1. Felicific Forest
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    15 Feb '08 15:18
    PROMOTING FULL EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK

    VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2008 (VIS) - On 7 February, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, addressed the 46th session of the Commission for Social Development of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which was held in New York from 6 to 15 February.

    In his English-language talk, the text of which was made public today, Archbishop Migliore stressed two points: "First, that the lack of full employment and decent work and its associated poverty and social disintegration offend human dignity, and second, that we can only hold the trust of the people if we listen to them and concretely take their needs into account".

    "The Holy See wishes to recall that the compelling needs of the poor have a priority claim on our conscience and on the choices financial leaders make, and as such, it is incumbent upon international fora to provide a platform to the poor because, more often than not, they are left voiceless in the search for solutions to problems that also deeply matter to them".

    The permanent observer expressed the view that "trust, earned rather than given, among all parties is essential in the area of employment". And he concluded: "a lack of mutual trust among parties also means a lack of confidence in the future which, in turn, means the absence of job security. People, especially the young looking for their first job, discover meaning and confidence in the future when they find long-term work with the opportunity for a deserved promotion".

    DELSS/EMPLOYMENT/MIGLIORE VIS 080214 (270)
  2. Donationrwingett
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    15 Feb '08 16:32
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    PROMOTING FULL EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK

    VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2008 (VIS) - On 7 February, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, addressed the 46th session of the Commission for Social Development of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which was held in New York from 6 to 15 February.

    In h ...[text shortened]...

    DELSS/EMPLOYMENT/MIGLIORE VIS 080214 (270)
    Noble sentiments, but empty ones if the Vatican does nothing to put some 'teeth' into it. How does the Vatican propose to advance the cause of the working class and the poor, other than by telling everyone else that they should do it?
  3. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    15 Feb '08 16:42
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Noble sentiments, but empty ones if the Vatican does nothing to put some 'teeth' into it. How does the Vatican propose to advance the cause of the working class and the poor, other than by telling everyone else that they should do it?
    They are going to sell some of their treasures and use the proceeds to build public universities and hospitals all over Africa.
  4. Felicific Forest
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    15 Feb '08 20:05
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Noble sentiments, but empty ones if the Vatican does nothing to put some 'teeth' into it. How does the Vatican propose to advance the cause of the working class and the poor, other than by telling everyone else that they should do it?
    PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE

    COMPENDIUM
    OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE
    OF THE CHURCH


    TO HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II
    MASTER OF SOCIAL DOCTRINE AND
    EVANGELICAL WITNESS
    TO JUSTICE AND PEACE


    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html
  5. Donationrwingett
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    15 Feb '08 20:10
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE

    COMPENDIUM
    OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE
    OF THE CHURCH


    TO HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II
    MASTER OF SOCIAL DOCTRINE AND
    EVANGELICAL WITNESS
    TO JUSTICE AND PEACE


    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html
    C'mon, Ivanhoe, you know nobody but you can stomach to read those things. Couldn't you just summarize it a bit?

    Let me ask you a question...What do you think of 'Liberation Theology'? And perhaps more importantly, what does the Pope think of it?
  6. Donationrwingett
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    16 Feb '08 15:31
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    PROMOTING FULL EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK

    VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2008 (VIS) - On 7 February, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, addressed the 46th session of the Commission for Social Development of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which was held in New York from 6 to 15 February.

    In h ...[text shortened]...

    DELSS/EMPLOYMENT/MIGLIORE VIS 080214 (270)
    Come on, Ivanhoe. For once you've got an audience for one of your VIS posts. I may be your sole audience. In the context of promoting full employment and decent work, I want to know if you think the Vatican dropped the ball with its handling of Liberation Theology. I think that represented a unique opportunity where the Vatican could have had a substantive impact on that topic instead of just mouthing pious, but ultimately empty words. I think Liberation Theology represented an opportunity for Catholicism to shake off its centuries of accumulated dust, re-energize itself, and ultimately make itself relevant to people's lives again.

