The Catholic church is throwing itself a shindig in Australia called "World Youth Day" which, in keeping with the typical logic of True Believers is a six-day event. That ought to make it "World Youth Week," but if old men in dresses who know everything tell you that a week is a day then you'd better believe it or fry in The Bad Place, buddy.
It's a big deal to the Vatican types, signified by their dispatch of Cardinal Schönborn, that particularly creepy Archbishop of Vienna, to the event to "moderate" debate on the meaning of life. From Catholic News Agency:
Cardinal Schönborn to moderate debate on creation and evolution at WYDGee, I wonder how that will go?
Sydney, Jun 30, 2008 / 06:18 pm (CNA).- The organizers of World Youth Day 2008, which will be held July 15-20 in Sydney, are preparing a debate on creation and evolution which will be moderated by Cardinal Cristoph Schönborn of Vienna.
WYD Coordinator and Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney said, "This is a time for the youth of the world to come together and discuss the critical challenges and issues facing society today." Other issues to be discussed include the correct meaning of sexuality, the millennium objectives, the true role and identity of women, among others.
There will be total of 450 events during WYD, with more than 100 ecclesial movements present to provide young people information on vocations to different ministries within the Church.
EVER since 1996, when Pope John Paul II said that evolution (a term he did not define) was 'more than just a hypothesis,' defenders of neo-Darwinian dogma have often invoked the supposed acceptance -- or at least acquiescence -- of the Roman Catholic Church when they defend their theory as somehow compatible with Christian faith. "But this is not true. The Catholic Church, while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth, proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things. Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense -- an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection -- is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.I'm sure he'll have an open mind and encourage all points of view on the matter. He is, after all, a scientist. OK, he doesn't have a degree in anything other than philosophy or theology and he's never set foot in a laboratory and probably wouldn't know a Jukes-Cantor Model from a plasmid, but he says that he's a scientist, and you'd better believe him or you're going to The Bad Place, buddy.
— Schönborn in The New York Times, July 7, 2005
...I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained. In the citations given above, it is unequivocally the case that such have been violated. When science adheres to its own method, it cannot come into conflict with faith. But perhaps one finds it difficult to stay within one's territory, for we are, after all, not simply scientists but also human beings, with feelings, who struggle with faith, human beings, who seek the meaning of life...We? Who is this "we"? If Schönborn is a scientist then I must be the Archbishop of Vienna.
— Schönborn's First Catechetical Lecture for 2005-2006, October 2, 2005
This isn't just about science, though. The Vatican is going to steer conversation (read: reveal to the True Believers) the "correct meaning of sexuality" and "the true role and identity of women," too. See, people who actually have sexual relationships and women can't determine these things for themselves. No, it takes an old celibate man to tell us what sexuality and femininity mean. And if you don't believe him, you're going to The Bad Place, buddy. It's not like we get to create the meaning of our own lives. There's an official position on all of this stuff endorsed by an even creepier, even older man who — before I forget to mention it — has superpowers that make him infallible in his opinion on what your gender and sex life mean. The Archbishop of Vienna is just the messenger. He hasn't achieved Perfect Creepiness yet, though he's likely well on his way. One of these days the Archbishop will be greeted in Rome with a puff of white smoke.
While such a little cloud of particulate matter while never usher me into St. Peter's, I'll venture a couple of opinions of my own that I'm sure won't be given expression under Uncle Creepy's tutelage in Sydney. Keep in mind that I'm one of those "neo-Darwinian dogmatists" who insists on testable hypotheses and empirical evidence and other crazy things that don't fit well with religious doctrine as a whole. I won't even bother with the evolutionary piece; "scientist" Schönborn has already told us what he thinks about the scientific method. One might as well ask their plumber to perform heart bypass surgery as put an iota of credence into his ideas on the matter.
I had no idea that women had a "true role and identity." I've always figured they were simply people free to make their own choices and create their own meaning in their own lives. If I'd known that they were all superheroes with secret identities I might have done things a little differently in my relationships, I suppose. I just hope that LL doesn't decide to turn her fearsome heat-vision upon me when she returns from overseas. As far as I'm concerned, though, the "true role and identity" of women isn't any different from "the true role and identity" of men. While the Holy Creeps would prefer them to be baby factories or celibate nuns, they don't have to be. Perhaps a more honest phrasing here would have been "what we want the role and identity of women to be."
The correct meaning of sexuality is whatever we make it as individuals, too. Barring affliction by psychological disorders that blow its importance out of proportion (phobia leading to celibacy, for example, or it's apparently close cousin pedophilia), sexuality is one small aspect of the totality of a human life that has no more intrinsic meaning to it than do our preferences in food or garb. It isn't that important in the larger scheme of things. How it is expressed is a matter to be decided by one or more consenting individuals. It only becomes an issue when either people or the sky-pixies they invent try to peel back the curtains and stick their noses in our bedrooms which, for someone like Schönborn, is practically a full-time job.
I guess I'm going to The Bad Place, buddy. I'm about as concerned over the possibility as I am about the latest NASCAR results.