Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SPQR Position Paper: On the Promotion of LGBTQ Ideology in Catholic Schools

Date: 12 December 2014, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

In Philippine Catholic universities such as De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Davao University, and Miriam College, LGBTQ groups publicly promote their ideology and lifestyle through gay pride marches with rainbow banners, conferences with pro-LGBT speakers, and posters in Facebook and social media--all without sanction from the school authorities. Recently, a male student in Ateneo de Manila University was allowed to dress as a female for the school’s yearbook photo shoot. If the school authorities do not do anything to stop all of these, Philippine Catholic schools shall end up having centers and offices for the promotion of LGBTQ ideology. This is contrary to the nature of a Catholic University as defined by Ex Corde Ecclesiae, because the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.

A. Catholic Teaching on LGBTQ

Regarding homosexuality, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

B. Catholic Teaching on the Role of Catholic Universities

On 15 August 1990, Pope John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities entitled “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” which states:
14. "In the light of these four characteristics, it is evident that besides the teaching, research and services common to all Universities, a Catholic University, by institutional commitment, brings to its task the inspiration and light of the Christian message. In a Catholic University, therefore, Catholic ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities. In a word, being both a University and Catholic, it must be both a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative"(18).

Article 2. The Nature of a Catholic University

§ 3. Every Catholic University is to make known its Catholic identity, either in a mission statement or in some other appropriate public document, unless authorized otherwise by the competent ecclesiastical Authority. The University, particularly through its structure and its regulations, is to provide means which will guarantee the expression and the preservation of this identity in a manner consistent with §2.

§ 4. Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected(46). Any official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.

Article 4. The University Community

§ 1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law(49). § 2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity. § 3. In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfil a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition(50).

C. SPQR Manifesto

We, concerned Catholics in Catholic Schools and Universities who call ourselves the SPQR (Senātus Populusque Rōmānus or the Senate and the People of Rome, originally a reference to the Roman Republic but here used to refer to the Roman Catholic Church), appeal to school authorities to reaffirm their institution’s Catholic identity:

  • Prohibit the celebration of LGBTQ Pride events in the Catholic campus 
  • Prohibit pictures of cross-dressing students in official school publications like yearbooks and newspapers 
  • Prohibit the promotion of LGBTQ events that use the name of the school 
  • Prohibit the establishment of an LGBTQ organization or office inside the campus that promotes the homosexual ideology and lifestyle 
  • Prohibit the construction of separate restrooms for LGBTQ inside the campus 
  • Help students with same-sex attraction overcome their unnatural desires and live chastely through the Campus Ministry 
  • Teach students the distinction of males and females and their associated and complementary gender roles 
  • Promote the wearing of modest clothes in campus according to one’s gender 
  • Oppose local, national, and international laws and educational policies that promote the homosexual ideology 
  • Promote traditional Catholic popular piety in campus, such as Holy Mass, Novena, Rosary, and Angelus. 


Signed:


SPQR
Senātus Populusque Rōmānus
(Senate and the People of Rome)
CafePress Our Lady of Guadalupe - Large Poster Throw Blanket - Standard
CafePress Our Lady of Guadalupe - Large Poster Throw Blanket - Standard
Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schools (Explorations of Educational Purpose)
Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schools (Explorations of Educational Purpose)
Understanding Homosexuality, Changing Schools
Understanding Homosexuality, Changing Schools
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
The Courage to Be Chaste
The Courage to Be Chaste
Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II: On Catholic Universities
Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II: On Catholic Universities
New Hope for Catholic Higher Education: Ex Corde Ecclesiae - A Lay Perspective
New Hope for Catholic Higher Education: Ex Corde Ecclesiae - A Lay Perspective

Monday, December 15, 2014

5 questions on the Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies movie that are answered in the books

A friend sent me some questions after watching the movie, The Battle of the Five Armies:
  1. Why is it called "The Battle of Five Armies" when all I can see is four (that is, Men, Orcs, Elves and Dwarves) 
  2. What happened to the "stone that crowns all", the Arkenstone, when Bilbo surrendered it to both Thranduil and Bard the Dragon-slayer? 
  3. It is clear that the remaining dwarves had still acquired Erebor. What did they do afterwards with that Ancient Kingdom? 
  4. What happened to Alfrid after scurrying away with the gold? 
  5. Why are the eagles always late at the scene? Why there are no eagles in the first place? Are the colossal eagles the police force of Middle Earth?

