Who Am I to Judge?

I am sick and tired of this “who am I to judge?” silliness. Only God can judge the state of the human soul. But it is pure humbug to suggest we cannot and should not judge human behavior. Reluctance to judge moral behavior is the inevitable consequence of moral relativism and moral subjectivism that has eroded confidence in the ability to determine objective moral truth on which sound judgment is based.

Judgment is an essential component of the exercise of authority. If you do not have the courage to judge, then you should avoid positions of authority. Not being judgmental is a curse of our age. When I cautioned my teenagers not to hang out with so and so, the standard response was “Oh, Dad, you are so judgmental!” Not to judge is a dereliction of duty that afflicts so much of the Church’s hierarchy. It obscures our Lord’s message, sows confusion among the faithful, and undermines lay efforts to fight against the perversions of the day.

Absence of judgment or inept judgment in regard to the pederasty scandal elevated the deviant behavior of a relatively small number of miscreant priests into an international scandal that subjected the papacy to scorn and crippled the Church for several decades. A recent example of the “who am I to judge?” question involved homosexuality and was uttered by Cardinal Dolan in a very public venue.

Cardinal Dolan said the Bible tells us not to judge people. In response to a question on Meet the Press last year about the announcement that football player Michael Sam was a homosexual, Cardinal Dolan replied: “I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say ‘bravo’.”

So, the Bible tells us not to judge people? Consider: “thus says the Lord: you, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me if I tell the wicked, ‘oh, wicked one, you shall surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked one from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself (Ezekiel 33: 7 – 9).

Neither Peter nor Paul were squeamish about judging others:

Peter said to Simon the magician “Your heart is not upright before God. Repent of this wickedness of yours … for I see that you are filled with bitter gall, and you are in the bonds of iniquity” (Acts 8: 20 – 23).

Paul said to Elymas, “you son of the devil, you enemy of all that is right, full of every sort of deceit and fraud. Will you not stop twisting the straight paths of the Lord?” (Acts 13: 9 – 10).

Here are some excerpts from the epistles that illustrate judgment:

“[W]hen Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he clearly was wrong” (Gal 2:11).

“[B]rothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit…” (Gal 6:1).

“[T]ake no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them…” (Gal 5: 11).

“[R]eprimand publicly those [presbyters] who do sin, so that the rest will also be afraid” (Tim 5:20).

“[T]herefore, admonish them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith…” (Titus 1:13 – 14).

“[E]xhort and correct with all authority…” (Titus 2:15).

“I am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another” (Rom 15:14).

“[I]t is widely reported that there is immorality among you… A man living with his father’s wife.… The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst. I … have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who committed this deed, in the name of our Lord Jesus…. You are to deliver this man to Satan for the distraction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5:1 – 5).

So it is clear that the Bible often encourages judgment of the behavior of others. But those who disdain judgment often cite (Mt 7:1 – 2): “Stop judging that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged…..” This is not an injunction against judgment, but a warning that the judgment should be rendered with a good heart free from hypocrisy, arrogance, meanness of spirit, or hate. Thus “remove the beam from your own eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye” (Mt 7:5). The principal purpose of a judgment is to help my brother and others avoid debilitating actions and improve. The awesome burden of judging is the realization that we will be “judged as we have judged.” Some cite the incident of the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus by those who would stone her as evidence that we should not judge others. Nothing could be further from the truth. The incident manifests God’s mercy and loathing of hypocrisy, but he did judge her behavior as evidenced by his admonition: Go and sin no more.

We honor those men and women throughout the ages, who have had the courage to judge the sinful behavior of others and publicly testify against it. Despite the cost, Sir Thomas More admonished King Henry VIII not to be acclaimed as the supreme head of the Church of England since that would deny papal authority, and he also warned the king that it would be bigamous for him to marry Anne Boleyn. Did not John the Baptist judge when he publicly accused Herod of adultery because he took Herodias for his wife despite her still being married to Herod’s brother Philip? Juries judge defendants all the time.

The quality of a judgment usually depends on the information available to the judge and the impartiality of that judge. A judgment may be positive, negative, or neutral. Once a judgment has been rendered, the question becomes what should we do when asked about it? There are several options. We could say nothing or “no comment” and let the matter drop. We could say nothing publicly and rebuke, admonish, or praise in private. We could announce our judgment in an appropriate forum. Finally, we could use the public forum that posed the question to instruct viewers on precisely what the Catholic position on the subject is and emphasize that we love the sinner but hate the sin.

It is love that sometimes prompts us to speak out when the stakes are high. “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6: 9 – 10). Cardinal Dolan squandered an opportunity to instruct not only the sinner, but also the confused and ignorant about what the beautiful teaching of the Catholic Church is. How could Cardinal Dolan add “bravo” to the end of his response? This poor homosexual must choose either a lifetime of celibate self-denial or risk eternal damnation for indulging in sexual sin.

Most priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes are good men dedicated to the service of God. But they are subject to error, bias, and vanity like everyone else. Sycophancy is an ever present danger. The Peter Principle that states that people tend to be promoted one level beyond their level of competence clearly applies at times to members of the Church hierarchy. Over recent years, we have seen sound judgment too often impaired by cowardice that masquerades as prudence and by capitulation to the zeitgeist that camouflages itself as pastoral concern.

In the modern world, instant widespread communication in many different kinds of media exposes mercilessly the shortcomings that may occur in public conversations and events. Loquacious people like Cardinal Dolan are especially vulnerable. Transparency and candor are welcome characteristics, but the Church hierarchy must learn to control the narrative.

So let us pray that God will give us the courage to make sound judgments and the wisdom to use those judgments for the benefit of his children. Judges would do well to remember Paul’s advice to Timothy: “Avoid foolish and ignorant debates, for you know that they breed quarrels. A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil’s snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will”  (2 Tim 2: 23 – 26).

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “Christ Expels Money Changers Out of Temple” painted by Cecco del Caravaggio in 1610.

Ronald Mann

By

Ronald Mann is a retired professor of physics and engineering at the University of Louisville.

  • Daniel P

    “This poor homosexual must choose either a lifetime of celibate self-denial or risk eternal damnation for indulging in sexual sin.”

    A very strange comment amid a very good article. You say “a lifetime of celibate self-denial” as if it were the most difficult thing imaginable. That’s a very modern, and very false, view. Being chaste isn’t always easy, but it’s also not some gigantic burden.

    The problem isn’t that Michael Sam is “forced to be chaste”, as if that were some awful thing that make him a “poor homosexual”. The problem is that Michael Sam clearly doesn’t intend to be chaste, and that’s why “Bravo” was a puzzling and unhelpful response.

    • Greg Fazzari

      We all must be chaste!

      Even those of us who marry must say no to all except our spouse. And even with our spouse we must fight “using the other selfishly” instead of selfless love that is open to life.

      We ALL battle lust – not just those with homosexual proclivities. None of us escape this burden.

    • maineman

      I took that a little differently, thinking that the adjective “poor” applied to the status of being exclusively same-sex attracted (as opposed to someone who might be capable of reorienting their desires successfully enough to, say, marry and have children), which seems to me to be a heavy cross indeed.

      • LarryCicero

        Being capable of reorienting would imply that it is not a fixed condition, like being male or female, and that is taboo. To make such a statement takes courage. And to exclude the notion that it is a mental disorder prevents efforts to search for a cure. The idea that we should not judge has led to excusing the behavior, by accepting the judgement that there is nothing that can be done to change it.

        • Encourage14

          Imply? Whether it is taboo or not, it’s the truth that for some people it is not a fixed condition. There are plenty of people who have gone one way after being the other.

          • LarryCicero

            Sorry if I was unclear. Taboo according to the culture. I believe it is changeable whether it be a choice or illness, or combination of both. I do not believe gays are born gay. Babies are male or female.

            • The one thing about sexual behavior that is never mentioned is habituation. Whether it is the old saw about adultery being easier to engage in with successive events or the modern imaging research that shows how pornography physically affects the brain, habituation is never mentioned.

              Instead we are presented a ridiculous meme that we have an attractions inborn and immutable, as though we are animals following instincts, rather than frail moral beings born with the capacity to choose that must be recognized nurtured and occasionally repaired.

              • MarcAlcan

                Excellent point!

            • MHB

              Thank you for the clarification.

          • Ann Heche, Kelly McGillis, Meredith Baxter….

      • Geoff Kiernan West Australia

        maineman: I agree… I feel Daniel P is indulging in a little sophistry. And isn’t that precisely the point of the author. I am afraid some of our leaders are prone to double speak and as the author says this ‘erodes confidence in the ability to determine objective moral truth on which sound judgement is based

    • Mark

      Daniel P,

      Your point is prescient, as it relates to the human person and his relationship with the Divine Person-hood of the Blessed Trinity. God did not somehow create His human person as “homosexual”, as metaphysically speaking, in the light of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the “homosexual attraction” is an accident, as thus not part and parcel with the essence of “who” the human person “is”. The homosexual inclination is just that, an inclination, as it is not of the matter and form of the human person, Divinely designed in the Likeness and Image of God Himself. In the vernacular, the “opposite sex attraction” is the manner in which our Blessed Lord and God, Creator of all else that is, created His human person, as partaker in the Creative Act of God Himself, visa vi the ordinate and complementary sexual act that God Himself ordained to be of the essence of the human person, as it is part of and consistent with our very form as human persons, and thus it is the exclusive sexual act that is life generating. In that understanding, all matters of sexual sin, remain sexual sin, in spite of who partakes in those acts; whether it be husband and wife or so called “same sex” couples, as they remain intrinsically evil acts.

      We human persons, by virtue of the Gift of Caritas, have our free will. The inclination of same sex attraction requires a free will assent into an inordinate act that denies the complementarity of the sexes, man and woman, and as thus it is a denial of the Creator Himself who ordered his human person creation into His Divine Design. There is no sexual act that a “same sex couple” can partake in that is not intrinsically evil. In that same understanding, there is only one sexual act that husband and wife can partake in that is not intrinsically evil. It is quite simple in reality.

      The Grace and Peace of God the Father of our Blessed Dominus and Savior, Jesus the Christ, be with you.

      Mark

      • papagan

        “The inclination of same sex attraction requires a free will assent into an inordinate act…”

        You overlook one possibility, namely, that a same-sex tendency may stem from original sin, which manifests itself in different ways in different persons. In that view, an objectively disordered tendency does not necessarily presuppose an act of free will on the part of the human agent born in the state of original sin. Of course, that does not entail that a sodomitic act isn’t objectively disordered, but the tendency itself need not involve any actual sin on the part of the person with the tendency in question. In these moral matters one must proceed with all due caution.

        • Mark

          Dear papagan,

          The propensity to sin is theologically understood as “concupiscience”, which resulted from the Original Sin of our original parents in the Garden. The theological truth of concupiscience understood, does not somehow free the human person from his culpability for the sin which he indeed freely chooses to partake in. Sin, or the privation of the due good, is not programmed into us, as then we could not and would not be totally free, as God created us in His own Divine Likeness and Image, with free will and intellect. You conflate a “same sex tendency” with Original Sin. To have a “tendency” is not a privation of the due good, hence it is not a sin. Once the intellect knows the act in consideration and the free will is then informed, and the assent of the human person is given, then the sin has been committed. Further, to suggest that same sex attraction is somehow a more powerful drive than opposite sex attraction, biologically understood, is simply in error. We are all called to the chaste life by our Blessed Lord (see 1 Corinthians, chapter 6).

          To reiterate what I wrote before, there is only one sexual act free of sin and that is the conjugal act between a freely consenting husband and wife, open to the possibility of God’s Creative Act of forming the human person. The sodomite act is intrinsically evil. It doesn’t matter whether the act occurs between a husband and wife or between two men, it remains objectively evil. You are wrong in suggesting otherwise, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church and Her inerrant Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. To suggest otherwise is simply not Catholic as it remains contrary to Catholic teaching.
          Know His Peace, not of this world,
          Mark

          • Temptation to do evil is not a privation of good? Sure seems to be to me.

            • Mark

              Dear Theodore,
              Temptation is part and parcel with the existence of each and every human person in this fallen world. The act of the “privation of the due good” is a free will act, metaphysically speaking. It has nothing specifically to do with concupiscience, aka: temptation immanently ordered. There is also the temptation from the devil and temptation from the world. The reality of temptation again, has nothing specifically to do with sin itself, which requires the free will assent of the human person. Temptation has everything to do with the “near occasion of sin”, however. When temptation occurs, we are called to submit ourselves into prayer, begging God’s infinite Mercy to be received by us. Fasting is another wonderful way of combatting temptation and avoiding thus the near occasion of sin.
              The Peace of Christ be with you,
              Mark

          • papagan

            «[1] Sin, or the privation of the due good, is not programmed into us, as then we could not and would not be totally free, as God created us in His own Divine Likeness and Image, with free will and intellect. [2] You conflate a “same sex tendency” with Original Sin. [3] To have a “tendency” is not a privation of the due good, hence it is not a sin. … [4] Further, to suggest that same sex attraction is somehow a more powerful drive than opposite sex attraction, biologically understood, is simply in error.

            «[5] To reiterate what I wrote before, there is only one sexual act free of sin and that is the conjugal act between a freely consenting husband and wife, open to the possibility of God’s Creative Act of forming the human person. [6] The sodomit[ic] act is intrinsically evil. It doesn’t matter whether the act occurs between a husband and wife or between two men, it remains objectively evil. [7] You are wrong in suggesting otherwise, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church and Her inerrant Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. To suggest otherwise is simply not Catholic as it remains contrary to Catholic teaching.»

            If you’re responding to my comment, then you really need to read much more carefully! Furthermore, there are some theological flaws in your reply to something other than what I wrote.

            Regarding 1, after the Fall, human freedom was not destroyed, but it was deeply wounded. You might benefit from reading St. Augustine on this point, although one should be careful to avoid Jansenist misinterpretations of St. Augustine.

            Regarding 2, you are quite mistaken in your attribution of that error to me. Carefully reread what I wrote.

            Regarding 3, I never said that the tendency was a sin, but what is not a sin can still be characterized as objectively disordered. Not everything that is objectively disordered is an actual sin. I think the problem here is that you’re not sufficiently familiar with the technical vocabulary.

            Regarding 4, I never said any such thing. Carefully reread what I actually wrote.

            Regarding 5, marital coitus and sodomy are two morally distinct sexual acts, but they are not the only two sexual acts. Coitus is not the only licit sexual act available to husband and wife, at least not from a Catholic perspective. (One should also bear in mind the the sexual act has a unitive, in addition to the procreative, meaning. These two meanings should not be separated in reality, but they remain distinct. “Separation” and “distinction” are technical terms. To ignore or downplay the unitive meaning of the act would entail anthropological distortion.) Perhaps you are presupposing an overly narrow conception of “sexual act.” One must be careful in one’s use of terms in discussions of this sort.

            Regarding 6, we appear to be in agreement.

            Regarding 7, you appear to have seriously misinterpreted what I wrote. Carefully reread what I actually wrote. Don’t impute your own distortions.

            • Mark

              Dear papagan,

              Perhaps, let’s handle one or two criticisms per comment. My brain can’t handle 7.

              You are wrong, from the perspective of the Catholic Magisterial teaching on the sexual act, as it relates to any act other than the “conjugal act” as being morally correct. I’m not discussing fore play here. Allow me to be frank, any orgasm that occurs outside of the conjugal act, that which allows for the possibility of Almighty God’s Creative Act of bringing another human person into the cosmos, is morally wrong. When you write of the “unitive” and “procreative” Divine purpose of the act, as you suggest that I am “separating” the distinct Divine purposes, it is actually you who are doing the separating. The unitive and procreative realities that emminate from the conjugal act, must and can only be properly understand from the Catholic theological foundational concept of the “both/and”. As such, both the unitive and the procreative realities must occur each and every time the conjugal act occurs. If that were not true, artificial contraception would be morally licit. Further, any orgasm outside of the vagina, that is a willful act, is intrinsically evil, as it blocks the Divine Purpose of procreation, while it allows for a perverse understanding of the unitive purpose to occur.

              In Caritas,

              Mark

              • papagan

                “I’m not discussing fore play [sic] here.”

                Doesn’t foreplay fall into the category of sexual activity? If it doesn’t, more than a few would find that to be most welcome news!

                “Allow me to be frank, any orgasm that occurs outside of the conjugal act, that which allows for the possibility of Almighty God’s Creative Act of bringing another human person into the cosmos, is morally wrong.”

                Are you speaking for males alone?

                “When you write of the ‘unitive’ and ‘procreative’ Divine purpose of the act, as you suggest that I am ‘separating’ the distinct Divine purposes, it is actually you who are doing the separating.” (Emphasis added.)

                Because you say so?

