate whoever they wish. It’s a private club with rules, if a member isn’t following the rules the membership committee can choose to tear up their membership card.

About my comment that the RCC is draconian and an anachronistic society:

The RCC prevents women from holding positions of power, they treat homosexuals as second class citizens, they prevent followers from developing life saving stem cell research and they condemn the use of birth control…including condoms in Africa where AIDS, one of the largest epidemics the world has ever known, threatens to wipe out an entire continent. Not only do they condemn the use of condoms in Africa but the Vatican pressures nations to ensure their foreign aid is not spent on such a nasty little, sperm catching, life saving, latex tube. IMO, this club seems cruel and out of some distant time period…hence draconian and anachronistic.

The Monty Python song has sprung to mind…”Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great. If just one is wasted, god gets quite irate”

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About my comment that the RCC is draconian and an anachronistic society:

The RCC prevents women from holding positions of power, they treat homosexuals as second class citizens, they prevent followers from developing life saving stem cell research and they condemn the use of birth control…including condoms in Africa where AIDS, one of the largest epidemics the world has ever known, threatens to wipe out an entire continent. Not only do they condemn the use of condoms in Africa but the Vatican pressures nations to ensure their foreign aid is not spent on such a nasty little, sperm catching, life saving, latex tube. IMO, this club seems cruel and out of some distant time period…hence draconian and anachronistic.

The problem that I, as a lapsed Catholic, and others have is when the RCC is singled out over almost every other religion that holds the same views. They are big in Canada, and hence make an easy target. Also, there's the factor that many lapsed Catholics are comfortable with commenting on them as it doesn't seem to constitute intolerance, somehow.

Well, it is intolerance. Religion is, by nature, irrational and anachronistic but it's up to individuals to choose whatever path gets them through life. To respect peoples' choices in this regard, and to show a basic respect for their customs in the public forum is only polite..

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The problem that I, as a lapsed Catholic, and others have is when the RCC is singled out over almost every other religion that holds the same views. They are big in Canada, and hence make an easy target.

The RCC is often unfairly singled out over most other religions with the same views but this topic was about the RCC specifically.

Also, there's the factor that many lapsed Catholics are comfortable with commenting on them as it doesn't seem to constitute intolerance, somehow.

Well, it is intolerance. Religion is, by nature, irrational and anachronistic but it's up to individuals to choose whatever path gets them through life. To respect peoples' choices in this regard, and to show a basic respect for their customs in the public forum is only polite..

How is disagreeing with the policies of the Catholic church intolerant? I tolerate all religion and respect the right of people "to choose whatever path gets them through life"...but I don't have to agree with all of a religion's policies. The RCC's policies affect the lives of millions of people. Some of their policies are very negative in my opinion and I speak out against them. That's not intolerance that's a difference of opinion.

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The RCC is often unfairly singled out over most other religions with the same views but this topic was about the RCC specifically.

Exactly.

How is disagreeing with the policies of the Catholic church intolerant?

"The Monty Python song has sprung to mind…”Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great. If just one is wasted, god gets quite irate"

How would it sound if I told all Muslims or Jews to go eat a bacon sandwich ? It's not appropriate for this forum, and disrespectful IMO.

I tolerate all religion and respect the right of people "to choose whatever path gets them through life"...but I don't have to agree with all of a religion's policies.

If you don't want to be Catholic, then don't be.

A religion isn't a government, and lobbying them from outside to get them to change dogma indicates an intolerance of the basic tenets of the church. Catholics believe that God speaks through the pope through them. It's not a matter of getting priests and bishops to vote against a bill as if it were the house of commons.

You have a right to express problems with the church's teachings, of course, but your message will get more credence if you approach the issue respectfully.

The RCC's policies affect the lives of millions of people. Some of their policies are very negative in my opinion and I speak out against them. That's not intolerance that's a difference of opinion.

It's not applied evenly to other religions, in my experience.

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"The Monty Python song has sprung to mind…”Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great. If just one is wasted, god gets quite irate"

How would it sound if I told all Muslims or Jews to go eat a bacon sandwich ? It's not appropriate for this forum, and disrespectful IMO.