    Instead of making the Church relevant once again by immersing itself in the daily concerns of the poor and oppressed peoples of the earth, the Church has instead sought to re-assert its irrelevance to people's lives by essentially relegating itself to the dusty chambers of cloistered theologians, who are far removed from the daily concerns of the masses.

    The Church, it seems, want to have it both ways. They want to act as a voice for the poor, but they really don't want to get their hands dirty by participating in the struggle for social justice in any meaningful way. There's a reason why Church attendance is declining throughout the western world: The Church has simply made itself irrelevant to people's daily lives. It's difficult to take the Pope seriously when he stands in the Vatican and opines about the plight of the poor while at the same time hindering the work of advocates of Liberation Theology who would actively work for social justice.
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    16 Feb '08 21:24
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Come on, Ivanhoe. For once you've got an audience for one of your VIS posts. I may be your sole audience. In the context of promoting full employment and decent work, I want to know if you think the Vatican dropped the ball with its handling of Liberation Theology. I think that represented a unique opportunity where the Vatican could have had a substantive ...[text shortened]... the work of advocates of Liberation Theology who would actively work for social justice.
    The criticism of Liberation Theology is that proponents tends to reduce Jesus to merely a social activist and ignores the divine elements of his putative mission.

    And Liberation Theology does not really form a systematic theological; nor is it a distinct school of thought. Instead, it is a shared ethos between theologians outraged at the inustices in South America. From what I understand, there is no intention to offer a decisive theological explication of the gospels as a call to right injustice. Instead, these theologians locate specific passages and then attempt to galvanise people to challenge poverty and oppression. If the Vatican became supportive of Liberation Theology, it would simply be replacing one vocabulary of pious works with another.

    (And it does seem ironic to me that this speech you attack would probably be relished by the liberation theologians. The combination of advocacy for the poor and political activism at the UN would have made Oscar Romero proud.)

    The claim that the Catholic Church is not adverse to "getting their hands dirty" is ludrcious. The Vatican overseas numerous missions in under-privileged countries. Through diplomatic services, the Church also attempts to persuade heads of government to consider the poor in their legislative and bureaucratic decisions (as Archbishop Celestino Migliore did.)
  8. Donationrwingett
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    17 Feb '08 02:09
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    The criticism of Liberation Theology is that proponents tends to reduce Jesus to merely a social activist and ignores the divine elements of his putative mission.

    And Liberation Theology does not really form a systematic theological; nor is it a distinct school of thought. Instead, it is a shared ethos between theologians outraged at the inustices in Sou ...[text shortened]... e poor in their legislative and bureaucratic decisions (as Archbishop Celestino Migliore did.)
    What is it with you? For someone who is an ex-Catholic, you sure are defensive about your former faith.

    The Church takes strictly a 'band-aid' approach to poverty. They treat the symptoms of inequality and oppression while doing little or nothing to treat the disease. The Liberation theologians advocate working on the root causes of that poverty instead of just treating its effects. And what have you got against Bishop Romero anyway? You sound like some kind of right wing nut case, or something.
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    17 Feb '08 03:43
    Originally posted by rwingett
    What is it with you? For someone who is an ex-Catholic, you sure are defensive about your former faith.

    The Church takes strictly a 'band-aid' approach to poverty. They treat the symptoms of inequality and oppression while doing little or nothing to treat the disease. The Liberation theologians advocate working on the root causes of that poverty instead ...[text shortened]... t against Bishop Romero anyway? You sound like some kind of right wing nut case, or something.
    What is it with you? For someone who is an ex-Catholic, you sure are defensive about your former faith.

    In the interests of objectivity, I feel it necessary to balance some of the sectarian excesses displayed on this forum. In this instance, you and doctorscribbles have unreasonably reacted, motivated by an ingrained distruct in any Catholic.

    The Church takes strictly a 'band-aid' approach to poverty. They treat the symptoms of inequality and oppression while doing little or nothing to treat the disease.

