Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Liberal and Conservative debate Iraq, Terrorism, and the intentions of Militant Islam

May 14, 2008 Richard and Eques engaged in a mini debate via email. It is very possible you too have been involved in this debate concerning Iraq, Terrorism, and the Intentions of Militant Islam. Eques is reasonably hopeful that you will find some of the points made familiar to you.

Here follows a Liberal versus Conservative point counter point exchange, enjoy.

To: Eques,
I'd say last night pretty much finished off Hillary's chances


To: Richard

Sweet home West Virginia))))))))))))))))


To: Eques
I think, even though I believe Obama will win the nomination, that Hillary is correct that Obama won't be able to win in November because he won't capture the white/blue collar vote, and West Virginia is the latest example of that.


To: Richard

I would not count Obama out of wining in November. I for one would never vote for Hillary, but I would for Obama. I find McCain dull and although a war hero I do not see him having a vision on the future. You have actually answered your own question; Hillary is staying in hopping in some way to still get the nomination. She will fight for the Florida and Michigan delegates and she will call in chips of super delegates. Because she believes that she alone can beat McCain. I think she is mistaken but that is why she remains...she will not quite until the last delegate vote
is cast at the convention. It could be a real Convention for a change and not a "rubber stamp



To: Eques

Really????? Is it because you like him or because you don't like McCain? I didn't think you were really serious about voting for Obama! I agree about Obama being able to win in November. But mostly because the polls indicate the republicans are going to lose seats in congress and the public generally wants a change in the white house.

I like his views on a lot of things. For instance, I thought he was correct about the gas tax holiday. You are correct on all counts here, I was expressing why I may actually Vote could get very interesting.

In addition to trying to get the Florida and Michigan delegates, have you noticed she's been playing up this "popular vote" notion? I think she's going to go to the convention claiming a popular vote win, even thoughthat's not how the nominee is chosen. Quite clever, wonder if she can pull it off.

I agree about Obama being able to win in November. But mostly because the polls indicate the republicans are going to lose seats in congress and the public generally wants a change in the white house.


To: Richard,

I do not think McCain can beat Obama and I think it is time to shakethings up...Conservatives are perhaps better at political philosophy thangoverning. Regan being the exception to the Rule. He was in my mind exactlywhat the country needed then. Perhaps Obama will do the same from adifferent starting point. As a conservative I will retain the option of critique. But the USA image around the world could use a Charisma Makeover.Obama can provide that. I foreign relations "Bella Figura" is essential right now we are "Fascia Bruta." I also think that a liberal democrat will be able to get congressional support for a vigorous defensive posture that they would automatically reject from a Republican President, politics trumping national security.

As much as I dislike the Iraq war and no matter how big a mistake it may have been, it has accomplished one thing most Democrats refuse to acknowledge. It has drawn the fire and wrath of Al Qaida on our military there and away from civilian targets here. Why do you think there has been no attack on USA soil since 2001? It is not because our security is so good;
the airport hassle is a ridiculous and useless policy of closing the door after the horses are out.

We are safer here because our troops are there. Most liberals lack realistic view of how dangerous and mean the world really is. They sincerely believethat if we are nice to other countries they will be nice to us. HA! Nations make decisions on their best interests. Terror organizations look for targets of opportunity. In my view universities have failed the nation by
not teaching history as historical science and instead using it as a propaganda tool for Liberal ideology, to which they have sold their souls, including so called Catholic Colleges.

Keep in mind the reality of Original Sin when evaluating potential behavior of opposing states. The goal is what is best interests of state X, as defined by the power elites of that nation state. Peace, Justice, and Charity, is at best means to an end, not values in themselves.



Dear Eques

I really couldn't disagree more about what fighting in Iraq is accomplishing.

The fight with al Qaida, in Iraq is a very small percentage (I've heard about 3%) of the overall violence. In fact, most of the violence we read about right now is the fight with Sadir and his militias. Al Qaida is to some extent working with the Sunnis, and very much against the Shiites.
Sadir is a Shiite. The other thing to remember is, al Qaida "in Iraq", is not part of the al Qaida operation run by Bin Laden. As much as Dick Cheney would like us to believe there is a connection, President Bush himself has acknowledged (unwillingly) that the two groups are independent of each other. So, taken as a whole, the war in Iraq has little to do with the war
on terror. Never did, never has. If we haven't had an attack on American soil since the Iraq war began, it's not because we are fighting that war, it's because our security is better. President Bush is famous for his straw man arguments, and one of them is "if we're not fighting them there, they will come here." First of all, Bin Ladin's Al Qaida isn't even there, so why hasn't he come here? And since the majority of violence in Iraq is sectarian in nature, why would they leave to come here once they've settled their civil war?


To: Richard,

Here the conservative liberal divide is to be found. Your observations make perfect sense IF Islam was a western phenomenon that approached situations with the logical and rational categories of Westerners. The philosophical and theological differences are so profound that to base predictive outcomes on western logic fails. You conclude "And since the majority of violence in Iraq is sectarian in nature, why would they leave to come here once they've settled their civil war?" Your implication is that once the civil war in IRAQ is over peace will follow and they will have no reason to come over here." Well why did they come here on 9/11/2001?

Most liberal thinkers say because the USA is unfair to the Palestinians and because we insist on having forward military bases in Arab Islamic Countries, Osama ordered an attack on New York, the Pentagon, the White house and the Capital Building. So the solution then is for us to be even
handed with the Palestinians and withdraw our forward bases in the Middle East. If even there was a total misreading of the intentions, design and motivation of the opposition this is it.

It totally dismisses and disrespects the stated goals of Hamas, Hezbollah, Al quida, and militant Islam. They need no excuse or reason to wage Jihad in the form of terrorism outside of what the Koran, the Hadith, and Sharia law gives them. They are duty bound by their understanding of Islam to wage war against the infidels (us Christians and Jews) and non-believers, secularists
of all types, agnostics and atheist. In fact as at least one left wing liberal of impeccable credentials Christopher Hitchens, believe that iberals and secularists should be the most hawkish in IRAQ, IRAN, PAKISTAN, and anywhere militant Islam raises its banner. He holds this opinion because
he takes Islam seriously when it says it will but people like him, left wing, liberals, and secularists to the sword, because they are the worst sort of unbelievers who think God does not exists or is irrelevant to modern life. This why 9/11/2001 happened and why the only reason that the groups you mentioned are not fighting us is that at the moment they are too busy fighting a fratricidal war in Iraq, If that is ever resolved or if there is a hegemony established in Iraq by one side or another. I can assure you that Islam will find ways to continue Jihad against the west. We can expect to be(we are) targets of opportunity and planning anywhere in the world.

As far as arguing that the reason we have not been 'attacked here since 9/11 2001 is a direct result of our increased security measures is difficult for a liberal to maintain, and still criticize the Bush administration for neglecting the war on terrorism by fighting in Iraq. There is no need to
attack us here if they can kill Americans on a daily basis there.

Finally there may be no organizational connections between Al quida in Iraq or anywhere else, there does not need to be. The connection will not show up on an organizational chart. This is another error in western thinking,which mistakenly concludes that if there is no organizational connection there is no real connection. Wrong, there is a much stronger connection that
needs no infrastructure or chain of command. The connection is Philosophical and Theological, it is found in the philosophies of the several organizations, and in their unquestioning belief in the words of the Koran. It provides the motivation and the raison d'ĂȘtre of these various Islamic militant groups and individuals. The verse of the sword "Slay the infidels where ever you find them."