                • Mark

                  Dear papagan,

                  Now your cynicism is clearly evident.

                  In Caritas,

                  Mark

                  • papagan

                    Dealing with complex issues requires nuance and precision. Some of your statements are lacking vis-à-vis nuance and precision.

                  • Laurence Charles Ringo

                    Let me add to his cynicism,Mark…you give the frankly bizarre impression that Almighty God is snooping around the bedrooms of his Catholic children,making sure that they are,in effect,”doing it right”…Do you REALLY believe that??

                    • Mark

                      Hi Laurence,

                      Immanently speaking, I have utterly nothing to offer you. I will certainly pray for your eternal soul though.

                      In Caritas,

                      Mark

                    • Laurence Charles Ringo

                      Yeah,Mark…you’re right;you DON’T have anything to offer me. (Thanks for the prayers though.By the way,Only God is Eternal;human beings have derived immortality.Eternal life is a gift given us in Christ—Romans 6:23.—PEACE IN CHRIST.

                    • MHB

                      I’m a bit behind on my reading of Crisis.
                      What a silly picture of God you paint, Lawrence!
                      But of course Almighty God is all-knowing and doesn’t need to “snoop” anywhere since He is everywhere.

          • MHB

            Thank you for this accurate contribution, Mark!

        • Mark

          Dear papagan,

          In caritas, I believe you “misread” me in your initial comment above. Nowhere did I suggest that an inclination was itself sinful, or as you refer to it, a “tendency”. It is one thing for you to suggest that I have erred “theologically” and yet another to defend what it is that you suggest. You have not pointed out the error/errors that you suggest I have made. I would with charity receive your well thought criticism, as opposed to your current ad hominem commentary. Lastly, any sinful act requires the informed assent of the free will and thus, any “tendency” to sin or inclination to sin is rooted in concupiscence, not sin itself.

          In Caritas,

          Mark

          • Laurence Charles Ringo

            Sorry,Mark,but according to Jesus Himself you are in error per His warning given in Matthew 5:27,28. We sin because we’re sinners,born to do so until freed by The Son,not the other way around.No how much you admonish your child not to do wrong things,given time and circumstances EVERY child will sin,sooner or later,without fail.Who doesn’t know that? That’s why we have juvenile courts and jails.Perhaps you yourself should actually read what the Scriptures themselves teach about fallen human nature,instead of letting someone else tweak and parse Holy Writ for you.I think Jesus was pretty clear about the source of our behavior in Mark 7:14-23. (Romans chapter 6 is the remedy,by the way.)—Speaking only for myself Mark,my guiding mantra,if you will,is Proverbs 3 : 5-6.Mull and reflect,Mark.I trust Almighty God to get it right FAR MORE than I do ANY human being,no matter how high up in ANY man-centered”heirarchy”he is presumed to be. [ That’s the primary reason I reject the idea that ANY church supposedly”gave man the Bible”.Almighty God gave mankind His Word;man merely realized the great truths contained therein.Their duty is to obey what”Thus saith the Lord, and what saith the Scriptures,and absent the Indwelling presence of the Triune God,and submission to that Prescence,NO ONE can simply will themselves to do that, nor do they wish to.] (Romans 8:1-9.)—So,again, Mark…mull and reflect;don’t let either pre-conceived notions or the life-long habits of comfortably…”submitting your will and intellect”…to presumably knowledgeable human teachers lead you astray,tossed to and fro by whatever teachings sound like they might make sense.Proverbs 3:5-6,my friend.—PEACE IN CHRIST.

    • The real problem is that absent his homosexuality, Michael Sam would have been just another big man on campus who couldn’t make it at the next level.

      http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/michael-sam?id=2543734

      Instead, he has said that in spite of being treated with kid gloves, despite his apparent lack of NFL caliber skills (17 reps in the 225 bench is subpar for a 230 pound linebacker, let alone a 260 pound lineman)

    • Atilla The Possum

      Didn’t Michael Sam’s boyfriend propose to him … from the top of the copula of St. Peter’s Basilica a month ago?
      Bravo, Cardinal Dolan! There is a name for you which Del Boy Trotter in the BBC classic comedy ‘Only Fools and Horses’ would call his brother Rodney when he’d ”mess up”… (YouTube should have clips of this comedy with Del Boy’s put down).
      The Holy Father is fond of calling people names like ‘dried up granny’ et. al. Why doesn’t he do us all a massive favour and make a phone call to Dolan and call him an appropriate put-down for a change?

    • Jacqueleen

      Some bishops just put their foot in their mouths….I wonder about Timothy Cardinal Dolan and his gay parade.

    • papagan

      “This poor homosexual must choose either a lifetime of celibate self-denial or risk eternal damnation for indulging in sexual sin.”

      “The problem isn’t that Michael Sam is ‘forced to be chaste‘…” (Emphasis added.)

      Celibacy and chastity are not strictly synonymous. Celibacy is appropriate for some, while all are called to be chaste, including husbands and wives.

    • MIKE

      Everyone who is not married (= one man and one woman) must be celibate.
      Adultery, fornication, homosexual acts are all Mortal Sins.

      Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Nuns, plus all others who choose not to be married must be celibate.

      Divorced and civilly remarried persons who wish to receive the Eucharist must
      live in complete continence.

      Dolan behaves like this is something new rather than expected normal behavior. Bravo for what ?

  • jacobhalo

    This “Who am I to Judge” goes back to the changes at Vatican II. They no longer talk about justice because it is too negative. They took away rogation days, embers days, because they were too negative. They stopped quoting some of the teachings of Jesus, such as, ” You [Jews] will die in your own sins if you don’t believe that I am He.” “Those who are baptized and believe will be saved. Those who don’t believe are already condemned.” Have you ever heard a pope since Vatican II quote those words to the world? Vatican II was a disaster.

    • lifeknight

      Too bad the hierarchy has gotten that memo, Jacobhalo.

    • Geoff Kiernan West Australia

      Jacobhalo…..Exactly right

    • papagan

      “Vatican II was a disaster.”

      SSPX alert!

      • I’m not inclined to join SSPX, but I would never fault a man for doing so. Seriously, all the anti-SSPX rhetoric hasn’t made Rome in her current state look one iota more attractive.

        For my part, it’s the train wreck from Vatican City all the way to the local diocese that has my attention. I actually think the devil’s been making mince meat of Her because she is truly the Church. But you can’t convince me SSPX folk are heretics. Not even a little.

        • papagan

          Catholics in full union with the Roman Catholic Church are not free to reject Vatican II.

          • Really? I’ve heard Catholics within the very Roman Catholic Church I frequent tell me that some argue it is not even properly an Ecumenical Council, and has debatable status. Only a naive view of Church history would say no such confusion could arise over the status of a council. And then there’s the whole point that any council, no matter how many imprimaturs by bishops and theologians, cannot teach heresy and remain valid.

            You can tell me all day long that VII is the best thing since sliced bread, I’m telling you given the obvious cultural, ecclesiastical, and theological aftermath tied to Vatican II that the SSPX folks are on principle right in questioning its validity. Frankly, some of the most honest Catholics I’ve encountered outside of SSPX have expressed similar sympathies.

            I’m an Anglican, so I’m adept at taking otherwise questionable proclamations and recasting them in the light of unquestionable Catholic teaching. I can accept VII with an enormous grain of salt and say, “Well, it is a very confusing council, but with enough grammatical gymnastics and qualifiers, we can squeeze out something not too horribly unorthodox.” That’s the most I make of that council. Sorry I don’t find it exciting or helpful like Nicea or Chalcedon. More than that, *nothing* of the faith would be lost if that Council disappeared from the annals of history, unlike Nicea I through Nicea II.

            • Ang: I’m not sure what I think about the utility of Vatican II, but here’s the reality. There’s been schisms and heresies from almost the beginning of the Church, and the weevils working against the Church were quiet but busy in the 1950’s.

              Rembert Weakland, and other problems, entered the hierarchy before Vatican II. The problems we see are multicausal and this line that all was right in the world before V2 is simplistic.

              We don’t have a counterfactual on how observant people would or wouldn’t be with regard the development of rather easily dispensed chemical contraceptives in a world without V2.

              • Oh, for sure liberalism was at work decades prior to the council. I didn’t say VII caused social woes, but it sure gave occasion for said woes to be more propagated on the merits of Rome’s authority.

                • My comments really were directed to those that see V2 as a singular cause-I still think that when you look at my favorite whipping boy, Rembert Weakland- we are reminded heresy begins below the belt.

            • papagan

              “I’ve heard Catholics within the very Roman Catholic Church I frequent tell me that some argue it is not even properly an Ecumenical Council, and has debatable status.”

              There are Catholic laity who believe that procured abortion can be morally justified… In any case, I know of no Roman Catholic bishop in full communion with the Roman Pontiff who would deny that the Second Vatican Council is the 21st ecumenical council of the Catholic Church.

              • Your comparison is idiotic if not disingenuous.

                Murdering innocent people versus doubting the ecumenical status of a council possessed of arguably irresponsible if not misleading language (a blind man can see a shift in the Church’s language) are light years apart in impulse and intent.

                I’m surprised you’d even play that card.

                • papagan

                  “Your comparison is idiotic if not disingenuous.”

                  That describes your original line of “argument”:

                  “I’ve heard Catholics within the very Roman Catholic Church … frequent [sic] tell me that some argue it is not even properly an Ecumenical Council, and has debatable status.”

                  What exactly is one supposed to infer from that? Is one supposed to infer that one cannot know that the Second Vatican Council is an ecumenical council, because some argue that it isn’t? Even if some deny that it is an ecumenical council, it doesn’t follow that it isn’t or that one cannot know that it is an ecumenical council. That determination must be left ultimately to the Roman Catholic episcopacy in full communion with the Roman Pontiff.

                  You add:

                  And then there’s the whole point that any council, no matter how many imprimaturs by bishops and theologians, cannot teach heresy and remain valid.”

                  Do you really wish to suggest that the Second Vatican Council was heretical? If so, by what measure?

                  • You’re rather thick. I didn’t say they were definitive voices on the matter. I was merely surprised to learn there are conservative voices within the communion of Rome that shared my thoughts on the matter. I thought I’d be alone in my convictions on this.

                    And by the way, if V2 turned out to be heretical, it wouldn’t alter anything in the Catholic religion. Not one article of faith.

                    My opinion is it flirts with heretical ideas. It’s trying so hard to be relevant it comes off as the middle aged father trying to look cool in front of his kids’ friends. Embarrassing and unnecessary.

                    When my family and I, God willing, convert to the Roman Communion, it will be with our eyes wide open that not all is well in the Barque of Peter, but it is the Barque. I know it’s a mess, but like my good brethren here admonish: pick up an oar.

                    • meme1961

                      Like all such things, Vatican II needs to be properly interpreted.

                      To vastly oversimplify, Vatican II did not “do away with” any Catholic dogma or doctrine, nor did it even remove any specific but abstract discipline.

                      It did, however, allow for the disciplines and practices that had a valid theological, doctrinal or dogmatic basis to be specialized to fit the locale.

                      Thus, while women are no longer required to wear veils in Church, the principle of dressing chastely when attending Mass still applies, so the discipline for each locale should be to require women to dress in what the local population would consider “a chaste manner.”

                      A vernacular ordinary Mass is an obvious example of this.

                      If you are looking for a Biblical basis for this, consider what Jesus said about not doing away with the law, but instead, of coming to fulfill it.

                      The Jews of the time were somewhat afflicted with “legalism” (the belief that orthopraxis was sufficient to be good Jews, combined with a rather rigid and concrete definition of what that praxis was).

                      Jesus was, at least in part, telling them that it is not sufficient to follow a rule, one must believe in the principle, and apply that principle to situations not covered by the rule.

                      Vatican II should be interpreted in that spirit.

                    • Not everything in V2 is horrible. Never made that claim. Thank you for the thoughtful reply though.

                    • papagan

                      “Like all such things, Vatican II needs to be properly interpreted.”

                      Exactly right! The so-called “spirit of Vatican II” involves distortions contrary to the letter of Vatican II. One must read the documents carefully.

                      “Thus, while women are no longer required to wear veils in Church…”

                      I don’t believe that the universal Church ever “required” that practice under pain of sin. If you can cite official Vatican documents…

                      “The Jews of the time were somewhat afflicted with ‘legalism’ (the belief that orthopraxis was sufficient to be good Jews, combined with a rather rigid and concrete definition of what that praxis was).”

                      Indeed.

                      “Jesus was, at least in part, telling them that it is not sufficient to follow a rule…”

                      Yes. Without caritas, one cannot fulfill the law according to its substance and mode.

                    • papagan

                      “I was merely surprised to learn there are conservative voices within the communion of Rome that shared my thoughts on the matter.”

                      There we go again! This isn’t a “liberal” or “conservative” issue. Not everything can be reduced to political categories. Politics is subordinate to religion and theology, but many don’t grasp this truth.

                      “And by the way, if V2 turned out to be heretical, it wouldn’t alter anything in the Catholic religion. Not one article of faith.”

                      Wishful thinking?

                      “My opinion is it flirts with heretical ideas.”

                      You’re entitled to your opinion.

                      “When my family and I, God willing, convert to the Roman Communion…”

                      If you believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, then why haven’t you already been received into the Barque of Peter? If you don’t believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, why would you even consider becoming a Roman Catholic? Or did you only recently come to believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ? If so, you’ll need to come to terms with the Church’s Magisterium. That’s a huge question, and more than a few have found it to be a stumbling block. You’ll also need to come to terms with the Second Vatican Council. If you believe it’s optional, you may be in for quite a surprise.

                    • Conservative isn’t simply a political outlook. Sorry you’re not refined enough to understand this. But if it helps you: I mean more traditional minded folks.

                      Please, show me the good fruit of V2. I am begging you.

                      And you are entitled to your opinion that V2 is a healthy turn of events in the life of the Church.

                      For your info, my misgivings are on the table. I promise you this opinion of mine is not hidden to the church or her members. I accept V2 with no enthusiasm. Sorry it doesn’t make you comfortable. You are not the ambassador of orthodoxy any more than my brethren at St Agnes. I tend to trust their council more than a random internet voice.

                    • RufusChoate

                      Anglicanae, the real problem with Vatican II is that there were two Councils: one that actually occurred and is documented and another Vatican II that existed only in the fevered imagination of two groups: Progressives and Reactionaries. The Progressive are entirely inculturated in the politics of the Left to the point that their goals are diabolic, power seeking and responsible for most of the disasters in the church’s culture. The Reactionaries are people who reacted against the Progressive who convinced them by deeds and words that Vatican II was a break from tradition rather an acceptable exposition of the faith and an valid Ecumenical Council.

                      I have read all of the documents of Vatican II and I have always been comfortable with it and recommend it as an act of honest inquiry.

                    • You know, I don’t doubt this rift internally exists. I’ve read the council up and down (and should revisit again). I’m under no delusion that my position leans toward the reactionary camp. I don’t molest or pester those within the communion who feel very comfortable with the language of the council; neither do I feel any need to make the reactionaries step in line. I happen to take a *very* limited and narrow view as to what the council actually allows – seeing the Spirit works infallibly through even the most desperate of situations.

                      Look, if I felt SSPX was truly the way to go I wouldn’t even bother wasting my time here. I happen to have a great love for Rome, even if I am terrified at her warts. Hell, I scare myself seeing what I profess to believe, and then realize my own accommodations to the unholy. So I’m not pointing fingers at Rome as if I’ve got my stuff together.

                      I don’t even suspect I’ll win many friends once, God willing, I’m on the inside. I would never try to dissuade somebody from assenting to the teachings of VII — just don’t (not you particularly, in general) ask me to break 2000 years of clear teaching to make way for the “new thing”. I’m open to correction as always. I don’t hang out here just to put a stick in the eye of liberals. I actually absorb the good stuff that’s drawn me back over and again, from the articles to the (generally) great crowd of brothers and sisters whose vision of things resonates closely with understanding of the world.

                      Blessings, friend.

                    • RufusChoate

                      Amen Brother Amen.

                    • papagan

                      “[1] Conservative isn’t simply a political outlook. [2] Sorry you’re not refined enough to understand this. [3] But if it helps you: I mean more traditional minded [sic] folks.”

                      Regarding 1, the relevant distinction is the distinction between orthodox and not orthodox.

                      Regarding 2, I’ve lost count of all the ad hominem arguments.

                      Regarding 3, many (not all) who describe themselves as “traditional” Christians embrace a “hermeneutic of rupture,” not a “hermeneutic of continuity,” and they talk like “über-Catholics” who look down upon the Roman Pontiff and other Catholic bishops. They illustrate only another form of shallow fundamentalism. http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=296
                      http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2005/december/documents/hf_ben_xvi_spe_20051222_roman-curia.html

                      “Please, show me the good fruit of V2. I am begging you.”

