It seemed these things were popping up in multiple discussions as people like @Suzanne chased me about, so rather than continue the multiple hijacks, maybe putting them here will be more entertaining for everybody.  All I ask is that people be kind, and perhaps answer questions in turn.  These questions come from http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/mad-at-the-outcome-thought...

1. Why did you choose catholicism over all other religions?

Because it made the most sense to me on several levels.  I of course can't rule out cultural bias, since obviously I'm a westerner and Roman Christianity is culturally pervasive.  For me it was a conscious choice at some point, though I am not a convert.   Interestingly, if I were not Catholic I'd be more inclined to Judaism than the Protestant faiths.  Perhaps the shared intellectual depth of Judaism and Catholicism is a contributing factor.

2. Do you follow the decrees made by the Vatican?

The Vatican does not make "decrees".  The Holy See serves as the administrative center of the worldwide Catholic community, and we do have some administrative rules like any community (our technical term for these is "merely ecclesiastical laws").  For the rest, all we do is teach.

3. Do you agree or disagree with contraception being available to those who would choose to use contraception, if they had access?

I'm not sure why I should care.  Now sometimes when people say "being available" they mean that I should pay for it.  I think that's a different sort of question that belongs more in the realm of public policy.

4. How do you choose which parts of the bible to follow, and not follow.

We don't "follow" the Bible, we read it and refer to it, the way anyone does with a favorite book or reference text.  We try to "follow" God, perhaps, or the example of Jesus or other holy men or women, but not the Bible.  In teaching things or exploring religious ideas, we refer to a wide range of writings and experiences, including long oral tradition, writings of various scholars, journal articles, encyclicals, consensus documents, conciliar writings, etc., much like any intellectual community.

5. Is purgatory in or out, these days.

It's a theory that had moderate but not universal acceptance some centuries ago.  It's still referred to, but not anywhere near as widely as in its heyday.  So it never quite rose to the level of Newtonian Mechanics in physics in terms of acceptance as a theory, and it's perhaps fading faster, but like Newtonian Mechanics it's still referred to in some contexts. 

Tags: Bob, Catholic, Dr., Professor, Robert, Vatican, bible, purgatory, questions

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RE: "@ H3xx and Arch" or as I and Marc Poulin, the creator, see it:

Hmmm.

So your justification for the church's NOT defrocking Cardinal Law is that it's because they respected the result of the process in Massachussets.

Remember, I was asking why the RC Church continues to employ him, NOT why they haven't jailed him. Considerations of legal due process are much less relevant here.

What happened to showing moral leadership (I mean one of the jobs of the church is to do that, no?) and saying "well we can't throw him in jail but we won't continue to employ him?"  (Actually they could do so but that would be iffy, as the crimes were not committed in Vatican City.)  People routinely get fired for stuff that has not been, and/or cannot be proven in court and/or isn't even necessarily illegal.

So your justification for the church's NOT defrocking Cardinal Law is that it's because they respected the result of the process in Massachussets.

No, there are lots of things that require adherence to law and due process besides criminal proceedings.  That includes employment actions in every western nation.  Catholic canon law provides similar protections to western civil and criminal law; in fact, much law in the west was patterned after it.

While the Catholic Church is hierarchically structured in some ways, it is not in others.  The pope has some moral / ecclesiastical authority, but the pope is also just another bishop, the one that administers in Rome.  Bishops cannot be easily removed in canon law; in fact, it's about as easy as removing a federal judge in the U.S.  They are not "employed" by the Vatican.  Here in the U.S. they are typically structured as a corporation sole; essentially a one-person-led corporation over which the Holy See really has little authority. 

When men have power and few authoritative figures, corruption abounds.

"Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely;
God is all-powerful. Draw your own conclusions."

I'm very seriously considering getting that embedded into one of my stripes.

What stripes, H3xx? 

Can't take a hint, can you?

I have tiger strips going down my back, and next week I'm going to see my tattoo artist to get them extended to my shoulders. I've been toying with the idea of having my favorite quotes printed in negative inside my stripes when I get them filled. Sort of showing my true stripes and wearing my philosophy on my sleeve sort of thing.

So, you're what a lot of Catholics would call a "cafeteria Catholic."

Good question!

@Unseen, no, if you were to "type" Catholics, I would be a "traditional" Catholic, and am recognized as such by my church community. 

@kris, I am relatively certain that almost all of what I have posted would meet the requirements for nihil obstat and Imprimatur by community.   There is nothing opposed, and it can be printed as official.  I am even more certain that His Holiness and I are on the same page on this, since we have a few Jesuit acquaintances in common.   My use of language is more colloquial than some of our more officious clerics who are into formality and a bit of pomp, however.

In terms of the "average" Catholic, I'm not sure there is one!  Average in the U.S.?  Average in Nigeria?  Egad.  I wouldn't even begin to speculate. 

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