Top Navigation  
 
U.S. Flag waving
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418
 
Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
 
 
Backwoods Home Magazine, self-reliance, homesteading, off-grid

Features
 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues
 Print Display Ads
 Print Classifieds
 Newsletter
 Letters
 Humor
 Free Stuff
 Recipes
 Home Energy

General Store
 Ordering Info
 Subscriptions
 Kindle Subscriptions
 ePublications
 Anthologies
 Books
 Back Issues
 Help Yourself
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

Advertise
 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

BHM Blogs
 Ask Jackie Clay
 Massad Ayoob
 Claire Wolfe
 Where We Live
 Dave on Twitter
Retired Blogs
 Behind The Scenes
 Oliver Del Signore
 David Lee
 Energy Questions
 Bramblestitches

Quick Links
 Home Energy Info
 Jackie Clay
 Ask Jackie Online
 Dave Duffy
 Massad Ayoob
 John Silveira
 Claire Wolfe

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Enter Forum
 Lost Password

More Features
 Meet The Staff
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address
 Write For BHM
 Disclaimer and
 Privacy Policy


Retired Features
 Country Moments
 Links
 Feedback
 Radio Show


Link to BHM

etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore



If you don’t like the rules, go elsewhere. Religious faiths are not social clubs.

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

A little background:

Ted Kennedy’s widow, Victoria, was invited to be the commencement speaker at a central Massachusetts Catholic College. The local bishop nixed the invitation, citing her views on subjects like abortion, birth control, and gay marriage as incompatible with church doctrine. Predictably, a hue and cry was raised protesting the bishop’s decision.

This morning, the local paper, The Boston Globe (Democrat), once known not-so-fondly as The Kennedy Family Newsletter, ran some letters to the editor on the subject. The first claimed the decision showed the irrelevance of local bishops “as serious leaders” of modern Catholics. (Read that as Catholics who were born that way but don’t like the dogma and want a more responsive, touchy-feely kind of religion.)

The second letter took the bishop to task for refusing to even meet with Kennedy to discuss the matter. The third letter supported the bishop and the fourth is reproduced, here:

Controversy reminds him of . . .
April 05, 2012

THE REPORT that the bishop of Worcester pressed Anna Maria College to rescind the invitation to Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and refused to meet with her to hear her out, reminded me of two things (Page A1, March 31).

Bishop Robert J. McManus, a real Catholic

One is a line we used to use in our house when our kids were young, though we said it in jest: “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts.’’

The other is a line in the US Supreme Court decision that overturned a Massachusetts banned-book ruling. Justice William Douglas said that the state attorney general had banned the book “so that the citizens of Massachusetts might be spared the necessity of determining for themselves whether or not to read it.’’

Eli Bortman
Winchester

Note how cleverly the two quotes are used. “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts’’ implies the bishop is rigid and uncaring, a dictator who is not open to discussion about his “opinions.”

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, a pretend Catholic

The second quote reinforces that error in thinking by implying the bishop is trying to impose his personal, subjective opinions on an unwilling congregation who all want to decide for themselves which bits of Catholic doctrine to follow and which to ignore.

If the letter-writers want facts, here are some they probably won’t like:

1. The Catholic Church is not a social club where members get to debate and vote on the rules. It is a religion, and like all religions, it is founded on a core set of beliefs. In this case, those beliefs are drawn from the Catholic Bible and from the decisions of a long line of Popes, who, dogma says, speak for God on Earth when they do so ex cathedra.

2. There is no voting. If you want to be a Catholic, you must accept and live by Church teaching. As the writer who was supportive of the bishop said, “Our lord said it would not be easy to be his follower.”

3. Discussion about dogma, which is by definition inflexible, is fruitless and a waste of time. There is nothing Kennedy could say to the bishop to alter his decision because his decision was not based on his feelings or opinions but on a clearly defined set of rules he has no choice but to follow.

Catholics  who cannot or will not abide by the rules of their faith do themselves and their Church a grave disservice. They should be honest with themselves,  renounce Catholicism, and  go find a church more suitable to what they want to believe. Certainly, there is no shortage of choices. There are many churches where the rules are different. And if they can’t find one with a set of rules they can live with, they can start their own church based on what they’ve decided God wants folks to believe and do. I expect they’ll find many who would join with them.

And lest anyone get the wrong idea, that I’m some cheerleader for the Catholic Church, I am not. I have been what’s known as a “lapsed” Catholic since I was fifteen. Some members of my family refer to me as “the heathen.” But my personal beliefs do not change any of the facts that the letter writers and all the rest protesting the bishop’s decision conveniently choose to ignore.

I have to wonder if the level of outrage would be the same or there would even have been a peep about it from the media, if Kennedy had been invited to a Mosque to speak and the local Imam rescinded the invitation because she eats pork and drinks alcohol and does not follow Islamic teaching.

Actually, I’m not wondering. We all know the answer.