                      Have you read carefully the documents of the Second Vatican Council?

                      “And you are entitled to your opinion that V2 is a healthy turn of events in the life of the Church.” (Emphasis added.)

                      I wouldn’t describe it as a “turn” in a different or contrary direction; rather, it’s a continuation and development.

                      “I accept V2 with no enthusiasm.”

                      🙁

                      “You are not the ambassador of orthodoxy any more than my brethren at St Agnes. I tend to trust their council more than a random internet voice.”

                      I never claimed to be that. The guardians of the depositum fidei are the bishops in full communion with the Roman Pontiff.

                    • “Regarding 1, the relevant distinction is the distinction between orthodox and not orthodox.”
                      Then why did you feel like bringing up the totally irrelevant point of politics? The context didn’t even warrant it, and you injected an illogical, unrelated matter. This isn’t a hard thread. It doesn’t require great intellectual aptitude (thanks for at least bringing that to the party).

                      “I’ve lost count of all the ad hominem arguments.”
                      Then stop presenting yourself as a thoughtless hack. You want respect? Don’t inject inanities into a thread that do not belong.

                      I wouldn’t describe it as a “turn” in a different or contrary direction; rather, it’s a continuation and development.
                      Ohhh, that’s how *you’d* describe it? And why is your careful study of the documents any better than mine? (You very well could be more studied, I don’t deny that). If I can demonstrably prove my erudition and knowledge are superior, would that sway your thinking? If you are committed to the notion that the Pope will never say or do anything that is scandalous to orthodoxy (which I gathered from reading your other threads, correct me if I’m wrong), then what does it matter how learned a theologian, historian, or bishop is on this?

                      You gave me a sad face emoticon for my honest feelings about the council. Unlike you, I’m open to learning and improving my insights about the council. I’m willing to shift my views on it. Yours seem to transgress confidence into an iron-clad and frighteningly cultish recalcitrance. Not exactly a selling point to men who believe faith and reason are friends.

                      The guardians of the depositum fideiare the bishops in full communion with the Roman Pontiff.
                      Well good, they need to act like it then. I don’t have to shut my eyes and say, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. And I sorrow for you if you are of that ilk. A deep fidelity to the Church is not blind acceptance.

                    • Hey, quit screwing around on the dock with the rummies.
                      Get in the boat, grab an oar and be ready to row it or swing it as necessary.

                    • Alright, alright! I reached out to the priest, got the ball rolling.

                      I wish these things were more like ordering off a menu. But the process is lumbering if not painful.

                    • By the way, the termites were busy at work long before V2. Christ warned us many would come in his name- how much easier is it for the unorthodox to say “spirit of Vatican ii”.
                      I’m telling you now-the boat is leaky, drafty, and full of barnacles. The crew is rowdy and lazy. Some of the officers spend their nights indulging in rum and sodomy (yes I’m stealing that description of the British Navy. Despite all that, Captain is of impeccable character and this ol’ vessel is still better than the tempest that disturbs the seas.
                      And yes, that is a peg leg, I have. I really have to hang on in these rough seas. Arrrghh.

                    • The odorous waft of the briney blue,
                      a creaky ship, a cranky crew …

                      I’m sure there’s a poem in there somewhere.

                      I can only hope I’d be more an asset and less an ass aboard the HMS Peter.

                    • You’ll do fine.

                    • Oh, almost forgot this beauty:

                      Have you read carefully the documents of the Second Vatican Council?

                      Yes! And they are *still* a puzzlement to me. But I suppose that’s just what an insufficiently converted troglodyte like myself would say.

                      So, I’m asking you in earnest (laying aside all gibes and jabs), what positive fruit sprang from that glorious (on your view) council? What has benefited the Church by the pronouncements? What developments were made that was not sufficiently clear prior to Vatican II?

                      If you don’t want to answer, fine. I’m just a guy on the internet. You owe me nothing. But know I’m a potential convert and I’ve asked someone who postures himself as a stalwart defender of orthodoxy to help me see more than I do.

                    • Hey, I resemble that remark…

                    • In case I haven’t posted this, this is my ideal of a good priest (hilarious, and the way I see myself honestly):

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNOuVhn_yRw

            • jacobhalo

              I’m outside the SSPX, along with all my parishoners ( Latin mass) who call Vatican II a disaster.

          • jacobhalo

            Are Catholics who are pro-choice (50%) in full union with the Roman Catholic church? Are Cardinal Marx and Kasper in full union with the RCC with their communion for the divorced? The German bishops, presently, are giving communion to the divorced. Marx said that he will not obey the upcoming synod.

            • papagan

              And who are you?

              • This is a strange question from you. I don’t agree with Mr. Halo, but not everybody enjoys the immunity of academia.

                • papagan

                  Perhaps you should allow others to speak for themselves.

                  • Why, so you can badger the guy and resort to your standard fare of appeal to authority condescension?

                    We’re not your malleable little undergraduates who bow to you for a grade.

                    • papagan

                      Badger? And what exactly do you think you’re doing?

                    • Exposing your tactics as pretentious and hypocritical.

                    • papagan

                      Are you enjoying your persistent jeremiad?

                    • So is this the part when you issue terroristic threats again?

                    • papagan

                      “So is this the part when you issue terroristic threats again?”

                      Are you finished venting? Or do you enjoy monologues?

                    • It will be a monologue when you stop responding with your stammering petulance.

                    • papagan

                      Now are you finished venting?

                    • Dealing with complex issues requires nuance and precision. Some of your statements are lacking vis-à-vis nuance and precision.

                      And who are you?

                    • papagan

                      “We’re not your malleable little undergraduates who bow to you for a grade. Here, you are just another guy with windy opinions and pretentiousness only earns you contempt.”

                      Such ad hominem tirades submitted by an undergraduate would easily earn a grade of F. All ad hominem arguments earn an F.

                      “‘And you are?’ is a transparently cheap attempt at an Ad Hominem.”

                      That, too, would earn zero credit. I doubt that the author of that post completed a course in logic. If he did, then either he didn’t do well, or he has forgotten much.

                    • “‘And you are?’

                      “Regarding 2, I’ve lost count of all the ad hominem arguments.”

                      “That, too, would earn zero credit.”

                      With regard to the last quote above, ask me if I care.

                      It must kill you to know that by the time somebody reaches 30, somebody who has had the displeasure of your instruction, doesn’t give you a second thought and they are subject to my judgment, (that of a troglodyte, to quote a fellow here) not yours.

                      In the real world, (mine) such comments would earn you “does not meet expectations” for whatever variation of “interpersonal relations” exists on the annual performance appraisal, and we would be sitting down for a little chat with HR about a “PIP” (performance improvement plan) or a “CAP” (corrective action plan).

                    • papagan

                      «It must kill you to know that by the time somebody reaches 30, somebody who has had the displeasure of your instruction, doesn’t give you a second thought and they are subject to my judgment, (that of a troglodyte, to quote a fellow here) not yours.

                      «In the real world, (mine) such comments would earn you “does not meet expectations” for whatever variation of “interpersonal relations” exists on the annual performance appraisal, and we would be sitting down for a little chat with HR about a “PIP” (performance improvement plan) or a “CAP” (corrective action plan).»

                      Given your striking penchant for ad hominem arguments, it’s evident that you’re ill suited for the world of serious intellectual conversation. I wouldn’t dispute that your performance score is considerably higher in your “real” world of concrete business-related functionality.

                    • Wow. You really don’t have anything in your quiver but the ad hominem arrow, do you?

                      Look at your own comment history. if you want to see ill-suited for any kind of conversation.

                      4.) Interpersonal Skills and Communications

                      Rating: Needs Improvement.

                      Mr. Pagan seems unable to engage others without hostility or haughtiness-seems to confuse pedantry with persuasion and is easily perturbed when ideas or assertions do not receive ready acceptance from others. Most exchanges are excessively lengthy and contentious and conclusions may be at odds with a reasonable interpretation of the facts surrounding the matter at hand.

                      Employee routinely resorts to insults and has made vague threats during rating period. (see supporting documentation, attached). Behavior seems habituated and despite numerous peer comments, remains persistent.

                      Recommendation.

                      Counseling as a Requirement of Continued Employment, with termination as contingent option. Employee should be required to attend counseling with requirement that significant, steady and prompt improvement be demonstrated. Counseling should include both respect and communications components.

                      Employee should be subject to written agreement that unresponsiveness or further critical incidents will result in progressive disciplinary measures, up to and including involuntary separation for cause will result, based upon the nature and number of any such incidents.

                    • papagan

                      DE-173 writes:

                      Wow. You really don’t have anything in your quiver but the ad hominem arrow, do you?

                      Look at your own comment history. if you want to see ill-suited for any kind of conversation.

                      4.) Interpersonal Skills and Communications

                      Rating: Needs Improvement.

                      Mr. Pagan seems unable to engage others without hostility or haughtiness-seems to confuse pedantry with persuasion and is easily perturbed when ideas or assertions do not receive ready acceptance from others. Most exchanges are excessively lengthy and contentious and conclusions may be at odds with a reasonable interpretation of the facts surrounding the matter at hand.

                      Employee routinely resorts to insults and has made vague threats during rating period. (see supporting documentation, attached). Behavior seems habituated and despite numerous peer comments, remains persistent.

                      Recommendation.

                      Counseling as a Requirement of Continued Employment, with termination as contingent option. Employee should be required to attend counseling with requirement that significant, steady and prompt improvement be demonstrated. Counseling should include both respect and communications components.

                      Employee should be subject to written agreement that unresponsiveness or further critical incidents will result in progressive disciplinary measures, up to and including involuntary separation for cause, based upon the nature and number of any such incidents.

                      The foregoing provides an amusing glimpse into the mind of its author. Care to offer any additional glimpses?

                    • Sure.

                    • Everything is offensive to you, but when somebody issues threats, they lose any credibility.

                    • papagan

                      “Everything is offensive to you…”

                      DE-173 seems unable to admit the offensive nature of his insolent comments. Instead, he would have his audience believe that I have an excessively sensitive disposition! After all, what well-balanced person would feel snubbed if (s)he were told: “It must be awful to be you”?

                      Perhaps he is completely lacking in self-awareness; however, he did confess the following: “I am decidedly taurine or ursine in disposition.” Well, if he can see that in himself, perhaps he can see where improvement is needed.

                    • Nobody is more unwilling to admit the offensive nature of his comments than you. You worsen them with your santimony.

                    • Guest

                      If DE is ill suited for the world of serious intellectual conversation, why do you continue to respond?

                    • papagan

                      Posting observations ≠ serious intellectual dialogue.

            • Was Martin Luther? Was Henry Tudor? The heretics of the early centuries?

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                Lurther was separated from communion by Pope Leo X in Exsurge Domine on 15 June 1520.

                The situation of Henry VIII is more nuanced. Although a decree of excommunication was pronounced against him by Pope Clement VII, such decrees do not take effect until publication. It was promulgated by Pope Paul III on 17 December 1538.

                • You missed the point. They did their evil deeds long before Vatican II.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Has the Pope separated Cardinals Marx and Kaspar from his communion, as St Victor did the churches of Asia during the Paschal controversy? Or as St Nicholas did the Church of Constantinople in the Photian Schism?

              No, and there is your answer.

            • papagan

              “Are Catholics who are pro-choice (50%) in full union with the Roman Catholic church?”

              That’s a matter for the Roman Catholic episcopate to determine. It remains the case, however, that procured abortion is gravely evil.

              “Are Cardinal Marx and Kasper in full union with the RCC with their communion for the divorced?”

              That’s a judgment I leave to the College of Bishops. It isn’t the place of the laity to render such judgments. Dissidents, of course, don’t always respect proper boundaries.

      • RufusChoate

        So the implementation and exposition of the teachings of Vatican II were not disastrous. Could you explain the immediate outcome of the collapse of Catechesis, the widespread loss of vocation, the internal apostasy of wide swaths of the Faith, the vulgarization of the Mass, the failure of Bishops to foster manly vocations and lack of pastoral instruction?

        • Immediate or coincident? Rembert Weakland grew up and was trained in the days before V2, he certainly wasn’t manly in any sense of the word, and he certain is an example of internal apostasy.

          • RufusChoate

            Yes, Weakland is the living embodiment of the Spirit of Vatican II crowd and he is also responsible for an astoundingly large percentage of the Priest involved in Sexual Abuse scandal.

            I knew a Priest who attended Weakland’s Seminary in the 1990’s and he left after a couple of weeks and went to Saint Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia. He got the impression even in his admission interviews that he wasn’t really welcome or wanted because he didn’t fit the mold of the general Sexual proclivities of the entire student body and teaching staff who were more over the top flamboyant than anything he encountered in San Francisco or New York where he travel.

        • papagan

          Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Not sound.

          • He asked for your explanation. Absent a more compelling reason, how can you just dismiss him?

            Tell me, what crisis did V2 address or seek to remedy?

            • papagan

              Pointing out the post hoc fallacy was perfectly apt. Sorry you didn’t see that.

              • Pointing out common sense is also perfectly apt. Sorry you didn’t see that.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              The crisis that had been festering ever since Lamentabili and Pascendi in 1907.

              The Philosopher Maurice Blondel wrote at that time that, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite in-compatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.”

              Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium provided a long-awaited and welcome response to the questions raised by modern biblical, patristic and historical scholarship half-a-century earlier.

              • Thank you for that sincere and competent answer.

          • RufusChoate

            Not quite try again. The flawed and unsound exposition of the teaching documents produced by Vatican II are completely relevant to the failure of Vatican II as an Ecumenical Council to communicate its truth.

            The inclusion of Homosexuals in the Priesthood and the tolerance of dissent and false teaching along with the fallacious understanding of the supremacy of personal conscience are all sourced from people who claimed the authentic teaching of the Council.

            The situation for the last 50 years is similar to a teacher presented with a Math curriculum and materials for the teaching of Mathematics to students requiring a course in Math to solely engage in a exposition about the profound insights of 17th Century Japanese Haikus.

            False presentation in pedagogy effaces the benefits of the truth in the documentation.

            • papagan

              “False presentation in pedagogy effaces the benefits of the truth in the documentation.”

              Why couldn’t someone say the same thing in reference to Sacred Scripture and its distorted presentation by self-appointed pedagogues? That’s only one example.

              • RufusChoate

                In the past self-appointed pedagogues were defined as heretics and apostates but today they are merely dissenters or dissidents who have more in common with Communist Insurgents than Catholics seeking to undermine the authentic teaching of the Church with bowdlerized left wing gnostic gibberish.

                • papagan

                  “In the past self-appointed pedagogues were defined as heretics and apostates but today they are merely dissenters or dissidents who have more in common with Communist Insurgents than Catholics seeking to undermine the authentic teaching of the Church with bowdlerized left wing gnostic gibberish.”

                  The category of dissidents includes more than “Communist insurgents.”

            • papagan

              “…the fallacious understanding of the supremacy of personal conscience…”

              One must certainly follow one’s conscience, but one also has an obligation to form one’s conscience in conformity with a higher standard. Obeying a malformed conscience, which is not in accord with objective truth, is not necessarily morally exculpatory.

            • papagan

              “Not quite try again. The flawed and unsound exposition of the teaching documents produced by Vatican II are completely relevant to the failure of Vatican II as an Ecumenical Council to communicate its truth.”

              The teaching was articulated. Whether the teaching is properly received is another matter. Failure in proper reception does not entail unsoundness of articulated teaching.

    • I call BS. I think the likes of Cardinal Marx could give a rat’s posterior about anything other than serving his masters in the German government that keep him on an economic leash.

  • lifeknight

    Great article, professor. Especially since MANY of the bloggers at Crisis have been called judgmental in the last few days. You took the time to research the Biblical quotes–thanks from a similarly “judgmental” parent.

    • Or judged to be judgmental?

  • Jdonnell

    Mann’s background in physics clearly left him short on language and usage. His kids had correctly pegged him. Judging and being judgmental are quite different things, though Mann conflates and confuses the two words in his article. Buoyed by such error, he suggests that the current Pope exemplifies the “Peter Principle,” though Mann’s self-promotion as judge and judgmentalist better illustrates that Principle. He would have homosexuals simply change their sexual orientation, etc. He cannot see far, given the obstacle–beam?–in his own eye.

    • Scott W.

      Jamming.

    • GG

      Talk about irony.

    • Bill Guentner

      Nothing was written about changing one’s “sexual orientation”. Professor Mann simply wrote that the homosexual must, according to moral theology and the proscriptions of scripture, refrain from same-sex acts.

