On 14th September 2010, I posted my opinion on why Peter Tatchell's documentary lost my respect. It garnered the following comment from someone usernamed Mark, which I then respond to further below:
This is a long post, so I won't reply to everything, but will pick out a few points.
Richard Williamson is a sexist holocaust denier. It's easy to find evidence - he believes women shouldn't wear trousers or attend university: http://web.archive.org/web/20071102091508/www.sspx.ca/Documents/Bishop-Williamson/September1-2001.htm
Here's clear anti-semitism: http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000226.shtml
And he is a convicted criminal holocaust denier: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36595788
None of this was secret information, the Vatican were surely aware of his long held views, and would have been keeping an eye on the SSPX for years.
You said that:"The embryo is a living organism, and because it is destined to shapen into the human form, I believe it already has a soul, and is therefore a life with potential (not just a potential for life). This discovery is one way science has truly helped the Church. So... if I consider this embryo as a life already, wouldn't that make embryonic stem cell research look to me as though they're piercing and prodding and potentially killing a child that is... say... already born?"
The problem with this argument is that you state that you believe an embryo has a soul. You are entitled to your belief, but a problem arises when you use this as a basis to affect public policy, as it's a claim you cannot back up. It doesn't even have a strong internal logic - if this is the case why do 25% of pregancies result in a miscarriage (the majority in the very early days of embryo formation) - why would god create a soul that dies after a few days without any experience of human life?
I can't quite make sense of your argument about contraception. I assume you're not relying on Leviticus, as then you'd have to accept all the other restrictions the chapter sets out. Do you accept that people have sex outside marriage, whether you like it or not? That most people do not believe this to be immoral? If this is the case then surely it is only responsible to promote safer sex, to prevent the spread of disease? To expect the entire continent of Africa to abstain is not a realistic answer to the spread of AIDs. To call people selfish simply because they do not share your views on abstinance is somewhat judgemental isn't it?
Lastly, I think I abhor the 'hate the sin and not the sinner' approach of the church to homosexuality more than I do upfront homophobia. You are denying people their true nature, in quite a nasty way. By saying it's ok to be gay without living a gay life (ie avoiding 'the homosexual inclination' you are clearly saying that being gay is wrong, but using weasel words to avoid directly saying the person is evil. Would it be ok to say to a black person - I'm not racist, but I'd prefer it if you pretended to be white? Why would god create gay animals if this behaviour was wrong?
Upon attempting to reply, it seems my own comment exceeded the 4096 character limit, and thought instead to transform it into a blogpost instead...
Thanks for your comments, and I appreciate you sharing your opinions. It's taken me this long to respond, as it has been a pretty busy few weeks recently, and in all honesty, I needed to contemplate a response to your comment.
I think we digressed a little from the point of the thread - which was really to do with Peter Tatchell's attitude and arguments in his documentary. I know he he has much much more to argue about what us Catholics believe (which our Pope is the defender of) - but his delivery of those arguments in his documentary actually looked rather silly from my point of view, and also didn't satisfy the actual title 'The trouble with the Pope'.
I don't want to walk away without responding to some of the things you've picked out though.
Thanks for your references for Richard Williamson. I'll be doing some reading on that over the next few days.
About the embryo being a living organism: Perhaps this is where you can share with me some of your own expertise. We all know that we can measure knowledge - we can quantify it and it can be proven. The lie detector test is an example of this (even if it isn't always 100% accurate). So is the IQ test. But I don't know how human emotion is measured. We all know it exists - we feel it to the depths of our core. So what is our core? Our mind? Or something deeper? Human emotion to me, is something we both think and feel (both emotionally, and... spiritually?). Are our bodily chemical reactions (which probably can be measured) be the central foundation of our emotions in the first place? Do you have a conscience? Can our consciences be scientifically proven and measured? How can we back up the claims of our consciences? I would like to learn something from you on these matters - as I don't know the answers myself.
I think that those of us who are touched by God's love, experience a connection that can only be proven and measured by the divine, by God Himself... just like a mobile device can measure the signal of wi-fi (which we can't see but can be backed up scientifically). Should God have implanted in our hearts that every human life is sacred, and His to Will as He pleases, and if we have been personally called by Him to live as He asks, isn't it then our right to state our arguments too - most especially if public policy is going to make us compromise our principles?
As to your question about God creating a soul and then taking it away, I have no answer to that. Things happen in God's time, and for reasons only He would know. Perhaps He could be calling the couple who miscarried to a baby already born, for maybe God sees in them the best upbringing the child could have with them. I don't know, but there are many possibilities. It is not my place as a human being to question God's authority, and neither do I ever wish to.
As for sex outside marriage: people clearly do have sex outside marriage. I overheard the Jeremy Kyle show the other day feature people from this broken society talking about cheating pregnant girlfriends, and the fact that they have to reduce trust to a lie detector test - which in the end doesn't convince the guy to take responsibility in the total upbringing of the child, but actually just chip in some finance every now and then. How unbelievably sad is that? That a guy has the opportunity to, but doesn't want to bring up his own flesh and blood? He practically doesn't want anything to do with his own seed.
And a sperm is a seed. If a sperm isn't there for the creation of human life, then what is it there for? It explains why masturbation is a sin in our religion: the spilling of a single sperm through masturbation is a wasted life. Most people aren't aware of this, and so wouldn't understand the true value of sex. From a non-religious point of view, take God out of the equation, and you are still left with sperms and eggs, and the whole purpose of them in the first place.
My calling people selfish is more to do with those people who know full well what they do, and simply don't care - and even flaunt it in the faces of those who do. An attitude of cumming for self-pleasure and wasting that opportunity for life is part of the reason why our overly-sexed society has the rates of STDs and STIs it does - which I can't see decreasing any time soon as more and more we see people become sexualised at even earlier ages due to all sorts of reasons. And all because 'it's OK to do so - don't worry... there's condoms about... it's all about the safe sex. If there's a pregnancy that happens despite the protection, then I'll just blame the protection for not working, and chip in 50 quid every month.' Of course, some people are not like that. I have many friends in very stable marriages who aren't Catholic and still use protection. They would already know my own stance on it, and therefore if they disagree, then that is their choice. I still love them, and would never judge them for that.
Lastly, regarding the homosexual nature... every homosexual is invited to live as God wishes (this whole para is my own Catholic point of view, and doesn't necessarily reflect the Church's or other fellow Catholics). Heterosexuals have been blessed with the same observances as homosexuals - we are asked here on this earth to promote life. As a single heterosexual person, I'm invited not to actively seek sexual pleasure as much as any of my single gay friends are invited not to actively seek sexual pleasure. I, like any gay person, could be be called to become a religious, or be called to live a single life. The only difference is that as a heterosexual, if I am called to marriage, I am also called to bear fruit in children, which naturally, a gay person can not do. It is not a case of approaching a black person, saying 'I don't mind that you're black but I'd prefer it if you're white' as you put it. Doesn't make a difference if the person is black or white. What DOES make the difference is in what you've said is the 'pretending to be white' bit - as that is an action one chooses to make as a result of who they are. Nobody ever said life was going to be easy. Nobody can ever prepare themselves fully for the trials and tribulations God gives to us. Nobody every told me that being celibate is going to be easy. Yet I don't see my abstinence as 'denying myself my true nature' in the words which you've used. God's creation of gay animals is different to that of the human homosexual development. Animals do not have the same level of consciences as humans do. Neither do they have souls.
If you have any comments, you're invited to post them below.