Home > Tag Archives: Doris Manly

Tag Archives: Doris Manly

August 31st, 2017

Friar Billy Ockham and the Blooming Obvious

We’ve recently returned from a visit to our families in England.

Our first stop was in Surrey, which is a most underrated county. We were in Horsley, between Guildford and Leatherhead. It’s only about 25 miles from Waterloo station, but in delightful wooded country on the North Downs. Just 100 yards from my sister’s house is a forested area, the Sheep Leas, where there is a viewing platform from where you can make out the taller buildings of London, including the Shard. They say you can see St Pauls as well, but I couldn’t make it out.

The next village to Horsley is Ockham, which has a lot to answer for. William of Ockham, a 14th-century Franciscan, was an advocate of Nominalism, the philosophical system said to have prepared the fertile soil for Martin Luther. Indeed, Luther once said that Ockham was the only  scholastic who was any good. As I’m not a philosopher, I’m not qualified to give you a proper definition of Nominalism, but I think it means that ideas don’t have any real valid existence. (Any philosophers out there, please correct me if I’m wrong.) The contrary  view, favoured by most Catholic philosophers, is Realism.

Image result for william of ockham

Er, isn’t that just Blooming Obvious?

Once on the RTE newsroom notice board I put up a flyer for Doris Manly’s Ballintrillick Review, which she described as “a magazine for Catholic Realists”. The station’s Economics Correspondent, an ardent admirer of Mao Tse-tung, scrawled  the following across my notice: “How can you be a Realist and a Catholic?”  He may have known a lot about Marxian economics, but he hadn’t a clue about either Realism or Catholicism. He thought the latter was just a crutch for brainwashed people who  couldn’t face reality. I think much the same about Marxism.

June 17th, 2017

Papal Purge of Pro-Lifers

In a week when Italian history professor Roberto de Mattei has predicted that  Pope Francis is to “revisit” Pope Paul’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, the Holy Father  has purged the  Pontifical Academy of Life of dozens of  members renowned for their fidelity to Catholic teaching. These include Australian professor John Finnis who had criticised the Pope’s encyclical Amoris Laetitia,  German philosopher Robert Spaemann—a longtime friend of Pope Benedict XVI—Englishman Dr Luke Gormally  who had asked the Pope to remove a problematical section on contraception from the preparatory document for the Synod on the Family,  and three eastern Europeans who were influenced greatly by John Paul II.

[Back in the 1990s Drs Finnis and Gormally spoke at a meeting in Maynooth and criticised in vitro fertilisation. My wife  Stramentaria covered this rather dodgy conference for the old Ballintrillick Review, and editor Doris Manly headlined her article  “Take-Away Babies with Maynooth Sauce”.]

The Pope’s 17 new appointments to the Academy include Nigel Biggar, an Anglican professor of moral and pastoral theology who has expressed support for legalised abortion up to 18 weeks, and qualified support for euthanasia; and  Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, an Italian moral theologian and professor who has openly criticized Catholic teaching on life issues, including Humanae Vitae

Last November the Holy Father  released new statutes for the Pontifical Academy for Life, in which members are no longer required to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. He also expanded the Academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment.

According to Professor de Mattei a commission has been nominated by Pope Francis to “reinterpret” Humanae Vitae in the light of his own encyclical Amoris Laetitia . Next year will see the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s condemnation of artificial contraception. The Commission has been ordered to procure from the Vatican archives the documentation on the preparatory work on the encyclical, lasting  three years.  In 1966 the “experts” delivered their conclusions to Pope Paul VI, and suggested  opening the doors to birth control. After two years of wavering, the Pope followed the perennial teaching of the Church and rejected the idea in Humanae Vitae. As the philosopher Romano Amerio said, it was the most important act of his pontificate.

The Commission is to be co-ordinated by Mgr Gilfredo Marengo, who has made it clear in his writings that he supports the view of Pope Francis that  one should “abandon models of of life derived from too abstract and artificially constructed theological ideals”.  Professor de Mattei believes this indicates that praxis rather than doctrine will be followed in this “reinterpretation” of Humanae Vitae. And he wonders whether any Catholic theologian will have the courage to declare “heresy” when faced with this reinterpretation.




