Friday, March 13, 2009

Cardinal Pell: Secularism is getting totalitarian...

Cardinal George Pell of Australia has correctly noted that, "Some secularists seem to like one way streets..Their intolerance of Christianity seeks to drive it out not only from the public square, but even from the provision of education, health care and welfare services to the wider community. Tolerance has come to mean different things for different groups." His Eminence has also said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights correctly articulates the proper relationship between the individual, the family and the association and the state.

This was precisely the point I was making in my response to the persecution of Father Alphonse de Valk at the hands of the Canadian Human Rights Commission which may be found here.

This dictatorship of relativism seeks to impose its immoral agenda on Christians in the name of "tolerance." But this "tolerance" is a sham. It is simply an attempt to make an idol out of a false conception of freedom. Again, our Holy Father explains that, "..what clearly stands behind the modern era's radical demand for freedom is the promise: You will be like God...The implicit goal of all modern freedom movements is, in the end, to be like a god, dependent on nothing and nobody, with one's own freedom not restricted by anyone else's...The primeval error of such a radically developed desire for freedom lies in the idea of a divinity that is conceived as being purely egotistical. The god thus conceived of is, not God, but an idol, indeed, the image of what the Christian tradition would call the devil, the anti-god, because therein lies the radical opposite of the true God: the true God is, of his own nature, being-for (Father), being-from (Son), and being-with (Holy Spirit). Yet man is in the image of God precisely because the being-for , from, and with constitute the basic anthropological shape. Whenever people try to free themselves from this, they are moving, not toward divinity, but toward dehumanizing, toward the destruction of being itself through the destruction of truth. The Jacobin variant of the idea of a rebellion against being human in itself, rebellion against truth, and that is why it leads people - as Sartre percipiently observed - into a self-contradictory existence that we call hell. It has thus become fairly clear that freedom is linked to a yardstick, the yardstick of reality - to truth. Freedom to destroy oneself or to destroy others is not freedom but a diabolical parody. The freedom of man is a shared freedom, freedom in a coexistence of other freedoms, which are mutually limiting and thus mutually supportive: freedom must be measured according to what I am, what we are - otherwise it abolishes itself."

In the name of "tolerance," the New World Order seeks to impose its rebellion from truth on all. It will not tolerate any dissent, any disagreement. Coercion is an acceptable tool in a dictatorship. Soon, the New Order will use violence to achieve its goals and not just coercion and propaganda. In the end, every dictatorship must rely on violence in its vain attempt to hold onto power.


Anonymous said...

Bishop Martino Issues Reflection on True Meaning of "Diversity" and "Tolerance"

By Kathleen Gilbert

SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, March 6, 2009 ( - Scranton's Bishop Joseph Martino continued a streak of outspoken teaching on Catholic life and family values this week, as he issued a reflection on the real meaning of "diversity."

Bishop Martino issued the March 3 address in light of his recent injunction to Misericordia University to consider abolishing the "Diversity Institute" that invited a homosexualist speaker to the school last month. The bishop noted that a great deal of student and community feedback objecting to Martino's injunction praised the Institute's work advancing harmony among different races and cultures.

Such goals are worthy, said Martino, and "All people of good will should work toward these ends." However, "precisely because it [Misericordia] is a Catholic institution, it also has a responsibility to transmit Catholic teaching to its students in ways that are not ambiguous or confusing."

Martino reiterated a previous address to the college in which he stated that "viewpoints that are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching should not be presented under the guise of 'diversity,'" due to an ensuing impression "that these viewpoints are acceptable, or that all morality is relative."

The bishop elaborated: "As Catholics, we must distinguish between authentic tolerance and an 'anything goes' mindset. For example, would the Diversity Institute be justified in hosting a speaker who believes the Holocaust is a myth? Or one who believes slavery is okay because certain people are inferior? ... There are people out there who actually believe this nonsense, and they would be perfectly willing to come to the campus to tell you why.

"Their views are certainly 'diverse,' but does that qualify them to be given a platform in the name of tolerance? Or should they be allowed to make a presentation without any retort from the Catholic perspective?"

