Thursday, July 31, 2008

All rights are inalienable but none are absolute

I want to clarify my position for everyone. I did NOT mean nor intend to say that the First Ammendment did not allow us to freely criticize anyone or any institution, from the government to the church. I do believe in free speech. HOWEVER, it is never unrestricted free speech. There is no absolute freedom of speech just as there is no absolute freedom of assembly, of the press etc. The Bill of Rights does not designate one freedom as being more important than another and there is no hierarchy of rights EXCEPT the right to LIFE. The other rights, while not given by government but possessed by human nature, are protected insofar as they do not infringe on the rights of others or on other rights.

Therefore, I agree that Professor Myers is entitled to his opinions on religion and on Catholicism. He is entitled to speak them and print them. Where the limit is drawn is where his freedom of speech threatens the freedom of religion. Taking a Catholic Host and desecrating it is not free speech, it is hate inciting. In many places in the U.S. it is illegal (against state and federal law) to speak racial slurs and epithets since they are considered hate-biased and thus are not protected under the First Ammendment.

Likewise, provacative language which directly attacks, insults and offends a religion is just as biased and prejudiced.Criticizing priests, bishops or even the pope is protected free speech. Actions and words of the clergy are open for debate and opposition. What is not proper, though, are words and actions which go beyond a legitimate difference of opinion and now make a hateful, gross and offensive attack. Words and private deeds can hurt just as much as a rock thrown through a window or a slap on the face. Disagreement is protected by the First Ammendment but I do not think verbal assault is.

As a Catholic, I have theological disagreements on certain issues espoused by other religions but I RESPECT their right to hold them, teach them and defend them. My bottom line is that Professor Myers crossed the line between legitimate free speech and verbal assault on the Catholic Christian religion. It was more than expressing a private opinion when you ask others to bring you a consecrated Host, which can only done illegally since they must be stolen or taken by deceit. Then taking this religious item, considered sacrosanct by Catholic Christians, and showing public contempt by desecrating it, the hateful message being conveyed is evident. No non-Catholic has to believe in the Real Presence and they are free to disagree with any of our doctrines. When our entire religion is attacked, however, and our most sacred beliefs are horribly maligned, then that is an ATTACK and not an opinion any longer. Hate speech and actions, even when they do not directly harm another's person or property are nevertheless incendiary.

Neither I nor the Confraternity wish any harm whatsoever to befall Professor Myers. We pray for his safety and we condemn any and all acts and words of violence directed toward him. We only ask that he do likewise and refrain from hurling hateful, grossly offensive and repugnant attacks against our religion. I am not a Buddhist but I would never make a public display of smashing an idol of Buddha knowing it would greatly offend the members of that religion. For Catholics, desecrating the Host is more than vandalizing a church or burning a Bible. It is even more vile than desecrating a grave by digging up a coffin and destroying the body. For us, it is BLASPHEMY as well as SACRILEGE. Can we not pray that we can respectfully disagree without resorting to insult or attack?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Biologist Balks at Request to Apologize

"I am not contrite, I will not repent, and I'm certainly not going to apologize for tossing a cracker in the garbage. All the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy will get from me is laughter."

That was Professor Myers response today on his blog . The man is in need of prayer as he is evidently oblivious to the spritual danger he is in and the harm he has done to his soul. Mocking religion is not pleasing to God. Showing contempt for sacred things is sacrilege and it is a violation of justice since we owe reverence to God and we are obliged to show respect and reverence for the things of God.

His supporters are even more vituperative in their comments. The CCC never advocated and in fact publicly disavows any and all acts of violence or threats thereof upon the person of Professor Myers. We condemn hateful speech and deeds and challenge all parties to utlize peaceful, rational and polite discourse. At the same time, we strongly repudiate all acts of blasphemy, from the horrible art exhibit that depicted the Virgin Mary in elephant dung, to the crucifix immersed in a jar of urine, to this recent instance of sacrilige against a consecrated Host.

No one is laughing. Many of us are in tears that our beloved Savior would be subjected to such vile treatment AGAIN. Was it not enough that Jesus was scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, and then nailed to a cross for three hours until He died? Like Our Lady of Sorrows, we must weep at the foot of Calvary once more as the Body of Christ is treated with the same disdain and dishonor. PRAY FOR PROFESSOR MYERS. We wish him no harm, rather, we pray for his soul that he abandon his pursuit of offending Catholic Christians. He may never come to believe what we believe, but he can at least respect our right to believe and profess what we believe without resorting to beligerant ridicule and attack.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Catholic Clergy Call for Reparation in Response to Communion Desecration

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, July 29 /Christian Newswire/ --

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (a national association of 600 priests & deacons) respond to the sacrilegious and blasphemous desecration of the Holy Eucharist by asking for public reparation. We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again. (suggested: one Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament and one whole day of fasting on Friday, August 1st, Feast of St. Alphonsus Ligouri. If this is not convenient or feasible, then we also recommend Thursday, August 21st, the Feast of Pope St. Pius X)

We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech.

The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation's constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few. Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.

Lies and hate speech which incite contempt or violence are not protected under the law. Hence, inscribing Swastikas on Jewish synagogues or publicly burning copies of the Christian Bible or the Muslim Koran, especially by a faculty member of a public university, are just as heinous and just as unconstitutional. Individual freedoms are limited by the boundaries created by the inalienable rights of others. The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

The Chancellor of the University refused to reprimand or censure the teacher, who ironically is a Biology Professor. One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom. Yet, for a scientist to ridicule and show utter contempt for the most sacred and precious article of a major world religion, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.

A biologist has no business 'dissing' any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach. Tolerating such behavior by university officials is equally repugnant as it lends credibility to the act of religious hatred. We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Class, Real Class

Magnificent vestments worn by the Roman Pontiff in Sydney

a REAL nun (what we called a R.N. in the seminary, as opposed to an L.P.N., i.e., 'Likes to Play Nun': no veil, no habit)

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