Take Two Tablets

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 12, 2005

Fr. James Hanvey, S.J., on the need for a small-c catholic culture (from The Tablet):

We need to cultivate a truly catholic heart. It is clear that in his deep sense of the human, John Paul II sought to do this. Yet there are questions that our culture refuses to let us forget. Somehow it perceives in them the deeper issues of the heart, of truth and justice: the dignity and status of women; the pastoral need of the divorced and remarried; homosexuals who have found their voice to claim justice and dignity; the continuing cry of the victims of abuse; the devastation of Aids in Africa, where the Church’s policies still seem too Eurocentric in their concerns and approaches.

Let's just take the last of Doc Hanvey's dismayingly predictable "deeper issues," the crisis of AIDS in Africa. The Church's "concerns and approaches" lead her to focus on Africans as human beings, endowed with an intellect and a free will, and aimed at an eternal destiny. The Uni-health alternatives treat the Africans as aggregates of disease vectors -- as "dogs in heat" in Mark Steyn's phrase -- incapable of restraint and controllable only by programmed mass application of an alien technology linked to sterility. So why does the Church come up short? Her policies seem too Eurocentric.

Hanvey is director of the Heythrop Institute for Religion, Ethics and Public Life, Heythrop College, London.

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 14, 2005 5:50 PM ET USA

    For all its flowery tributes to the virtues of JPII, Hanvey's eloquence is spiritually bankrupt -- it is, rather, a shrewd, calculating political analysis of the last papacy in light of hot button issues of the current Church scene, through which Hanvey delicately yet emphatically promotes the synthesis of "democracy" and "catholic" ("demo-catholic"?). Typical for the moderate cleric who cannot intellectually stomach saintly veneration in any form.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 13, 2005 4:19 PM ET USA

    Fr. Harvey rightfully praised our holy & beloved Pope and his defense for the dignity of human life. But into this praise he carefully weaved the typical liberal mantra that John Paul was closed-minded for forbidding contraception, homosexuality & ordination of women. And why shouldn't he have had a mystical and personally spiritual understanding of his place in the history? He was the Pope! Jesus did not build a democracy. He built a Church, both physical AND mystical, on a foundation of rock.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 13, 2005 2:31 PM ET USA

    Catholicus-I wish that the vast majority were "good" priests. However, I live in Colorado Springs-here we have Bishop Sheridan AND Archbishop Chaput-2 of the handful of Priests out of THOUSANDS that have spoken up when they needed to. In the entire diocese, I only know of 3 priests (not bishops) that WANT to do what the Church teaches, regardless of whether or not they CAN do these things. I know for a fact that others are fighting the Church's position. I pray the next Pope will fight this!

  • Posted by: - Apr. 13, 2005 1:51 PM ET USA

    Here's a newsflash for the Hanveys of this world: condoms are freely available in Africa, and their use is not eschewed because of the Pope's unenlightened views. I know; I just returned from six months on the dark continent. Africa is a rotten land, full of ignorance, misery, and possessed of a culture of dependence on foreign assistance. Of course, whenever anyone starts prattling about homosexuals and their quest for "justice and dignity," I reach for my Beretta 9mm....

  • Posted by: - Apr. 13, 2005 11:16 AM ET USA

    I agree with Andy K. 100%. This article has much good to say about the papacy of John Paul II. We should be able to discuss these issues as church.

  • Posted by: Andy K - Apr. 13, 2005 8:45 AM ET USA

    I read this article differently. Fr. Hanvey seems to be praising Pope JPII, and is listing these issues as ones which the world disagrees with him and the Church. The next sentence in that paragraph staes taht we cannot remove such issues from faith. I think you've done Fr. Hanvey a great disservice.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 12, 2005 3:15 PM ET USA

    First of all I'd like to pay respect to vast majority of good priests in the Church. I can't believe that there are PRIESTS out there that have this kind of twisted sense of "progressiveness". This is more than just willful ignorance. This is not just a "disagreement" with the "current" position of the Church. It is a blatent disregard for the Gospel and the consistent teachings of the Church for the past 2000 years! It begs the question, why are they priests to begin with? It makes me sick!