On the contrary, said Martino, Catholics recognize that "there is an objective, moral Truth - given to us by Jesus Christ. This Truth is timeless, and it cannot be altered by the shifting tides of popular culture." If we are not rooted in this truth, he said, we risk acceding to the modern "dictatorship of relativism" as described by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - an ideology that "recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the 'I' and its whims as the ultimate measure."

"As the Bishop, it is not only my right, but my obligation to ensure that authentic Catholic teaching is being provided in all Catholic institutions in this Diocese, and that viewpoints in opposition to this teaching are not being presented as acceptable alternatives," Martino affirmed.

Martino clarified that he disapproved of the homosexualist speaker Keith Boykin "not because of his sexual orientation, but because he is a well known proponent of morality that is disturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching ... Furthermore, no presentation was made to balance Mr. Boykin's viewpoints with the teaching of the Catholic Church."

The bishop added that it was "regrettable" that Misericordia did not respond to his call for evidence that the school teaches true Catholic morality regarding sexuality, and again exhorted the school to fulfill its identity as a Catholic institution of higher learning.

Martino concluded with a postscript "to those who criticize me for taking public stances that may not be popular or "politically correct," or may not agree with their own personal notions of what "progressive" Catholic doctrine should be.

"My job as a Bishop is to promulgate the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church to all the faithful. I will continue to do so."

To see Bishop Martino's full statement, go to:,2009.asp

Anonymous said...

Is Tolerance a Virtue?
Lay Witness (Nov/Dec 2005): 14-15.

Tolerance, of itself, is not a virtue.

There are two kinds of tolerance. One is rooted in skepticism, the other in respect for truth and the dignity of others. We might refer to the first kind as pseudo-tolerance, the second as genuine tolerance.
The great Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain has stated that “the man who says: ‘What is truth?’ as Pilate did, is not a tolerant man, but a betrayer of the human race.” There is genuine tolerance, he goes on to say, when a person is convinced of a truth, but at the same time recognizes the right of others who deny this truth to speak their own mind. Such tolerance is respectful of other people and recognizes that they seek truth in their own way and may one day discover the truth they presently contradict, given their natural intellectual capabilities that are ordered to truth.

The person who is genuinely tolerant does not turn his back on truth, as did Pilate, nor does he disparage others for not having already found it. He retains his commitment to truth and respect for others as he lives in the hope that they, in their own individual way, will finally come to honor the truth that, for whatever reason, has eluded them.

Pilate’s view makes it clear that if we do not know any truth, we should be tolerant of anything. But such a “tolerance” is based on intellectual bankruptcy. Christ makes it clear that the truth will make us free (see Jn. 8:32). This freedom allows us to hold fast to truth while patiently tolerating the actions of others who are still seeking it.

The distinction between pseudotolerance and genuine tolerance is critical because the former is often mistaken for the latter. This mistake leads to a radical devaluation of the importance of truth, especially truth of a moral nature. Consequently, a person may be accused of being “intolerant” simply because he holds to a truth, such as the iniquity of abortion or the disordered nature of homosexual acts.

When pseudo-tolerance, severed from any relationship with truth, reigns supreme, it is elevated to the exalted, if unwarranted, stature of being a first principle. Therefore, people will say, “Who knows what is true or false, right and wrong? Let us all be tolerant.” Nonetheless, as is only too evident in the world today, these disciples of Pontius Pilate can be utterly intolerant of anyone who takes a position that is anchored in truth. Pro-choice people, whose position is based on nothing but choice itself, are not tolerant of pro-life people whose position is based on the intrinsic value of all human beings.

At the same time, it is important to recognize the limitations of tolerance, even in its most genuine form. Tolerance is a secondary phenomenon. It is a response to something that preceded it. People often ignore what initially transpired and urge others to be tolerant of it. Yet, it is critical to understand the moral nature of what took place first. It is preposterous, in the true sense of the word (prae + posterius = putting “before” that which should come “after”), to make tolerance a first principle and demote the initial action to a place of secondary importance.