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Papl Vist to USA, the wrong and right questions

Eques writes from his annual spiritual retreat guided by the Fathers of the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Cross. It is during these very days that our dear Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI is making his first visit as Pope to these United States.

There is a heightened apprehension and speculation on the part of the secular media, as to what political impact the Holy Father’s pastoral visit will have on the imminent primary election, in the largely Catholic state of Pennsylvania, and on the Presidential election itself.

It is indicative of the nature of secular journalism in our times that the first and foremost question, the fundamental question is not being asked, the question that would assist them and the nation in answering the above secondary questions. The Holy Father is making a pastoral visit to the members of his flock and like Christ to those who are not of his flock to whom Christ and hence his Vicar is also sent, “that there may be one flock one shepherd.” The primary question is what impact the pastoral visit of the Pope will have on the faith of Catholics here in these United States.

If this question was asked and answered the secular media would have a considerably improved opportunity to comprehend and predict the answers to the secondary political questions.

The Roman Catholics in the United States have generally embraced the popes of their times with love, affection and respect. However, they have not always listened to the voice of Peter or followed his teachings. Americans have all too often incorrectly applied their love for democracy and national anti-authoritarian political principles to their relationship with the church and its anointed leaders. The relationship of a Catholic to the teaching Magisterium of the church, to his pastor, bishop, and pope, has been culturally adulterated. The relationship of a Catholic to his church is and ought to be of an entirely different nature from his relationship to his state.

The state is a human creation and entity, properly governed by the citizens, for citizens. Its laws are humanely established and may be humanly disestablished. It is a thoroughly natural institution. It derives its authority from the people and is ultimately responsible to the people. It has no authority that the people have not granted it. It is a rational enterprise hierarchical in structure but horizontal in nature.

The Catholic (universal) Church is an entity of an entirely different order than the state. The model of dealing and thinking about the state by its Catholic citizens cannot properly be applied to their relationship with their Church. Several organizations of lay folks have sprung up around the Church and the contemporary fault line of hot button political and human issues such as same-sex unions, abortion, and the clergy-sex-abuse crisis, as well as around internal church controversies such as the ordination of women, and married clergy.

All of these organizations claim to be Catholic because their membership is Catholic. All of them wrongly attempt to apply the secular model of political philosophy to the governance of the Church. Americans believe they can alter the nature of the church the way they influence the actions of the state by bringing political pressure on church authorities.

What is wrong with this assumption? Actually, there is a great deal wrong with it. The Church is by nature a divinely constituted entity. Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ himself established the church on Peter the rock, (Mat 16:16-19).

Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

The Holy Spirit guides and governs the church through its anointed leaders. The church is a Faith and Reason enterprise hierarchical in nature and vertical in orientation. Through the ministry of the church sacramental and sanctifying grace is mediated and administered to all the faithful. Its role is to bring God to man and man to God; it is thus vertically oriented. It is hierarchical in that Christ himself chose the twelve and the seventy-two and placed Peter at their head and the head therefore all disciples. The church is the preeminent top down institution for it comes from the Holy Trinity to man to save, serve, teach, and govern. The divine law has been revealed in and through Jesus Christ. It is the role of its hierarchy to deliver this revelation to the faithful in pristine form. The authority of the Church comes directly from God, not form the ordained or lay members. The mission of the Church was mandated by Christ himself before he ascended to the Father, go and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 29:19-20

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

and (Mark 16 :15-16)

He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.

The Church can only be reformed by the Holy Spirit working through the structure mandated by Christ himself that is through the Holy Father, who holds the Petrine office and thus the power of he keys, in collegial union with the Bishops of the church.

No self appointed or free association of Lay or Ordained faithful have the divine mandate to change either the structure of the church, it doctrine, or dogma. Catholics for Pro-Choice can not possible be a Catholic organization, because it has not been divinely constituted nor has it received the approbation of the Holy Father and Bishops in council. The members are by definition dissenting from the authentic teaching of the Church, and have no standing within the church, apart from their baptismal dignity, which they themselves jeopardize by their public defiance of the moral and implicitly ecclesiastical teachings of the church.

Similar conclusions can be drawn concerning other reforming and dissenting organizations that campaign for the ordination of women and sacramental same-sex marriage.

A special word of warning is in order for another self-appointed reform minded organization, the so-called Voice of the Faithful, or VOTF. It is particularly note worthy concerning this organization that they sprang from a sincere concern for the victims of sexual abuse by clergy. This was a praiseworthy concern and advocating for the human well-being of the children of God is both a spiritual and corporal work of mercy, indeed a road to holiness.

The VOTF, however, even in its gestation process began to mutate in to a self-appointed deconstruction corporation dedicated to the democratization of the church and lobbyists for lay-investiture. In the first instance, the name Voice of the Faithful was a self-aggrandizing appellation. The members of the VOTF were not elected by the majority of the faithful to represent or speak for them. The VOTF is no more the “voice of the faithful” than “the Democratic People’s Republic of China” is democracy for or by the people or a Republic. It is not without irony that an organization that desires to democratize the Catholic Church and claims to have the mandate of the Second Vatican Council to do, essentially non-democratic.

When Vatican II expressed a desire for lay experts to share their knowledge and experience with the bishops of the church, it hastened to include the directive “through existing structure.” The hierarchy of the Catholic Church should not hesitate to consult those laity with particular skills, arts, and knowledge that will further its mission as church to the world. Lay experts should seek to work with their bishops to enhance the mission of the church through the existing structures established by the bishops for this purpose. These structures are canonical such as Finance Committees, and ecclesiastical such as Pastoral Councils. They are not organizations that establish themselves without any hierarchical or canonical connection to the church. The expressed goal of the VOTF and other such organizations is to alter the teachings or the structure of the church. The logical conclusion that the VOTF, Catholics for Pro-choice, Call to Action, or any like minded organization is not Catholic must be drawn.

Now we rightly pose the question, what effect will the papal visit have on the Roman Catholic Church in these United States; this is the essential question. We Catholic citizens are challenged by the presence of our Holy Father to examine our consciences, asking ourselves if we are Catholic citizens or Citizens who happen to be Catholic. Have we become so American that we believe the American way must also be the Catholic way? Are we capable of renewing our Catholic Perspective? Are we able to order our priorities? Our nation would be enriched by Catholics bring their unique Catholic perspective to bear on the myriad of issues and crises facing it today.

In Pope Benedict XVI, we have Peter in our midst. He brings to us the authentic teaching of Christ and His Church. He brings a special presence of Christ in our midst as His Vicar on earth. Let us embrace both with love. Let us follow the admonition of his wise and saintly predecessor John Paul the Great, “be not afraid” opening wide the doors of our hearts and minds to Christ.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is Intelligent Design a threat to Liberal Ideology? UPDATED

Updated Saturday 27 April, see additional response at bottom.

The following trailer of Ben Stein's upcoming film EXPELLED has been making its way around cyber-space. The film attempts to make the case that there are those in academia who do not want the idea of "Intelligent design" considered by the scientific community. It smells like religion to them and runs contrary to neo-Darwinian dogma, which considers us and all creation a cosmic accident!