      • Jdonnell

        The heavy emphasis on homosexuality in Mann’s discussion simply highlights his judgmental attitude. (Cf. the difference between having opinions and being opinionated.) Were he to exercise real judgment, he might look at the funding of his government for terrorists who in his adult lifetime have killed many thousands, including Latin American priests, a bishop and nuns. That would involve using prudent judgment instead of judgmentalism.

        • Augustus

          Your problem isn’t with Dr. Mann. Your problem is with Scripture. Pope Francis was not mentioned once but every time the phrase is used today it is made in reference to homosexuality. This is not the author’s fault. Your desire to change the subject from pelvic issues in which the left can find no fault with foreign policy only confirms your dismissal of Church moral teachings in favor of partisan politics. Dr. Mann never said Scripture’s moral admonitions were limited to sex. Your eagerness to rationalize certain types of sin by redirecting our attention to you favorite hobby horses is in itself an example of the moral crisis Dr. Mann speaks about. No wonder you took such offense.

          • Jdonnell

            Jesus never condemns homosexuality, if it’s Scripture you want to concentrate on. Mann, like so many right-wingers, tends to focus on sex and reproduction and to ignore other pressing issues. What homos do privately may involve pathological behavior; that is their concern. What criminal presidents to with your and my taxes to make wars based on lies should be a concern that we make central in discussions about judging–Mann’s subject, if you recall. His potted history re Hen VIII and homosexuality are his sole examples. The former ex. is hardly a pressing issue, and for that matter, if the entire history of the matter of that divorce is put in context with other papal acts in similar cases, the Vatican doesn’t look quite as good as it does in Mann’s popular version. (I side with More, just the same.)

            • Augustus

              You are clearly not a Christian which explains your real motivation. Not even our Protestant friends would read Scripture THAT selectively. Jesus never challenged the Hebraic moral code. The passages on sexual morality found in the New Testament are reiterations of the Hebrew sexual moral code. The apostles merely reaffirmed it because Jesus never overturned it. The whole canon of Scripture is divine revelation, not just the words of Jesus. Second, the subject of the column is the use of a saying that is often employed by people like you to justify sexual immorality. You can’t mention the saying without reference to the context in which it is used. You are being disingenuous when you claim that so-called “right-wingers” focus exclusively on sex, as if the political left had no interest in the subject. If it wasn’t for the left overtly pushing to normalize homosexuality and to justify other sexually deviant practices, it simply would not come up in public discussion. Third, you are the one obsessing about homosexuality. The passages of Scripture quoted in the article do not focus exclusively on that, but it is all you see because of your own preoccupation with gay sex. Forth, no one said moral judgments of political actors are out of bounds. The obvious point, which you appear to intentionally miss, is that we are allowed to judge–regardless of the subject, not that some subjects are fair game and others are not. (You are guilty of this, not the author.) Fifth, the author gave multiple examples, not just on Henry VIII and homosexuality. It is clear you are not paying attention or are purposely deceitful. The irony is that you misinterpreted the example of Thomas More challenging a king yet in the same breath complain that the author did not focus on transgressions of political actors. If you wanted an example of judgment against corruption in high places then there it is. And no one ever accused Henry of being a homosexual. That you would use the occasion to slam the Vatican is just more evidence of your anti-Catholic bigotry. Six, you may not care if people engage in “pathological behavior” that results in their physical and spiritual self-destruction. Christians, on the other hand, do.

              • Jdonnell

                Your scattershot approach misses everything. I don’t say that the quoted passages focus on sex; it’s Mann who focuses on it. Your point about scripture not focusing on it shows Mann even more interested in swerving the disc. of jdgmt. in the direction of sex. He follows that obsession of some bishops–those the Pope has admonished to stop obsessing on the subject. (Incidentally, you make a false assumption in thinking that I condone homosexual behavior: I said nothing about condoning or not condoning it.)
                It’s also easy to cite the Hen. VIII ex., since it’s safely in the past. More difficult is dealing with crimes in our own house. The Bush war in Iraq may be the greatest crime ever committed by any US president. Right-wingers don’t want to deal with that. Neither, it’s obvious, do you.

                • Augustus

                  I don’t know if you are lying because your position is indefensible or whether you are just irrational. So I’ll try one last time to demonstrate the weakness of your argument in the hope that maybe you are just slow on the uptake. 1) My response was not “scattershot;” it was thorough which is why you were unable to respond to my rebuttal. 2) You can NOT say that Mann was focusing exclusively on sex yet at the same time dismiss the passages he quoted that did not necessarily focus on sex. The entire article was composed by the author to defend moral judgements in general and he did not only choose evidence that focused exclusively on sex. You, once again–like you do with Scripture–cherry pick passages that discuss sex while ignoring passages that don’t in order to falsely claim that the author is only interested in sex. This is a dishonest interpretation of the author’s intentions. 3) The Church does not obsess about sex. The Left obsesses about sex which is why Pope Francis is tired of journalists always asking about sex. Benedict said the same thing. Our culture is obsessed with sex because the left is more interested in the pursuit of personal pleasure than virtue or spiritual betterment. Thus leftists on the Supreme Court legalize abortion and sodomy and birth control, and pornography etc. I’m sure you agree with this liberalization of immorality but an honest observer can not deny that our cultural focus on sex comes from the pelvic left that dominates our cultural institutions and not from the Church which has been AWOL on this topic for half a century. 4) You can not say that you oppose homosexuality and at the same time say that no one should disapprove of homosexuality. You can’t complain about Mann opposing homosexuality and in the same breath say that you too oppose homosexuality. It is an obvious contradiction. You can’t say that we should not talk about sexual immorality because that’s not important and then claim that you object to sexual immorality. (Why would you object if it’s not important?) Either it’s important enough to talk about or it’s not important. You can’t have it both ways. 5) You can’t say that the author is justifying Bush Administration foreign policy because he mentioned Henry VIII instead of Bush Administration foreign policy. You have no clue what the author thinks about Iraq. You are making a baseless assumption because Iraq is your obsession and anyone who does not mention it must approve of it. This is a logical fallacy. There is no obligation on the part of the author to use a current foreign policy example to illustrate his point. This again is a fallacy. Your opinion about Iraq is irrelevant to the argument being made by Mann. If you favor moral judgment than give him some credit for laying out the principles.

                  By downplaying sexual immorality in favor exclusively of the Iraq war, you are guilty of the very transgression of selective moral indignation that you accuse Mann of committing.

                  • Jdonnell

                    All; your blather and accusations do not hide the fact that you misrepresent my position as stated in my comments. E.g. I do say that Mann focused exclusively on sex. Nor do I say anything about what the “Church” has focused on. I point out that in his essay on judgment–which he confuses with judgmentalism–he uses a historical ex. instead of facing up to much more relevant modern exs. like Bush and Co. lying the country into war, and that his other ex. that does follows the all-too-familiar focus of bishops (whom you confuse with the “Church”) on homosexuality. None of the scriptural passages he quotes mention the subject, but that doesn’t stop him or you. Those are the facts, which are in contrast to your false characterization of my comments. As for your other denial that your presentation is scattershot, that is a matter of opinion.. In your latest reply, numbering your points doesn’t do anything to improve them; as I show here, they are wide of the mark. Your shots are still scattered.

                    • Augustus

                      I have responded to all these points. You stubbornly refuse to acknowledge your misrepresentation of the author’s position and of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. 1) You are WRONG to say that Mann focuses exclusively on sex precisely because IN FACT he does NOT talk exclusively about sex. Restating a falsehood is not proof of accuracy. He DOES refer to scriptural passages that do not reference sex as you say. This is evidence that he DOES NOT focus exclusively on sex, as I pointed out above. And his examples are NOT all about sex, also as I pointed out above. Your selective reading of his essay is as bad as your selective reading of Scripture, which reinforces my view that you are not a Christian. Furthermore, as I pointed out above, the saying “Who am I to judge” is often used in reference to homosexuality. The author, by necessity, has to mention homosexuality as an example because it is the most common context in which the phrase is used. To say he is obsessed with homosexuality is an outright lie. 2) You erroneously said that Pope Francis was criticizing bishops who focus too much on sex. I responded by saying that he was NOT talking about bishops and he was not rejecting Church teaching on homosexuality. You protest that you did not refer to the “Church.” But in the same breath you object to Church teaching on homosexuality. “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality” “What homos do privately is not our concern.” This is taking a position against the Church, despite your protestations to the contrary. 3) I have debunked your irrelevant preoccupation with Iraq. The author’s argument in defense of judgment in principle is not weakened one iota by inserting your obsession with Iraq and other foreign policy matters. You insist on this, contrary to your protestations, because sexual morality is not important to you. More evidence that you are not a Christian. 4) You can not oppose moral judgment (“judgmentalism”) while simultaneously insist that we should judge the moral actions of politicians. Your attempt to redirect our attention toward your favorite political hobby horses and away from personal moral transgressions is morally incoherent and contradictory. Thus further evidence of your secular, anti-Christian prejudices that help explain how you could so completely misunderstand and misrepresent what Dr. Mann wrote.

                    • Jdonnell

                      I don’t misrepresent you pal, Mann; it’s you who repeatedly misrepresents me, even after I have pointed out your erroneous claims about what I’ve said. Let me use your numbers; maybe then you will be able to grasp what so far you haven’t understood. You say,

                    • Augustus

                      I understand what you are saying. I have already responded to your claims. I’m not going to repeat myself. This is the problem with debating an ideologue. He will see only what he wants to see and will ignore everything else. But we can agree on one thing. Pursuing this further would be a waste of time.

        • MarkRutledge

          Come now. Mann’s decision to use the example of homosexuality was not made in a vacuum. The referenced comment “Who am I to judge” was made by Pope Francis with regards to homosexuals, and there is perhaps no other topic in public discussion where the muddled view of judgement is so commonly seen.

        • “funding of his government for terrorists who in his adult lifetime have killed many thousands”
          So says the guy whose never met a tax he didn’t like.

    • Martha

      My, that sounds awfully judgmental. That’s a bad word, didn’t you know?

    • “Mann’s background in physics clearly left him short on language and usage.”

      How would you know?

  • Thank you for saying this professor. I wish our clergy would preach this way.

    • jacobhalo

      The clergy used to preach that way pre-Vatican II. Listen to Charles Stanley, he preaches the way the clerics preached before the disaster.

      • And I again I ask, are you seriously telling us that before Vatican II, Catholic clergy were preaching like Baptist televangelists? Baptist televangelists that teach against the Church?

        http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=768463

        So this is where the PHO mind leads us-astray, it tells us to abandon the message of continual renewal for the myth of persistent salvation?

        http://www.catholic-convert.com/blog/2014/02/11/eternal-security-is-baptist-pastor-charles-stanley-right-2/

        Why don’t you admit, you really don’t really understand orthodoxy, you think it’s stridency?

      • Charles Stanley’s homiletical skills are horrific. He sounds like a used car salesman. Not to mention how bad the theology is: premillennial dispensationalism. Yuck.

        Now, your point about him being a straight shooter, that’s different.

        But you are right about this: there’s a serious deficiency in catholic preaching. The vast bulk of it has the unction and conviction of soft-core self help, Jesus-lite religion. Robert Schuller and Joel Osteen couldn’t really squirm in a typical RC sermon. Thanks be to God there are a few good ones left.

        • But I have two thoughtful, straight-shooting priests in my Church. The last pastor was a pretty straight shooter, as were the last three assistants. I especially remember the one who dared to ask whether “two men and a half” was an appropriate TV show.

          • Earnest, substantive homilies don’t all have to be dark. I guess truth telling with conviction and no hint of embarrassment is the bare minimum of a good sermon.

        • jacobhalo

          Not that I agree with Charles Stanley, but he doesn’t pull punches. He says that Jews cannot be saved unless that embrace Jesus as their savior. That is what I learned during the pre-Vatican II days in Catholic schools.

          • That’s just NT teaching. Took no great council to know this. Unfortunately the New Understanding in the wake of VII has made it extraordinarily difficult for Christians to do what they’ve always done: preach the Gospel to the lost, Jew first then Greek.

          • Lots of people “didn’t pull punches”. Like I wrote before, you are more interested in stridency than orthodoxy.

  • jacobhalo

    log on to “from Rome” Cardinal Karl Marx said that German church is not a local branch of Rome. He said that the synod will not tell them what to do.

    • Jay

      Then wouldn’t that make him a Protestant?

    • jacobum

      How do you say “Schism”? Naaa. Not the Germans again? Echoes of Luther you say? It’s not about the money!

    • jacobhalo

      He is surely not a Catholic with that thinking.

  • Nel

    Thank you for this. I get so fed up with ignoramuses who behave as though ‘judging’ is the ultimate evil. Too dumb to realize that every time they go shopping and choose product X over product Y they are exercising some kind of judgement – about better price, better quality, better nutrition, better fashion – something.

    Any choice we make requires JUDGEMENT. It can be good judgement or bad judgement; informed judgement or uninformed judgement; wise or foolish judgement; prudent judgement or not. But to choose means you MUST judge. We can only hope that everyone who makes a choice is trying to judge – to some degree – ‘What is the good here? I will choose that.’

    If you don’t judge, you can’t choose. Yet so many who cry, ‘Don’t judge!’ also demand ‘Free choice!’

    I’m sick of people confusing ‘judging’ with ‘condemning.’ Sometimes a judgement results in a condemnation (‘product X is half the price of product Y, has more in the box and has the same ingredients as Y. Product Y is clearly a rip-off.’) Sometimes judgement results in praise (‘product X is the better value – Bravo!’). But if we are not all judging, all the time, we cease to be humans; we become like the animals, who have no values-responses and cannot weigh the pros and cons of anything and choose based on valid criteria.

    Bottom line, the person who shouts, ‘Don’t judge me!’ and judges others guilty of the ‘crime’ of being ‘judgemental’ is always shouting to drown out the voice of his conscience. Always.

    • fredx2

      Typically, those who say you should not be judgmental are as judgmental as can be, just as to different things.

      In actual fact, the things that you cannot be judgmental about are somewhat limited. They only want to avoid judgment as to certain things. They want to remain entirely free to condemn YOU, and call you names (Bigot!) and hurl all sorts of invective against YOU. Their rules about judgment only apply when you want to talk about them. Then judgment is strictly verboten, a crime against niceness and humanity, and boorish beyond belief.

    • Jacqueleen

      I, too am tired of those who are quick to “accuse” another of “judging them.” This makes me think of who is the accuser? Jesus did not mean judging in the same way that we interpret the word, rather, He meant not to condemn…Only Jesus can condemn a soul. We all have a soul that will live on forever.
      My favorite line when evangelizing goes like this:
      My God is a merciful God if I ask Him for mercy!
      My God is a God of Justice if I don’t ask Him for mercy!

    • MHB

      Not always. A chaste person who is judged as “immoral” because he identifies himself as gay, will cry , “Don’t judge me!” because it is unjust to judge him. He has a clear conscience. Being “judgmental” or assuming things you have no knowledge of is a matter of injustice.

    • meme1961

      I have the same problem with people who believe that “equality” is a moral principle.

      To say nothing of those who think discrimination is evil. Discrimination is a required tool of the faculty of reason, necessary for us to even begin the process of judging.

      I really wish that the English speaking world had chosen another word to be synonymous with “false dichotomy” than “discrimination.”

  • maineman

    The failure to judge seems to me to be a product of the pervasive cowardice that liberalism has spawned. Indifference to Truth, the hallmark of the contemporary liberal, necessarily entails a lack of commitment to defending what is right.

    I have worked in mental health for 3 decades now, and today’s parents are typically unwilling to pass judgment on their children, children’s friends, or misguided teachers and other parents, all for fear of the repercussions. It is imperative that they identify evil and protect their children from the corrupt culture, especially when they reach adolescence, and I find that telling them that is always well received, because they know in their hearts that they have lacked the courage to stand up for the truth and welcome the support for them to do so.

    Likewise, the push for physician-assisted dying, birth control and abortion, lack of resistance to hedonistic and deviant impulses, pacifism in the face of savagery — all manifestations of cowardice and fear of confronting and wrestling with adversity.

  • GG

    Failure to judge is a type of sociopathy. It allows all manner of vice. It is false mercy.

    It is based in the idea of false equality. The corrupted post modern mind thinks forming a correct evaluation on immorality is wrong because it places the one judging superior to others. That “sin” is intolerable to those who refuse to stop acting immorally. It requires us to never think or speak with authority because doing so violates this false equality we so worship above all else.

    • Scott W.

      Bishop Sheen on false compassion: http://youtu.be/Sog1oZtt-Q4

      • Jacqueleen

        Excellent….Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is always on target and right to the point.