In addition, tolerance does not advance the situation to its natural point of completion. An artist should not “tolerate” an incomplete work of art, for example, but finish it. Tolerance is not progressive. It is a status quo strategy. Vatican II pointed out that separated Christians need something more positive and dynamic than tolerance in order to advance to the truth that frees them from their divisions. Tolerance puts people in a state of moral suspension.

Tolerance, of itself, is not a virtue. Pseudo-tolerance that is founded on ignorance, cowardice, or apathy is actually a vice. In order for tolerance to avoid being a vice, it must be founded on a positive regard for truth and an abiding love for others. Genuine tolerance owes its genuineness to its association with virtue (especially love, prudence, and courage). But as mere “tolerance,” it is too broad and acontextual a notion to be classified as a virtue.

Presently, we hear equally loud voices proclaiming the need for both complete tolerance and zero tolerance. The secular position on tolerance is simply incoherent. Society is currently reeling from “tolerance confusion” (an essentially intolerable state) because it continues to ignore the fundamental question of truth. The first question we should ask is not “How can I be more tolerant?” but “How can I come to know the truth?”

Christ came into the world to help us answer the second question.

Donald DeMarco is Professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT and Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome's University in Waterloo Ontario. He also continues to work as a corresponding member of the Pontifical Acadmy for Life. Donanld DeMarco has written hundreds of articles for various scholarly and popular journals, and is the author of twenty books, including The Heart of Virtue, The Many Faces of Virtue, Virtue's Alphabet: From Amiability to Zeal and Architects Of The Culture Of Death. Donald DeMarco is on the Advisory Board of The Catholic Educator's Resource Center.

Anonymous said...

There have been many comments left at the Union Leader article titled "NH residents losing their religion." This one sums up the anti-Christian intolerance:

"It's good to see that Americans are finally coming out of the dark ages and letting go of superstition."

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Michelle, invite the person who wrote that comment to visit this Blog and to provide us with his/her argument against belief in God. If Christianity is so irrational, why have so many brilliant minds accepted it? A short list: Paul, John, Augustine, Aquinas, Anselm, Bonaventure, Scotus, Luther, Calvin, Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz, Berkeley, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Lincoln, Pasteur, Kierkegaard, Shakespeare, Dante, Chesterton, Lewis, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Tolkien, da Vinci, Michelangelo, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Milton, Spenser, and Bach.

I think I can say with the utmost confidence that the individual who wrote that comment could not hold a candle (intellectually speaking) with any of these giants.

If ever there were a "Dark Age," it is our own.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Anonymous, thanks for the article on tolerance. To put it simply, tolerance is for external conduct, not the mind. The mind cannot tolerate error for an instant.

Michael Cole said...

And speaking of intolerance, I left a comment at the Union Leader regarding the article but it has not been published. There are plenty of anti-Christian comments though. Somehow those made it through.

Anonymous said...

Secularists can be the most intolerant people you'll ever meet. Comments posted at The Union Leader only serve to prove this fact.

Anonymous said...

Coercively "Tolerant"
by Kathy Shaidle
The Catholic World Report
November 2008

[Kathy Shaidle reports on the Canadian Human Rights Commissions and their ability to operate outside the criminal justice
system to enforce a politically-correct]

It was January 2005, and the "debate" over gay "marriage" had been settled in typical Canadian fashion: according to the nation's academic and media elites — and even some "conservative" politicians — opponents of the new "same sex marriage" laws were just unsophisticated, hate-filled bigots; meanwhile, millions of ordinary citizens with traditional values silently fumed, terrified of being labeled "homophobes."

They had good reason to fear.

Outspoken Calgary Bishop Fred Henry issued a pastoral letter on the matter that month, which reiterated Church teaching on marriage, and stated the unvarnished if politically incorrect truth.

"Contrary to what is normally alleged," he wrote, "the primary goals in seeking legalization of same-sex 'marriage' are not the financial or health or inheritance or pension benefits associated with marriage . . . The goal is to acquire a powerful psychological weapon to change society's rejection of homosexual activity and lifestyle into gradual, even if reluctant, acceptance."