Check out the trailer see what you think


Thanks for your note.

Despite Ben Stein's worried comments, I do not believe there exists some secret cabal specifically targeting ID. For better or worse, professors with weird, heterodox beliefs are ridiculed all the time by their colleagues. For instance, a Marxist in an economics department is not going to be well liked and will be the target of his or her colleagues' ridicule and censure. Proponents of ID are not special targets.

I noticed that, in the preview for his film, Stein decided to show clips of people like Dennett and Dawkins. But, why should we be impressed if Dennett and Dawkins, people who have an axe to grind against theism, dismiss ID without consideration? They do not speak for the scientific community.

The National Academy of Sciences has just released a publication on science and religion in the classroom aimed at reaching lay persons. I have been reading it, and thus far I am happy to see that it is both accessible to the general public and that it emphasizes one need not see scientific findings as a threat to his or her religious convictions. The text, Science, Evolution, and Creationism is available online here:



Eques replies;

Dear Timothy,

As usual, your reply is well thought through and argued. Eques found the trailer interesting. He knows that many people share Ben Stein’s opinion, IF it is true what then. Eques seldom believes in organized conspiracy or cabal theories.

He experienced the turbulent 60’s and 70’s. As a Northeastern University student Eques never thought that there was some kind of organized conspiracy among different anti-war groups in the USA with the North Vietnamese Communist. Everyday, however, the philosophical “comradeship” among these groups was certainly recognizable. This shared philosophy was potent. Any international organization was superfluous.

The Students for a Democratic Society ( who were neither democratic or students) still supported the Viet-Cong over our troops, the “Weathermen” still robed banks to support their incipient terrorist activities and Jane Fonda still felt righteous about visiting North Vietnam and posing with an anti-aircraft gun that shot down our planes and pilots.

Philosophy is far more powerful a bond than any institution because it can only be combated by an equally or more powerful philosophy.

The real question is, “are there academics who think that ‘Intentional Design’ is the camouflaged nose of the religious camel under the edge of their tent.” Eques suspects there is. Perhaps Stein’s film will shed some light on this question.

In addition, it is the opinion of Eques that the liberal elite ideologues in academia and government are verily afraid of ID, for it could up set their entire relativistic, nihilistic, philosophical house of cards. For this reason, those who tolerate everything begin to look very much like reactionary neo-Darwinists, when it comes to ID.



A second thought by Eques after a look at the Science, Evolution and Creationism brochure.

The Science, Evolution, and Creationism brochure makes the following argument against “Intelligent design.”

“However, the claims of intelligent design creationists are disproved by the findings of modern biology. Biologists have examined each of the molecular systems claimed to be the products of design and have shown how they could have arisen through natural processes. For example, in the case of the bacterial flagellum, there is no single, uniform structure that is found in all flagellar bacteria. There are many types of flagella, some simpler than others, and many species of bacteria do not have flagella to aid in their movement. (Emphasis by Eques) Thus, other components of bacterial cell membranes are likely the precursors of the proteins found in various flagella. In addition, some bacteria inject toxins into other cells through proteins that are secreted from the bacterium and that are very similar in their molecular structure to the proteins in parts of flagella. This similarity indicates a common evolutionary origin, where small changes in the structure and organization of secretory proteins could serve as the basis for flagellar proteins. Thus, flagellar proteins are not irreducibly complex.”

Despite the closing sentence of the above paragraph, Eques would argue that the relative infinite variety of life at every level of sophistication could indeed argue for “intelligent design.”

The Science, Evolution, and Creationism brochure argues that the more variety the less possibility of “Intelligent design,” does that necessarily follow. Does not effective variety, many ways of accomplishing the same thing, speak of even greater genius. Is this not more evidence for ID?

Tielhard De Chardin, paleontologist and Jesuit, would argue that the more “complex” something becomes the greater the “consciousness” until evolution becomes conscious of itself, in humankind. De Chardin fully accepted evolution, but most definitely appreciated its spirituality, what he referred to as its “within.” The principle of evolution he called “Complexity Consciousness.” The “within” is the active and conserving presence of God. He argued that evolution has a goal, a beginning, an Alpha point and an Omega, a telos, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8) St Paul “wrote all creation groans” (Romans 8:22) until it reaches its completion in Christ the point of perfection, the Word, “Fiat Lux” (Genesis 1:3) through which all was made and for which all was made.

None of this is contrary to Evolutionary thought except it moves Evolution from accident to purpose. The jump is also relatively infinite, as is 0 to 1. It explains not only what is happening Evolution, it also answers the most human and perhaps the most Evolutionary question possible WHY is it happening.

Perhaps someday down the road, the divorce between science and faith will be perfectly healed and real wisdom achieved. Eques does not believe true knowledge can be reached using only part of our mind. Once again the greater Catholic gift of the little word “and” will bring wisdom unachievable by Sola Scientia aut Sola Fides, sed Scientia et Fides.

Genesis 1:1-5

1 In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. 2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. 3 And God said: Be light made. And light was made. 4 And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. 5 And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.’

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Is the Roman Catholic Church a bulwark of democracy?

Updated with new Response from Dr Art Kyriazis

Salve readers,

Quod Scripsit is very interested in the critique of our Western Civilization/Culture and the direction(s) it is taking. The basic premise is "Resolve, Western Civilization” is a product of Christianity and the Roman Catholic and Protestant riff in particular which ushered in the Enlightenment and made the "horrors" of the French Revolution possible.

Art Kyriazis Harvard Class 80/81 comments below.
Eques’ response follows Art's argument on the resolution. This exchange is going on the "Harvard Alumni Association Discussion Groups" website as well.

Dear Eques

Hi, Art Kyriazis 80/81' writing here.

I'm a molecular biologist now but an old social studies major so I can't resist taking a chop at your comment on the list serve here.

(1) I just watched the movie " Elizabeth : the Golden Age" with Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen etc. The central thesis of this movie, which centers on the defeat of the Spanish armada by the English, is that the defeat of catholic Spain by Protestant England was something quite important for the development of trade and freedom in the world. as with the defeat of the Persians at marathon and salamis by the ancient Greeks, one can surely argue that the English protestants carried with them traditions of freedom, law and liberty (and parliamentary rule) that later took root in the new world (not to mention Canada, India and many commonwealth nations); not to mention that many historians and social theorists suggest that the Spanish economy was largely feudal and mercantile (as Commodore Perry our old professor at Harvard was wont to
argue) due to its catholic nature hoarding gold and exploiting the new world for the state instead of allowing numerous private companies as did the Dutch and English (Weber's notion of the protestant ethic and capitalism).

(2) corollary to this is the notion that England enjoyed a better nationalism due to the union of their church with the king
(Cesaro-Papism) while the laws resided with parliament, while the catholic powers of the continent were weakened by the church authority residing in Rome while the secular power resided with each king. This weakened Spain , France and the holy roman empire in turn, and was not fully resolved until the French revolution and the Napoleonic conquests which drove the inquisition from Spain and disenfranchised catholic property and dominion in France , leaving in place strong nationalist states in France and finally allowing Germany to unify.

