Catholics!

Now, I’m not a Catholic. And I probably never will be – not that I have anything against Catholicism. I just disagree with the Doctrine.

But at any rate, I do feel some sympathy for Catholicism, to be sure. It’s a fascinating institution, with fascinating doctrine, and fascinating practices, and I think it receives either far too little praise, or far too much criticism, at any given time. Indeed, for its faults, the Catholic Church remains one of the few religious institutions in the West to remain in the fully Western tradition, and for that I think it deserves its fair share of support.

Especially as this traditionally Western stance tends to, well, provide fodder for a more opportunistic crowd. Jim Corcoran, for instance.

Now, I must admit to being rather disappointed in Jim Corcoran. At first, upon hearing of his complaint, I had thought very little of him. Then, after reading his side of things, I thought more highly of him, and even offered a public ( or as public as my blog can ever be ) apology for my harsh words about him.

But then I started to read more and more about his case, and I’ve slowly found myself right back to where I started. Blogs like Freedom Through Truth and Scary Fundamentalist have done an admirable job of fisking his complaint, and pondering the possible motivations and repercussions.

In short, I’ve found myself coming to the conclusion that Jim Corcoran is not misguided, and he’s not just trying to ‘right a wrong’.

He’s in this for himself, for selfish motives.

Take this latest revelation, from Scary’s blog:

In the latest instalment from the Northumberland Today with respect to Jim Corcoran’s complaint against the Catholic Church, we find another interesting aspect to this entire shakedown – that Corcoran wanted to keep everything under wraps.

[Corcoran] said that it was never his intention for the matter to become public and that someone leaked it to the Catholic Registrar(sic) who wrote an item for the religious publication.

When you publicly use the government apparatus to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars and force others to humiliate themselves and say things they don’t believe, that’s called oppression. Nasty things might happen, like a grassroots campaigns to rectify the oppression, or financial support for the legal costs of your victims, allowing them to mount an annoyingly effective legal defence. All good reasons for Corcoran, and the Human Rights industry in general, to keep these complaints as quiet as possible.

And then if you take Corcoran’s rather arrogant take on the Church’s attempt to disseminate information and defend itself, the picture gets even blacker. From Freedom Through Truth:

Seems the good Bishop has had enough and sent a pastoral letter out to the parishioners in the Diocese. As SF points out, we, the blogging universe have said this already, but we are all happy to hear the good Bishop defend himself as well.

He said in part:

“I fail to understand how secular powers and government agencies should think they are in a position to tell the Church that she is wrong in her internal rules and regulations, even though these have directed and shaped the life of the church during the last 2,000 years. However, this is what we face today.”

You may recall that the kafuffle resulted from letters to the Bishop by parishioners of St. Michael’s Parish in Cobourg, Ontario, complaining about their priest, and mentioning that the head altar server was leading an openly gay lifestyle, and questioning if it was consistent with Church teaching. The Bishop chose to ask Fr. Hood to have him step aside from his voluntary position.here, and here, and here, and here, and here. I highlighted the case a number of times as well in other postings, in total over 15 times. 

I previously blogged on this travesty

Northumberland Today also reports about the letter as follows:

In his Sept. 10 letter, De Angelis says it is not a “right” to serve as a volunteer on any parish committee: “Rather, it is an invitation from the pastor or bishop which can also be terminated at any time; particularly when the voluntary service gives rise to tension , animosity, discord or division in the life of the parish. It is for the bishop to regulate, in view of the common good, the exercise of rights proper to Christ’s faithful.”

The bishop says he had instructed parish priest Father Allan Hood “to kindly invite” volunteers who were objects of disagreement and tension “to step aside and give the chance to other volunteers to serve.”

The bishop says “a number of volunteers graciously resigned” in “humility and obedience to the Bishop”.

The letter then states, “The only exception was one adult altar server who made the decision to report the Bishop and Diocese to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation”.