    Typically, that disease consists of political, social and economic arrangements. And the Church does seek to remedy such diseases. That is the role of Migliore as representative to the UN. Otherwise, episcipal councils deal with local issues. In Australia, the bishops are very active, and frequently release statements that criticise governmental decisions which adversely impact on the poor. For example. they have long expounded the need to introduce a legislative programme that will 1) remove alcohol from poor Aboriginal communities, 2) provide tertiary scholarships to indigenous Australians, and so. These are concrete proposals to fix the underlying disease which afflicts Aboriginal communities.

    I also think it strange that you recommend that the Catholic Church dabble in political activism. That seems to conflict with your resolute belief in the separation of church and state.

    The Liberation theologians advocate working on the root causes of that poverty instead of just treating its effects.

    The Pope has expressed sympathy for such aims. What he repudiates is the tendency to view Jesus exclusively as the social reformer only interested in material and temporal ends. He is also cautious because Liberation Theology has been adopted by feminist and queer advocates. Unqualified acceptance of Liberation Theology would cause confusion over the moral dogmas of the Church. Furthermore, some theologians have colluded politically with marxists, and the whole "liberation front" has dubious Catholic foundations.

    And what have you got against Bishop Romero anyway?

    Nothing; I have great respect for his actions as Archbishop. I just pointed out the irony that an incipient liberation theologian, such as him, would probably approve of this speech - yet you support liberation theology and disapprove of the speech. Get it?
  10. Donationrwingett
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    17 Feb '08 13:57
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    [b]What is it with you? For someone who is an ex-Catholic, you sure are defensive about your former faith.

    In the interests of objectivity, I feel it necessary to balance some of the sectarian excesses displayed on this forum. In this instance, you and doctorscribbles have unreasonably reacted, motivated by an ingrained distruct in any Catholic.
    ...[text shortened]... e of this speech - yet you support liberation theology and disapprove of the speech. Get it?[/b]
    Unlike Dr. S, whose posts serve exclusively to knock Catholicism, my post was about how I feel Catholicism could have helped itself by embracing Liberation Theology. It would have put a shot of adrenalin into a dusty and decrepit Church. As I mentioned, membership in the Catholic Church is down across the western world. Even in Latin America, Catholicism is losing members to evangelical Protestant groups. Why is this? It's because the concerns of the Catholic Church are no longer the primary concerns of the people. The Church has become like the pharisees of old; they are more concerned with the letter of the law than with its spirit. Liberation Theology and the Social Gospel, those are two areas where the Church could have reversed its increasingly moribund status. But they passed on that opportunity.

    The Vatican is a sovereign state. As such they are free to engage in any of the political activities that are available to any other sovereign state. In his official capacity as the ruler of Vatican City, the Pope should spend a lot less of his time worrying about contraception, abortion, and the so called "culture of death" and spend more of his time championing the rights of the poor across the world.

    As for political activism from within various countries, I am not at all against clergy having an active political role. I am against them institutionalizing their own particular religious beliefs. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a shining example of someone who played a vital role on the American political scene without breaching the wall of separation between church and state, or of attempting to impose a theocracy upon anyone. Even though the mainstream churches have always lagged behind the curve in adapting to new social movements, often it has been individual clergymen who have been at the forefront of it.
  11. Donationrwingett
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    17 Feb '08 14:50
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Jesus exclusively as the social reformer only interested in material and temporal ends. He is also cautious because Liberation Theology has been adopted by feminist and queer advocates. Unqualified acceptance of Liberation Theology would cause confusion over the moral dogmas of the Church. Furthermore, some theologians have colluded politically with marxists, and the whole "liberation front" has dubious Catholic foundations.
    I want to deal with this issue separately from the other issues, as it goes beyond just a surface criticism of Catholicism (and Christianity as a whole) and goes right to the core of the matter.

    Who was Jesus (assuming he existed at all), and what did he say?

    I think the Bible is largely a fictional characterization of Jesus. I don't think Jesus said most of the things that are attributed to him in the Bible. I think the modern Christian churches have almost nothing in common with what Jesus was preaching in his lifetime. And I think Catholic dogma owes more to Paul than it does to Jesus.

