Saturday, 12 April 2014

Telling It Like It Is

There has been an awful hoo-har in the last couple of weeks in the United States, where not one but TWO Catholic speakers have been invited to nominally Catholic schools and have delivered fairly straightforward talks on the basics of the Catholic moral life.

This has so offended, horrified and shocked their audiences that both speakers - Sr Jane Laurel from the Nashville Dominicans, and Fr Francis Hoffman from Opus Dei, have been 'apologised for' by local small-c 'catholic' 'authorities'.

More details are on Fr Z's excellent blog, but I also found this excellent summary of the whole problem in the Catholic education system in the comments section, from OrthodoxChick:

Many are openly gay or have parents who are gay. Many describe themselves not as Catholic, but as atheists. They go to Catholic school because the education is better than in the public schools. They don’t go there to be Catholic. Who does that anymore?  
Heck, I have a close relative who is a cradle Catholic. She was married in a Catholic parish in RI. She also rarely goes to Mass (usually just weddings, funerals, Sacraments of relatives’ kids), contracepts, and just became an ordained minister. But she sends her son to a Diocesan Catholic school and weekly CCD classes because that’s what Catholics do.  
They live how they want to live, and as long as they self-identify as Catholic, then they’re Catholic. That’s the rationale that people like Fr. Hoffman and Sr. Jane are confronting, and when they explain the Church’s teaching to people such as I’ve just described, well yeah, all hell’s gonna break loose in a hurry.

Metaphysics and Metamucil

I think you'll enjoy this lecture from Dr Edward Feser. It's called 'What We Owe The New Atheists'.

Here's a snippet from the introduction:

The theme of my talk is “What We Owe the New Atheists.” It might seem an odd one for the author of a decidedly non-irenic, highly polemical book like The Last Superstition.  
In that book I described Richard Dawkins as a man who “wouldn’t know metaphysics from Metamucil.” I proposed, accordingly, that the book Philosophy for Dummies might be reissued in a simplified version under the title Philosophy for Dawkins.  
I said that Christopher Hitchens’ synthesis of boozy self-confidence and theological incompetence made of him “a riddle, inside an enigma, wrapped in a cocktail napkin.”  
I wrote that Sam Harris’s work makes that of Madalyn Murray O’Hair look profound, and suggested that we might be forgiven for suspecting Harris’s entire literary career of being an elaborate hoax, a Sacha Baron Cohen-style publicity stunt. (Sam Harris as a philosophical Borat or Ali G.)  
Then, with Daniel Dennett, I got a little mean.
Seriously, though, Feser goes on to more high-minded stuff later on. I especially enjoyed his exegesis of that little-known spiritual classic, Rocky III.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

No, No, Noah

Hmmm. It looks like fundamentalist Islamicists and I have something in common. We both won't be seeing Russell Crowe's new flick Noah.

'Hang on!' I hear you cry. 'Aren't you the same woman who watched The Last Temptation of Christ before she'd make any comment on it?

Yes, that was me. In fact, I think I watched it about four times, over a period of several years.

But as far as Noah is concerned, I figure I sat through Avatar, and once was enough.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Your Face on Drugs

You won't enjoy this, but at least it confirms that drugs can help you lose weight. And your skin. And your looks. And your life.

Repealings ... Nothing More Than ... Repealings ...

Here is my submission to the Attorney General's Department in support of the repeal of Section 18C.

RE: Submission on Proposed Amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (FREEDOM OF SPEECH (REPEAL OF S. 18C) BILL 2014)

I endorse this proposed change to the legislation, and give it my full support.

The Bolt prosecution was a deliberate attempt to stifle debate on a series of issues critical to our understanding of Australian identity today. We need the freedom to discuss and debate issues of race, socioeconomic privilege and ethnic identity. These are all powerful and enriching aspects of modern Australian culture.

What is less enriching – for most of us – is the use of these factors to obtain privileged access to taxpayer-funded largesse. Those who currently enjoy this privileged access have been very quick to try to shut these debates down, for obvious financial reasons.

Existing defamation laws can take care of any attack on personal reputation. Existing laws against incitement to violence, stalking and other forms of harassment can take care of any other potential damage. People like me – open supporters of the State of Israel – are also quite happy to defend the Jewish community here and abroad against any re-emerging anti-Semitism. (I am proud to be on the public record as having done so when I saw an Israeli-owned business being targeted by anti-Semitic demonstrators at a local shopping centre.)

I note with interest that on 16 March 2014, Newcastle Trades Hall Council secretary Gary Kennedy told a public meeting that a gay man, Alan Joyce, should be shot in the back of the head for making mistakes in corporate leadership. He has since been forced to apologise for this comment, and for offensive and misogynist remarks about other business leaders.

This is what we do in a civilised and free society when someone does something as obviously crude and bigoted as this – we give them the freedom to show their bigotry, and then we shine a powerful light on it and refute it. Everyone has a chance to see how small-minded and ignorant people like Gary Kennedy are, and this is why they should not be denied their moment in the limelight.

I look forward to both Houses of Parliament showing their commitment to true freedom by taking a strong stance against bigotry and injustice, and passing this Bill.

Philippa Martyr.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Power to the People!

It's time to sit down and be counted.

Join Tim Blair's campaign to Work on Wednesday!

Blair says:

Protesting isn’t for everyone, and we make no judgments against lazy, shiftless types who decide against joining the movement.

For the rest of us, Work on Wednesday will be a wonderful, history-making day of spontaneous interactive awareness-raising. From the very first nightshift workers in Sydney to Adelaide’s busy crime scene investigators and all the way across the nation to the industrious west coast, Work on Wednesday provides the opportunity for nearly everybody to show their concern for our shared future.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Nothing More About Cats, Honest

Except that I suggest you visit Oh look - my first guest post!

It may well be my last guest post as well, but we'll see ...