March 9th, 2015

The Joseph Goebbels Award

Quite a few years ago I used to invent phony  prizes in the old Stramentarius column for people I considered to be guilty of aesthetic,  liturgical or other outrages. For instance, I recall my Genseric Award for Theoretical and Applied Vandalism—a golden power-hammer. This went to some PP or other in the West of Ireland who had wreckovated his church in a particularly hideous fashion. (Another suitable candidate would have been Bishop Éamonn Casey of Kerry for what he did to his beautiful Pugin cathedral in Killarney.)

I was quite pleased with some of these awards. But I must now yield the palm to Fr John Hunwicke of the Anglican Ordinariate (whom I frequently quote in this blog) who has invented the Joseph Goebbels Award  for the use of Sophisticated Propaganda  to Pollute the Common Culture.  Fr Hunwicke explains:

Apparently, there are Primary Schools where a (private) programme called CHIPS is in use. Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools uses brilliant methods to get its message across.∗ It retells the story of Noah’s Ark in terms of fictional animals which are left behind because they are ‘different’. Eight and nine year old children are made to ‘create a wedding scene with two princes in the front getting married’. Six and seven year olds design a dress for a ‘Princess boy’. ‘What do we think in our school about gay people getting married (we say it’s OK!).’  The plight of a transgender six year old in Colorado is to be discussed in class.

The government has issued new standards requiring that even free schools ‘actively promote’ equality of sexual orientation as specified in the 2010 Equality Act. And schools will be expected to ‘challenge’ parents who disagree. How very much like the Russia of dear Marshal Stalin, our popular wartime ally! We can envisage a future in which both Jack and Jill will be encouraged to report their parents to the Commissar if they overhear them uttering Speech Crimes!

This is all absolutely superb. Just think how totally brilliant it is. You might have supposed that children would have to be of an age to know what Sex is before they were taught to welcome Sexual Perversion. But No!!! Even before they know about penises and vaginas and their inherent functional complementarity, you can start preparing the ground for indoctrination about the desirability of making other, much more creative, uses of those organs! Get Perversion into the infant mind even before it understands Normality! It’s like using well-constructed educational courses about the simple wholesome pleasures of Embezzlement on children who have not yet been taught about Money! That distinguished member of the Lowerarchy, Mr Undersecretary Screwtape, has lost nothing of his inventive and imaginative brilliance!

I think it is clearly necessary to create, at the heart of our British honours system, a suitable recognition for those whose contribution to corrupting public perceptions and, particularly, to indoctrinating the very young (through their imaginations) so as to embrace the normality of perversion, has been particularly noteworthy. The obvious choice here of a role-model is that towering figure, Joseph Goebbels. I know what you’re going to say: we can’t make role-model of someone who laboured with such success to convince the population of an entire nation that Jews were proper objects of hatred. I agree. And I know that Enthusiastic Hatred of Judaism and Enthusiastic Acceptance of Sexual Perversion are not in any way parallel evils (a very clear difference is that the latter, happily, does not embrace the taking of human life). But what both of these causes do have in common is the poisoning of the mass imagination, the use of sophisticated propaganda to pollute the common culture, and awareness of the need to begin this process as early as possible by planting Evil in the hearts of the very young. And in all this, Goebbels was a superb, a consummate practitioner. We shall not see his like again; but we should not, for that reason, ignore what our age can learn, not from his own particular abhorrent ideology, but from his general working methodology. After all, anti-Christian ideologies come and go, and good riddance to them once they’re gone, and Nazism is, most fortunately, not the dominant ideology of our age; but the existence of perverted anti-Christian ideologies, differing from generation to generation, but always needing to be promoted, is a given.

