"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Please Michael Coren, Just Go Away

Imagine the uproar if three years after writing The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx became a capitalist. Would those who felt betrayed be justified in criticizing him?

Three years after writing "Why Catholics Are Right", Michael Coren became a Protestant in favor of sodomy and abortion. What's even more bizarre is his incessant whining about how mean Catholics are now.

Could it be criminal to take money as a Catholic writer who left the Church unannounced? Coren spent a year speaking and writing for Catholics without having told anyone he was no longer Catholic.


false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of whatshould have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.

Fraud is commonly understood as dishonesty calculated for advantage. A person who is dishonest may be called a fraud.

Before another frivolous lawsuit threat is launched against a blogger, I am not accusing anyone of anything. However, at the very least, Coren was dishonest and deceived people for financial gain. Call that what you will. An honorable man would return the money received while misrepresenting himself.

Such deception should raise doubt in whatever position he takes on any issue going forward. What if all his research into Islam for his book "Hatred. Islam's War Against Christianity" he has a 'Road To Mecca' moment and converts to Mohammedanism? Given his track record, (Agnostic-Catholic-Evangelical-Catholic-Anglican) it wouldn't be a surprise. The only thing Coren has been consistent about is inconsistency. 

As far back as 1994 there have been criticism's of Coren's integrity. He was called a 'literary prostitute' by another writer apparently more steady in his/her convictions. 

On social media, Coren is playing the victim claiming 'right wing' Catholics are saying mean things about him. I haven't seen any evidence of such and given his record he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Even if some tweets or Facebook comments have been uncharitable, man up Michael. For someone who supposedly receives death threats for criticizing Islam it's absurd to be upset by the 'Church Of Nasty'. Maybe those death threats are as fake as his Catholicism?

What's even more absurd about this sad little man is his career has been based on being an agitator, politically incorrect, even attacking ladies for being overweight. I've always thought of a bully as someone who can dish it out but not take it. Daniel Richler said of Coren, "He loves scandal but hates it when it comes his way." 

I have two of Coren's books: "Why Catholics Are Right" and "Heresy". They have breadth but not depth. The Church hasn't lost a St. Augustine, Aquinas, or Chesterton. What his knowledge proves is an arrogant hypocrisy. It's one thing for some abortion advocate to parrot such contrived rhetoric as "My body. My choice." but quite another from someone who penned: "In fact, no right has any meaning unless it is underpinned by the most natural and essential right and that is, of course, the right to be allowed to be born." ('Heresy', pg 192).  

Coren may take pride in being a contrarian, but he also needs to admit to self-contradiction. In his one and only column for the Progressive-Catholic (a term usually used as an euphamism for dissenting or heretical) publication, Prairie Messenger, he wrote an article called the Seamless Garment a term popularized by the deceased Cardinal Bernardin. In it he officially left the pro-life camp referencing the case of a ten year old impregnated by her father in Paraguay: 

 A terrified little girl victimized by those around her and forced by a government to give birth to the child of her rapist? That is not justice, that is not life, that is not right. God must be weeping.

In 2011, Coren wrote in "Why Catholics Are Right":
"How about abortion, runs one of the most common debating points, in cases of rape and incest? These tragedies provide less than a fraction of 1 percent of the reasons for abortion, and they are mentioned by abortion advocates simple to make pro-lifers appear extreme, claiming that pro-life advocates done't care about rape victims or young girls forced into sex by a father. It's nonsense, of course, but it does help win an argument. We should ask if those who support abortion in these rare cases would oppose it when rape and incest are not the causes of pregnancy. It would in most cases be a rhetorical question. Catholics believe that life is sacred and that while compassion, empathy, and understanding are essential, we cannot punish one crime by committing another. A rapist is a criminal, his child is not. Pro-abortion activists ask this question less because they care about rape and incest bu more because they want to make the pro-life position appear unreasonable."

Coren is claiming 'right wing' Catholics and anti-abortion zealots got him fired from the Prairie Messenger. Maybe the editors compared one of his positions against another and fired him on principle. What would happen to the president of the Liberal Party if he admitted he votes for the Conservatives? Hopefully he wouldn't whine about his dismissal.

Coren's excuse for leaving the Church is the marriage debate. Apparently his position 'evolved' and once he embraced gay marriage a whole slew of other changes occurred. It will not surprise me if he runs for the Liberal Party in a federal or provincial election. His evolution may drift all the way to the NDP but say what you will about Canada's socialists, they are too principled to welcome a hypocrite like him. 

If he's being honest (who knows?) about sexual orientation being the reason he left the Church it is also his most blatant self-contradiction. Consider the following:

“Nobody believes the story of Sodom refers to consensual homosexuality any more and Jesus never mentions the subject."

