Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lucia Len Brown interview with Gay NZ

I have nothing against Len Brown. He's not mayor of my city. I don't even know the man. However, when a public figure, such as Mr Brown comes out with the word "Catholic" and seeks to redefine it, I feel I must say something. If only to set the record straight.

At some point very recently, Len Brown gave an interview to a GayNZ writer. Twice, it appears, he emphatically stated he was Catholic. The first time he states is a "proud Catholic". The second looks like a question on diversity. Not sure exactly what the question was, as there is no mention of it, and so it's only implied. But here is his answer:
On diversity

"I'm a staunch Catholic," Brown again points out. "But I am from the liberal side. And I am very aware and sensitive to people making their own choices about their life. And I'm totally respectful of that.

"You can make your own choice totally," he adds. "I've got nothing more to say. It's the 21st Century."
He's a staunch Catholic. Staunch means loyal and committed in attitude. Yet, he belies that statement with qualifying that he is from the "liberal side". There is no liberal side.

Liberal actually means those that consider themselves Catholic, but don't actually follow what the Church teaches. So, they might not go to Mass every Sunday as required. They might not believe abortion is wrong. They might not believe in Hell, preferring to believe that everyone goes to Heaven when they die.

Liberal is code for pick and choose Catholic, or the more common term: Cafeteria Catholic. 

If you are a Cafeteria Catholic, you're probably a heretic. Heretics cannot by definition be staunch, except, I suppose, to their heresy.  So, I'm going to take the Catholic label with a grain of salt, as it seems (sadly) that I have to for many of our NZ "Catholic" politicians.

Related link: Half an hour with the man of power ~ Gay NZ

23 comment(s):

Redbaiter said...

Brown is a Progressive.

Progressives are not anything other than Progressives.

And liars.

scrubone said...

see also...

Muerk said...

Every time I read or hear "I'm Catholic but..." I wince. Why can't people just be Catholic no buts about it.

- Muerk

Seán said...

Lucyna said: Liberal actually means those that consider themselves Catholic, but don't actually follow what the Church teaches. So, they might not go to Mass every Sunday as required. They might not believe abortion is wrong. They might not believe in Hell, preferring to believe that everyone goes to Heaven when they die."

Really? Have you got a link for this nonsense?

Even within the clergy and hierarchy there are differing takes and perspectives on a whole host of topics relating to the church, canon law, even interpretations of scripture, etc. Some views are undoubtedly universal (like abortion), but even how a parish priest runs his Sunday mass can be coloured "liberal" or "conservative". Pretty sure the ones who take a more liberal view:
- attend mass every Sunday
- believe abortion is wrong
- believe in the existence of hell

Lucia Maria said...


Not everything is discovered by links. A lot of it is by personal experience.

Seán said...

I know, I know. Think of it as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment to illustrate the absurdity of defining the liberal elements in the church by those criteria.

What you defined is probably somewhat more like "non-Christian".

Lucia Maria said...


I once sat through a talk by Joy Crowley to a group of parents to first communicants as part of a sacramental programme. She would define herself as a Liberal Catholic, I'm sure. And from what she was saying on that night, she sounded far more New Age than Christian.

I didn't keep my notes - they were awful. I don't remember too much of what she said (I tried to purge my mind of most of it), but I do remember she actively disliked reverts, such as myself (we're far too old-style Catholic) and was really into Depak Chopra's Jesus.

Total heretic, basically, but feted as a great Catholic by certain liberal circles.

Seán said...

"but feted as a great Catholic by certain liberal circles."

Never heard of her myself, and Google didn't help. Can't be that great.

I.M Fletcher said...

It's Joy Cowley

Seán said...

The NZ children's book writer?! And "feted as a great Catholic by certain liberal circles."?! Oh dear...

I.M Fletcher said...

Sean, yes, that Joy Cowley. She also writes spiritual books, and books of poems such as Aotearoa Psalms etc.

If you go to her website, you can see some of the Christian talks she has given. And yes, I have heard that she is very liberal.

Lucia Maria said...

Thanks, Fletch.

Not a fan, myself, and now avoid her children's books for my kids since hearing her speak.

Lucia Maria said...


Aotearoa Pslams is bad. We were given a copy as a gift after Mr Maria completed his RCIA. It's been turfed, and I wouldn't even want to pass it onto anyone else.

Seán said...

So just to get it straight, what you're saying is that Joy Cowley, a children's book author based in Wellington, NZ, is your model example because:
(a) Joy doesn't attend mass every Sunday
(b) Joy believes abortion is right
(c) Joy believes no one goes to hell,
(d) Joy believes she is a Catholic, and
(e) Joy is the poster girl for "certain liberal circles" (any international ones by the way or are we limited to Mother's tupperware parties in the capital?)