We could have an Order of Joseph Goebbels (OJG), in which there could be the rank of Member (MJG), Companion (CJG), Knight Commander (or Dame: KCJG or DCJG), and Knight (Dames too, of course) Grand Cross of Joseph Goebbels (GCJG). Knights and Dames Grand Cross could have a pink sash to wear and, on great occasions, a pink cloak. The Church of England could provide, perhaps in Southwark Cathedral where Dean Colin Slee† toiled so devotedly, a Chapel for the Order where the GCJGs could hang their banners and have their Plates on their Stalls. Processions of the GCJGs could be integrated into Pride Week, participation in which will very soon be compulsory for all Government Employees. A popular musician who has always promoted Orientation Equality could be rewarded for his life’s work by being made Sovereign of the Order. The Prelate of the Order, in these ecumenical days, should not be required to be an Anglican Bishop.

Yes, you’re quite right, today’s is an abrasive post, with its talk about ‘perversion’; not at all in my usual emollient style. It has always been my desire to avoid any slightest risk of hurt to friends who have a homosexual inclination. But I would never use the term ‘pervert’ to apply to chaste, celibate homosexuals, because in my view someone (of whatever orientation) who lives, despite the pressures of our culture, a chaste and celibate life, is a distinctly nobler person than comfortable happily married heterosexuals like me. And I even feel more sympathy for genitally active homosexuals than for heterosexual fornicators and adulterers, since the latter, unlike the former, have been given by Providence an Estate in which those that have not the gift of continence might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s Body.

So why the change of style? Since the murder of the Paris Blasphemers, we have been so lectured by the Camerons and Hollandes and Obamas about tolerance (tolerance even of the grossest sacrileges and insults), that it seems to me that a ‘rougher’ style cannot possibly be the object of any criticism. Frankness, free speech, that is, Parrhesia, even if it hurts, is officially ring-fenced. Isn’t it? And now dear Stephen Fry has led the way in demonstrating the excellence of unrestrained Frankness. Olé, or whatever the word is!

More than 20 years ago, in  The Facilitators, Doris Manly made the same point as Fr Hunwicke . Here’s how she described  the Irish Health Education Bureau programme for training teachers in Values Clarification : “As sophisticated an instrument of intellectual corruption as our age has produced”.  For this she was taken to task by some not over-intelligent hack in—I think—the old Irish Press, who sneered at her for not appreciating how much worse Dr Goebbels’ activities  had been.  Doris pointed out patiently that the methods of  the HEB Facilitators were just as sophisticated  as those of Goebbels, but obviously not morally equivalent.

Doris maintained that a good many Facilitators were at work within Irish second-level schools:

The Facilitators in second-level schools are ‘facilitating’ our children. They seem bent upon altering the attitudes and values of the Irish people in a single generation, so that when the present school generation comes of age, the kind of laws and customs Facilitators favour will be acceptable to the majority.

It looks as if the Facilitators have succeeded in this aim only too well. Otherwise, in all seriousness, how could we have reached a situation where we are about to vote in a referendum to give legal recognition to sodomistic “marriage”?

In England,  it’s not enough to corrupt just teenagers, as has happened in Ireland.  In England, As we learn from Fr Hunwicke,  you have to get Perversion into the infant mind even before it understands normality. Surely it won’t be many years before the same thing happens here. Who’s to stop it? The Catholic bishops? Don’t make me laugh.


∗ Information from the Autumn 2014 Bulletin of SPUC, Safe at School.

† Dean Colin Slee,  an enthusiastic supporter of homosexual pseudogamy.



January 5, 2015

‘Values Clarification’ in the Anti-Life Armoury

Here’s an editorial I wrote for the Brandsma Review back in 1999.  It was written at about the time when the Irish media first stopped pretending to be impartial about life issues.

 What interesting admissions are being made these days! In our last issue, I described how the veil over the part played by Big Media in facilitating the decline of the Church in public life had been drawn back by one of their own.  John Caden, former producer of RTÉ’s Gay Byrne Show used the lurid phrases “authoritarian canker” and “twisted grip” to describe the Catholic Church’s former influence on society. The values of the media Facilitators are now so universally accepted that they can openly boast about what they had been up to.