My Monty Python song lyric isn't anything like your "eat a bacon sandwich" comment. If I had told all Catholics to go rape an alter boy then you'd have a point. The Python reference is, IMO, a humorous but accurate representation of one of the RCC policies I was criticizing. I didn't intend to offend, I love to use lyrics and famous quotations in my posts as those I quote are much wittier than I.

If you don't want to be Catholic, then don't be.

Ok, I won’t. I also don’t want to be Israeli, American, Chinese, Lebanese or a member of PETA or the NRA…and though I have no problem with people being a part of these groups I still reserve the right to criticize their policies.

A religion isn't a government, and lobbying them from outside to get them to change dogma indicates an intolerance of the basic tenets of the church. Catholics believe that God speaks through the pope through them. It's not a matter of getting priests and bishops to vote against a bill as if it were the house of commons.

You have a right to express problems with the church's teachings, of course, but your message will get more credence if you approach the issue respectfully.

First of all the Catholic church is very political and the Vatican does criticize governments, leaders, people, etc. So I don't see my criticizing their policies to be any different. Also, their policies are not static, they have changed over time...you may believe it was a god that said "stop letting your priests marry" or "tell the people not to use birth control" but that should not prevent me from criticizing the policy.

I am always respectful when criticizing religion.

It's not applied evenly to other religions, in my experience.

Keep in mind that this thread is about the RCC.

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My Monty Python song lyric isn't anything like your "eat a bacon sandwich" comment.

If I had told all Catholics to go rape an alter boy then you'd have a point. The Python reference is, IMO, a humorous but accurate representation of one of the RCC policies I was criticizing. I didn't intend to offend, I love to use lyrics and famous quotations in my posts as those I quote are much wittier than I.

Well, point me to an equivalent song that makes fun of how Jews dress, or openly mocks the Sikh turban.

Are you starting to get my point ?

Ok, I won’t. I also don’t want to be Israeli, American, Chinese, Lebanese or a member of PETA or the NRA…and though I have no problem with people being a part of these groups I still reserve the right to criticize their policies.

This is where you err. The church is not and will never be a democracy. Theology is not supposed to be worked out politically. The fact that you don't appreciate this very basic fact means that you should revisit how you approach this issue.

First of all the Catholic church is very political and the Vatican does criticize governments, leaders, people, etc. So I don't see my criticizing their policies to be any different. Also, their policies are not static, they have changed over time...you may believe it was a god that said "stop letting your priests marry" or "tell the people not to use birth control" but that should not prevent me from criticizing the policy.

As I said, you're free to express your opinion but how you do it says more about you than what you say.

Keep in mind that this thread is about the RCC.

Exactly.

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Well, point me to an equivalent song that makes fun of how Jews dress, or openly mocks the Sikh turban.

Are you starting to get my point ?

Sure, you feel I was making fun of your religion by quoting a humorous song. Sorry, I offended you. IMO, the song doesn't make fun of the birth control policy; it's just the subject of a funny song.

Ok, I won’t. I also don’t want to be Israeli, American, Chinese, Lebanese or a member of PETA or the NRA…and though I have no problem with people being a part of these groups I still reserve the right to criticize their policies.

This is where you err. The church is not and will never be a democracy. Theology is not supposed to be worked out politically. The fact that you don't appreciate this very basic fact means that you should revisit how you approach this issue.

I don't care if the RCC is a democracy or not, I can still criticize it's policies whether or not it's members get to vote. The Chinese government is not a democracy and I don't expect to change their human rights and economic policies, but I can still express my disgust for them.

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Sure, you feel I was making fun of your religion by quoting a humorous song. Sorry, I offended you. IMO, the song doesn't make fun of the birth control policy; it's just the subject of a funny song.

I don't see the difference.

Also, you show your misunderstanding again by calling articles of faith 'policy'. It's not policy, it's dogma.

I don't care if the RCC is a democracy or not, I can still criticize it's policies whether or not it's members get to vote. The Chinese government is not a democracy and I don't expect to change their human rights and economic policies, but I can still express my disgust for them.

But China is a country, supposedly with policies that allow the country to thrive responsibly within a global context. Debating their policies in such a context couldn't be offensive, as far as I can see.

You are, of course, to say whatever you like about the practices of the church but your choice on how you approach that will indicate whether you truly want to engage Catholics or whether you just want to insult them.