 Jim Corcoran had his say about the Bishop’s letter as well in the paper’s report:

 

“The bishop asked me to step aside,” Corcoran says, after the bishop was sent a petition signed by 12 parishioners asking for his removal. “I stepped aside — but I challenged the version of why I was asked to step aside.

“I am not being disloyal to the bishop. I did what was asked — but I am asking for accountability for the decision. I’m simply asking why I was asked to step down. The only possible answer is because I’m gay.”

 Actually, a really good reason for asking you to step down is that Father Hood had no right to give you a position of authority in the Parish, without determining if you had sufficient spiritual maturity to be able to handle it.

The paper also reported the following including Corcoran’s further comments:

 

Corcoran does not expect the bishop’s Thursday letter is going to alter existing viewpoints within the parish: “There’s a group that think I’m right and it was high time the Church was held accountable and another group who don’t like homosexuals, do what the bishop says and don’t like Father Hood. I don’t think (the letter) is going to change opinions of these two groups very much.

“However, there are tens of thousands of people in the diocese who are not aware of this case,” Corcoran says. “By putting this document in their hands, it’s firstly bringing the attention to me once again and, secondly, identifying me as an abhorrent, disobedient Catholic. It’s going to start it all up again within the diocese.

“The bishop may be subjecting himself to the possibility of a lawsuit,” Corcoran says.

 Corcoran, you really don’t get it. The most homophobic person involved in entire thing is YOU, buddy boy.

Indeed.

***

Now, if only Jim were the only one. This time, another complaint from someone who wishes he were within:

It was only a matter of time before this began in Ontario.

Thanks to Jim Corcoran’s success in his vendetta against the Roman Catholic Church itself, the momentum is there to go after other Catholic institutions. This time, a teacher is claiming religious discrimination for not being hired at a Catholic school.

This battle is raging in many other jurisdictions. Australia is considering changes to the Equality of Opportunity act to prohibit religious institutions from hiring on the basis of religion. Many states have laws that only allow discrimination for positions that directly communicate religious messages. England has gone further than just schools: even churches are not allowed to discriminate except for those whose primary role is religious ceremonies.

So why not Ontario? Especially when there’s good money to be made by filing a complaint? Teacher Jesse Lloyd, who openly says he’s not religious, says he couldn’t find a job in the public school system. “I need work. But that’s not entirely it,” he says. “It’s a higher conviction than that. I don’t think it’s right to have a publicly-funded institution where everyone is not welcome to work there.”

Lloyd carried his personal moral vendetta to the OHRT, who has been happy to consider the complaint. Apparently, all it takes is a “higher conviction” to invoke state interference. I guess that makes religious or traditional principles “lower convictions”?

Yep. Those Catholics, man. They’re crazy…

It sort of reminds me of a scene from Philip K. Dick’s most excellent book Confessions Of A Crap Artist, where one of the main characters ( who does have some mental problems ) realizes the insanity of the people around him. Or, as I put it:

Of course, all of this is spoken personally. You, the other, may have a different reaction. Personally, I thought it was a very good book. Personally, I found the character of Judy Hume to be rather hateful; her husband Charlie to be rather pitiable, but with enough of his own flaws to not be pitied much beyond the initial reaction; Nathan Anteil, the man with whom Judy has an affair is, again, almost pitiable, but with his faults, and with a rather unlikeable and fatalistic view of the world, of his life, his new relationship; her brother, Jack, the crap artist, is genuinely bizarre, brushing insane, but at the end of the book, after he realizes that the world is not going to come to an end on April 23rd as previously thought, he probably has one of the most sane realizations of any of the characters within the book – namely, he may be nuts, but they’re all nuts too.

There are elements within the Catholic church that may very well require attention. But we would be making a very grave mistake to assume that it’s the only player involved that’s got some problems. Jim Corcoran, Jesse Lloyd – who’s to say that they’re not just as wrong in their actions? Apparently, Barbara Hall and the newly-empowered Ontario Tribunal of Human Rights think they’re qualified.