    It has been my contention in several previous posts in this forum that Jesus WAS primarily a social reformer. When he preached about the Kingdom of God, he was referring to this world and not the next. Jesus preached a message of egalitarian, communal living that upended all the previous conventions of society. His message of 'salvation' was of an eminently practical nature whereby the people themselves would symbolically build the Kingdom of God on this earth.

    There was a forty year period between Jesus' death and the writing of the first gospels. During this oral period of Christian history, wholesale changes were wrought in Jesus' message. We see a dizzying variety of interpretations spring up, such as the Ebionites, Marcionites, Gnostics, and the proto-orthodox Christians. It was Paul and others of his group who shifted the entire dynamic of Jesus' message from this world to the next, from social activism to ritual observation, and from right action too right belief. So while we can parse out something of what Jesus was likely to have said (research into the Q gospel, for example), most of the Bible is pure fiction.

    And so I think the Catholic Church would do itself well to re-embrace some of the social activism of its ostensible founder.
  12. Standard membershavixmir
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    17 Feb '08 16:39
    Originally posted by rwingett
    There was a forty year period between Jesus' death and the writing of the first gospels. During this oral period of Christian history, wholesale changes were wrought in Jesus' message. We see a dizzying variety of interpretations spring up, such as the Ebionites, Marcionites, Gnostics, and the proto-orthodox Christians. It was Paul and others of his group w ...[text shortened]... c of Jesus' message from this world to the next, from social activism to ritual observation,
    Why do you think this happened?

    (seriously just interested in your opinion on this matter).
  13. Donationrwingett
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    17 Feb '08 18:13
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    Why do you think this happened?

    (seriously just interested in your opinion on this matter).
    The earliest Christians felt that the coming of the Kingdom was imminent. They felt it would happen within their lifetime. We see this expectation borne out in several biblical passages. As such, there wasn't any perceived need to write anything down. They just communicated the message verbally. Any complicated message that is communicated verbally between numerous people is going to be subject to error with each succeeding transmission.

    The early Christians were obviously mistaken. The Kingdom didn't materialize within their lifetime. Eventually they thought they'd better start writing down their recollection of what they heard Jesus had said. But during that very fertile period, the original message had become hopelessly garbled in the translation. Many divergent versions of Christianity had sprung up, with each claiming to base its teachings on the original word of Jesus. At that point many passages were either intentionally corrupted, or invented out of thin air, to support their particular interpretations. Many various writings abounded, gospels, epistles, and apocalypses, all claiming to be either by Jesus, or closely based on what he said. By the time of the Council of Nicaea, the strain of Christianity now recognized as being 'orthodox' had largely succeeded in winning the battle against the rest, and their particular books were declared to be the real deal and everyone else's were considered to be heresies. But it is almost certain that if Jesus did come back, he would be horrified to see what was being done and said in his name.

    Despite all this, we can try to parse some truth out of all the existing documents that have survived. The Jesus Seminar is one such group that does some credible research into the historical Jesus. While there is naturally much disagreement in this field, it seems likely to me that the earliest Christians did not consider Jesus to be divine at all. The entire lynchpin of modern Christian theology, specifically the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus appears to be a later creation. Christianity had gone from being Jesus' tangible, social program for the rejuvenation of this world, to being a personality cult of Jesus with the intangible, individual salvation in the next world. For the early Church, salvation was a social phenomenon. For Pauline Christianity, it changed to being a very individualistic one. At least that's the way I see it. I'm sure the theists here will bitterly disagree with me.
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    19 Feb '08 01:321 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I want to deal with this issue separately from the other issues, as it goes beyond just a surface criticism of Catholicism (and Christianity as a whole) and goes right to the core of the matter.

    Who was Jesus (assuming he existed at all), and what did he say?