    • LarryCicero

      Pope Benedict used the phrase “cultural levelling”- an indiscriminate acceptance of types of conduct and behavior. A judgment has been made to accept or reject. The failure is to not reject certain behavior and conduct for fear of being judged as judgmental or offensive. JPII said, Be not afraid. What nonsense we get from being afraid to judge right from wrong.

      • The late Judge Bork had an interesting phrase he used as a book title.
        Slouching toward(s) Gomorrah.

        • LarryCicero

          Herbert Schlossberg wrote Idols For Destruction, borrowing from Hosea 8:4 for the title, in1983. It may not be as well known as Bork’s book, but he had it right too.

  • HartPonder

    Timely information! I would add that our Catacheism shows that to save another, we may need to correct them in love:

    “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: “Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.” (CCC 2477-2478)

    Corinthians 5: 12,13 shows it is everyone’s responsibily to uphold God’s standards within the Church.

    • The Jesuit “Charitable Interpretation”. I used to believe it was a good idea, but as of late, I’ve lost faith in it. Combined with “Academic Freedom” in Jesuit schools, it has become an outright tool of Satan.

  • Carol Leeda Crawford

    I find correcting someone in a non judgemental way, appealing through reason and concern is sometimes effective in getting someone to consider their actions or behaviour. Though a better way is to separate the issue from the individual. eg. How do I remain faithful to God and His moral teachings and be charitable towards those who are sinning? This means talking about the behaviour or belief as taught by the church, showing how reason supports this teaching. Then sharing your concern for those who are acting contrary to this teaching. Next, if there is openness to listen further, we ask God for the words and courage to say and do what we need to do to correct our brother or sisters.

    • Randy Otis

      Yes..because 50+ years of the church not wanting to “offend” anyone has worked so well……

  • Encourage14

    There is confusion about the term homosexual which adds to this discussion. There are some who call themselves gay or homosexual who are not sexually active. I like the way that the Courage Apostolate emphasizes the use of the terms “same sex attracted”, focusing on the attraction, which is not sinful, and the homosexual activity, which is sinful. So when someone says, “Who am I to judge?” it is that we may recognize a person as being attracted to the same sex, but we don’t know whether they are choosing to act on that attraction in a sinful way. If we do know, then yes, I would agree with Ronald Mann that this is an opportunity to gently correct our brother or sister and not an occasion to say, “Bravo!”.

    • Scott W.

      While you correct that we need to distinguish between the act and the temptation, we need to be wise to the fact that people are deliberately trying to capitalize on it. One of my colleagues lives in a town that passed a non-discrimination ordinance that explicitly includes acting on same-sex attraction as included in the “orientation”. Gordon College is currently being threatened with loss of accreditation precisely for trying to justly navigate the act/orientation. Their policy against homosexual activity (without forbidding people with SSA to attend) is unacceptable to the usual suspects. It proves two things: 1. The act/orientation distinction is only used by the usual suspects when convenient or can provide a smokescreen. Otherwise, one implies the other. 2. If the college can’t ban homosexual acts, they have no basis for banning heterosexual acts either, which shows the “It doen’t affect you” line for the hogwash it always was.

      • MHB

        by saying one implies the other do you mean that someone who identifies as gay it implies that they are sexually active? So if someone is straight does this imply they are sexually active too?
        I think that the “who am I to judge” statement was to recognize the wrong we do when we assume things about others.
        . Were you saying Gordon also has a policy against heterosexual acts outside of marriage?

        • GG

          It is an error to equate normal sexuality with abnormal sexuality and claim equal status.

          • MHB

            What do you mean, equal status” GG? I’m pointing out that there are people who identify themselves as “gay”, who are not sexually active, and it is wrong to assume anything about a person’s activity. That is what I mean by who am I to judge? I can judge the activity is wrong, but I can’t judge the person for his or her attractions, only what I know of their activity.
            It would be better if people identified as same sex attracted, to clarify the difference, but they don’t. The culture accepts that gay means someone attracted to the same sex, but not all people who identify as gay are sexually active. Just the same as straights. That doesn’t mean “equal status”. It means we shouldn’t judge anyone by appearances. Anyone.

            • GG

              Straight and gay are political terms used for propaganda. There are few reasons to make such deviations public.

              Deviant desires are not equal to heterosexual desires. Pedophilia desire is not equal to heterosexual desire. They are not the same. Homosexual desire is not the same as heterosexual desire. That is not a matter of sinful acts but of a deviant desire. Such desires are not ordered toward the good.

              • MHB

                yea, whats your point? no one said that they are the same. only that one cannot judge a person for having such desires.

        • Scott W.

          I’m saying people are exploiting the act/orientation distinction to further mischievous agendas.

  • I’m reminded of a commentator on a Southern Baptist website who wrote, “I can’t reconcile how someone could feel he or she was born with strong homosexual feelings, love Christ and yet take on the limitations of what seem to me to be straightforward biblical teachings. That’s agonizing, and I don’t really understand it.”

    And this is the weird thing: “Straightforward biblical teachings” should at least be understandable to the average person. So often I hear it said, “OUR ways are not GOD’s ways,” as if God was some sort of inscrutable alien being.

    Consider The Golden Rule: We do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Put all the religious dogma and ritual aside, and this is what our laws boil down to. We don’t lie or bear false witness because we won’t want people to lie to us. We don’t steal from other people because we do not want people stealing from us. We don’t betray the trust of our spouses because we wouldn’t want them doing the same to us. Same goes for killing and a variety of other “bad” behaviors.

    And yet somehow there seems to be this sheepish adherence to a double standard for Gay and Straight people. If you’re Straight, it’s all so wonderful to be able to find a compatible person of the opposite sex, court and get engaged and marry and live happily ever after. But if you’re Gay, all of that is completely out of the question. Don’t even bother trying to find a compatible person. Lesbians and Gay men are precluded from any hope for romance or commitment. Gay people are simply told: “Gosh, sorry about that. You make us uncomfortable; acknowledging your existence means we might have to revise what we’ve been teaching all these years – meaning, Whoops! No infallible Magisterium or “literal” Bible… so you’ll just have to sacrifice your life and any hope of finding somebody to love. Tough luck, kid. God said it, I don’t necessarily understand it, but there it is.” How could this be considered a good value judgment?

    Fortunately, the reason increasing numbers of Americans support marriage equality is because they have learned to make better value judgments. The reason couples choose to marry is to make a solemn declaration before friends and family members that they wish to make a commitment to one another’s happiness, health, and well-being, to the exclusion of all others. Those friends and family members will subsequently act as a force of encouragement for that couple to hold fast to their vows. THAT’S what makes marriage a good thing, whether the couple in question is Straight OR Gay.

    • JGradGus

      Consider this Chuck: Biology 101 tells us that all behaviors are either learned or
      intrinsic. There is no gay gene which means that that homosexuality is a learned behavior. Anything that is learned can be unlearned. Unfortunately you (and many others) have bought into this liberal/progressive/secular gender bender nonsense, which is nothing more than an attempt to get around the whole learned/intrinsic behavior issue that is actually an insurmountable obstacle to the secularist philosophy of ‘let’s make religion irrelevant.’

      • papagan

        Many forget about original sin and its impact upon human nature. Also, a same-sex tendency, which might stem from original sin, is not equivalent to a same-sex sexual act. The former need not imply actual sin on the part of the individual with the tendency.

        • MHB

          Which is why we could say, Who am I to
          Judge!

          • papagan

            All distinctions presuppose a mental judgment. Judgment is the second act of the mind. Simple apprehension is the first act of the mind, and the syllogism is the third act of the mind. “Avarice is evil,” for example, is a judgment. “Ishmael’s pursuit of profit for profit’s sake is contrary to the common good” is another example of judgment. “Ishmael is evil” is a third example of judgment. Unlike the first two examples, the third example of judgment crosses a moral boundary one shouldn’t cross.

      • I go further: even if there *were* a gay gene, it doesn’t validate the lifestyle at all. All that says is there are biological factors for a given impulse or predilection. Some argue promiscuity in men is genetic, alcoholism has a genetic component, and I’m sure if we dig and dig we can find biological reasons for zoophilia and pedophilia. But that there’s a genetic or biological tie doesn’t justify acting upon it.

        • MHB

          Agreed!

        • Billy

          Just imagine if you were a celibate Catholic who happens to be a full-blown zoophile, and you come on here and read the hypocrisy that all these gay activists spout. Imagine how frustrating it would be to read all the comments that justify homosexual acts on the grounds that they “can’t choose it” (when you yourself can’t choose your zoophilia) or even worse and more degrading, they refuse to address the problem altogether and just shout “you’re equating homosexuality with zoophilia? How dare you!”

    • Elaine Steffek

      Except that is not what the Catholic Church, the Body
      of Christ on Earth, teaches.

    • Chuck, “straightforward biblical teachings” ARE understandable to the average person, they are just not agreeable to the average person. We don’t want to follow Jesus Christ because it is too hard, too demanding, and usually seems to forbid us from the immediate good or pleasure in front of us. We understand “what” we are called to do, but when our desires conflict with it we demand “why’s” to find a way out of it.

      Boiling Christianity down to a “golden rule” is insulting to both Jesus Christ and His Church. Jesus already boiled it down (in all 3 Synoptic Gospels) with the far more comprehensive and demanding command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If we love Him, we will keep his commandments.

      And no, there is no double-standard between those with or without same-sex attraction. We are all called to the same mastery of our sexual powers in loving service to the Lord Jesus Christ. No exceptions due to our particular sexual appetites, no matter how strong nor how long we have carried them.

      When we sin, we repent, ask mercy and forgiveness, do penance, seek reparation, and make a firm resolution to “sin no more.”

      • Objectivetruth

        Excellent! Best post I’ve seen on this topic on Crisis.

      • Exactly, grace is free but not cheap.

      • MHB

        Well spoken!

      • MHB

        Well Damon, maybe not so insulting because you could take the golden rule to include not using people for our own pleasure because we don’t want to be used.
        Agreed, we are all called to be chaste.

      • Crisiseditor

        Thank you, Damon. Welcome to Crisis. You must visit more often. (For the curious, Mr. Owens is the executive director of the Theology of the Body Institute outside of Philadelphia. A fine organization.)

    • fredx2

      Thanks for the nice attempt to redefine marriage. In all of recorded history, no one has ever defined marriages as a cuddly relationship between ANY two or three or four people who decide (for the moment) that they want to “make a commitment” to each other. Google “gay marriage monogamy” and you will find that all that lovey-dovey commitment talk does not really mean they intend to have sex only with the person they “marry”. They want to be free to use Grindr and go have anonymous sex with whoever presents himself. Thanks, but in fact your whole movement is based on obscuring the truth. As such, it simply cannot last.

    • littleeif

      Your assessment of married life is actually silly. Married couples are called to chastity just as are people practicing homosexuality. Do you actually believe the chaste commitment to one woman just that simple? And if the husband “falls in love” with another wouldn’t the logic of his adultery be the same as the logic for a homosexual liaison?

      Marriage is a Sacrament to a Catholic – a visible sign on earth of a reality in heaven, not a “solemn declaration before friends”.

      Your opinion is distressing, not in that it lacks reason and logic, but because otherwise reasonable people come to such irrational conclusions about something so basic.

    • Have you considered the reason the ‘Golden Rule’ works and is contained in the Ten Commandments is because God’s ways actually work for mankind?

      The teachings of Jesus reflect our natures, made in the image of God but damaged by the Fall. Following them promotes personal health and the common good. This also applies to objective laws concerning male and female relationships and the use of the gift of sex within marriage.

      First and foremost, sin is an offence against God because it is man saying: “We know better”. We don’t and sin has consequences for us individually and collectively.

    • “The reason couples choose to marry is to make a solemn declaration before friends and family members that they wish to make a commitment to one another’s happiness, health, and well-being, to the exclusion of all others. ”

      I happen to think it’s too narrow to exclude all others. In fact, the extreme Sola Scriptura crowd make a good argument that polygamy was never revoked in the New Testament:

      http://www.christianpolygamy.info/christian-polygamy/

      http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695257217/Idaho-Evangelical-
      Christian-polygamists-use-Internet-to-meet-potential-spouses.html?pg=all

      As a matter of fact, why would my happiness for multiple wives be squashed?

      The supreme irony of this, of course, is there is *no* precedent for SSA “marriages” in Scripture, but there’s a slew of support for the tolerance of polygamy. When David sinned with Bathsheba, and had her husband murdered, God speaking through Nathan even told David, “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more” (2 Samuel 12).

      Point is: the Christian faith doesn’t ask you to pick out the parts you think are relevant to you, and discard the rest. Christ and His Church present the Apostolic teachings. If you don’t like them, there’s always the Episcopal Church, the See of Canterbury, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and a slew of other non-catholic denominations in favor of SSA “unions”.

      If you are convinced the See of Peter is founded by Christ and built upon the Apostles, then at minimum you have to ask yourself, “For whatever reason God has in His Providence dealt me a certain deck of cards, do I remain faithful in spite of the discomfort and challenges?”

      Why do you think Christ asks us to count the cost. God is extremely open about this: know what you’re getting into. Recognize this requires *everything* from you. It’s not a religion I would sign up to if I was looking for optimal comforts in this world.

      Often times coming to Christ is the worst thing for your life. Whenever the Lord steps into our boat is when things get terrifying. He promises peace as the world could never give you, but that’s the faith part — a supernatural gift if there ever was one. You couldn’t even truly confess Christ is Lord unless the Spirit is given to you.

      Just saying.

  • Keith Cameron

    I do not see where (if anywhere) we are called to not cal Sin, Sin.

  • FrankW

    I think we’ve all seen where this approach has gotten us over the past several decades, and it would be very difficult to suggest that the changes have been good for humanity.

    As an example: Is it wrong for us to judge men who impregnate women (especially to whom they are not married) and then take off leaving the woman to raise the child alone? Well, apparently this behavior has become a lot more acceptable in recent decades, so we’re seeing a lot more of it. The only thing the legal system can do is force the dead-beat dad to pay child support, but being a father requires so much more than that. This is a problem no government program can fix. It requires moral courage, and the willingness to shame those participating in this behavior to change their ways.

    A nation that can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong and stand for what is right is a nation no longer capable or fit for self-government. Perhaps this is why we see our federal government so anxious to take over every aspect of our lives, from our health insurance, our energy consumption, even our diets. Our government safety net is collapsing under the weight of immoral behavior. How long before we as a nation have the courage to say “Enough of this madness!”?

  • Steve

    Hey, “self denial” has its reward.

  • jacobum

    Stick a fork in it! It’s Done! Great article. Well said. Of course the “Spirit of Vatican 2” sycophants (both laity and clerical) will disagree with you. It’s not nice to confuse folks with facts and truth. Not good for digestion let alone eternal souls. The fact is that Satan’s minions at V2 and the Concilium that followed shortly thereafter deliberately removed or denied essentially anything to do with “Sin”, “Sacrifice” or “Sacred” from the liturgy, pulpit and the mouths of the “powers that be”. Everything has been reduced to banalities i/n/o a distorted “Ecumenism”. Therefore fools in denial have deluded themselves into believing that just about everyone is going to heaven (just ask Fr Barron) since God is toooo Merciful (without Justice) to send anyone to Hell (even though He mentioned “Hell” 90x in the NT versus 27x for Heaven). Who am I to judge if there is no sin?. Sin is not Sin. It’s now described as a warm and fuzzy “personal faith journey”. It’s falls under the “novelty and nonsense” category of the Spirit of V2 and it’s distorted abuse of “Obedience”. How “diabolically disoriented” is that? “Very”, to say the least. Lord, Have Mercy On Us.

  • Elaine Steffek

    Thank you so much for this article! So many people conflate
    judgement of people with judgement of behavior to the point where fraternal correction has become offensive and a source of division between friends and among families.
    As disciples we must be willing to suffer the pain of these divisions for the sake of the Kingdom.

  • John Mainhart

    Beautiful comment, Greg, and absolutely the truth. Everyone is called to Chastity and Christ showed us how possible it is when He charged His priests to be chaste during their sacramental life to honor Him and be a good example to us all.

  • elarga

    Excellent article; what is truly disheartening is the information about Card. Dolan. When a guy as smart and faithful as he is, and who has been elevated to the pinnacle of leadership in the church, is reduced to such pathetic babbling, incapable of stating the truth, out of respect for the Zeitgeist, you know we’re in trouble.

  • sixlittlerabbits

    Liturgically this is the wrong season for Alleluias, but this clear statement of the idiocy of the phrase “Who am I to judge” and some prelates’ disastrous actions in response to it makes me gratefully exult “Alleluia” at seeing common sense and truth so well stated. Thank you, Ronald Mann and “Crisis.”

    • publiusnj

      For reasons I have already noted, I disagree that the phrase is idiotic. It was a very wise…nay, Omniscient…Man Who, most famously, used that expression. Like any of His phrases, though, it can be misused.

