Letters to the Editor
FAITH Magazine March – April 2012
GAY MARRIAGE: THE DEARTH OF ANSWERS
Dear Father Editor,
Your editorial in the Nov/Dec issue described the unintended consequences of 50 years of various badly thought-out social interventions by British governments. A government report in 1946 attributed identical problems of riots and social disorder to the absence of fathers during the war.
Your readers will know that the proposal to offer marriage to homosexuals would require a modification of the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary. My Member of Parliament responded to my letter on this topic: "I have always supported laws which outlaw discrimination against people because of their race...and opposed discrimination for their religion and inciting hatred on the grounds of religion ... I have been pleased to support that (same) protection given to homosexuals."
Every Catholic knows it was shameful that guest houses in the 1950s stated "No Blacks" and anti-Semitism or anti-Islamism is a disgrace. However, am I wrong in thinking there is a distinct difference between racial and religious prejudice and people's moral scruples? Am I mistaken to think my MP's thoughts on this matter are somehow illogical, badly thought-out and in a frightful muddle? I search for answers to some questions.
Why can no one justify and explain to the world the difference between "No Blacks here" and "this Christian guest house does not provide double beds for homosexuals"? Why can no one explain why it might be unreasonable, unjust and discriminatory of the Government to coerce Christians to approve certain behaviour which has been considered to be immoral for millennia?
Practising Catholic Christians are people who are expected to eschew lust and fornication but who also eschew judgement and therefore they might well agree that it was unjust that, in the past, practising homosexuals received civil punishment for their private sins. On the other hand, why does the popularity of recreational lust and fornication now require the coercive support of the full majesty of Britain's law? Am I in error to think these laws unnecessary?
Why is there no one of public stature who can pierce what seems to me to be an "equality bubble" of Orwellian newspeak? Why do the people of Europe not notice that this "Emperor of Words" is wearing no clothes?
I know answers have appeared regularly in Faith Magazine, but that is a relatively limited audience. Of course the Pope has exposed the nakedness of this Emperor of Words, but regrettably on this topic even his voice appears to be only an inaudible whisper. Am I the only person expecting unforeseen consequences in 50 years' time?
York Way, London N7
See Niall Gooch's article in our last issue for an analysis of this phenomenon and our Truth Will Set You Free column in this issue for a review of one positive event.
Dear Father Editor,
As usual your magazine (November 2010 issue) provides an intriguing set of articles, carefully worded, thoughtful and intelligent. I wonder if I might contribute a few remarks concerning the article given by Fr Selman on the metaphysical and theological implications of modern science.
Perhaps Fr Selman ("Does Modern Scientific Discovery Have Significant Metaphysical and Theological Implications?") might be more robust in his defence of the faith. The article seemed slightly ambiguous. Surely the very fact that we can do science at all implies that there is an intelligence underpinning the universe? After all, if we were to come upon a crossword, although we had never met the author, we would not dispute for a moment that there was one. Since we would need to use our intelligence to decode the crossword it would seem to be rather outrageous to suggest that an intelligence might not have been involved in the encoding of it in the first place. It surely would make no difference if we made mistakes in our decoding of the crossword or, even, had not yet completed it or hadto revise our answers later to make them fit in with the rest of the puzzle. In the same way, new scientific discoveries, which correct previous errors, cannot make the existence of God more or less probable.
The very fact we can do science at all suggests that the universe is intelligible and therefore that an "intelligence" is bound up with it in some form or other. Surely, this makes some form of theism inevitable. Thomas Aquinas takes a similar line when he makes the point that, if something moves intelligently (i.e. after a predictable pattern) then we can be sure that either it is intelligent or whatever is "pushing it" is intelligent.
And since everything in the universe acts according to a definite pattern (electrons whiz round the nucleus of an atom and humans desire happiness - even if they are mistaken in what they do to try and get happy - and acorn trees produce acorns) then it is safe to say that there must be an intelligence moving the universe. Even intelligent beings like humans are being "pushed" by something. Otherwise, where did they get this idea of desiring happiness from?
Vicarage Drive, Kendal
In their latest neutrino experiment with that collider gadget in Switzerland I hear that the scientists involved are forced to admit themselves completely baffled. The ultimate behaviour patterns of matter appear to be unpredictable and to depend on its relationship to whatever and whoever is around at a particular time and place. To me it is as if the angels guarding Eden had said to the scientists, "Thus far and no further!" If the collider achieves nothing else, establishing that matter is basically mysterious will have justified its expense.
This news delighted me and relieved me of the appalling prospect that "science will eventually understand everything", a common belief today. By demonstrating experimentally that, at the heart of ordinary material things, there is a mystery, a connection is made with the non-rational sciences - with theology of course, but also with an ancient art that specialises in the relation of mind and matter but is not considered worthy of attention by today's scientists. I refer to alchemy, a relevant discipline to the mind/matter question.
Without going into the validity of the alchemist's claims, the practice is as follows. The "Prima Materia" is put into a sealed vessel and placed over a gentle heat. While the stuff is simmering away, the alchemist is always nearby in intense concentration. Over a long period remarkable changes in colour and texture take place. Some modern practitioners, while not achieving the "gold" (not the actual metal) have verified that these change do take place (search for the names Fulcanelli and De Rota for some literature on it).
The point I wish to make is that, without the proximity of a powerful concentrating mind, no changes would take place in the sealed vessel. Does this have some application to all those scientists at CERN who were concentrating hard upon their own "Prima Materia"? If, instead of a lot of brainy scientists, it had been some of us mere mortals would the experiment have turned out differently? Perhaps this might be a field for further research.
Seymour Drive, Torquay
MORE EVIDENCE IN FAVOUR OF JOHN'S GOSPEL
Dear Father Editor,
In response to Hilary Shaw's letter (January) might I offer some scientific evidence in further support of Pope Benedict? This combines with secular history to verify St. John's dating of the Cleansing of the Temple.
In Antiquities, book 15 chapter 11, Josephus writes, "... Herod, in the 18th year of his reign ... undertook... to build ... the temple of God." This is confirmed as civil year 20-19 BC in the Jewish Encyclopaedia's article on "Temple of Herod". That year Passover was 29/30 March 19 BC.
According to John (2:20), Herod's temple had been "under construction for 46 years" at the time of its Cleansing by Jesus, which dates that event to Passover 30 March 28 AD - exactly 46 years later. In other words, the three Passovers mentioned in St. John (2:13; 6:4; 12:1) can be dated precisely to 28-29-30 AD, the last being one of two dates established for the crucifixion by Professor Bradley E Schaefer's scientific calculations (letters November 2011).
What should we make of this? Was the 46 a lucky guess or a sign of knowledge? Few figures are verifiable in this way. Surely, it points to the writer's concern for facts?
Totnes Walk, London