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Also, you show your misunderstanding again by calling articles of faith 'policy'. It's not policy, it's dogma.

Oh no, I understand. Dogma is an authoritative belief, often thought to be absolutely true. It still amounts to a set of rules or policies.

Is the idea that Priests should be celibate and unmarried dogma, because that seems to be changing. There are now married priests, although not common or very open, and there is pressure to allow all priests to marry. This seems to be change resulting from pressure, discussion and maybe need.

But China is a country, supposedly with policies that allow the country to thrive responsibly within a global context. Debating their policies in such a context couldn't be offensive, as far as I can see.

You are, of course, to say whatever you like about the practices of the church but your choice on how you approach that will indicate whether you truly want to engage Catholics or whether you just want to insult them.

If I debate Chinese policies and actions with the Chinese some of them may be offended. Similarly, Americans or Israelis may get offended if I voice my disagreement with the foreign policy of their homeland.

I think the same thing is happening here. I have targeted some specific policies that I disagree with. I haven't insulted you or been disrespectful to your religion, other than to disagree with some of its policies and yet you are offended. Does being a Catholic, or a lapsed Catholic in your case, mean you have to agree with and defend all Catholic policies (dogma, doctrine, etc)?

Do you agree with Catholic scientists being excommunicated for furthering stem cell research?

Do you agree with the Vatican pressuring Western nations to stop aid to Africa if it will be used to buy condoms?

Do you agree with the churches men only policy when it comes to the priesthood?

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Oh no, I understand. Dogma is an authoritative belief, often thought to be absolutely true. It still amounts to a set of rules or policies.

To an outsider, perhaps, but not to someone on the inside. To insinuate that these are the same as government policies, is itself an insult to articles of faith.

Is the idea that Priests should be celibate and unmarried dogma, because that seems to be changing. There are now married priests, although not common or very open, and there is pressure to allow all priests to marry. This seems to be change resulting from pressure, discussion and maybe need.

But nothing has changed. If people are sinning, then how does that consitute 'change' ? It just means people are leaving the church.

Again, your idea that you can ignore what members of a religion stand for in demanding, from the outside, that it be changed is pretty insulting. We almost never hear such demands from other religions except in extreme cases.

If I debate Chinese policies and actions with the Chinese some of them may be offended.

They may be offended by your ideas about China, yes, but since both your ideas and theirs are based on facts then they can be discussed and some resolution can be reached. Such is not the case with articles of faith.

Similarly, Americans or Israelis may get offended if I voice my disagreement with the foreign policy of their homeland.

But the difference is that your disagreement is arguably rational, ie. based on facts. Religion is not based on facts. By treating it as though it should be, you're basically negating the idea that their religion is valid at all.

I think the same thing is happening here. I have targeted some specific policies that I disagree with. I haven't insulted you or been disrespectful to your religion, other than to disagree with some of its policies and yet you are offended.

I'm not personally offended, no. Again, they're not policies - by saying so you're being insulting to the religion because you're negating the precepts of where the laws come from.

And you have insulted the religion by quoting a song, with your defense being simple denial that's offensive at all: "My Monty Python song lyric isn't anything like your "eat a bacon sandwich" comment. "

Explain why making fun of one religious precept isn't as bad as doing it for another religion.

Does being a Catholic, or a lapsed Catholic in your case, mean you have to agree with and defend all Catholic policies (dogma, doctrine, etc)?

No. I don't agree with Catholicism but I find that people, in general, are far too quick to attack the Catholic church for articles of faith shared by other churches such as abstinance, the role of women, etc.

Do you agree with Catholic scientists being excommunicated for furthering stem cell research?

Yes.

Do you agree with the Vatican pressuring Western nations to stop aid to Africa if it will be used to buy condoms?

No. I think they should limit their teachings to Catholics.

Do you agree with the churches men only policy when it comes to the priesthood?

I'll turn that around. Are you saying that you think that all sexism within a religious framework should be eliminated ?

That means, effectively, the end of religious freedom. That means that Islam and Judaism would cease to exist. I have spoken to virulent anti-Catholics that had no idea that the same sexist precepts are used in those churches as well.

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