Me? I’m not nearly so certain we’re qualified to get involved in such disputes.

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8 Responses to Catholics!

  1. Not being Catholic myself, I really value the input of Catholics who are as concerned about these issues (That’s a shout out to you, mbrandon). Any trouble that the Human Rights racket is giving Catholics will come around to other Christian denominations, too, including mine. (Friends of mine are victims of a BCHRT inquisition on religious grounds, but have requested me not to talk about it.)

    Are there problems within churches? That’s like asking if the sky is blue. Churches are made up of fallible humans, and as such will always have problems. Since churches are voluntary bodies, problems either resolve themselves or result in a split in the congregation – nobody gets hurt. The matter comes to a head when civil bodies use coercive force to interfere in the governance of religious institutions, for this flies directly in the face of freedom of religion. It’s as much a travesty when the state imposes its morality on religion as it is when the imposition takes place the other way around.

    • Absolutely. I can’t remember who it was ( perhaps you know ) who first proposed the separate spheres of State, Religion, and Family ( or individual or whatever ), but I think they were right on the nail. Keeping religion out of matters of the state is only the first step. The second is to keep the state out of matters of religion.

      • mbrandon8026 says:

        “Separation of Church and State” seems to more formally originally come from John Locke, the English Protestant philosopher who argued for individual conscience free from state control in the later 1600’s.

        But it was more clearly articulated by Thomas Jefferson and given the name in a letter he wrote in 1802 and referencing the First Amendment to the American Constitution.

        Here are the particular words Jefferson used and boy are they relevant to us today:

        “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State”.

  2. mbrandon8026 says:

    Great work Walker. I like how you wove what Scary and I had to say, plus your own thoughts and those of others into this piece.

    I have been a Catholic, born and raised, and then lapsed, then relapsed. I have also enjoyed time with Pentacostal brethren as a musician, and have been involved in the Charismatic part of the Catholic Church.

    I love the Catholic Church very deeply, but I love the body of Christ and all my brothers and sisters within it more. As well, I have a deep love for those who are even further apart from us.

    The Catholic Church would be a great place if it weren’t for the people in it. Same as any place else. But if it weren’t for the people in it, it wouldn’t be IT.

    But, I agree that the State does not belong in our faith lives. If we think the state does not belong in our bedrooms, then it surely does not belong in our Churches.

    I was away from the Church for 11 years, and when I returned, I sat in the pew for many years before I got involved in anything, just soaking up what I had missed. Jim Corcoran returned to the Church 12 months ago, having been away for 23 years living his homosexual lifestyle. My whole point was that he lacked the spiritual maturity to participate in any meaningful way in the liturgy other than as one soaking up what he had missed for so many years. Yet, Fr. Hood showed his own immaturity by appointing him to an important but voluntary position in the Church within months of his return.

    Fr. Hood made a very serious error in judgement, and hoodwinked his parishioners, except that many of them saw through him. So,now we find the Bishop in this mess, created by the arrogance of Fr. Hood and Jim Corcoran.

    • I think you’re right. Fr. Hood should have known better, and Jim Corcoran should have known better.

      It’s my theory that if people can get away with acting like children, then they WILL act like children ( and I’m no exception to this rule! ). I think Jim Corcoran has acted very childishly in what he has done, and it’s unfortunate that Barbara Hall and the Ontario Tribunal of Human Rights feel that they ought to accomodate such behavior.

      I’ve never belonged to the Catholic church, but I have belonged to a church, and I’ve been involved in at least some of its inner workings ( parish council, worked as part of the cleaning staff, Synod delegate, all that fun stuff ). One thing that surprised me was how…immature people could be. Or how self-centred, or childish, over stupid things. Perhaps that this was going on in the context of a house of worship made it stand out even more. I guess Jim Corcoran, in a way, is just like a lot of other people in religion today. Still, it’s sad to see him enabled, you know?

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