And even if all 5 boxes are ticked, then congratulations, you have found one looney fitting that warped definition. Any more? Or do you still believe it is a fair definition for the more liberal side of the Church and it clergy and members?

Lucia Maria said...


I don't know what Joy believes about a or b. Likely c and d are true. Don't know about e, though I do know she is well regarded in liberal circles.

The thing is, I have come across many liberals in the Church since I've come back. I do my best to forget each one's particular things they refuse to believe. I'm not always successful.

Can you understand that the list I gave were examples of what a person who decides what they will and won't believe might choose? All of those are what liberals I know personally have chosen, though maybe not all of the list at once.

That's what Liberals do, they decide themselves what they will and won't believe.

I've met a number who are for married priests. Some of those see nothing wrong with the idea of women priests. I've watched priests hand out hosts early so the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist can stand there and pretend to con-celebrate the Mass (normally women).

They don't all have the same beliefs. But again, what they do have in common is that they themselves decide what they will believe, and see nothing wrong with remaining Catholic even though their beliefs and practices are hardly Catholic at all.

Len Brown, getting back to the post identifies as a Liberal and infers that it doesn't matter if a person chooses to have sex with those of the same sex. There's another example of a liberal belief.

Stop being so dense.

Seán said...

The thing, is even you acknowledge your example barely fits 50% of your dense definition.

Lucia Maria said...

One more time, Sean,

My example was not an example of one person. I gave examples of the types of things a person might choose to do or believe or not believe. I could have chosen 100 other things, but I chose those 3. The word "might" denotes this.

It is you that is constantly trying to make out that I said something I didn't.

Lucia Maria said...

I will add, though one person might choose all three items, and then some.

Seán said...

The 'might' is a red herring Lucyna, your message is clear since you also said "There is no liberal side."

scrubone said...

Sean, your comments are a bit bizarre to be frank.

Liberals are a pretty common problem throughout the church - catholic or otherwirse. Doesn't matter which church or what the critical beliefs are, someone will deny the beliefs and claim to be a faithful member of that church - frequently never turning up.

Actually, I got into a conversation with someone the other day who told me they were a christian, but then it turned out they didn't actually believe God existed!

ZenTiger said...

I'm trying to understand Seán's argument.

Lucyna has said her definition of a liberal Catholic is effectively a "pick and choose Catholic" when it comes to matters of doctrine (at the least).

Seán seems to be saying (my interpretation) that any of those issues define a liberal Catholic by his understanding, saying disagreement on interpretations, scripture, running a mass etc is is natural, frequent etc.


When you say:

Some views are undoubtedly universal (like abortion), but even how a parish priest runs his Sunday mass can be coloured "liberal" or "conservative".

then I get confused. Many views one would think are universal, are patently not. That divergence from Church teachings begins to identify the liberal.

I suspect even views on abortion by some self professed and supposedly (according to them) staunch Catholics are up for disagreement, not to mention thoughts around marriage and divorce, sex before marriage, co-celebrating the Eucharist, being flexible on frequently missing the days of obligation, lack of respect for placement of the tabernacle, etc etc.

I would have thought such disagreements could be fairly lumped into the liberal camp, but are you arguing something else Seán?

Rather than being branded liberal for the obvious divergence of opinions on marriage, women priests, abortion, etc would you prefer the label "heretic", or perhaps the lesser "cafetaria Catholic" without also putting this in the domain of the liberal?

I'm interested to understand what point you are actually driving at Seán and if I'm missing your point entirely?

Seán said...

Basically I just took exception to Lucyna's comment. She essentially said liberals in the Church:
- don't actually follow what the Church teaches
- might not go to Mass every Sunday
- might not believe abortion is wrong
- might not believe in Hell

So I found the comment was negative and divisive, and somewhat extreme.

Lucyna also said there was no liberal side within the church but in fact I would say every matter of relevance has multiple views to it, from one extreme to the other, and everything in between. So of course there are liberal views within the Church.

Hope that clarifies.

Lucia Maria said...


Have a read of this book: Liberalism is a Sin. The Spanish version was approved by the Congregation for the Faith.

When I said there was no liberal side, I mean there is no official liberal side. It is not an option for a faithful Catholic. Yes, there are many that dissent, and consider themselves liberal and for some reason want to stay in the Church, but they are in error, and therefore a person states that they are Catholic, but from the liberal side, they really mean they are Catholic, but aren't a real Catholic.

That's just calling a spade, a spade, Sean. For too long liberals have been seeking to define the Church by their heresy. To the point where hardly anyone knows what the Church stands for any more.

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