(3) the ottoman empire was very powerful during this entire time, and they certainly enjoyed a union of state and church, in that the sultan was both the secular and spiritual leader of all Islam as well as of the continuing jihad from 1453 until the end of the sultanate in 1922. In addition, he was also after the fall of the roman empire with the taking of Constantinople in 1453, the roman emperor as well as the ruler of the Rumi-Orthodox--the roman christian subjects of his land, who of 12 millions who lived in the ottoman lands, fully 4 million at any one time, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Serbian, etc. all answered to one orthodox christian patriarch ensconced in Constantinople, loyal not to the pope, but to the sultan. While modern nationalist histories portray the sultan and the ottomans in a bad light, the truth is that the Greeks, Armenians and Jews who had no religious liberty in the catholic states prospered in the ottoman empire as bankers, traders, seamen etc, building up large trading cities in Smyrna, Skopje etc. and living in large mansions. The economic contributions of non-Muslims to the Muslim empire were not inconsiderable, and many of these peoples were driven to live in ottoman countries due to the fact that all of the Sephardi Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492; the Greeks (Rumi) felt more welcome in ottoman rumeli and Asia minor to practice their religion as orthodox than they did in Italy, which had but one Greek church in Venice; and the Armenians certainly were tolerated until very late in ottoman history.

(4) The Chinese and Mogul empires in China and India were powerful during the 16th and 17th centuries, as were the Japanese feudal warlords who were quickly assimilating western ways and weapons before they shut the country off from the west.

(5) It is difficult to say what propelled the west to the top of the heap civilization wise. The fall of Constantinople was certainly critical, as it sent a number of Greek and Latin scholars of Greek ancestry to Italy, along with their books, to disseminate original Greek and Latin knowledge to the humanists.
This has been the thesis of Burckhardt in his work on the renaissance and of jb bury for many years. more recently works on George of Trebizond have also cited the critical role of Greek scholars in the revival of Greek study. Certainly the establishment of a chair in Greek studies in England in the early 1500s was a turning point in English science and literary affairs, and led directly to Newton, Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the king James bible as we now know them all. From Newton, all else follows, including Maxwell, Einstein and the atomic bomb.

(6) it's hard to say that the humanists were devoutly catholic.
Galileo was at odds with the Jesuits; Copernicus was afraid to publish his findings; in many ways, the inquisition and the Jesuits were opponents of humanism and of scientific progress. In time, the English developed the faster, lighter ships with more cannon and better engineering because they had freedom of thought and freedom of scientific inquiry--Bacon, Raleigh, drake--all were encouraged to think, to travel until England had reached every corner of the globe with mercantile trade by the time of Elizabeth.
They feared nothing and least of all their own inquisition or Jesuits, because the catholic faith had been suppressed in England.

(7) Two of the greatest crimes in history in the middle ages have to be ascribed to the catholic church, the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the 4th crusade, and the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathari of Southern France (Provencal France) in 1209). These were not isolated events. Throw in the crusade less than a hundred years later against the knights Templar sanctioned by the pope and you have a picture of what the inquisition was really all about.
In Constantinople, they burned 2/3 of the classical works that had been preserved in the library and melted down the original ancient sculptures, preserved for centuries unharmed, for bronze; and they took all of the holy relics of Christ, which had been carefully collected by the roman emperors over the years, including the crown of thorns and holy lance, and used them as collateral for loans from Italian bankers, and when the Latin emperors defaulted on the loans, the relics were sold and dispersed to the various emperors of the west, included the holy grail itself, which was lost. The Cathari, who had developed Provencal literature and the cult of the troubadours, were silenced forever, and a literary and cultural tradition was forever lost.

(8) On the plus side, the Vatican has managed to keep a large number of items in its own library intact.

(9) The current pope seems anxious to effect another union (more permanent than the councils of Lyon or
Florence) with the eastern church, which now boasts 500 million strong. However the eastern church only recognizes the seven ecumenical councils through the 8th century ad; the western church lists all of the Lateran and Vatican councils, as well as papal encyclicals, as being of importance somehow. Moreover, Vatican II, which the western church ratified and announced, which revoked much of the bad and harmful intolerance that had characterized Catholicism for centuries, is seemingly now being chipped away at by neo-conservatives in the Vatican. It would seem that one pre-requisite for there to be union between the Vatican and eastern church, is strict adherence to Vatican II.

these are just a few points.

--Art Kyriazis ab 80/81
Eques Responds

Salve Art,
Well reasoned response, which I do not have the necessary time to respond to, this being holy Week. I would like to comment in the near future on:
1. That "protestant England at first was not Protestant but schismatic. One could argue that until the 19th century with the exception of the "puritan revolt" the Anglican Church considered itself catholic. Cardinal Newman attempted to prove such, but much to his surprise found that over time, the "Catholic Faith" in England had been corrupted by Protestantism, but he claims it did not begin that way. Therefore, the growth of the British Commercial Empire early still found its roots in what they themselves believed was Catholic but not Papists."
2. I believe that the worse thing to happen in Western and European history was the French Revolution, as Edmund Burke and Dickens (neither Catholic) would agree. It brought to the world the first Modern Totalitarian State , guillotine, secret police, state religion, (as opposed to a nationalized version of Catholicism as in the East and England) and global war, the real First World War being the Napoleonic Wars.
3. No Conservative, Republican, or Roman Catholic philosophically or theologically could rightly support a totalitarian state. Also the international character of Roman Catholicism makes it the only Church capable of resisting oppression form such states globally, in such places as Philippines, East Timor, Sudan, Central America, Poland, Hungary, and many more places in many other times, including the French Revolution and its after math.
4. I do believe that the lingering feudalism in Spain, with its protection of the aristocracy and hence the lack of industrial development, was in part a by product of conservative Catholicism that was leery of democracy, as were all the crown heads of Europe until it was thrust upon them by the debacle of the "First World War." I would also have to attribute this at least in Spain to other cultural factors, which were I admit, rooted in Catholicism.
5. I believe you err in your characterization of the "Two of the greatest crimes in history in the Middle Ages have to be ascribed to the catholic church, the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the 4th crusade, and the Albigensian Crusade against the Cithara of Southern France (Provencal France) in 1209). These were not isolated events. Throw in the crusade less than a hundred years later against the knight's Templar sanctioned by the pope and you have a picture of what the inquisition was really all about."
a. The "Sack of Constantinople" was a horror to the Pope. It was never contemplated by the church; it was the direct result of Crusader kings and Barons looking for a quick buck.
b. The Albigensian or Cithara heresy was seen as a direct threat on the political stability of medieval Europe. Catholic princes, though they may have cared little for their Catholic Faith believed as Constantine did that there could be a unified state only with a unified religion. Heresy of all kind was not only an attack on the faith but also on the state, moderns have difficulty grasping this aspect of the medieval mindset; it was true then of Orthodox, Muslim, and later Protestant States, and princes.
Remember England is one of the few nation states today that still has an established church, and it was not until the early nineteenth century that the penal laws were relaxed against Catholics and The Catholic hierarchy restored. This was also in part due to the continued Anglican Bishops claim that they were the Catholic Bishops in England right up to the Mid-nineteenth century.
c. The suppression of the Order of the Poor Knights of St John of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Knights Templar was first in no way a crusade. It was the direct result of the greed and debts of King Philip IV of France, who had acquired an enormous debt to the Templars. He eyed their international treasury housed in guess where? The Bastille, as the solution to his problem, therefore he had the usual charges of various heresies, sins drown up against the Templars, and pressured the Pope to allow the arrest and trail, wherever in his realm they could be found, while encouraging the other kings to do the same with the aid of the Bishops he controlled. He was able to do this because he also controlled the Clement V, who was a Frenchman that Philip IV whose election as pope was manipulated by Philip IV. Clement V was the first of the Avignon Popes, and thus at the mercy of Philip IV.
Therefore, what you characterize as a crusade by the power of Catholic Church was an example of what happens when the Church was not independent or sovereign. The suppression of the Templars was the direct outcome of a Pope and Catholic Church that was controlled by a powerful king. The Church would fight this, I believe rightly so by insisting on an Independent and Sovereign Papal State, so that the church could not be manipulated so easily by powerful kings, emperors, or dictators in the future. The Popes fought this battle right up to 1870 when Rome was illegitimately seized by the newly created Italian Monarchy under Victor Emanuel II. The Popes remained “prisoners of the Vatican ” until the Lateran Council of 1927 negotiated by Mussolini for the King of Italy and the House of Savoy. This concordat recognized the sovereignty of “yle="">Stato Della Citta Del Vaticano,” and various other extraterritorial possessions of the Holy See and paid reparations to the Holy See for the seizure of Rome and the Papal States in the previous century, hence in effect legitimizing the Pontifical claims of 1870 to its sovereign status.
d. Therefore, I believe it erroneous to say that any of the events were the result of Church authority but rather the lack of and examples rather of what continues today attempts at the powerful of the world to manipulate the Church for its own purposes.
e. As along as the church does not have the coercive power of the state, that is the power to punish with incarceration, or death, rights it actually only exercised in the Papal States themselves (a necessary embarrassment for a Church, that was also a state with a population, that was in need of all the laws and order of any other state at that time) I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the greatest institutional and moral guardian against the rise of the totalitarian super state.
Art, thank you for your thoughts, I await your retort.
Vale et Pax