REPLY

I only watched the film once yesterday, so I haven't really savored many of the details.  Most of my responses will be based on the books. I'll try to be brief.

1. Why it is called "The Battle of Five Armies" when all I can see is four (that is, Men, Orcs, Elves and Dwarves) 

In the movie, the Goblins came last.  Some of them already reached the peak where Thorin battled with Azog.

In the book, the five armies are enumerated as follows:
So began a battle that none had expected; and it was called the Battle of Five Armies, and it was very terrible.  Upon one side were the Goblins and the Wild Wolves, and upon the other were Elves and Men and Dwarves.  (Hobbit, p. 281)
Notice that there were no Orcs.  But before this counting of armies, Gandalf cried to stop the battle of Elves and Dwarves:
Dread has come upon you all!  Alas!  it has come more swiftly than I guessed.  The Goblins are upon you! Bolg of the North is coming, O Dain!  whose father you slew in Moria.  Behold! The bats are above his army like a sea of locusts.  They ride upon wolves and Wargs are in their train! (Hobbit, p. 281)
 In the Hobbit book, Bolg leads goblins and his bodyguard are Goblins and not Orcs:
Day drew on.  The goblins gathered again in the valley.  There a host of Wargs came ravening and with them came the bodyguard of Bog, goblins of huge size with scimitars of steel.  (The Hobbit, p. 284)
One possible interpretation of this is that the goblins of huge size with scimitars are actually orcs.  Bilbo has no experience of Orcs, so he classifies them as Goblins in his diary, the Red Book of Westmarch  (Lord of the Rings, pp. 1026-1027).  This would match the narrative in Appendix A of Lord of the Rings:
But there was battle in Dale.  For the Orcs came down upon Erebor as soon as they heard of the return of the Dwarves;  and they were led by Bolg, son of Azog whom Dain slew in his youth.  (Appendix A, Lord of the Rings, p. 1078) 
The other possibility is that Orcs and goblins are interchangeable, as the Chapter on Uruk-hai shows:
And then suddenly they had crashed right into a group of Orcs; they were standing listening, and they did not appear to see Merry and Pippin until they were almost in their arms.  Then they yelled and dozens of other goblins had sprung out of the trees. Merry and he had drawn their swords, but the Orcs did not wish to fight, and had tried only to lay hold of them, even when Merry had cut off several of their arms and hands.  Good old Merry! (The Uruk-Hai, Lord of the Rings, p. 444) 

2. What happened to the "stone that crowns all", the Arkenstone, when Bilbo surrendered it to both Thranduil and Bard the Dragon-slayer?

This is what is recounted in the book:
Actually it was some days before Bilbo really set out.  They buried Thorin deep beneath the Mountain, and Bard laid the Arkenstone upon his breast.
"There let it lie till the Mountain falls!" he said.  "May it bring good fortune to all his folk that dwell here after!" (Hobbit, p. 292)
 3. It is clear that the remaining dwarves had still acquired Erebor. What did they do afterwards with that Ancient Kingdom?

The Hobbit book is silent on this,  But the Appendix A of Lord of the Rings states:
But Dain Ironfoot, [Thorin's] cousin, who came from the Iron Hills to his aid and was also his rightful heir, became then King Dain II, and the Kingdom under the Mountain was restored, even as Gandalf had desired.  Dain proved a great and wise king, and the Dwarves prospered and grew strong again in his day. (Appendix A, Lord of the Rings, p. 1078)
4. What happened to Alfrid after scurrying away with the gold?