Now, on the world scene, I learn from the prestigious journal Science how our harmless, morally-neutral old friend “values clarification” is being used to promote abortion in the Third World. Remember this technique? Doris Manly, of blessed memory, was the first person to warn the Irish public about this method of social engineering, which helps a student to “obtain the values that best suit him and his environment” (in the opinion of the Facilitators, of course!) She got small thanks for pointing out that programmes using values clarification were designed to alter the young in ways which most Irish parents would indignantly reject. Archbishop Kevin McNamara was one of the very few people in public life who took any notice, and tried (unsuccessfully, alas) to do something about it. Supporters of values clarification, including powerfully-placed clerics in the Church’s educational bureacracies, maintained the practice was quite compatible with Church teaching. Their view, unfortunately, has prevailed.

Now we have Science making exactly the same point as Doris—except that they heartily approve of using values clarification to break down moral resistance: in this case, towards the killing of pre-born humans. After calling for the integration of abortion “services” into standard health care provision in Third World countries ,the article continues:

Support , beyond simple technical training, is also critical for providers of medical abortion services. Experience with ‘values clarification’ programs in South Africa has proved beneficial in ensuring that providers are comfortable offering pregnancy termination services…Advocacy for medical abortion is essential, irrespective of the prevailing legal position regarding abortion.

The article as a whole is a call for what the authors call “safe, effective and acceptable methods of medical abortion”—by which they mean drug-induced as opposed to surgical. The pretext for this is the large number of complications attending “unsafe” surgical abortions: they admit that at one Brazilian hospital abortion-related complications accounted for 47% of maternal deaths during a nine-year period. They do not (surprise!) call for a ban on surgical abortions.

This gruesome piece, which discusses the techniques of poisoning unborn babies as though they had no more moral significance than exterminating vermin, is by Ms Wendy Ewart of the British-based “charity” the Wellcome Trust, and Ms Beverly Winikoff of the Population Council in New York.


December 3, 2014

Sex Education: a Vexed Question

The whole question of school “sex education” requires careful handling. If you’re agin it, you will probably be jeered at as a prudish Victorian relic, who covers up table legs and would like children to be told that babies are brought by  storks or are found under gooseberry bushes.

The late Doris Manly wisely pointed out that the problem is not that sex education is about sex.  When she was approached by a researcher for one of John Bowman’s RTE radio programmes, she was  careful to state that the real problem is that sex education comes as part of a package of total attitude-formation programmes taking in many areas of life, of which sex is only one.  But when it came to the actual interview, John Bowman tried to insist on confining the discussion to sex education, and was somewhat irritated when Doris refused to play along with this.

In one of her chapters in The Facilitators (Brandsma Books) Doris pointed out that such attitude formation programmes deal with several of the teenager’s important relationships: those with his parents; with his peer-group; with the clergy, and with himself.  It is significant, she believed, that some of his other relationships—such as those with God, with the saints, and with the devil—are not included, and  these omissions could be a productive subject for speculation.

In my view, the approach these programmes take to all these relationships is harmful to adolescents. Harmful to them as rational and responsible beings, and not merely as sexual beings.  These programmes would, I think, have a pernicious effect upon the teenager’s total self.

However, there is a particular problem with sex education, especially in  a mixed class. It’s that  teenagers, being combustible creatures, will want to do their practical homework–particularly if the subject is taught outside any moral framework.

Hence a shocking and distressing item carried recently by the British media. It concerned  a 13-year-old boy in North Wales who raped a female classmate after they had both attended a compulsory sex education lesson. He lured her to a secluded part of the school and asked her if she wanted to “try sex”. When she refused and resisted, he overpowered her and carried out the attack.

A spokeswoman for Rape Crisis England and Wales, the equivalent of our own much-loved Rape Crisis Centre,  admitted rather grudgingly that teenage rape by friends was  “not uncommon”. You will probably not be surprised to learn that her proposed  solution to the problem was “more and better” sex education, and at a younger age. To be fair she did also suggest that it should include “relationship advice and information about consent, respect and emotions”.  I’m inclined to agree with British Tory MP Philip Davies, who thinks  it would be better to have less sex education, or preferably none at all.

If  sex education is devoid of any strong moral component,  as it usually is, it’s  an  open invitation to fornicate. Our spiritual leaders know this perfectly well, but they are usually too full of human respect to  protest about it, for the reason mentioned in my first paragraph. It’s so much more popular to talk about homelessness.