Dr Art Kyriazis answers

(Dr Art does not use upper case letters, it is as he wrote it unedited.)

will state here that I am of the orthodox faith, so my holy week is deferred this year, but I understand there are ecumenical discussions and negotiations underway to at least unite the Easters of the Western and Eastern Churches, which would be a wonderful thing indeed.

I would start with common ground. I believe the passion of the christ and the mysteries of easter and the resurrection of the christ is for me, and for billions of people in the world, one of the most important touchstones of faith in their devotion to god. There is little question that this is my favorite service of the year and of course, our theological calendar begins and ends at easter and the pentecost and the ascent.

I find myself agreeing with the fine points you make. England was indeed quite schismatic; as I point out in my other response, they had a tendency to export dissent to the new world rather than simply supress it. This does not encompass fully the irish question, which is a shameful episode in their history.

The horrors of the french revolution i fully share revulsion for. As I am fundamentally a conservative, Burke has always been one of my touchstones. While I don't agree with all of the points you make extending from the french revolution, I agree it was a horrible event. I would add that it lit the fuse for all of the nationalist uprisings of the 19th and 20th century, starting with the Greek Revolution of 1821-1830, to the bosnian nationalist who shot the archduke of austria and started world war I, to the disintegration of the ottoman empire along nationalist lines and the eastern problem. even the russian revolution.

plus my personal favorite word, "the thermidorean reaction".

I certainly agree that modernly catholicism, especially since vatican II, has been a liberating force against totalitarianism, especially in places like poland behind the iron curtain. however there remains the problem of the concordat of 1938 with hitler, and the complicity of the church with the croats against the serbs in wwII, and other similar scenarios which played out, along with their role vis a via Mussolini.

we agree about spain.

On the 4th crusade and albigensian crusade, your arguments have been made by certain historians, and are well-supported, but so have been mine, and we will agree to disagree. There are a plethora of recent studies on the subject, plus of course the original sources such as Villardhouin, which I have read and re-read. There are both crusader and greek accounts.

On the knights templar, let's leave that one alone. it's been overdone with movies etc.

the pope for many years had a secular state and an army==the papal states. for much of history the pope had coercive means at his disposal and the ability to ally with military forces. there are many works and sources on this point. Obviously france and the holy roman empire have intervened on numerous occasions either to interfere with the pope's secular power or at the pope's invitation; also spain for many years was involved in the affairs of italy. before the arrival of the normans, the byzantines were rulers of southern italy and sicily. Many powers have been involved in italy. If you re-read your machiavelli and other italian writers, you will see the secular role the pope played for many centuries.

i agree modernly the pope, and especially recent popes, have been champions of freedom. i think the recent pope who died should be beatified.

--dr arthur kyriazis

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Homeschooling and Parental Rights Under Attack in California

The following article was first published by the Acton Institute. It is so important to Catholic Citizens we post it here at Quod Scripsit. You are encouraged to visit the Acton Institute site.

By Chris Banescu

Declaring that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,” the Second District Court of Appeal for the state of California recently issued a ruling that effectively bans families from homeschooling their children and threatens parents with criminal penalties for daring to do so. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) this court decision has made “almost all forms of homeschooling in California” a violation of state law. Once again, our judicial system moves to restrict religious and personal liberties, severely limit parental rights, and significantly increase the power, scope, and control of the state over our lives.

There are approximately 166,000 homeschooled children in California. With the stroke of a pen, the appellate court criminalized the lawful educational choices of tens of thousands of innocent families across the state, subjected them to possible fines, and labeled their children as potential truants. This activist court chose to bypass the will of the people and legislated from the bench based on anecdotal evidence and its own clearly biased and subjective opinions about the constitutionality of parental rights and the quality of a homeschooled education. This decision attacks the freedom of parents to decide on the best educational environment for their children, restricts their religious rights to practice their faith without governmental interference, and violates their freedom to raise their offspring as they see fit without the ideological pollution and atheistic/leftist indoctrination so prevalent in our public school system.

In a state that allows minors to have abortions without parental notification and consent, having the court complain about the welfare and safety of children who are homeschooled is laughable. The court also conveniently turned a blind eye to the increasing levels of violence and murder in many California public schools, as well as the abysmal quality of education in those very same schools. With California ranking near the bottom in the quality of its public education system, a state-wide illiteracy rate of approximately 24 percent, and drop-out rates hovering around 30 percent, the California public education system is not the shining example and standard the courts should be applying and measuring against.

Case history

The appellate court reviewed the decision reached by a juvenile court regarding the quality of education provided to homeschooled children of the Phillip and Mary Long family. The children were homeschooled by Mrs. Long with assistance from the Sunland Christian School (SCS), a private religious academy in the Los Angeles area. According to its website, SCS “is a private school in the State of California and is an accredited home school program offering independent home schooling study, correspondence home schooling, and online home school.” The Long children were enrolled in the independent study program at SCS. While the lower court had concerns about the quality of the education received by two of the eight children, the trial court did not order the parents to enroll their children into a private or public school, and stated in its opinion that “parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home.”

Rather than confine its ruling to the specifics of the Long case, the court of appeals instead chose to considerably broaden the scope of its decision, further strengthen state power over individuals, and deny California parents the right to homeschool their children. In his written opinion, filed on February 28, 2008, Justice H. Walter Croskey, joined by the other two members of the appellate panel, categorically asserted that: “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children.” Furthermore, in the section ominously named “Consequences of Parental Denial of a Legal Education” the judge states:

Because parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling within the provisions of these laws, parents who fail to do so may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines... Additionally, the parents are subject to being ordered to enroll their children in an appropriate school or education program and provide proof of enrollment to the court, and willful failure to comply with such an order may be punished by a fine for civil contempt.