As proof, Bishop Henry noted that, "18 months after same-sex 'marriage' arrived in Canada, more than 95% of adult Canadian gays have chosen to ignore their new legal right." Having loudly insisted upon their "right" to marry, and crudely demonizing their opponents in the process, few Canadian homosexuals subsequently bothered to tie the knot.

Bishop Henry is no stranger to controversy. The previous year, Customs and Revenue (the nation's version of the IRS) scolded him by telephone for denouncing then-Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, a "devout Catholic" who nevertheless supported abortion and gay "marriage." The Agency even asked Bishop Henry to remove his open letter to Martin from the diocesan Web site. Henry refused.

So he had reason to suspect that his pastoral letter would cause a brief stir if the secular establishment caught wind of it.

What happened next dumbfounded even some of Bishop Henry's ideological opponents: he received a summons to appear in court.

Except the court wasn't a real court at all, but the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal.

An Orwellian Alternative Universe

Canada's Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) exist at the provincial and federal levels, and were established in the 1970s to address case-by-case discrimination in housing and employment. However, HRC tribunals later began intimidating citizens who declined to embrace then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's new vision of Canada: multicultural and pacifist; coercively "tolerant"; anti-tradition, anti-family and anti-life.

Sean Murphy of the Catholic Civil Rights League describes one notorious HRC case, in which, "a Christian printer [Scott Brockie] is ordered to produce business cards and letterhead for an organization that promotes pro-pedophilia essays, is fined $5,000 for having refused to do so and is left with $40,000 in legal bills for daring to defend himself."

The HRCs operate outside the criminal justice system in an Orwellian alternative universe. Taxpayers pick up the tab for the complainant's legal fees, which merely encourages "victims" to file mischievous complaints; the accused must pay for their own defense, and many simply can't afford to. (Legal aid doesn't cover HRC cases; remember, they fall outside the jurisdiction of the official justice system.)

Traditional rules of evidence and due process don't apply in Canadian Human Rights tribunals. Truth is no defense. As Paul Tuns explained in the Canadian pro-life newspaper The Interim (February 2008), "hearsay evidence is permitted, hearings can be held in secret, the accused usually do not face their accusers, and, most important, the presumption of innocence so vital in our common law tradition is suspended as the accused must prove their innocence."

Double and even triple jeopardy is commonplace. (Consider world famous columnist Mark Steyn, who this year faced charges of "flagrant Islamophobia" in three jurisdictions at the same time.) Property, such as a defendant's computer, can be seized without a warrant and kept for "a reasonable length of time." (It doesn't help that Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn't recognize the right to private property in the first place.)

Some HRC decisions have forced defendants to apologize to their accusers, even though the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that schoolgirl rapist, torturer and murderer Paul Bernardo — arguably the most despised man in the country — isn't obligated to apologize to his victims' family; that, the Court ruled, would constitute "cruel and unusual punishment."

The HRCs boast a Stalinist 100 percent conviction rate: no one so charged has ever been found "not guilty" of uttering "hate speech" — defined in Section 13.1 of the Human Rights Act as any comment "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt." Note that magic word: "likely."

In other words, if the "offensive" words might, some day in the future, possibly expose some unknown individual to "hatred or contempt" — neither of which is clearly defined — the verdict is guilty. Canada does recognize violent hate crimes in criminal law, yet, weirdly, no one punished by the HRCs has been subsequently found guilty in a real court of a tangible, real-world hate crime.

The system is science fiction come to life — "thought crime" meets "future crime" — and it is enshrined in Canadian law. Others have called it Monty Pythonesque.

Kangaroo Courts

Except Canada's Human Rights Commissions aren't amusing to those caught in their grasp. As his mischievous speeches and op-eds demonstrate, Ezra Levant has indeed kept his sense of humor despite spending two years and $100,000 to defend himself for the "crime" of reprinting the notorious "Danish Mohammed" cartoons in his (now defunct) magazine. But few Canadians dragged before these kangaroo courts possess Levant's Rolodex of powerful friends, or his daunting fundraising and public relations acumen.

Of course, Bishop Fred Henry wasn't a friendless, anonymous victim, either. His case was settled in short order. After mediation between himself and his accuser, gay activist Norm Greenfield, Bishop Henry abided by a confidentially agreement and declined to discuss details of the settlement.

