Tag Archives: catholic church

Are corporations people?

Corporations Are Not PeopleThe legal definition of a corporation in the UK is:

a body of persons authorised by law to act as one person, and having rights and liabilities distinct from the individuals who are forming the corporation.

A corporation can own property, do business, pays taxes – well, sometimes – be sued, sue individuals and other corporations, and though it can’t be born or die, a corporation usually has a definite beginning and can come to a definite end. A corporation doesn’t have a passport: it may be registered in just one country, but it can exist in many.

But no matter how many legal rights and powers a corporation may acquire, there are things it cannot do: it cannot vote in most democratic electionsthough the richer the corporation is, the more it is likely to get its way regardless of democracy; it cannot have sex or experience orgasm or know love or laughter or tears; and it has neither soul nor conscience – from a religious viewpoint, a corporation is not a person at all.

Or so I always thought.

But apparently, in the US at least, the Catholic Church has ruled that corporations have souls and consciences, and therefore rights of freedom of religion that ought not to be violated.

The American legal definition of a corporation is similar to the UK’s definition. A corporation in the US is an independent legal person, created, organised, and – should that time come – dissolved according to the laws of the state in which it is registered. Each state requires articles of incorporation that document the corporation’s creation and the corporation’s management of internal affairs. Nowhere in the legal definition of a corporation does it explain where in this process the corporation becomes ensouled.
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Because it’s my choice

Over two years ago, I wrote a blogpost outlining why I thought those who were opposed to same-sex marriage were also opposed to safe legal abortion. (Human Rights: Abortion and gay marriage).

In 2004, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) won the general election and had as a manifesto commitment, lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Spain. In 2005, Spain became the third country in the world in which same-sex couples can marry. In 2011, the right-wing Partido Popular (PP) won a majority, and had in their manifesto commitments to roll back access to safe legal abortion, and to have the Constitutional Court consider re-imposing a ban on same-sex marriage.

Courts and judges, upholders of law and order, have in general proved to be supporters of keeping marriage legal, because unmaking lawful marriages is disorderly, and to the judicial mind, disorderliness in marriage law is anathema. In 2012, so it proved in Spain: rather than fall into the unutterable confusion of declaring that seven years of marriages would no longer be recognised, the 2005 law was upheld.
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The Wonderful GAY

“Time lies frozen there. It’s always Then. It’s never Now.” The Cardinal was afraid of Now, for Now has warmth and urgency, and Then is dead and buried. Now might bring a certain knight of gay and shining courage –

Crdinl Keith O’Brien has confirmed he will no longer use any of the letters in the word ‘gay’ and stressed

he was embarking on the phonetic moratorium because he did not want to be ‘prt of the problem’.

His spokesman said:

“Luckily ‘safe words’ include Jesus, communion, crucifix and Keith O’Brien.

“However he has had to change his job to title to ‘Crdinl’.

“Also, half the word ‘Mary’ is off limits so from now on he will refer to the Holy Mother as ‘Ethel’.

“It’s not blasphemous if it’s part of a bulwark against depravity.”

The spokesman added: “Golgotha comes out as ‘Oloth’ and Calvary is just ‘Clvr’, so Easter is going to be tricky. Especially if he’s calling it ‘Ester’.”

We confirmed with the spokesman that from now on the Crdinl says Continue reading

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Haters hate: marriage is still love

Marriage is when two people make a legally binding vow to love, honour, and cherish each other lifelong: making each other into their closest next of kin.

Know that the haters are just trying to silence us because of bigotry. Huge waste of their time and a sad state to be in. We are actually doing things to help others. That’s a good use of time and a happy place to be. So ignore them when you can, mock them when you want a laugh and report them to the police or FBI whenever you see a credible threat and most importantly, keep doing good things. (Ask Surly Amy – How To Deal With Hate)

On Sunday afternoon over a post-gym coffee and a pastry in the new I ♥ Cafe in Leith Walk, I read a kind but muddled (and in places factually incorrect) article about marriage.

The Gay Agenda
1. Gym
2. Buy yellow mangos – they’re in season! – from Najak
3. Coffee and pastry
4. Undermine the unique importance of marriage in the world
5. Blog

Kevin McKenna writes:

My beloved church is not enjoying its finest hour as it steps up its opposition to the SNP government’s plans to permit same-sex marriages. Continue reading

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The Eucharistic Congress and the cardinal cover-up

There is a ring around the world

Today, the 50th Eucharistic Congress begins in Dublin. From the Catholic Free Press:

The Vatican official who will act as papal legate for the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin defended marriage based on the church’s traditional teaching and urged Catholics to use the resource of the family to confront the challenges of secularized societies.

That’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada, who’s head of the Congregation for Bishops as well as the Pope’s representative to this Congress in Ireland. (L’Association des Victimes de Prêtres, in Quebec, says that Ouellet has been consistently silent about the victims of abusive priests, despite repeatedly being asked to help repair the damage. Oellet is of course willing to speak out to protect “unborn” children. Once they’re born, though…)

It ensnares the little Ones

From the Irish Times:

In relation to the most painful of those issues, the sex abuse crisis, Cardinal Ouellet was unsure whether he would be meeting abuse survivors while in Dublin, saying it was a delicate, sensitive issue.