“Breathtaking” judicial activism

The totalitarian impulses of the court were further evidenced by the arguments it used to justify its decision: “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism, and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.” As someone who has lived and suffered under a communist regime (I grew up in Romania), the “good citizenship,” “patriotism,” and “loyalty to the state” justifications have struck a little too close to home. These were precisely the kinds of arguments the communist party used to broaden the power of the state, increase the leadership’s iron grip on the people, and justify just about every conceivable violation of human rights, restrictions on individual liberties, and abuses perpetrated by government officials.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, got it right when he said that the “scope of this decision by the appellate court is breathtaking. It not only attacks traditional home schooling, but also calls into question home schooling through charter schools and teaching children at home via independent study through public and private schools.” The sentiment was echoed by Michael Smith, president of HSLDA: “California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home,” he said. This is exactly what the judges have done and the precedent they have set for California and possibly for the rest of the country.

Homeschooling effective

The appellate court also chose to ignore the many studies and solid research data showing that homeschooling is a well-established and exceptional method of education that overwhelmingly produces superior academic results and well-adjusted individuals. According to David Barfield’s review of the available data on home education, “dozens of studies have yielded the consistent result showing home educated students average 15-30 percentile points above the national average. Research demonstrates that, unlike their public school counterparts, the performance of home educated students bears little correlation to family income, the degree of state regulation of homeschooling, teacher certification, the educational level achieved by parents, sex, or race.” In another study by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) he shows that “home educated students excelled on nationally-normed standardized achievement exams. On average, home schoolers outperformed their public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all subjects.”

Similar studies documented by the HSLDA also confirm that the poor “socialization” objection by the court is a red herring. Numerous studies have shown that homeschooled youngsters have excellent social skills, are active in groups and community activities outside the home, engage in many extracurricular activities and sports, are exceptionally prepared to deal with the real world, interact better with adults and a variety of age-groups, and take their civic duties more seriously than their public school counterparts.

Pushing back

Fortunately the people of California and homeschooling associations across the country, outraged by these latest developments, are taking steps to proactively deal with and redress the situation. Many homeschooling families are determined to fight for their parental rights and countermand the court’s decision. The HSLDA has followed a two-prong approach to help. It has advised the Long family to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court and it will file “an amicus brief on behalf of our 13,500 member families in California” arguing that the proper interpretation of California statutes allow parents to teach their own children under the private-school exemption. The HSLDA will also seek to have this decision “depublished,” which can only be done by the California Supreme Court. According to them, depublishing the case “would mean that the case is not binding precedent in California and has no effect on any other family.”

Even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued a statement in full support of homeschooling families. "Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children's education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts and if the courts don't protect parents' rights then, as elected officials, we will," he said.

It remains to be seen if reason and common sense will prevail in this latest battle for the individual God-given liberties and freedoms of American families. The relentless march towards full government control of all areas of our lives must be halted. The people must push back. Our children’s lives and their future are too precious to surrender to government bureaucrats and teacher’s unions. For their sake and ours, freedom must prevail.

Chris Banescu is an attorney, entrepreneur, and university professor. He is an ethics and business management specialist, and manages the conservative Web site and blog at

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Religion in 2008 Campaigns

Recently Michael from NYU had the following to say about the role of Religion in the 2008 presidential campaigns. I concur with his analysis and add a perspective of my own below.

As an aside if you are a young man I would encourage you to check out the post just prior to this entitled Notes on becoming a young Catholic gentleman, It may prove helpful to you. Your comments as usual are always welcome and read.

Dear Eques,
I find it so fascinating how religion comes up in some form or another in each election, but this year, the manner in which the topic has been approached is so different from other years. This year, barely any emphasis was put on Clinton or McCain's religion, while Romney and Obama's religion has received full press coverage.
Romney is a Mormon and it is interesting how some people feel that his Mormonism would have a dire effect on his presidency. I felt bad for him because his religion does not comprise his entire character or completely control his policy decisions. The voters who looked at his religion as the only factor in voting for him were wrong I believe. They were being prejudiced and hateful. Who are they to say that Mormonism is a bad or wrong religion. After all, everyone remembers, just as the article mentions, that Kennedy was a Catholic, and at the time, many in the country were against having a Catholic as president. From history, we now know that a president is not going to make every decision based on religious affiliation.Religion plays a part in the decision making obviously because for most people, religion plays a very important part in their character. In no way though should a person be judged solely on their religion.
In a recent conversation I had on the topic of Obama, religion came up. Two things shocked me. The first is that this person I was having this conversation with believed 100% that Obama was a Muslim. I couldn't believe how someone could get their facts so wrong. Obama has said time and time again that he is not a Muslim and is in fact a member of the United Church of Christ. Why has Obama's religion been reported so wrongly? I am not sure I will ever understand this completely. This is one of those things that shocks me today. In the modern age, religion, whether it is Romney's or Obama's or anyone else's, should not be a reason to hold a prejudice against that person. religious intolerance seems to be the new racism, and it is only growing, not receding.
The second thing in this conversation that shocked me was that this person said they would never vote for Obama because he is a Muslim. This is not just this person's view though, many in the country hold this view, just as on the Republican side, voters used the same rationale to vote against Romney. Why would someone not vote for a person based solely on the fact that they are Muslim. This idea completely baffles me. Why does Islam have such a stigma attached to it in some people's minds?

On another note, I voted for Clinton in the primary. If you don't mind me asking, who did you vote for?


Eques Responds

Dear Michael,

I agree with your analysis completely. I also had a rather heated exchange with of all people Mr Grace who insisted that Obama was a Muslim. I could not convince him other wise. I believe that this information or disinformation actually originates form the blogosphere. The recent studies of media coverage show that the major networks had reported overwhelmingly favorable regarding Barrack Obama. NBC is reported to have covered Obama in a positive light 90% of the time. The other networks CBS and ABC were in the neighbor hood of 75-80% favorable reporting. The reporting regarding Mrs Clinton was just the opposite.

They have not reported him to be a Muslim but that “disinformation” has been all over the blogosphere and has come up on talk radio. Even though no news agency says said it is so, and have reported that he is a Christian, people still assume by his name that he is a Muslim. His middle name is Hussein, a Muslim name. His father was a Muslim. His mother was not. He was raised by his mom. He did attend, some report, a Muslim “hadras,” or school. However, he has claimed Christianity as his religion and he and his wife have belonged to the same church for many years.

One thing that hurts him still is that his pastor. He is known to have preached that America itself was at fault for the 9/11 attacks. The pastor has also given some kind of an award to Louis Farrakhan [] the head of the Nation of Islam, whose rhetoric has been extremely anti-American foreign policy. Obama is very close to his pastor. He is part of Mr. & Mrs Obama spiritual life as a pastor should be.

These men of course have a right to their opinion but some have used the relationship of Obama with his pastor to cast a negative light on him and claim him as some kind of closet Muslim. He is not a Muslim, nor is he in any way anti-American. He is just more liberal than Mrs. Clinton is in her foreign policy. I do not believe for a minute despite the oratory that any of the current presidential candidates would deliberately place our nation in security jeopardy. They see different ways of achieving security. I do believe that Mrs. Clinton would be better for national security than Mr. Obama would. McCain would be better than either in this regard.