"But the confidentiality agreement did not stop Greenfield from spouting off to the media," reported, "especially since, as he says, that's what the complaint was all about. 'What I wanted to do is bring the issue [of gay 'marriage'] to the media. There really is no other platform to do this, with the media selective in what sort of discussions they want to hear and the lack of public forums in the city for people like myself to go on and talk about this issue,' Greenfield told reporters after the meeting."

It was an odd assertion, given that same-sex "marriage" had indeed been discussed (opponents would say "promoted" ad nauseum) on talk shows and news broadcasts, as well as in every mainstream newspaper in the country, for months on end. added, "The fact that the complaints, taken seriously by the human rights commission, caused substantial stress to Bishop Henry, faithful Christians and freedom lovers across the country, does not seem to have entered the equation for Mr. Greenfield or the commission. Moreover, the defense has cost the diocese and its contributors thousands of dollars."

Not surprisingly, Bishop Henry is one of the nation's most vocal critics of the Human Rights Commission regime, which is now an international embarrassment thanks to high-profile cases like his and Levant's. (For example, the American Political Science Association is threatening to relocate its 2009 meeting, currently scheduled for Toronto, to protest the HRCs' draconian trampling of free speech — a move that would cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tourist revenue and taxes.)

Earlier this year, Bishop Henry again called on Alberta premier Ed Stelmach to repeal Section 13's dubious "likely" clause.

"Each judgment emanating out of our various human rights commissions," he wrote, "seems to be more brazen and bizarre than the one that preceded it. However, for inane stupidity and gross miscarriage of justice our own Alberta Human Rights Tribunal deserves to take first prize for its treatment of Stephen Boissoin."

Boissoin, a youth pastor, was fined $7000 and, incredibly, banned for life from ever quoting Bible verses condemning homosexual acts. This, after a local newspaper published his letter to the editor criticizing the "radical gay agenda."

Bishop Henry also condemned an Ontario HRC ruling against the evangelical charity Christian Horizons, which cares for persons with special needs. The organization was fined $23,000 after firing an employee who had signed its morality code then violated the code by moving in with her lesbian lover.

Meanwhile, back in 2005, the British Columbia HRC fined the Knights of Columbus for refusing to rent their Port Coquitlam hall for a lesbian "wedding" reception.

The Case of Catholic Insight

Bishop Henry, along with Ezra Levant and the nation's informal network of conservative and libertarian online "bloggers," has also publicized the case of Fr. Alphonse de Valk, who edits the magazine Catholic Insight.

In December 2006, Fr. de Valk received a complaint filed by gay activist Rob Wells, through the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Levant (who happens to be Jewish) has repeatedly described Wells as "the Canadian Fred Phelps" and "an anti-Catholic bigot in Edmonton who has made a habit of harassing school children and little old ladies outside St. Joseph's Basilica."

According to Levant and others, Wells "actually dresses his vehicle with anti-Christian hate messages, equating Catholics with Nazis, and drives around looking for people to offend." Even many gay activists have condemned Wells' antics.

Apparently equipped with no sense of irony, this same Rob Wells brought a "hate speech" complaint against Catholic Insight. "The nine-point complaint," according to The Interim, "listed fragments of columns and news published in the magazine dating back to 1994 that are alleged to have caused offence to homosexuals. Wells did not provide any context, nor any reference even to the editions of the magazine from which the supposedly offending passages were taken."

Fr. de Valk explains that Catholic Insight simply reports on current events through the lens of Church teaching. But in Canada today, de Valk notes, "there is an official view of certain issues; certain politically correct pieties must never be questioned and if that line is not toed, private citizens can utilize state-run institutions to silence and even punish those with dissenting views."

So far, Catholic Insight has spent well over $20,000 to defend itself, with no end in sight. (Remember: taxpayers pay Well's legal bills.)

At the same time, another gay activist is campaigning to have Catholic Insight stripped of its Heritage Canada Publications Assistance Program. This funding keeps the majority of Canadian magazines financially viable, by reducing their postage costs.

