Friday, February 24, 2006

Voice Of The Faithful

Last Sunday's St. Al's bulletin [pdf, p. 4] had this item.
Ken Smits, OFM Cap., will speak on Patriarchy, Clericalism and the People of God, on Saturday, February 25, 9:00AM-Noon, at St. Matthias Parish, 9306 W. Beloit Road. Father Smits will present an analysis of shifting relationships in the uneasy house called Church. Time will be allotted for expression of views and to ask questions

Smits last spoke to the local VOTF chapter on May 14, 2005. If you go, be careful during the "expression of views." Last time, an audience member expressed the view that Smits' presentation undermined Church teaching on contraception. Smits refuted this with his poor dead mother who, he said, suffered due to that teaching.

To see how the poor dead mother refutation works, here's another variation in Father Richard John Neuhaus's account of A Spot of Unpleasantness in a debate with Peter Singer.

In my opening presentation, I suggested that Singer's claim to "neutrality," to representing the rationality of "the disinterested observer," was a kind of "view from Nowhere," and I pointed out that nobody actually lives in Nowhere. In this connection, I referred to the public discussion of Singer's very preferential treatment of his mother. I said he was to be commended for what he did, but that it is a cockeyed ethical theory that is embarrassed by a son's caring for his elderly mother. Prof. Singer very sharply, one might say rudely, interrupted my presentation, protesting that I was invading his privacy, that his mother had recently died, and that the New Yorker article misrepresented his views. I was quite taken aback and apologized for any offense given, while noting that I thought he had made the subject a matter of public discussion, and that it did drive to the heart of his rule that none counts for more than one. But his appeal to his privacy and bereavement did score him points, as indicated by applause from much of the audience.


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