Recently, the Italian bishops’ conference affirmed that a bishop had no legal obligation to report a paedophile priest to police. But is there not a “moral” obligation?

“Regarding sexual abuse of children, the main concern of the church is the protection of children. For this reason, full co-operation between church and civil authorities is a moral obligation when concerning the protection of minors. This co-operation has to be developed according to the laws of each individual country.”

As these priests and bishops fall

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How to make a book a bestseller

Sister Margaret Farley is a Sister of Mercy (nuns, not a rock-and-roll band, unless they’re nuns who also do rock-and-roll music). She’s also professor emerita of Yale Divinity School. She’s not the kind of person who would write a bestseller that hit the top ten in Amazon six years after publication.

But she did.

The Vatican’s “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (the Holy Office, aka the Inquisition) took six years to consider Just Love:A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, which on Monday 4th June was at 142,982 on Amazon’s bestseller list. They announced to the world, very sternly, that this nun had written a book showed: “defective understanding of the objective nature of natural moral law” and pose “grave harm to the faithful.”

Twenty-four hours later, Just Love was in the top ten list on Amazon.

To give you an idea of the kind of awful thing Sister Margaret Farley is saying Continue reading

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Cardinal Brady is shocked

In 1975, Father Sean Brady had no idea what to do when an 11-year-old boy told him that an adult man had had sex with him, because “no State or Church guidelines for responding to allegations of child abuse existed in Ireland”. Apparently none of the Church hierarchy above Father Brady, now Cardinal Brady, had any idea what to do either.

According to Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, speaking in 2010 as the “promoter of justice” or the prosecutor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was once called the Holy Office or the Inquisition, very clear guidelines had existed since 1922, republished and distributed in 1962: the responsible clerical authority should order an investigation and if the accusation of delicta graviora was proved well-founded (the Congregation’s job is to investigate delicta graviora, which include sexual crimes committed by a cleric against a person under the age of eighteen) then the clerical authorities should refer the priest to the Congregation.

Reading Cardinal Brady’s statement exculpating himself, I was reminded of Monsignor William Lynn, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Downingtown, Philadelphia, who was arrested in February 2012, indicted in mid-March and is now on administrative leave.

From Rolling Stone:

At 60, Lynn is portly and dignified, his thin lips pressed together and his double chin held high. In a dramatic fashion statement, he alone has chosen to wear his black clerical garb today, a startling reminder that this is a priest on trial, a revered representative of the Catholic Church, not to mention a high-ranking official in Philadelphia’s archdiocese.

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Atheist Easter Links

And two hours later, after I had bought a latte and a croissant at Relish:

As an atheist, I suppose I ought to have made this post on the vernal equinox. But who’s thinking about chocolate eggs then?

Cadbury's Creme Eggs
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Why is the Telegraph helping Labour get elected?

Lyall Duff thought he’d made his Facebook profile private. The lesson everyone should take from the Telegraph’s “investigative journalism” – finding a few ranty sweary posts and quoting or partially quoting them – is that Facebook is never reliably private.

The SNP have suspended Lyall Duff, but it is too late to take his name off the ballot for Murdostoun ward in North Lanarkshire: the Telegraph waited to disclose Lyall Duff’s posts until after the deadline precisely so that the SNP’s possibilities for damage limitation would be minimal. This will benefit Scottish Labour; they won a majority on North Lanarkshire council in 2007, and half of the seats in the Murdostoun ward. The Telegraph ran another story this morning with an opening:

Labour questioned why the SNP was prepared to pass new legislation cracking down on sectarianism in football matches but has so far refused to expel Lyall Duff. They accused the First Minister of crying “crocodile tears” over the affair.

Why are the Telegraph runing a press campaign to help Scottish Labour win one more seat in a local authority ward in North Lanarkshire?
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On Christian Values

When I first started this blog, I planned to make a post a day. And real life kind of got in the way, as it does, and I’ve been making posts whenever a news item catches my attention and I have the time to write it. It’s Sunday morning on a beautiful frosty day and I want to go out with my camera and take photos of it, but I do have time to make one blog post, and two news items that have caught my attention: gay marriage, and the latest stupid thing David Cameron said. On the face of it these have nothing to do with each other, so I’m going to do a blog post about both.

On Friday 15th December, David Cameron made a speech to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. I love books, and I’d be happy for Cameron to make many speeches celebrating their birthdays. It’s something we don’t do often enough.

What Cameron said, though:

“But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend. The alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option. You can’t fight something with nothing. Because if we don’t stand for something, we can’t stand against anything.”

I have no idea if Cameron actually goes to church, but if he does, and if his minister has any conscience or sense of humour at all, here’s the text (2 Samuel 12) Cameron should be listening to today, from the King James Bible in all its rolling thunder of glory:

1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.