  • donna

    the word was and is “condemn” and it changes the entire understanding and meaning of the Bible passage. As for Cardinal Dolan he is a miscreant a complete Catholic illiterate and the only mystery is how and why he is in the Cardinal’s chair in NY.

    • John Albertson

      Good question. That appointment of Dolan was by Pope Benedict – it cannot be blamed on the present pontiff. Dolan simply is not a serious thinker. A tragedy of our times.

      • donna

        which makes it all the more shocking but he said he was weary. I wish the only suspicion i harbored about Dolan was a lack of qualification as serious thinker in theology. Best I can say without slanderous comment is he appears a tad to concerned about his social position in NY and DC. He is the most prominent prelate in US. He needs re-formation I would suggest several years in a strict Carthusian monastery or perhaps some instruction by the wonderful Bishop Cordelieone.

  • A.H.

    Bravo! Mr. Mann

  • ForChristAlone

    I read this morning that the priest who is the spokesman for the Basilian Fathers (the same order as that of Fr Rosica of Salt & Light who is suing a blogger) told Cardinal Raymond Burke in a tweet to “STFU.”

    Would that be making a judgment on his part?

    • Marcelus

      Strange thing. CMTV is reporting that the spokesman has been removed back in 2014. Will see. Still,even if you agree or not with Burke, the guy should be sanctioned somehow.

    • I saw that this morning. Should I be worried that I know what STFU means?

  • Ruth Rocker

    Oh, my!! What a breath of fresh air!! I have argued with my friends and family about just this issue with the same point of view. Jesus tells us many times to judge behavior. This is significantly different from judging someone’s soul, which only God can do. Bravo!

    • papagan

      Are you familiar with an incisive article, “Judge Not?” published in First Things two decades ago by the noted educator and scholar, Jean Bethke Elshtain? http://www.firstthings.com/article/1994/10/judge-not If you haven’t come across that article, I think you’d enjoy reading it.

  • M.J.A.

    Hopefully , this article would encourage many to ‘judge ‘ the very attitudes of the heart , which , in case of marriage , would also include if there are areas where in undue importance is given to the opinion,/approval of the other , falling for the effect of The Fall ,in The Garden , wherein The Father warns Adam and Eve , in which many married couples struggle through , in practice of N.F.P and other areas .
    Idolatry of attractions , discerning its origin and where it leads – if Eve and Adam had cared enough to see same, heeding the warnings of The Father , they would have recognized that it is the death bearer of hatred that is coming out as ‘attraction ‘ !
    God thus allowing experiences of desolations and trials , to free persons from such idolatry – that is to be accepted as a gift even, recognizing that its promise is for better awareness of the truth and love that is God !
    Pope Francis possibly had his heart on the part about how God allowing persons certain trials, to thus help in deeper search for God !
    Marriage has the intent of helping oneself and the other , to be more conformed to the mind and heart of God , modeled after The Lord ; when the intent , instead ,changes to idolatry of unholy attractions , at the expense of alienating self and the other , from the truth and holiness of God , The Church calls out warnings , judging rightly , the approach of the enemy , the very enemy whose works The Lord came to destroy , to bring us into the living waters of good relationship with The Father and all , in The Lord !
    There is no less that The Church and all in Her desire, for Her children !

  • cestusdei

    Few people are more judgmental then liberals.

    • Atilla The Possum

      Right on, there, cestusdei! Oh, how right on you are!

    • ForChristAlone

      Ain’t that the truth.

    • meme1961

      “Liberalism is an anonymous religion.”

      But then again, that’s fairly obvious, as socialism requires that the Church be subservient to government, while communism simply absorbs the Church into government.

  • hombre111

    Actually, not bad. We have the right to say that someone is wrong. But only God knows if that person has sinned. One challenge comes with “prudential judgment,” an expression that show up every once in a while on Crisis. We all know that something is the teaching of the Church, but we use prudential wisdom when putting it into practice. Down in the dirt, my prudential judgment might not be your prudential judgment. Among conservatives, that means ignoring much of the social teaching of the Church, especially its teaching about greed, war, and the fate of the poor. Among liberals, that means ignoring much of the Church’s teaching about homosexuals and birth control. Doesn’t that make everyone some kind of relativist? So…don’t judge.

    • Ok, you are wrong. Again, and again, and again.

      • hombre111

        Nothing substantive here. Go depth-charge something.

        • “Doesn’t that make everyone some kind of relativist?”

          Nothing substantive here. Boo.Boo.. I am the ghost of Rodney King.. boooo…

          “Go depth-charge something.”

          I’m not wasting good munitions on an old boot.

    • GG

      No, not accurate at all.

      • hombre111

        I make my statement based on observation. And you?

    • ForChristAlone

      “Among conservatives, that means ignoring much of the social teaching of the Church especially its teaching about greed, war, and the fate of the poor.”

      That is an outright lie and you know it. This is a favorite meme of you liberals and the protestant wing of the Catholic Church. Your elitist attitudes would have everyone believe that only your ilk care about the poor. The stats contradict this over and over again but yet you still hammer it home. The statist solution to social problems has failed. Most of us here know it. You are obstinate in your insistence that it is not so.

      • Veritas

        I don’t think Jesus would have approved of state aid. He knew that there would be no charity in love with this kind of social teaching. Anyone can see that.

        Well, almost anyone.

        • JRDF

          Indeed,
          How many times did Jesus petition Caesar to care for the poor?

          How many times did he petition his disciples to care for the poor?
          (AKA the Catholic Principle of Subsidiarity.)

          As Pope Benedict would say: liberals “insist that man does live by bread alone” — and thus the global aid empire (aka poverty inc.); which supports the self-righteous liberal who insists upon the parental (liberal) / child (poor) relationship.

          — while conservatives insist that ‘man does NOT live by bread alone”; but by human dignity via human self-achievement. see Poverty Cure — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxASM44gPlU

          • papagan

            “As Pope Benedict would say: …while conservatives insist that ‘man does NOT live by bread alone’; but by human dignity via human self-achievement.” (Emphasis added.)

            Really? Are you talking about Pope Benedict XVI? Where exactly would he say what you seem to think he would say?

            • JRDF

              Like a good little liberal you pick & choose & rearrange other’s statements … to make your own false claims, accusations, etc. And like a good troll liberal you nit-pick to avoid facing the truth of the whole indictment, (i.e. the practiced liberal tactic of “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”)

              As anyone can see by my post, I did not attribute the statement about conservatives to Pope Benedict XVI, but since I am a conservative, and know the conservative mind, I can state what conservatives insist upon.

              ——————-

              See Deus Caritas Est, in which Pope Benedict reprimands the
              liberals/marxists for insisting that state run social structures is all
              that is needed –i.e. man can live by bread alone.

              ENCYCLICAL LETTER DEUS CARITAS EST OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF BENEDICT XVI — 28b

              “This love does not simply offer people material help, but refreshment
              and care for their souls, something which often is even more necessary
              than material support. In the end, the claim that just social structures
              would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception
              of man: the mistaken notion that man can live “by bread alone” (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3)—a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.”

              • papagan

                You miss the point of my comment, despite the fact that I emphasized the point at issue:

                “…but by human dignity via human self-achievement.”

                It should have read as follows: “…via human cooperation with divine grace.” Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of gift and gratuitousness in Caritas in Veritate. That, however, does not fit the twisted narrative of those who attempt to defend the status quo, to defend “an economy of exclusion and inequality” (Evangelii Gaudium, 53).

                Moreover, Pope Francis is lambasted and excoriated by many for shining an intensely bright light on the lethal spiritual disorder of social Darwinism. “Pope Francis embraces socialism!” Such slanderous attacks are terribly dishonest and wholly unworthy of those who claim to be followers of Christ.

              • papagan

                “Like a good little liberal…”

                First, let’s dispense with the name-calling, please. Second, it’s true that I’ve been labelled a “conservative” by some. I’ve never been labelled a “liberal,” however, at least not until I began posting comments on this website. If such labels were necessary, perhaps the best label in this case would be “centrist,” i.e., someone whose views displease both “liberals” and “conservatives.” On the question of evolution, for instance, I’ve been attacked verbally by individuals at both ends of the spectrum, including biblical fundamentalists and proponents of neo-Darwinian orthodoxy. In the former category, one individual went as far as to call me a “God-hater” in email correspondence! (I’m not joking.) In the latter category, one individual went as far as to send to me via the USPS a piece of hate mail–several typed pages! So I’m quite familiar with what it’s like to draw fire from both extremes.

      • hombre111

        Conservatives want to give charitable gifts to the deserving poor. This very sentence is not Christ-like, ChristAlone, but that is the way it comes across. Their care and concern stops with charity. They have a very limited sense of justice for the poor. Justice demands that we change the structures that make so many people poor in the first place. Take my state, with its $7.25 minimum wage. The several Catholic Republicans in the legislature all voted against raising it to $9.00. And they also opposed collective bargaining, which is part of Catholic social teaching. I just preached a sermon on war. Most of it was quotes from Popes John Paul and Benedict, along with quotes from the Catholic Catechism. People got up and walked out, and some people screamed screamed at me after Mass.

        Justice requires a solution of law, which conservatives oppose, except, of course, for abortion. They think charity would keep everybody fed and clothed. Catholic Charities and other groups down in the trenches say the problem is so huge, all the churches put together couldn’t come up with enough. Only the government can muster the resources.One of the most successful statist solutions to poverty is Social Security.

        • MHB

          Perhaps if priests gave more sermons about the virtue of chastity there would be less need for charity!

          • hombre111

            You still don’t get it. We are not talking about charity. We are talking about justice, about the system which creates poverty for millions and millions. In my state, the minimum wage is 7.25, and we are near the bottom when it comes to the percentage of people receiving minimum wages. Adults work for those wages, as you will discover in any fast food joint. If you are a waiter and waitress, your hourly wage is 3.25, plus tips, which you have to share with table cleaners and dishwashers. This is a structural reality which condemns people to poverty. Rent a house, heat a house, buy a car to go to work, buy clothes, pay health bills….

            WalMart, which helped create this mess, is finally raising wages to nine dollars. Walmart and Kmart understand that this wage scale is impossible, so they teach their employees how to get food stamps and medical care. In other words, you and I are subsidizing Walmart’s low wages.

            Rather than face up to the question of Justice, as their Church asks them to, conservative Catholics keep harping about babies out of wedlock. A bad and irresponsible idea, yes, I agree. But tell that to someone whose desperate situation keeps them from even imagining a better tomorrow.

            • MHB

              I do get it. I agree with you about the minimum wage that is too low. However, poverty is a multi-faceted problem that has to be looked at on all sides. It is also a matter of injustice (to babies) for teens and adults to procreate when they are not married and have no means to take care of children. That is unjust to the children that come from these liaisons. Who are the unjust? Walmart didn’t put them into bed. Women need to realize their value in God’s eyes, not in the eyes of men, and to be firm and not sell out to the culture of pleasure. Men need to control their passions and stop using women to satisfy their lustful desires and impregnating women, who are left impoverished. It’s much more than just raising the minimum wage!!!! Personal responsibility and education would do much for raising people out of poverty. Yes, do tell that to someone whose desperate situation keeps them from imagining a better tomorrow. Tell them how to persevere and to behave responsibly. Having babies out of wedlock is only going to dig the hole deeper.

              • hombre111

                If conservatives really wanted to help the babies born out of wedlock, they would stop blocking every effort to help them. In my gloriously God-fearing red state, for instance, the Repubs keep voting down pre-school, which has proven benefits. They won’t support day-care, which means those babies born out of wedlock are often left at home alone so their mothers can work. They wouldn’t support putting mothers into the penitentiary where I volunteer, leaving their kids to God knows what. They would finally take sales tax off of groceries.

                I just visited the 100 year-old mother of a former governor. What an amazing woman, still sound of mind and hearing. She bragged about the fact that her son had been governor. I did not have the heart to tell her that he believed in serving the top, and not the bottom. I want to be at heaven’s gate when the admitting angel asked him how he did with the hungry and the homeless.

                • “In my gloriously God-fearing red state, for instance, the Repubs keep voting down pre-school, which has proven benefits.”

                  That It would benefit you in particular, doesn’t justify the general.

                  The rest of the world doesn’t need to be herded like cattle, raised in litters. If children were meant to be raised in litters, they’d be born in them.

                  • hombre111

                    Again, standard conservative blather from people who don’t seem to have looked closely at the world around them. Where I live, Mom an Dad both have to work, maybe more than one job. I think of all of my nephews and nieces. I don’t know who took care of the pre-school kids when they were gone to work. But they get up at six for the commute, and are home by six. Bone tired, get supper, help the kids with homework, and to bed early enough to get up at six. Most of the huge population of Mexicans in this world work even longer hours. Watch the movie McFarland, which more or less describes the lives they live in my area, and tell me about Clifford and SpongeBob.

                    Research has shown, again and again, that kids who attend pre-school do better in the long run than kids who never had the chance. But hey, why worry about real flesh and blood when you can get drunk on standard conservative ideology.

                    • It must be awful to be you.

                    • papagan

                      “It must be awful to be you.”

                      That’s a remarkably ignoble comment. You really need help.

                    • Aren’t you the guy that got your panties in a wad when I answered for Mr. Halo? Can’t follow your own advice?

              • papagan

                “…poverty is a multi-faceted problem that has to be looked at on all sides. … So yes, give people a just wage, but workers also need to exercise self control and be chaste. And priests need to own up to their responsibility to talk about chastity and the value of hard work.”

                I agree that poverty is a complex issue, which stems from more than one kind of character defect. Moreover, poverty is not only material. There is spiritual poverty, which is even more serious. The latter consists in the privation of caritas. That privation is often overlooked by those who are preoccupied with profit and by those who are inordinately attached to material security.

            • Countryman

              We would all agree that there are many that through no fault of their own are poor. I came from beginnings such as those. These are the “deserved poor” using your terms. My parents lifted our family from that poverty through hard work and educating themselves. They never drew a dime from the government in their lives and neither have I. You make the case that all are deserving of “social justice” whether they make any effort or not. I disagree. Those that make the choice to drop out of school and choose not to get a job to gain experience and build a life make that choice. It is not “justice” to force those that do work and build a life to support those that simply choose to do nothing to support themselves or improve their situation. Your inability to see the difference is real the problem. Blaming Walmart for providing jobs to those that have few skills demonstrates how misguided your thinking is.

              • MHB

                Excellent point!

              • There are many, many more who are poor at the hands of people like H111. He really should start calling himself Plutonium 239.

                • papagan

                  “There are many, many more who are poor at the hands of people like H111. He really should start calling himself Plutonium 239.”

                  Perhaps you should start calling yourself “Ad hominem to the nth power!”

                  • Wow you are obsessed.

                  • Not much at math, are you?

              • hombre111

                Straight out of the Republican playbook. You do not “earn” social justice. It comes as a right due to the simple fact that you are a human being. If you own your own home, you have taken a lot from the government in terms of tax deductions. If your parents owned their own homes, they got a whole lot from the government. If you or they reached a high income bracket, the percentage of taxes you pay is less than the poor pay when you factor in all of the costs of simply being poor. If you or your parents were farmers, there are other huge tax benefits. If your parents were on Social Security, they got more from the government in what they got out than they ever put in. If they were on medicare, it was from the government.

                Yes, there are the lazy, who did not put much effort into earning with the sweat of their brow. Beginning with those who inherited. Continuing with trust-funders who are among the real leaches on society. Continuing with those whose only skill is to sign their names on forms prepared for them by their finance advisors. Now, let’s get to the poor, among whom I have ministered for my entire life. I suggest you see the movie McFarlin to see how it really works among the Mexicans. Read the book “Nickled and Dimed” to see how it works at WalMart, at your local restaurant, and on and on. For every lazy lout in poverty, there are many who hold two or three jobs, and who, despite their hard work, have no access to what you take for granted because you were born in a better situation. You take credit for your parents’ hard work? Can you say that you have worked as hard as they did?

                WalMart began by gutting the commercial center of small towns, forcing business after business to close. They played a major role in the fact that wages have been stagnant for almost two generations, forcing (yes! see the history of Rubbermaid) companies to go to China and other places for cheap labor, forcing the blue collar workers out of the middle class, offering low wages and no benefits like insurance when the kids get sick. Whatever narrative you are operating from, it comes from fantasyland.