I however, voted for Romney in the Massachusetts primary. I thought he was the Republican with the best chance to win the White House. I have always been a registered Republican since I was old enough to register and vote. I also voted for him because he was a Mormon. He was our governor in Massachusetts. He was not great but he was good. As a Catholic, I have a lot more in common with him than Mrs. Clinton.

Like you, I was upset because people did say they would not vote for him because he was a Mormon. In the early 1970’s I meet Mormon young men in Kentucky at Fort Knox during basic training as an Army Reserve Officer Candidate. They were very moral young men. Although university students as me, all but one was already married and that young man told me, how sad he was because he was not yet married. Most Mormons are expected to marry young. It is their way of curtailing sexual promiscuity so common among college men then and now. This was very important to their religious fidelity. They were very patriotic; this was significant because it was during the Viet Nam war. There were more Mormons in my company than any other religion. I was a faithful Catholic as a boy and college student when it was not fashionable to be so. My Catholicism and their Mormonism on many moral issues fit.

The best friend I made at the time however, who remains a friend to this day, was a Methodist form Alabama. He was a student at the Alabama University Law School. He like the Mormons was already married. I was committed in my heart to be a priest at the time, although I was attending Northeastern University and studying Criminal Justice. He was a Christian and Republican. In addition, he was a conservative thinker like me. We met over a copy of National Review magazine as we rode the bus from the Louisville, Kentucky airport to Fort Knox. National Review is conservative journal founded by William F. Buckley Jr. who has just passed on to his eternal reward. Buckley was a faithful Catholic and the founder of the modern conservative movement. He was an inspiration to me for some time and gave me the intelligent conservative thought that allowed me to pass through NU when drugs and sexual acting out was as common as candy at the corner store. My Alabama seat mate could not believe a Bostonian could be reading National Review. I explained that it was very natural for me because my grandfather and father were Republicans and Catholics, just as Buckley was. It all made sense to me. From that, moment on, to name drop, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and I were conservative Republican allies and friends. You may know that Jeff is one of two Republican U S Senators from Alabama. (A bit of vanity on part there, with apologies.)

The point is this Catholic (me) found alliances with a Southern Methodist, and Mormons at a time when the other Catholics in our company barracks were vocally hostile to their own faith and church. Therefore, I see no reason not to vote for or vote against any candidate based on his religion alone, unless that religion is openly hostile to my or my nation’s existence, and the candidate embraces that openly hostile religion. Given that proviso, even though the religion of the candidate informs every decision he/she makes whenever his conscience is involved, by definition a religiously informed conscience, I would rather vote for such a person. I would expect he/she would more likely implement consistently the policy and platform articulated during the campaign. This candidate would have meant what said and said what meant. Romney was for the most part like this. He did shade himself on the moderate side becoming elect-able as governor of ultra liberal Massachusetts. He did shade himself more conservative to run for the Republican nomination, but essentially, he was consistent with his stated beliefs. He sincerely labored to fulfill his campaign promises once elected Governor.

I remember first hand the Kennedy Vs Nixon election, my mom voted for Nixon, because she thought he was better qualified. Religion played no part in her decision. I was in 7th or 8th grade and did not think politically at the time, I wanted her to vote for Kennedy so that we could have our first Catholic President. In hindsight, Kennedy was not very Catholic, and although he had loads of charisma and was very intelligent, we really do not know if he was a great president. Mythology grew so rapidly around him post his assassination that the judgment of history is still not clear. Nixon was a competent president but a much-disliked even despised human being; this clouds our vision of him as well. However, my mother provided an important decision-making lesson. Religion is only one factor in judging suitability of a candidate for office. It is certainly not a reason for automatic dismissal that would contradict our great American tradition of religious liberty and tolerance. An ideal that even found its way into the declaration on religious liberty DIGNITATIS HUMANAE approved by the Bishops and Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council. <>



Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Church can not be an instrument of the State. The Conversation Continues

Tim Responds,

Thanks for your note. While I appreciate your discussion, I remain unconvinced by the points you raise. So, I would like to address them in turn.

You write, "The Congress and by virtue of the 14th amendment the States can make no law that requires the Church to do anything that violates its own well established constitution and Code of Cannon Law, including who to hire or fire." This is not the legal meaning of separation of church and state. The establishment clause does not make the church outside the state's juristidiction or immune to the laws it passes through legitimate democratic means. Instead, the establishment clause prevents the state from forming an official religion, from endorsing or denying religious doctrines.

Consider the following scenario. Imagine a morally perverse form of religion deeply rooted in racism, a neo-Nazi church, if you will, came into prominence in this country. Things grow worse as the clergy of this church, in conformity with their well-established canon law, support the murders of people of color by participating in the murders, arming the murders, hiding them from police, and bribing corrupt jurors or other members of the court so as to prevent a meaningful public trial of captured church members. Are you still willing in this case to say that the Congress, and by virtue of the 14 amendment the States, can make no law requiring the church to do anything that violates its own well established constitution and code of canon law? Indeed, the state has both the right and the duty to regulate the actions of religious institutions so as to bring them into conformity with publicly recognizable, liberal standards of justice.

Moreover, you contend, "In as much as the State does not intend in any way to subsume the Church as an organ or instrument of the state what you wrote above cannot be true. If this where [sic] true then the State would have to desist from giving any aid whatsoever to any church organization." This is, I believe, incorrect.

I wrote, "in so far as religious institutions receive state financial support, they become an extension of state policy and action..." I did not claim that the Church, by receiving state financial support, the Church is wholly subsumed by the state and no longer an independent institution of its own.

For example, if I do a favor for you, then I become an extension of your will and your wishes for the purposes of that favor -- that doesn't make me your slave or nothing more than the executor of all of your commands! Similarly, if the church receives state funds or special powers from the state, such as when schools receive subsideies or other state monies, or when the Church arranges the adoption of children, it acts as a proxy for the state. Any proxy of the state, however, is subject to the same legal restrictions and liberal principles as the state itself. Thus, if a religious organization desires public funding or special powers -- public funding or powers which comes from citizenry who may themselves not adhere to the doctrines of that religious institution -- it must conform to the liberal principles which govern public institutions and their proxies.

Yours in Christ,


Eques Replies

Dear Timothy,

Thank you for challenging me intellectually. I admire your ability to reason and argue clearly, even when I disagree with you.

You raise excellent points. The problem that I see with the hypothetical racist or Nazi type church is that this in fact has already occurred. The states did not compel southern churches to integrate racially their Congregations. They may have integrated on their own but the state did not attempt to force them to do so. They had no legal way to do so. As late as 1994, I witnessed very clear white and black congregations in Alabama among some Baptists.

Secondly, this may sound like special pleading, which actually it is, the Catholic Church is in fact a unique institution in the history of the West. The very “classical liberal” rights you rely on have their origins in the Roman Catholic Church, the Enlightenment not withstanding. You might want to see How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. Ph.D. or What’s So Great about Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza, or We Hold These Truths by John Courtney Murray, S.J.