    I think the Bible is largely a fictional characterization of Jesus. I don't think Jesus sai would do itself well to re-embrace some of the social activism of its ostensible founder.
    I think the Bible is largely a fictional characterization of Jesus. I don't think Jesus said most of the things that are attributed to him in the Bible. I think the modern Christian churches have almost nothing in common with what Jesus was preaching in his lifetime. And I think Catholic dogma owes more to Paul than it does to Jesus.

    I agree. But most mainstream Christian churches regard the gospels to be an authentic compilation of teachings and actions of Jesus. And while Jesus did emphasise his mission was to help the poor ("to bring the good news to the poor"😉 he also had theological concerns (on faith, God, truth, the church), at least as portrayed in the bible.

    Jesus preached a message of egalitarian, communal living that upended all the previous conventions of society. His message of 'salvation' was of an eminently practical nature whereby the people themselves would symbolically build the Kingdom of God on this earth.

    I am sure Christians will be able to produce a trove of quotes that contradict you. Jesus emphatically preached that there is a heaven and a hell; that not everyone can be saved; and so on. It just seems that you are prejudiced as an atheist so that you dismiss any supernatural claims of Jesus.

    And so I think the Catholic Church would do itself well to re-embrace some of the social activism of its ostensible founder.

    What do you think Archbishop Celestino Migliore's speech related to?

    Ivanhoe has already pointed out that the Vatican has a curial department devoted to this issue. In conjunction with this, the Jesuits have been particularly involved in advocacy. Rather than be given theological instruction beyond their scholastic period, many are now trained as economists, lawyers, and so on. National bishop councils also often focus on social activism. In Austalia, our bishops were criticised for too much social activism. One poltician (Tony Abbott) headlined n the newspapers when he said that the clergy should "focus more on personal morals" rather than social issues (such as new industrial laws which would harm low-income earners). The state of Victoria also recently introduced a bill of rights, and that's right, a Catholic priest was part of the taskforce that produced it.
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    19 Feb '08 01:481 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Unlike Dr. S, whose posts serve exclusively to knock Catholicism, my post was about how I feel Catholicism could have helped itself by embracing Liberation Theology. It would have put a shot of adrenalin into a dusty and decrepit Church. As I mentioned, membership in the Catholic Church is down across the western world. Even in Latin America, Catholicism is ocial movements, often it has been individual clergymen who have been at the forefront of it.
    Even in Latin America, Catholicism is losing members to evangelical Protestant groups. Why is this?

    Probably a combination of things. Latin America has the lowest proportion of priests per 1000 lay people. Most Catholics in such countries only ever see priests from the back-pew of the church.

    Another reason is also that pentecostal churches (which are rising the most) are more accommodating to other cultures and allow dance and cultural music to be incorporated into their liturgies. It produces a homelier and more inviting ambience.


    It's because the concerns of the Catholic Church are no longer the primary concerns of the people. The Church has become like the pharisees of old; they are more concerned with the letter of the law than with its spirit. Liberation Theology and the Social Gospel, those are two areas where the Church could have reversed its increasingly moribund status.

    So you dismiss the orphanages, housing missions, food drives, and the rest as comparable to the actions of the Pharisees?

    And I have always thought that the pentecostal churches tend to overlook the social justice character of the gospels and emphasise salvation in the next world. Parishioners of their churches might therefore feel contenter because they have learnt to accept their impoverishment.

    As such they are free to engage in any of the political activities that are available to any other sovereign state. In his official capacity as the ruler of Vatican City, the Pope should spend a lot less of his time worrying about contraception, abortion, and the so called "culture of death" and spend more of his time championing the rights of the poor across the world.

    The Pope has concerns for all Catholics, not just the poor. He, I expect, would feel a personal obligation to save all people. Therefore, he would stress both sexual morality, as well as the need to help the poor.

    And, as I and Ivanhoe have pointed out, the Vatican does engage in political actvism. That is partly why Archbishop Celestino Migliore is appointed to the UN.

    As for political activism from within various countries, I am not at all against clergy having an active political role. I am against them institutionalizing their own particular religious beliefs.

    Do you mean they can agitate to have their political beliefs recognised, but not the religions ones?
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