He is not mentioned in the Hobbit book.  The book only mentioned "councillors" or "companions" not "councillor" or "companion":
The Master and his councillors bade them farewell from the great steps of the town-hall that went down to the lake. People sang on the quays and out of the windows.  The white oars dipped and splashed, and off they went north up the lake on the last stage of their long journey.  (The Hobbit, pp. 200-201)
The old Master had come to a bad end.  Bard had given him much gold for the help of the Lake-people, but being of the kind that easily catches such disease he fell under the dragon-sickness, and took most of the gold and fled with it, and died of starvation in the Waste, deserted by his companions. (The Hobbit, p. 305) 
 Actually. the character of Alfrid (if that is his name) was modeled after Wormtongue, the adviser of Theoden.  His refusal to go to war and his wish to go with the women and children instead are echoed in the following dialogue of Wormtongue and Eomer:
Wormtongue looked from face to face.  In his eyes was the hunted look of a beast seeking some gap in the ring of his enemies.  He licked his lips with a long pale tongue. "Such a resolve might be expected from a lord of the House of Eorl, old though he be," he said. "But those who truly love him would spare his failing years.  Yet I see that I come too late.  Others, whom the death of my lord would perhaps grieve less, have already persuaded him.  If I cannot undo their work, hear me at least in this, lord!  One who knows your mind and honours your commands should be left in Edoras.  Appoint a faithful steward.  Let your counsellor Grima keep all things till your return--and I pray that we may see it, though no wise man will deem it hopeful."
Eomer laughed. "And if that plea does not excuse you from war, most noble Wormtongue," he said, "what office of less honour would you accept?  To carry a sack of meal up into the mountains--if any man would trust you with it?" (The King of the Golden Hall, Lord of the Rings, p. 519-520)
5. Why are the eagles always late at the scene? Why there are no eagles in the first place? Are the colossal eagles the police force of Middle Earth?

The Eagles can't be in all places. Even of Gwaihir the Windlord, Gandalf said:
I sent him to watch the River and gather tidings.  His sight is keen, but he cannot see all that passes under hill and tree.  Some things he has seen, and others I have seen myself. (The White Rider, Lord of the Rings, p. 495)
The Eagles are scouts, because of their friendship with Radagast the Brown and Radagast asked their help.  As Gandalf said to Radagast:
"Send out messages to all the beasts and birds that are your friends.  Tell them to bring news of anything that bears on this matter to Saruman and Gandalf.  Let messages be sent to Orthanc." (The Council of Elrond, Lord of the Rings, p. 257)
Also, the Eagles are from Misty Mountains (The Ring Goes South, Lord of the Rings, p. 274).  If we check the maps in Lord of the Rings, , we see that the distance between the Misty Mountains to Erebor the Lonely Mountain is about 350 miles, while from Misty Mountains to Mount Doom is about 600 miles.  Now, let us assume that the Eagles fly as fast as the Nazgul's steed.  According to Gandalf:
It is two hundred leagues or more in a straight flight from Barad-dur to Orthanc, and even a Nazgul would take a few hours to fly between them. (The Palantir, Lord of the Rings, p. 599)
One league is about 3.45 miles. Two hundred leagues is about 690 miles.  The speed of an ordinary golden eagle in flight is 200 miles per hour.  If we take this as baseline, then it would take the eagles 4 hours of travel from Isengard to Baraddur or about 2 hours from Misty Mountains to Erebor.  But before they can travel, they need to gather many Eagles to form an army. But the Misty Mountains is very long, about 800 miles.  That would take 4 hours to fly along it once and another 4 hours to fly back before going to Erebor. Thus, 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 hours from Misty Mountains to Erebor and 4 + 4 + 4 = 12 hours from Misty Mountains to Mount Doom.  Thus, the Eagles always come late.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Visual Companion
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Visual Companion
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Chronicles: Art & Design
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Chronicles: Art & Design
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Special Edition)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Special Edition)
The Hobbit TM The Arkenstone TM of Thrain TM Replica Treasure by the Dwarven Longbeards Clan of the Lonely Mountain TM
The Hobbit TM The Arkenstone TM of Thrain TM Replica Treasure by the Dwarven Longbeards Clan of the Lonely Mountain TM
Azog The Orc Canvas Print / Canvas Art - Artist Paul Meijering
Azog The Orc Canvas Print / Canvas Art - Artist Paul Meijering
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Richard Armitage as Thorin 8 x 10 Poster Photo
The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Richard Armitage as Thorin 8 x 10 Poster Photo
BRAD DOURIF (Lord of the Rings) 8x10 Celebrity Photo Signed In-Person
BRAD DOURIF (Lord of the Rings) 8x10 Celebrity Photo Signed In-Person
The Bald Eagle (Welcome Books: American Symbols)
The Bald Eagle (Welcome Books: American Symbols)
The Lord Of The Rings / The Hobbit - Map Of Middle Earth - Limited Edition Metallic Dufex Movie Poster / Art Print (Size: 27" x 19.5")
The Lord Of The Rings / The Hobbit - Map Of Middle Earth - Limited Edition Metallic Dufex Movie Poster / Art Print (Size: 27" x 19.5")