Unlike most Canadian magazines, Maclean's (the nation's oldest newsweekly) is run by a huge multi-media corporation. When they and their star columnist, Mark Steyn, were hit by a three-way HRC complaint by a radical Muslim group (citing Steyn's "hateful" articles about Muslim immigration to Western nations), they hired the best legal team available. Meanwhile, Steyn (who calls himself "a one man global content provider") set about skewering the absurdities of his case for his devoted international readership. And absurdities were thick on the Vancouver ground. When Steyn's case was heard this spring in British Columbia, some comments posted at a popular Catholic Internet site based in the United States, Catholic Answers, were read into evidence against him.

The bizarre development was reported by Pete Vere for the Web site Catholic Exchange in an article entitled "Catholicism — A Hate Crime in Canada?":

The alleged poster [of the message], who is an American writing from America, was commenting on an article written by Mark Steyn — a Canadian author who now lives in New Hampshire. The tribunal accepted this posting as evidence that Steyn promoted 'hatred'.

Imagine that! Canada's human rights tribunals are now attempting to prosecute a case against an American resident, based upon what an American citizen allegedly posted to a mainstream American Catholic website. What passes for mainstream Catholic discussion in America is now the basis for a hate complaint in Canada.

Not a few angry Catholic Answers chat room regulars were outraged at the implication that agents of a foreign country were monitoring their online communication.

Canada's small community of religious publishers is watching the Steyn case with interest as well. After all, the Muslim complainants are demanding that the government force Maclean's to print their self-penned rebuttal to Steyn's piece — essentially 5,000 words of Islamist propaganda — completely unedited and unvetted, even by in-house defamation lawyers. If successful, this unprecedented demand would thereafter force Catholic media to carry gay rights or pro-abortion propaganda, or even anti-Catholic screeds. (Incidentally: Because Christians are still a "privileged" numerical majority in Canada, and not an ethnic, cultural or sexual minority group, they are barred from filing HRC complaints.)

Fortunately, a Human Rights tribunal in another jurisdiction declined to hear the case against Maclean's, but issued a troubling statement explaining why. As Joe Sinasac, editor of Toronto's Catholic Register, editorialized:

The Ontario commission decided it was not allowed by law to investigate the complaint as it has no jurisdiction over the content of articles in the media. That should have been the end of the matter. But not for [OHRC chief Barbara] Hall and her commission.

Instead, Hall went on to, well, essentially issue a verdict on the complaint. She described the article in Maclean's 'and others like it' as examples of racism and Islamophobia . . .

This is a shocking statement for a supposedly disinterested public adjudicator to make on a contested issue . . . Those who believe strongly in religious freedom should be equally concerned about freedom of speech. Both are under serious attack in Canada in 2008.

As we have seen, in today's Internet age, the biased, anti-Catholic decisions of Canada's Human Rights Commissions impact American Catholics as well. And the system is no respecter of persons — even bishops and priests are targets. Americans have their own burgeoning anti-Christian "Human Rights" bureaucracy to contend with. But with luck, they will learn a lesson from their neighbors to the north and start fighting back while they still can.

Kathy Shaidle, along with Pete Vere, has co-authored a new book about Canada's Human Rights Commissions called The Tyranny of Nice: How Canada Crushes Freedom in the Name of Human Rights (and What It Means for Americans).

Anonymous said...

Cardinal George warns US heading toward despotism, urges Catholics to lobby for conscience protection

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
March 16, 2009
(Hat-tip to Catholic World News)

Warning that the Obama administration’s proposed removal of conscience-protection regulations for health care workers “would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism,” Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged Catholics to contact the Department of Health and Human Services before the administration makes its final decision. “We therefore need legal protection for freedom of conscience and of religion-- including freedom for religious health care institutions to be true to themselves,” Cardinal George said.

See complete text "Cardinal George Urges Catholics to Tell Administration: Keep Conscience Protections for Health Care Workers" at

See Cardinal George's statement "Keep Conscience Protections for Health Care Workers" on YouTube at

Also see the USCCB's "Protecting Conscience Rights in Health Care: Our Voice is Needed!" (includes e-mail link to Dept. of Health and Human Services) at

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