This unique Church has in fact for two millennium fought for the rights it now claims. Being beyond the reach of governmental interference in the way it governs itself is one of them. Compelling the church to violate its own Cannon Law has been tried through out history. Repeatedly the Church has refused to do so. One example from history concerns Henry II and St Thomas Beckett. Henry wanted Thomas to hand over two priests charged with murder, for trail by the crown; Thomas absolutely refused to do so. The priests would be tried according Cannon Law in church courts. Thomas gave his life defending this principal, as Henry sent four knights to murder Thomas in his own Cathedral. This controversy has been renewed in our day.

In Dallas, in 2002 the American Bishops agreed to become mandatory reporters of their own priests in regards possible criminal behavior. This has the effect of making the Bishops Assistant Attorneys General. The Vatican vigorously objected to the agreement.

Vatican insisted on major revisions. Vatican officials complain that this contradicts the statute of limitations provided for in canon law, and we concede that it raises enormously difficult questions. The statute of limitations aside, zero tolerance also challenges the church's belief in recovery and redemption.”

The Vatican informed the Bishops that they erred regarding Cannon Law by establishing lay review boards that would sit in judgment of clergy and that the Bishops themselves violate the canonical relation between their priests and themselves by becoming mandatory reporters.

The point being that the Catholic Church qua Catholic Church still maintains the rights long established by Cannon Law, International Law, treaties, and concordats. The Catholic Church among all churches alone has long established rights in law. The USA or any other Country is not free to violate them, as it presently argues in Colorado. For this reason, established law is in fact on the side of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Chaput stands firmly on internationally recognized and established jurisprudence.

The United States is not allowed to violate international law without an argument for other sovereign nations, which is why there has been international objection and controversy concerning the violation of the principal of Habeas Corpus at Guantanamo Bay, not to mention the question of torture. The Holy See is among those sovereign nations who have objected to the violation of human rights and dignity of detainees there.

On an historical basis, no other church can claim the international status or the legitimate sovereignty that The Holy See enjoys, which also makes the question of the hypothetical churches spurious. These would be new phenomenon and enjoy no historical claims. The Catholic Church is exactly what the lawyers for the State of Colorado will argue it is not, an exceptional institution not subject to State or Federal Laws that attempt to interfere with its own Cannon Laws or ecclesial nature, which is unique in the world.

The Church does recognize the states right to regulate those things that do not touch on its law or nature. Let the renovation and expansion of St Catherine of Alexandria church in Westford (St CA), which you witnessed, stand as an example. In the process of construction, the town of Westford attempted to interfere in a number of ways with the project, telling St CA what it could do or not do with the building or property. Our lawyers and I had to remind them that they had no authority over church property. They could not require us to build or not build anything on the property that belonged to the Archbishop of Boston, because of the rights and privileges it enjoyed under cannon and state law. The town of Westford could only expect us to adhere to the laws that pertained to safety and conservation. Needless, to say the planning board did not appreciate the reminder that they had no jurisdiction over Church property.

Another example, the state could require that St CA comply with all the employment laws that pertain to taxes and social security, but it could not govern whom St CA would hire or fire, if the person in question did not represent essential church teachings. Even, Universities have the right to hire or fire professors (whom they have not already granted tenure) based on their particular philosophy, we place this under the rubric of Academic Freedom, a right, which finds its origins in the Catholic Church and the universities it was the first to create.

The essence of my argument is that the Roman Catholic Church is a unique church with a body of laws and a nature well established in jurisprudence and international agreements that predate the United States and its Constitution by nearly 1500 years. "Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Sincerely Your In Christ


A friend of Quod Scripist "Behind Enemy Lines" joins the conversation

The framers of our Constitution had no concept of the Separation of Church and State as it is understood today; infact as a side note, it's such a permeating ideology that the majority of Americans think it's some statute or Amendment. However, on the contrary, the Government has no right whatsoever to infringe on the just practice of religion. The First Amendment to the Constitution clearly states that Congress shall make no law which establishes a religion, either from scratch, or as being higher than another, and that the Government shall not make any law abridging the free exercise of any religion.

If this is not enough, any corporation could not and would not hire an employee which shared the values, ideals and goals of the company itself. If an employee were to be hired and then, whether by action or omission of action, to undermine the mission of a corporation and to bring about the failure, humiliation, and destruction thereof, that would be grounds for termination. If this were known before the hire occurred, why would the applicant even be hired? As long as a Corporation does not infringe on the rights of others (please see Tim's argument on murder, evasion, bribery and aiding and abetting known fugitives, which are all against various other laws and statutes of long-established jurisprudence) while protecting it's own viability and interests, this corporation is free to continue to operate as such. As a person does not have the intrinsic right to work in a particular institution (as opposed to a person's rights to life, liberty, speedy trial-by-jury and basic human Justice), and that core-beliefs can be valid reasons for incompatibility in a workplace, the hiring and firing based upon ideologies can not be prohibited.

Now, on the question of the Church becoming an arm of the State...
Simply because a laboratory receives Government funding, does not make it a Government laboratory, simply that the Government acknowledges that it's intended research is worthy. The same could be true of the Church's charities. It is when the Government begins to regulate these Churches and charities, restricting how they can operate that the relationship becomes perverse; this is painfully evident in the forced-closure of the Archdiocese of Boston's Adoption Services when it was mandated to allow non-traditional (read: homosexual) couples to adopt. This went firmly against the history, Teachings and Traditions of the Catholic Church as a faith-system and as a charitable organization. The State does not have the mandate, nor the authority to contravene the just-exercise of Religion wherein the rights and privileges of individuals are not violated.

A married couple nor a homosexual couple has the right to adopt, no more than do they have the right to stand in my living-room uninvited (baring some dire need superseding my right to personal property). The adoption process is to benefit the child more than the adopting couple; this couple having gone through rigorous screening processes to determine whether or not is it a suitable match, based upon the understandings and prejudices of the adoption agency. To enforce particular standard of suitability is socialist at best, tyrannical at worst. Getting married within a Catholic Church, you publicly vow that you will be open to children, and you will bring them up Catholic. Why would you get married in a Catholic Church if you didn't feel that you could uphold this standard of behaviour? By the same token, insofar as the Catholic Church believes that homosexual action is a moral evil, and that homosexual unions are a perversion of traditional family values, why would the Church be forced to perform ceremonies, "marriages" if it were against the grained teaching of the Church? Therefore, why would the Church be forced to condone such "behaviour/lifestyle choice/orientation et al." by granting adoption privileges to such a couple?

Moving on. The Boy Scouts of America is a non-governmental organization which receives Government funding. The mission is wholesome and "American." However, the BSA forbid homosexuals from being in leadership positions, and infact from being even in the ranks of its members. The mission of the BSA is a worthy mission, one which the Government finds appropriate and deserving of financial assistance.
Ought the Government pull funding, or demand "equal rights" for membership applications? But I digress... Eagle Scouts of the BSA are mandated-reporters in the same respect as priests/bishops/doctors/teachers. While this is a noble title, endeavouring to protect the youth, for a religious institution which founds itself on forgiveness and recovery such as the Church, this is a dangerous concept. The requisite reporting of any allegation or even slight issue would render these two essential, core beliefs null, as modern society does not act within "innocent until proven guilty," no it acts more on "guilty even if proven innocent."

There are flaws in our Government. There are flaws in our Church members and leaders. Let's not multiply these flaws by combining them.

Behind Enemy Lines