"The Old Testament refers to the sin of Sodom, where God was angry at the acts of homosexual intercourse that occurred in the city and eventually destroyed it." 

Both comments are from Michael Coren, three years apart. In the first quote he goes further by claiming St Paul was talking about heterosexual men raping boys which contradicts what he had written in "Why Catholics Are Right" regarding the same subject:

"The New Testament is just as specific about homosexuality...The response from some in the gay community is that the translations are not always accurate and that Paul and his contemporaries lived at a time when we did not understand homosexuality or sexuality in general and that the modern Christian world should adapt to a post-sexual revolutionary world. Again, there is a fundamental problem of logic here."

There is also a fundamental problem of consistency with Coren. 

Compare this monologue from the defunct Sun News Network to his more recent article from the National Post regarding the explicit sex-ed curriculum imposed by the Ontario Liberal Party.

For someone who seems to relish his perch atop the intellectual superiority tree, it's amusing he now resorts to calling his critics homophobics when only a few years ago he wrote:

"Yet the word 'homophobia' is thrown around carelessly, often not to describe a bigoted and violent person who hates gay men and women but to silence anybody who has an objection to some aspect of the gay lifestyle."

What's even funnier is the old "Jesus never mentioned homosexuality" fallacy. Yes, Michael, Jesus spoke of love, but he spoke of damnation much more. Coren knows that. He also knows Jesus ate with the sinners after they repented. 

"As for Jesus not condemning homosexuality, nor did He condemn bestiality and necrophilia…But you were referring to the Bible. I was showing that Christ did indeed condemn homosexuality, as does the Old Testament, St. Paul, the church fathers and all Christianity until a few liberal Protestants in the last decades of the 20th century who, frankly, are more concerned with political correctness than truth." (Michael Coren, The Toronto Sun, 22 May 2007)

Jimmy Akin addresses this tactic well:

"The number of clichés Coren uses, both in the print interview and in its video counterpart, is remarkable.

In the video, he says that although the Church’s teaching on homosexuality was the main reason he left, “there’s more than that — some teachings on contraception and on life. There seemed to be an obsession with issues that Jesus never mentioned.”

Dude, really?

It’s hard to imagine an educated Christian honestly employing a reductionistic criterion like whether Jesus discussed a subject explicitly.

The Gospels are limited documents that record only a few thousand words of Jesus’ teachings. They can’t possibly comment on every issue of moral significance.

Jesus means us to use other resources, including the other books of the New Testament, to flesh out a moral understanding of issues that the Gospels don’t go into.

Every educated Christian should know this, so whenever anyone makes the “Jesus didn’t mention that” claim in a moral discussion, one immediately suspects that the person is either under-educated or being intellectually dishonest.

I won’t presume to judge how Coren falls with respect to those categories. It could be that he has simply never devoted a moment’s thought to the subject.

As soon as one does, though, it immediately becomes clear that you can’t dismiss the moral significance of an issue — or say it’s just up to the individual’s conscience — merely because Jesus didn’t mention it.

Two Things Jesus Never Mentioned

For example, Jesus never mentioned terrorism.

Yet I have a hard time imagining Coren arguing that it’s a matter of individual conscience whether one can kill or threaten to kill innocent people as a way of bringing psychological pressure on others in order to effect social change.

I presume he has the moral clarity needed to say that’s just wrong.

He might say — as have others — that the Church has an obsession with sexual matters that Jesus never mentioned, but, then, Jesus doesn’t offer us a comprehensive catechesis on sexual morality in the Gospels.

For example, Jesus never mentioned rape.

I certainly hope, though, that Coren would recognize that Jesus wishes us to develop our view of the moral status of rape using other information, including what can be learned from other passages in Scripture and what reason itself can teach us.

Extending the Principle

But if Jesus wishes us to do that regarding one sexual matter he didn’t mention, then we should expect to do so with other such sexual issues.

After all, we know the reason that Jesus didn’t address the issue of homosexuality in the Gospels: It’s because its moral status was not in question in his own circles.

It was not until the Christian community began to spread in Greco-Roman circles, where homosexual activity was tolerated, that the subject would need to be addressed — and so it was: in St. Paul’s epistles (Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)."

Coren has a new book soon to be released entitled, "Coming Out: A Christian’s Change of Heart and Mind over Gay Marriage" so we'll have to endure more whining, conjecture, and self-promotion. After that hopefully he'll focus on this studies at the Anglican seminary, become another obscure pastor in a dying parish and just keep to himself. Or maybe he'll become an atheist championing polygamy while running for the Green Party. Michael Coren is like a box of chocolates, just not as sweet.