                • Countryman

                  LOL and the drivel you spew is straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for radicals. I agree that there are certain God given rights. The right to live your life the way you choose to live it. Beyond that you enter the realm of man. As a civilized society we all agree to certain ways to behave and participate. If we don’t like that then we should go somewhere else or do as some choose to do, live under a bridge or the wilds of Alaska.
                  To answer your question we all worked to make things better for my family. I worked for a whole lot less than $7.25 and hour for many years. I worked three jobs to put myself thru tech school so I could get a better paying job and I worked that job and went to school to get a better one yet. There was no scholarships for me, no day care no money to support my efforts I did it on my own. And when I graduated I helped my sister who was working two jobs to go through school the same way I did. We achieved a better life because we worked for it. I don’t know if I worked harder that my parents but my father says I did. Yes I own a house and yes I take the deductions because those are the rules that society has decided to use not me. I play by the rules. If everyone did then this would be an even greater nation. Does capitalism have it’s short comings? Absolutely. It has also lifted more people out of poverty than any economic system in history. It creates the possibility for people to use their God given freedom and skills to make something of themselves to achieve a better life.
                  And moving on to Walmart. If you think $7.25 and hour or what ever they pay is too little then go to work somewhere else. No one is forcing you to work there or to shop there either. I chose a long time ago to support my friends and neighbors to keep open our local stores. I am willing to pay more to do that. Nothing has suppressed wages any more than illegal immigration and you don’t have anything to say about that.
                  You talk about human rights but are more concerned about what Walmart is paying than the unbridled slaughter of the unborn.
                  As you claim to be a priest your focus should be to bring people to Christ. Do you think you are doing that by your input into this website? Christ died for all our sins so that we have the possibility of salvation. To achieve that salvation the wisest and most merciful judge of all placed responsibilities and conditions on achieving that salvation. It is my choice as to whether I accept those conditions set forth by Christ to achieve that goal. It is entirely up to me.
                  The same way with a persons life. They can accept their condition and work to improve it or they can hope that others will do that for them. Some have a better start than others but all can achieve success if they work for it. I know I have traveled that path.

                  • hombre111

                    Congratulations on your hard work, which apparently drained you of mercy and compassion. My drivel is based on the social teaching of the Church. You can find it in a book printed in Rome, called “A Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church.” Your version is Protestant individualism to the core. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Church’s answer is, yes. Repubs say, no. I guess Cain, who coined the phrase, was the first Repub.

                    • Countryman

                      You seem to dwell a lot on politics. I disagree with your interpretation of the Church’s teaching. You didn’t answer my question about how many people are you bringing to Christ by your discussion on this website. Are you more concerned with straightening out the world or saving souls for Christ? Another question is whether you do a person a greater good by encouraging them to live off the lives of others or by standing on their own? The Church also teaches that abortion and homosexuality are gravely wrong. I noticed you didn’t mention anything about that. Is it ” social justice” to slaughter the unborn?

                    • hombre111

                      “Homosexuality is gravely wrong.” Read the Catechism again, where it is called, not a sin, but a disordered condition. The Church teaches that homosexual acts are gravely wrong. A distinction that seems to have escaped you, but heck, who would notice.

                    • Countryman

                      Again I disagree with your interpretation. You didn’t answer any of my questions. But heck, who would notice. How many people are you bringing to Christ by your discussion on this website? Are you more concerned with straightening out the world or saving souls for Christ?

                    • hombre111

                      Bringing people to Christ. “I was hungry…I was thirsty…I was naked…I was in prison….As long as you did not do it for these, the least of my brothers, you did not do it for me.” Signed, Jesus.

                      Let’s see, one out of three American children lives in poverty, according to UNICEF and the Washington Post. Worse than all but six of the world’s industrialized countries, even though we have the world’s largest economy. Worse than Romania, Italy, and Bulgaria, and miles and miles behind those famous socialist nations Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. I know, those dirty liberals must be lying.

                    • Countryman

                      No one is saying don’t help the truly poor. I do all those things you listed. I work a food bank, I work in Kairos, I work St. Vincent de Paul and Knights of Columbus. What you fail to accept is that many of those are there by choice. You also fail to realize that the government policies you support are the reason they can choose to live like that. Go back before Johnson’s Great Society what was the poverty level then? The poor were administered to at the local level. There were less poor because people saw their brothers in need and kept them from getting that way. They also knew who genuinely needed help and who did not. The Church was the center of the community not the government. If government was the solution to our problems we would have less problems as government has grown instead of more as you point out. Comparisons to European countries are a joke as they are entirely different cultures. You know what you are saying is false. The Church helped rid eastern Europe of communism the same drivel you now spew as an answer to all our needs.

                    • hombre111

                      You just can’t get to justice. All you can talk about is the Band-aid that charity supplies. It is a question of imagination. In your charitable generosity, which I admire, you never seem to wonder about the deeper causes. Administering to the poor via soup kitchens and handouts to “the deserving” Jesus never mentioned cannot stem the increase of people in poverty because of our socio-political-economic system. Damn those lazy children who keep showing up because their parents are being forced to support their families on less and less.

                    • Countryman

                      And you just can’t understand personal responsibility. Those that don’t take care of themselves don’t take care of their kids either. Your answer is to just allow them to do as they please and demand all the money that it takes to do it. You can’t see that this circle keeps getting bigger and bigger.

                    • hombre111

                      They don’t have enough clout to really demand much of anything. It is a matter of the rest of us. How much misery do we want for their kids? And, when I am in a restaurant and one of those truly poor is the one waiting on my table for $3.50 and hour plus tips, do I leave a generous tip?

                    • Countryman

                      They don’t need clout. What they need is someone to tell them that they have more potential than that. You are only stuck in a low paying job if you want to be. There are plenty of stories about those that over came their situation and succeeded. Giving them a check only reinforces their low expectations of themselves. The government has programs like that because they believe that the poor can not succeed on their own. I reject that completely. I believe that greatness lies in the heart of all people. Some find a way to uncover it and realize what it can do, others are afraid of the change it might bring and others are to afraid to try. Social justice is when can say that all people are achieving there best. That is not accomplished through government programs it is through inspiration. As Catholics we have the greatest tools in the history of the world to tap that inspiration through Jesus Christ.

                    • hombre111

                      “You are only stuck in a low-paying job because you want to be.” No talking to a man who has swilled the cool-aid.

                    • Countryman

                      There are countless ways to lift yourself out of poverty if you want to. I was thinking the same about you. DE-173 was right about you.

                    • hombre111

                      OK. You are a black single mom, lost your job at a fast food restaurant because you were about to have your second child and they wouldn’t give you time off, dropped out of high school, crackhead parents, no close family. Rule out statist help. You are going to make it out of poverty all by yourself while getting some help from a charity, such as baby clothes and limited food vouchers. You have to get day care for your kids or leave them alone, and can’t live on the streets. Start lifting.

                    • papagan

                      The basic response on the part of these social Darwinists is that life is tough, and not all will thrive. But we weren’t made for this world! The poor (wo)man’s reward will be great in Heaven! They probably haven’t read Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, pp. 211-17.

                    • hombre111

                      Amen. As tough minded people, they have a great deal of trouble with empathy and compassion.

                    • Countryman

                      The first thing she needs to do is develop some self respect and learn to keep her panties up. Stop letting men use her as a sexual object to be cast aside when they are done with her. The next thing she needs to do is find a good adoption agency. The hole she has chosen to dig for herself is far to deep to come out of and take care of her children. Don’t condemn them to the life she has chosen. She will also be able to get the crucial pre-natal care she needs for her and her baby. I suggest she contact Catholic Charities. They will be able to direct her to a good adoption agency. Once there find a family that is willing to be part of an open adoption so that if you do get your life back in order you can have a relationship with your kids or maybe even get them back. That may not be possible to find an open adoption. Most adoptions of an unborn child will include pre-natal care and a stipend to live on during the pregnancy. I know many people that have adopted children this way. Once she has arranged for proper care for her children she can begin to change her life. If she didn’t finish high school then enroll in a GED program. Again Catholic Charities can steer her toward a good one. I know in our area Catholic Charities does all these things. They also assign a mentor choses to help guide her and expose her to a person of faith. Once she has obtained her GED and if she hasn’t delivered then she can make plans to go on with her education. I she is close or has she needs to focus on the life of her child until the transition is made. Once her children are cared for she can focus on herself. Get into school and learn some skills. Education is the best route to a better job. The public schools are a money pit and for the most part worthless. They leave kids like these with a very narrow corridor to success or to change their lives particularly if there are no parents to give them support or direction. There are numerous scholarships and programs available to those that have proven as she has by this point that she genuinely wants a better life.
                      I know these things are possible because I have been through this myself. As I told you earlier I came from poor beginnings and I was 41 before I thought that I was capable and ready to support a wife or family. My wife was older than I. We tried to conceive but were not able. Instead of spending a lot of money on doctors taking extraordinary steps to have our own we decided to adopt. We were directed to a young lady who was with child by members of our church. She had become pregnant and her parents had rejected her and her baby. She was living in her car. We took her into our home the night we met her as her situation was dire. We arranged for her pre-natal care and went to work to rebuild this poor child’s self esteem. Slowly she began to lift her head and rejoin the world that had rejected her. She was soon healthy enough to begin to talk about her future. She had been in high school but dropped out when her parents abandoned her. We talked to the principle and he agreed to let her continue with her studies as a GED student which she did. Once the weight of the world was lifted from her she began to thrive and soon she was smiling and engaged with the world around her. She began to go to church with us. I came home one day and she was crying. She said she wanted to keep her baby and she didn’t want to hurt us because we had been so good to her. I told her not to cry or worry we would talk when my wife came home. When she did we told her we knew that she would want to keep her baby for quite some time by the way she would rub her stomach and rock in the chair and sing to her child. How could we take that from her. We wanted her to keep her baby. We told her she was the child God sent to us to help and that was enough for us. She stayed in our home for three years until she was ready to go out on her own. My wife died about four years later. We were never able to afford trying to adopt another child after that but were grateful for the one God sent us to help.

                    • hombre111

                      A magnificent telling of your own story. I am sincerely impressed. A few things. I was also raised in poor circumstances, in an alcoholic home. One of the things I now realize: all of us lived with a diminished window of hope. My mother, thank God, in her own quirky way, provided an avenue into hope, along with the Church, which became part of my life when I was six. In our scenario, she has no parent to do this for her. She has already had her child, with both of them experiencing medical problems. She has to take care of her immediate needs: a job, a place to stay, access to medical help, and somebody to take care of her kids. In this relatively small, really, really red-neck town, there are shelters for men, but none for women and kids. Catholic Charities is present, but on a minimal basis. It does not have the resources. And besides, Catholic Charities gets a lot of money from the government, which you would surely reject as part of the statist solution.

                      I would say she has to connect with a church that can help her with what amounts to a conversion process, so she can expand her sense of hope and renounce her former lifestyle. Maybe they can help her with the first month’s rent, help her find a job, and help with daycare. But daycare is iffy. My parish could provide the first and second via St. Vincent de Paul, but not the last. and remember, she has already had her child and both she and the child have medical problems. She has to find a job and a place to live. The only jobs available for someone at her skill level are low wage service jobs. Even highschool graduates have trouble finding a good paying job in this state always near the economic bottom of American life.

                      Adoption? She has bonded with her baby and it could be like cutting off an arm. Because of its medical problems, adoption is not a really good option. Until she is able to take care of these things, it is hard to see how she can emerge from her problem. But I agree with what you say. Somehow, she has to find the people who can help her through a very difficult conversion process. What if she got pregnant again, so she can find that dream couple who will take her in and straighten out her life? Not really serious about this suggestion.

                    • Countryman

                      Choices have consequences. I truly hope she does love her children but having said that does she love them enough to realize the gravity of her situation, to condemn them to the same life that she has endured. Yes it will be hard. But is it any more difficult to remain in her current situation? I live in a small red-neck town you speak about. 7000 in the town in Indiana. The support doesn’t come from Catholic Charities it comes from those that believe in it. Catholic Charities is just the clearing house to direct people in the right direction. People that live in a chronic situation like this need to change there lives. Statist solutions however well intentioned have proven time and time again they don’t do this. I agree that finding a couple that would be open to an open adoption would be hard to do. But finding couples that will give her children a better life is not.

                    • Countryman

                      Let me ask you a question now. How would answer the question you asked me? How would you resolve or prevent her situation?

                    • papagan

                      “You are only stuck in a low-paying job because you want to be.”

                      That very same assertion caught my eye. I’ve heard other defenders of capitalism (in the second sense mentioned by Pope St. John Paul II in Centesimus annus, 42) assert a semantically equivalent claim. It seems to be part of the script on which they rely. They aren’t fully in touch with reality, and they want others to share in their distorted vision.

                    • hombre111

                      My view on reality comes from my Catholicism, and a lifetime of dealing with God’s little people.

                    • papagan

                      “My view on reality comes from my Catholicism…”

                      How do you attempt to understand, in a limited human way, the mystery of transubstantiation without relying on the philosophical concepts of substance and accident?

                    • hombre111

                      Excellent question. You are right, anything we say about the Eucharist is going to be limited. First, the solid belief all Catholics have in common: The bread and wine are not just bread and wine, but sacraments in which we encounter the living Jesus, who is risen. “Body and blood” cannot be understood in a physical sense. Jesus has gone into the heart of God and the Jesus we encounter though sacrament is the risen Jesus.

                      Then comes the explanation. Transubstantiation is a philosophical explanation that has a lot of tradition behind it. But in order to understand, you would have to grasp the Aristotelian notion of substance and accident. There is a more modern explanation which the Church has acknowledged and not disavowed: Transignification.

                    • papagan

                      Isn’t it true that the idea of “transignification,” insofar as it is understood to preclude transubstantiation, was repudiated by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical, Mysterium Fidei?

                      «To give an example of what We are talking about, it is not permissible to extol the so-called “community” Mass in such a way as to detract from Masses that are celebrated privately; or to concentrate on the notion of sacramental sign as if the symbolism–which no one will deny is certainly present in the Most Blessed Eucharist–fully expressed and exhausted the manner of Christ’s presence in this Sacrament; or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than “transignification,” or “transfinalization” as they call it; or, finally, to propose and act upon the opinion that Christ Our Lord is no longer present in the consecrated Hosts that remain after the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass has been completed.» Mysterium Fidei, 11.

                    • hombre111

                      No time to continue this wonderful conversation. I will be gone for two weeks visiting family in far away California. God bless.

                    • papagan

                      I look forward to receiving your reply after you return from California.

                    • papagan

                      Now that you’ve returned, I was just wondering whether you’ve had an opportunity to consider what Mysterium Fidei, 11, has to say in relation to the hypothesis of “Transignification.”

                    • hombre111

                      Durn. Here I am, all rested and refreshed, and papagan wants me to stir ancient dormant brain cells into action.

                      Let’s see. Thanks to the miracle of Google, I was able to read Mysterium Fidei from start to finish. I also noted its date: 1965, the year after I was ordained. At that time, we still labored under the burden of Pope Leo Xiii, who had decreed that the only acceptable philosopher was St. Thomas and his transformation of Aristotle. Seen through that prism, Transubstantiation was an explanation that made sense. As a good Thomist, Pope Paul could only look with suspicion at any explanation grounded in any other philosophical point of view, such as transignification and transvaluation.

                      As you know, I am not happy with all three explanations, because they are grounded in the dualistic perspective on reality which finally led to the philosophical dead end seen in modern European philosophers. I have come to prefer the triadic thinking of North American philosophers as mediated through my mentor, Fr. Don Gelpi, S.J.. Even as any understanding of Transubstantiation requires a knowledge of St. Thomas, so Don Gelpi’s solution requires a search into a triadic perspective. I would suggest volume II, of “Committed Worship.”

                    • papagan

                      “At that time, we still labored under the burden of Pope Leo Xiii, who had decreed that the only acceptable philosopher was St. Thomas and his transformation of Aristotle.”

                      First, a careful reading of Aeterni Patris does not warrant that claim.

                      Second, I think the use of the term “burden” in this context is misplaced. Pope Leo XIII was a genuine gift to the Church.

                      Third, the philosophical legacy of Aristotle, like the Thomistic synthesis of the Common Doctor, is perennial, despite the destructive harvest of nominalism. From the perspective of process philosophy/theology, of course, it is rather difficult to allow much space for what is perennial, especially irreformable Christian dogmas. (No need to rehearse the complex debate between Gerald A. McCool, S.J., http://fordhampress.com/index.php/subjects/religion/from-unity-to-puraism-cloth.html and John F.X. Knasas http://undpress.nd.edu/books/P00453. ) Incidentally, have you come across the admirable work of Michael Dodds, O.P., The Unchanging God of Love: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Theology on Divine Immutability? http://www.dspt.edu/faculty/bio/michael-dodds-op

                      “Seen through that prism, Transubstantiation was an explanation that made sense.”

                      First, I think the theological exposition of the Angelic Doctor still makes sense, although the reality of transubstantiation doesn’t thereby cease being a sublime mystery of faith!