9 Responses to “If you don’t like the rules, go elsewhere. Religious faiths are not social clubs.”

  1. ARt Says:

    I agree the fellow is under no obligation to talk to the lady. Might have been smart if he had.

    Still under no obligation to bring her into his church. Dont understand why people belong to such a group though.

    Not my problem.

  2. Mona Casselman Says:

    Ahhh, doctrine!! I have a beloved son in love who was raised Roman Catholic. He was excommunicated during seminary for “heresy.” When I asked him, some years back, if he believed that he actually was forbidden from heaven because of this, he told me- “Catholicism is my religion, not my faith.”
    So much doctrine is rigid and human!!
    But, as was stated before, religion is not a social club and if you choose a certain religion-group, quit yer bitchin’!
    Oh, the little complications of life…

  3. AJ Shelden Says:

    Amen, and amen, brother.

  4. Brian K. Anderson Says:

    Amen. We have the same problem in my faith. I’m a Mormon, and we endure this kind of thing from gay and lesbian lobby groups all the time. They think they can get the church to stop calling out homosexuality as a sin, as if the doctrines of the church are decided by public opinion. They want to carry on a gay/lesbian lifestyle and be considered members in good standing in the church. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

    They seem to forget that no one is holding a gun to their heads to make them stay. They are free to find another church that will accommodate their lifestyle.

    The bottom line for me is this: If the teachings of your religion clash with your own personal beliefs, causes, or priorities, you have to choose one or the other. Either you decide your church is right, change yourself, and live by the rules it sets as best you can, or you decide to follow your personal beliefs, and find a church in which you can be comfortable. (Or none at all…) To expect a church to conform to your beliefs, contrary to its own teachings, is unreasonable and unfair.

  5. Oliver Says:

    If the teachings of your religion clash with your own personal beliefs, causes, or priorities, you have to choose one or the other. Either you decide your church is right, change yourself, and live by the rules it sets as best you can, or you decide to follow your personal beliefs, and find a church in which you can be comfortable. (Or none at all…) To expect a church to conform to your beliefs, contrary to its own teachings, is unreasonable and unfair.

    Well said, Brian. Better than I did.

    Oliver

  6. Steve Matherley Says:

    I agree with you, Oliver, and also your reply. I am not catholic, nor have I ever been. But, religion is exactly as you stated it, and if you don’t like it, leave. No one is forced to worship or believe contrary to what they want. It is sad that so many people think that it is their right to belong to any group they want, and force the group to change because they disagree with it.

    By the way, the beliefs of the staff at Backwoods Home, is the beliefs of the magazine. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

  7. charles scamman Says:

    …”dogma, which is by definition inflexible,”…
    …or is it?

    Observe the sabbath and keep the holy days holy….unless of course you want to attend Friday night mass, then the sabbath can be ignored….

    Thou shalt not commit murder… unless during the course of a holy crusade, or dispatching somebody that really, really needs killing….

    Thou shall have no other gods before Me….but praying to SAINTS….well that’s okay if you doubt that God is omnipotent and omnipresent….

    Make no graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven OR in the earth below…. ooops, looks like perhaps we’ve forgotten this one….

    Don’t eat meat on Friday….okay how about during Lent?….okay Good Friday?…?

    Give your money to God, but send it to MY address…. don’t ask where the money for those stained glass widows or golden images or silver services came from….

    Dogma of the church (Catholic et al) changes to meet the social norms of the times, or so I’ve observed during my time here on earth. Fear and guilt are used to control a population, to subjugate those who would otherwise use reason to guide their lives. Perhaps the phrase, ‘to thine own self be know true’ should be printed in the front of each Bible so that hypocrisy would not be so rampant amongst not only the elders, but also the followers dogmatic scripture. just an opinion.

  8. Leonard Barnes Says:

    Sounds to me like there are some Bishops still in the Catholic Church with morals and PRINCIPLES. I can name some who allow Catholics into their services and invite others to speak at their Colleges as well as serve in our Houses of Legislation and adapt laws for all of us to obey without regard to their own church’s position. I wonder about the principles of these Church leaders and those they allow to stay and honor without regard to their point of view. I could give examples but I might then be labeled as something I would rather not get into in this particular post……

  9. Harbinger Says:

    “Amen. We have the same problem in my faith. I’m a Mormon, and we endure this kind of thing from gay and lesbian lobby groups all the time. They think they can get the church to stop calling out homosexuality as a sin, as if the doctrines of the church are decided by public opinion. They want to carry on a gay/lesbian lifestyle and be considered members in good standing in the church. They want to have their cake and eat it too. ”

    This is an excellent comment.
    Unfortunately, many of the groups that lobby Christian churches and denominations aren’t REALLY interested in having their cake and eating it–they want to SMASH the cake entirely. This is particularly the case with the homosexual lobby, who (correctly) believe that if they can make religious people back off their moral stance, they will erode the foundations of that religion.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.