As Fred Clerk at Slacktivist says, this is an alien story from another world: “it illustrates just how vastly different our view of the world and of God has become from the view that Nathan and David shared. David was guilty of adultery and murder. He knew himself to be guilty of those things. And Nathan didn’t walk in and point his finger at the king and say, “You are an adulterer and a murderer!” Instead, Nathan told a story to help David understand that he was guilty of something even worse. He told a story to help the king understand that he had become a rich man who had stolen from a poor man.“.

David Cameron cast a vote against the EU treaty in order to protect City of London financial services, who are in plain fact robbing from poor people to give to the very richliterally stealing from widows and orphans:

Highly paid City traders are depriving pensioners and savers of thousands of pounds through high management fees that are often hidden, according to leaked advice provided by consultants to the Treasury. The charges are spreading and are so steep that savers may find they get less back in retirement than they invested in savings accounts and pensions over their lifetimes.

As Avedon Carol notes in The Sideshow:

Krugman, DeLong, and Atrios all seem baffled by Cameron’s destructive austerity policies and the LibDems’ continued failure to balk at wrecking the country. Things might clear up if they read Chris Floyd and realized that what we have in the LibDems is pretty much the same thing as what we have in the Democratic Party: “But here is the result of all this serious savviness on behalf of progressive ideals: the LibDems are now helping implement the most regressive policies that Britain has seen since the Victorian era. They are presiding — happily, even giddily — over the wanton ravaging of a society already brought low by the brutal, bipartisan religious extremists — blind, fanatic worshippers of Mammon — who have held sway in Britain, America and Europe for more than 30 years. The LibDems are Obama: socially liberal, fiscally conservative, willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of millions of innocent people to save a thuggish elite from facing the slightest consequence of their own criminal greed and stupidity.” Yes, they are Mammonists. They’re not liberal, they’re not democratic, and they are not your friends.

This morning in the Scotland on Sunday, an entire leader was devoted to something that the Catholic Church in Scotland appears to perceive as “Christian values” – banning all religious groups from performing same-sex marriages on the grounds that a few very powerful religious groups object. This ban on religious freedom is being described as a “compromise deal” which would lift the ban on same-sex couples getting married but “with the caveat that the ceremonies must be held in a civil setting”. David Cameron’s government has proposed exactly the same ban on religious freedom in England and Wales for a consultation to begin next year. The claim is that this would prevent religious groups and individuals from being sued if they refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, but this is something the anti-marriage brigade always say, and it’s absurd: there is no legal way that anyone in the UK can force any minister of religion to perform a marriage against their faith. Which all of the religious leaders know perfectly well. They’re just bearing false witness in the pursuit of their political goal.

Is the Scottish Government actually seriously thinking about enforcing a ban on multiple churches, faith groups, and the Humanist Society of Scotland, which seventeen faith groups and 24 religious leaders have already publicly told Alex Salmond they will oppose?

Well, yes, they probably are. In much the same way as, after World War I, the US government seriously considered invading Canada.

Over 50,000 responses were made to the Scottish Government’s consultation on equal marriage. 28,000 of those responses were simple postcards preprinted with a “No to same-sex marriage” message, distributed at Mass across 450 parishes as part of an anti-marriage campaign by the Catholic Church (which got a 14% return rate from Mass-going Catholics, rather demonstrating that their claims to speak for all Scottish Catholics in this were as bogus as the signatures on the Scotland for Marriage petition). Each of those cards will be recognised as a “no” vote, but they don’t constitute a detailed response.

But the Scottish Government do have to consider over 30,000 detailed responses to their consultation. Of those, about 24,000 were positive responses. Out of the 6,000 negative responses, undoubtedly more than one proposed the “compromise deal” of allowing same-sex couples civil marriage while banning all religious groups from providing a legally-valid religious ceremony for same-sex couples. As the SoS editorial admits at the very end, when they asked the Scottish Government for comment, they were told : “We have given an assurance that all opinions will be listened to, no final views have been reached and therefore no decisions have been taken.” (Which today they confirmed on Twitter: “Re story on same sex marriage in SoS: it is w/o foundation. No decision has been taken. Ministers still considering consultation responses.”)

The notion is current in American Christianity that you express being a Christian best by declaring yourself against homosexuality and especially against same-sex couples getting married. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has made clear he subscribes to that view of “Christian values”, and I suspect that insofar as David Cameron thinks about Christianity, he tends that way too: I doubt for all his praise of the King James Bible, that he’s actually read it.

1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. Micah 2)*

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Luke 16

The Occupy Edinburgh camp is just five minutes walk from St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. The message of the Occupy movement is far closer to the Christian values of the King James Bible than any message of homophobia that Cardinal O’Brien may be preaching in his church today.

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*For those who haven’t made the connection: Youtube: Financial Crisis Explained: Subprime Mortgage / New Statesman: The next financial crisis

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