Letter to the Editor: Did writer read archbishop's letter?

^ Posted 5 days ago


Gene Rigelon's letter of Nov. 19 decries what he histrionically terms "the fierce opposition (against support of homosexual marriage) from the religious conservatives lead by American Catholic bishops."

Rigelon specifically cites the Sept. 14 pastoral letter of the Rev. John J. Meyers, archbishop of Newark, N.J., describing it as "a clearly politically motivated document." Additionally, Rigelon falsely attributes quotations using inflammatory language defining the nature of homosexuality that appears nowhere within its 15 pages.

Yet Meyers' "motivation" is clear enough through his summation: "Every human being must obey the dictates of conscience, but our consciences must be fully formed. In our world today, a secular analysis of various issues is often pervasive, while the faithful are often not adequately educated in the teachings of faith."

This all has me wondering whether Rigelon actually read the archbishop's letter, or has any interest in understanding it.

Space doesn't allow recitation of Mr. Rigelon's other dubious claims regarding his prognosis for the future of the Catholic Church, or its position with the issue at hand.

For those truly interested with understanding the Catholic teaching on the point and politics of marriage and sexuality, I invite them to read Meyers' positive, in-depth, footnoted letter. It is by no means for the simple-minded or for the demagogue.

Rigelon's essential point is that the church must adopt its moral teaching to changing societal norms rather than the other way around. This is evident through use of a quote by retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong at the letter's close.

Spong, a huge fan of existentialism, was roundly criticized for denying Christ's divinity and useful application of the Ten Commandments to modern life by no lesser authority than the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Those readers unfamiliar with the existentialist movement should be aware of the horrors engendered by such relativism: Friedrich Nietzsche had exerted great influence on philosophers and on people of literary and artistic culture.

But putting Nietzsche's philosophy of aristocracy into practice could only be done by an organization similar to the Fascist or the Nazi parties.

We're better off taking moral instruction from Rome and other "religious conservatives."

Dan Flathers, Toms Brook


A decent rebuttal then ruined by the "I'm talking out my rear and have nothing left so I will throw Nazi at the wall".

You were so close Flathers, but then you threw your whole argument in the trash bin.

Thanks to the worldwide pedophilia scandals involving priests of the Catholic church, the church's membership numbers are in a steady decline.

· Worldwide, Muslims outnumber Catholics.
· Among those adult Americans affiliated with a church, 51.3% are Protestant, 23.9% are Catholic. Of those affiliated with Protestant traditions, 26.3 are affiliated with evangelical churches.
· Among adult Americans, 16.1% are unaffiliated with any religion (atheists, agnostics, secular unaffiliated)
· More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion - or no religion at all.
· Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.
· While those Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular religion have seen the greatest growth in numbers as a result of changes in affiliation, Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.
· While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic. These losses would have been even more pronounced were it not for the offsetting impact of immigration.
· Approximately one-third of the survey respondents who say they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic. This means that roughly 10% of all Americans are former Catholics.


The reality is there are nontheists everywhere. We are your neighbors, your friends, your family members, and yes, possibly even your politicians. Just recently the United States, France and Canada joined Ireland on the top 10 list of countries that have experienced a "notable decline in religiosity." Since 2005, the number of people in the U.S. who self-identify as religious dropped a whopping 13 percent — now a full 40 percent of Americans don't consider themselves to be religious.

There's also a 'notable' increase with incivility and nihilism in those same ten countries.

Add your citation that Islam is now more popular than Christianity, I'm not sure what your point is.

Is this all a good thing?

By your expected tone, I don't believe for one minute that you for one second considered my offering as a "decent rebuttal."

Thanks again for the elevated discussion, bug.

Based on the idea of composite 'memes', simple logic would indicate a pragmatic redefinition of the nature of religious belief, to come up with something like this:

"Religion is a virtual grouping of constituent 'memes' that is itself self-replicating in addition to the self-replicating mechanism of the individual component 'memes' themselves. The compound effect is analogous to 'compound interest'. Over centuries, the compounding drastically increases and comes to dominate human culture".

* A skeptic might add a further comment to this effect:
"You describe your personal God as real, but that is only your view of the imitative process by which we ('memes') assimilate, grow, organize (for battle with the environment) and replicate. Note that I use the word 'replicate', not 'reproduce'. In this comparative sense, replication suggests that 'memes' can 'infect' a living biological host, without being physical themselves. It follows, then, that your God is a blind, non-sentient, self-replicating virtual entity process that has real effects in shaping the tangible universe."

When groupings of individual memes combine to form a value system or even a religion, you might experience strange 'carrot and stick' internal or external dictates that urge you to facilitate replication, using expressions such as these:

* Carrots:
"Pass it on!" "Good things will happen to you if you pass it on, and you will live forever in paradise."

* Sticks:
"Terrible things will happen to you if you don't believe or pass on this sacred information..." "You will suffer the torments of the damned forever..."


Flathers: " I'm not sure what your point is."

Yeah, we know.

As per your usual outlook on this world, DF, if it exists outside your little box, you'll never get it. Perhaps if you tried not getting so angry and upset over everything that rubs you the wrong way...?

Your life is one episode of guilty confusion after another. That is the result of your belief in magic as explaining everything. The more devout the Catholic, the more the guilty confusion rears its ugly head. The more devout the Catholic, the more likely the pedophilic impulses, culminating with all those priests at the pinnacle having their way with the choir boys. Were you a choir boy, Flathers? Maybe it's time you told the police what you know?

And we wonder what it must be like living in a Catholic world of such guilt induced mass confusion. Maybe if Christianity offered more virgins in the afterlife they could compete with the Muslim offer of 72? Well, at least unlike the Catholics, the Muslims are heterosexual in their afterlife fantasies.

Catholics promise more man love.

Got a link to reinforce that statement?

You can't elevate a discussion that has already been thrown in the waste bin. The rebuttal was going well, you were on point with verifiable information. (ie: if inclined readers could find the archbishop's letter online and read his thoughts)

The whole Nazi reference simply blew away any credibility the rebuttal had. Not to mention your idea of taking moral instruction from Rome and other religious conservatives when there are just as many documented atrocities connected with religion ESPECIALLY Rome and Hitler's own professed Christianity.

There is actually a name for throwing "Nazi" at the wall during a debate, sure you can google it.

"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them." ~ Barry Goldwater

Said in November 1994, as quoted in John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience (2006)

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." ~ Pudd'nhead Wilson (Mark Twain)

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