                      Second, there is no “view from nowhere.” We all employ deep philosophical assumptions, but not all assumptions are sound. All change necessarily presupposes some underlying stability or permanence, just as what is composite necessarily presupposes what is simple or not composite. Change cannot be the ultimate foundation of reality. The foregoing has important ramifications in relation to the fundamental biblical doctrine of creation ex nihilo.

                      “As a good Thomist, Pope Paul could only look with suspicion at any explanation grounded in any other philosophical point of view, such as transignification and transvaluation.”

                      First, is that an instance of the genetic fallacy?

                      Second, how is the transignification theory consistent with the traditional Catholic teaching that Christ’s sacred Body and Blood are truly and actually present after the words of consecration enunciated by Catholic priests during the liturgical celebration of the sacred mystery of the Holy Eucharist instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper?

                      Third, are Roman Catholics in full union with the Church free to dismiss the solemn teaching concerning the central mystery of the Holy Eucharist formally promulgated in the papal encyclical Mysterium Fidei?

                      “As you know, I am not happy with all three explanations, because they are grounded in the dualistic perspective on reality…”

                      First, there are a variety of dualistic theories, and not all are in accord with reality. (That helps to explain the serious difficulties one encounters in relation to modern European philosophical systems of thought.) Cartesian dualism and Aristotelian hylomorphism, for instance, are quite different types of dualism. What type of dualistic theory do you have in mind?

                      Second, bearing in mind the ancient philosophical problem of the one and the many, if all types of dualism were rejected, how would one avoid pantheism? Isn’t it true that in the case of God alone can one rightly deny every type of metaphysical composition, including the composition of substance and accident? All metaphysical composition must ultimately be traced back to what is not metaphysically composite in any way.

                      “Even as any understanding of Transubstantiation requires a knowledge of St. Thomas [and Aristotle], so Don Gelpi’s solution requires a search into a triadic perspective.”

                      You haven’t yet explained any real need to jettison the profound metaphysical insights of Aristotle and St. Thomas.

                    • hombre111

                      Excellent post. When I was a seminarian, our profs emphasized that Thomism was the only acceptable philosophical teaching for the Church. Such greats as Marechal, DeLubac, and Rahner had all been forced to work within its parameters, with left-over police dogs from the Pius X era ever ready to level accusations that they had strayed from the true path. In many ways, Pope Leo was a gift to the Church, but by proclaiming Thomism the perennial philosophy, he put a vice on Catholic philosophical scholarship, which only became worse with Pius X. As I reflect on this, his limitations might have had their usefulness, restraining Catholic philosophers from acceding willy-nilly to Kant, Hegel, and the other philosophers of that era. But they ended up unable to dial with those philosophers. Kant went on the index of forbidden books, so, like children, they were forbidden even to read him! Our posture in the seminary was fear and defensiveness.

                      I think Gelpi offers an excellent critique of Aquinas and Aristotle in several of his books. When someone accepts the principles of dualism, as most European philosophers, ancient and modern, do, They create paired opposites with no rational way to bring them to a synthesis: Thus, matter-spirit, concrete-universal, sense-intellect. The struggle of philosophy has been to bring them together. Failing that, many philosophers have abandoned the whole enterprise of metaphysics.

                      Transubstantiation is based on faith instead of rational discourse. What do I mean? Aristotle posits substance-accidents. At the heart of any reality is an invisible, untouchable, unknowable, unchangeable substantial form. Accidents, the only thing we can detect with our sense, inhere in the invisible, undetectable substance. In an effort to provide stability in the midst of change, Aristotle argued to the existence of substance. But since you cannot detect its presence, the conclusion to its existence is finally an act of faith. So, transubstantiation says that the unknowable substance anchoring the accidents of bread is replaced by the unknowable substance of Jesus’ humanity. I am not sure if the accidents of bread, which continue, adhered in anything at all. Belief in transubstantiation involves two, maybe three, acts of faith, not just one.

                      I would not question or deny the presence of the living Christ in the Eucharist. How does it happen? I feel no need to defend Transubstantiation, transignification, or transvaluation, because they rest on inadequate, dualistic philosophies.

                      I think a triad explanation of reality is superior to a dualistic explanation for several reasons. First, it has a better understanding of how we know and act in this world, detecting three inter-related processes: evaluation, act, and law. Second, like Thomism, it has the strength of moderate realism, disagreeing with Kant, who said we have no way to directly contact external reality. And thirdly, it understands that the best way to truth is the social process of shared systematic inquiry, which does not claim to be infallible about its conclusions. A claim for infallibility, not counting its arrogance, is one of the most reckless statements you can make. All you need is new facts, better logic, or a better perspective, and the so-called infallible structure collapses.

                    • papagan

                      “In many ways, Pope Leo was a gift to the Church, but by proclaiming Thomism the perennial philosophy, he put a vice on Catholic philosophical scholarship…”

                      Aeterni Patris does give pride of place to the Common Doctor, but it also acknowledges the positive value of the contributions of other thinkers, including the Seraphic Doctor. I would agree that the metaphysical principles employed by St. Thomas are solid. I’m not a big fan of Transcendental Thomism, although there was a period in the mid 80s when I found certain aspects of Rahner’s thought appealing.

                      “As I reflect on this, his limitations might have had their usefulness, restraining Catholic philosophers in their intellectual ghetto from acceding willy-nilly to Kant, Hegel, and the other philosophers of that era.”

                      I wouldn’t describe Thomism as an intellectual ghetto. Kantian and Hegelian philosophies are interesting, but far from unproblematic. I don’t find them compatible with Christian philosophical realism.

                      “But this was an approach born of fear and defensiveness.”

                      I suppose that there’s something to be said in favor of being alert to the serious threat posed by the stealthy introduction of Trojan horses into the City of God.

                      “Was that the best that the greatest Catholic minds could do?”

                      The Thomistic renaissance is, in my judgment, an invaluable development.

                      “When someone accepts the principles of dualism, as most European philosophers, ancient and modern, do, they create paired opposites with no rational way to bring them to a synthesis: Thus, matter-spirit, concrete-universal, sense-intellect.”

                      No rational way? What about hylomorphism? Moderate realism? Philosophical psychology in the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition? Did you study these things during your seminary days? If so, where?

                      “The struggle of philosophy has been to bring them together.”

                      Why do you discount the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition?

                      “…many philosophers have abandoned the whole enterprise of metaphysics.”

                      Sadly, many have done as you say above. Was it Étienne Gilson who said that metaphysics buries its undertakers?

                      “In the face of change, Aristotle posits substance-accidents.”

                      The distinction between substance and accidents is philosophically coherent.

                      “At the heart of any reality is an invisible, untouchable, unknowable, unchangeable substantial form.”

                      Not unknowable, but imperceptible to the senses. All change requires composition of some sort. In the case of substantial change of corporeal entities, it is the composite that undergoes change, not the underlying ontological principles.

                      “Changeable accidents, the only thing we can detect with our senses, inhere in the undetectable substance.”

                      In the case of accidental change, previous accidental forms are replaced by new accidental forms that inhere in the underlying subject, i.e., the substance. Substance qua substance is apprehended through the mind, while one apprehends various accidental forms via the sensory faculties.

                      “But since you cannot detect its [substance’s] presence, the conclusion to its existence is finally an act of faith.”

                      It isn’t an act of faith! We can know substance intellectually on the basis of empirical observation of accidental change. The real distinction between accident and substance is a perfectly rational conclusion.

                      “So, transubstantiation says that the unknowable substance anchoring the accidents of bread and wine is replaced by the unknowable substance of Jesus’ humanity.”

                      The underlying substance isn’t unknowable, unless one lacks an intellect. The substance of bread and the substance of wine are replaced by the substance of Christ, including his flesh and blood. The sensible accidents that previously inhered in the substances of bread and wine are now held in being by the infinite power of God! Truly astounding! This does involve a supernatural act of theological faith.

                      “In what do the accidents of bread [and wine] inhere now that the substance of bread [and wine] is gone? I am not sure.”

                      See previous comment.

                      “Does belief in transubstantiation involves two, maybe three, acts of faith, not just one?”

                      I’d say one supernatural act of infused faith. That act of faith enables one to begin to develop a limited theological understanding of the Christian mystery of transubstantiation.

                      “I would not question or deny the presence of the living Christ in the Eucharist. How does it happen?”

                      Regarding your question, this is where careful and rigorous theological study is required.

                      “I feel no need to defend Transubstantiation, transignification, or transvaluation, because they rest on inadequate, dualistic philosophies.”

                      It is the proper task of Catholic theologians to defend the mystery of transubstantiation. Some, but not all, dualist theories are problematic. Cartesian substance dualism is problematic. The moderate dualism of Aristotelian hylomorphism, in contrast, is philosophically coherent.

                      “I think a triadic explanation of reality is metaphysically superior to a dualistic explanation for several reasons. First, it has a better account of how we know and act in this world, detecting three inter-related processes: evaluation, act, and law.”

                      I’m not sure that’s necessary. Thomistic philosophy of knowledge, which relies on Aristotelian philosophical psychology, provides a sophisticated and reasonable account of the complex operations of human cognition.

                      “Second, like Thomism, it has the strength of moderate realism, disagreeing with Kant, who said we have no way to directly contact external reality.”

                      There are very serious problems with Kant’s ingenious epistemology, which was inspired in no small measure by the challenge of Hume’s radical empiricism. For instance, his philosophy does not allow him consistently to justify the claim that there is a realm of noumena. Apart from noumena, only phenomena remain, and neither freedom, immortality, nor God can be found in the realm of phenomena.

                      Kant did claim to have destroyed (metaphysical) reason in order to make room for faith. The faith that survives, however, is not the rational faith defended by the Catholic Church. It is the radically voluntaristic faith of a fideist. It is in that light that one can understand the frequent (erroneous) assertion that the existence of God cannot be proven, which is contrary to the authoritative and binding teaching of the Vatican Council.

                      “And thirdly, it understands that [1] the best way to truth is the social process of shared systematic inquiry, which [2] does not claim to be infallible about its conclusions.”

                      Regarding 1, unlike rationalists, Thomists affirm the tremendous importance of history and shared systematic inquiry.

                      Furthermore, truths can be apprehended via special divine revelation, which is infallible. For God can neither deceive nor be deceived.

                      Regarding 2, the fallibility of unaided human reason does not preclude the attainability of genuine human knowledge of immutable truths. The immutable part, however, does appear to pose difficulties for those committed to process philosophy.

                      “A claim for infallibility, not counting its arrogance, is one of the most reckless statements you can make.”

                      Is infallible teaching beyond the reach of the Catholic Magisterium?

                      “All you need is [1] new facts, [2] better logic, or a [3] better perspective, and [4] the so-called infallible structure collapses.”

                      Regarding 1, that’s certainly important in relation to the development of empirical science. Regarding 2, what precisely does that mean? Are the principle of identity, the principle of contradiction, and the law of excluded middle revisable? Are the rules of the categorical syllogism tentative? Regarding 3, what do you mean by “better perspective”? Would moderate realism be an example of “better perspective”? Or is experimental science an example of “better perspective”? Regarding 4, what do you mean by “infallible structure”?

                      “This, for instance, has left Catholic Natural Law reasoning in shambles.”

                      Natural law theory is not monolithic. Which school of natural law theory do you have in mind? What do you mean by “Catholic Natural Law reasoning”? Would Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, or Pope John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor, be an example of “Catholic Natural Law reasoning”?

                    • hombre111

                      Oh, wow. I celebrated a Mass in English today, followed by a Mass in Spanish. At least I had a nap. Now I have to go back and remember things I forgot long ago. Wiki, while suspect, is a help.

                      56 years ago, when I was in philosophy, we did not discuss Aeterni Patris in the Sulpician seminary I attended. The prof simply explained some Plato (whom we did not read), then some Aristotle (whom we did not read), and then a lot of St. Thomas (whom we did not read). As you can see, it was a pretty mediocre education. We did no research and wrote no scholarly papers. So, as far as the seminarian of my day was concerned, we really did live in an intellectual ghetto. Most of the philosophy I now know was the result of later efforts.

                      I would say the hylemorphism fails as a metaphysical explanation because it cannot deal with one of the most important realities of our day: evolution. As I understand it, hylemorphism explains reality as a fusion between matter and an invisible, underlying form. Now we use substance and accidents. The substantial form endures, while the matter which inheres to form changes. Accidental changes happen all the time, but the substantial form can change only when it perishes and is replaced by another substantial form.

                      I just insert this because my old brain finally coughed up the thought: As Peirce says, relayed through Gelpi, “The subject of change does not underly a change, it emerges from change.”

                      At the root of this explanation is what Gelpi calls the “fallacy of essentialism.” This happened when Aristotle imagined reality as something like unchanging idea, which he called “form.” He then turned this idea into a metaphysical principle of being residing in material, sensible things. The logic we studied in the seminary differs from the logic proposed by Gelpi and American philosophers like Peirce, Royce, and Dewey. We learned about basic truths that simply existed in themselves, which could not be challenged. From that basic truth, we deduced certain conclusions. American philosophers talk about abduction (hypothesis), deduction, and induction. Hylemorphism is a hypothesis that needs to be tested by deduction and induction.

                      Metaphysics is
                      supposed to be a theory of everything. When it cannot account for
                      certain realities, or if it seems awkward, then it has to be
                      re-examined, even abandoned. Belief in an unchangeable substantial form cannot account for evolution. An abiding conclusion that afflicts us today is the notion of a great chain of being based on the kind of soul something is assumed to have. So, from bottom to top: plants, animals, human beings. This then led to the idea of a hierarchy in society, with higher levels superior to lower levels. So, the static medieval world. Democracy could not exist until it broke free of this idea. The Church still struggles with this today. Ideas have to come from the top (even though this actually violates the witness of history). The Church struggles with the dignity of they laity in general and women in particular.

                      What about the philosophical psychology of Aristotle-Thomas? This theory was thoroughly demolished by the scientific observations of scientists like Piaget. Gelpi spends some time on Aristotle’s ideogenesis, with the idea of active and passive intelligence, etc., and reveals it for the unresolved dualism that it is.

                      I honor Aristotle and Thomas in some ways, and so I do not totally reject their system. But I find them too heavy on the intellectual side, with little regard for the evalutative affective, and intuitive process that precede and lead to rational inference.

                      Substance/accidents are philosophically coherent until, as I just said, you ask this theory to account for evolution and other challenges of the modern world. This is the point North American philosophers like Peirce and Dewey make.

                      I can’t find the exact quote, but it is interesting that the Council of Trent’s explanation of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist does not use the transubstantial language of the medieval theologians. The Vatican Council then mentioned other ways in which Christ is really present. As one teacher of mine once put it: “Have you ever heard of the unreal presence of Christ?”

                      “The underlying substance isn’t unknowable unless someone lacks of intellect.” Go back to what I said about the trifold nature of logic: Hypothesis, deduction, induction.” While you can argue to the existence of an underlying substantial form, there is no way to inductively prove its existence.

                      Well, now I am past exhaustion. I will add more thoughts tomorrow.

                    • papagan

                      «[1] I would say the hylemorphism fails as a metaphysical explanation because it cannot deal with one of the most important realities of our day: evolution. [2] As I understand it, hylemorphism explains reality as a fusion between matter and an invisible, underlying form. Now we use substance and accidents. The substantial form endures, while the matter which inheres to form changes. Accidental changes happen all the time, but the substantial form can change only when it perishes and is replaced by another substantial form.»

                      Regarding 1, if by “evolution” you mean a purely materialistic theory that leaves no room for immaterial being or for a transcendent primary cause, then there is a real conflict. Not all theories of evolution, however, are necessarily problematic. A “metaphysically modest” theory of evolution is tenable. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn http://www.ignatius.com/Products/CHAPUR-H/chance-or-purpose.aspx has a number of interesting things to say on this important topic. I’d also recommend the exceptional work of Stanley Jaki, O.S.B., and Mariano Artigas. (I met both authors on different occasions, and I found them to be impressive thinkers.) In short, neither hylomorphism nor the Catholic Church precludes all theories of evolution.

                      Regarding 2, if that is your understanding of hylomorphism, I see why you find it problematic. That understanding, however, is not accurate on several important counts. This isn’t the proper forum to discuss the nuances of hylomorphic theory, which I’ve taught for over a decade and a half.

                      «At the root of hylemorphism is what Gelpi calls the “fallacy of essentialism.”»

                      Essentialist metaphysics is problematic, but that doesn’t mean that there are no essences, whether material or immaterial. If we jettison all essences, we end up with nominalism. Do you accept nominalism?

                      «This led to the logic we studied in the seminary. There are basic truths which exist in themselves and cannot be denied. From those basic truths, we proceed via the process of deduction to our understanding of the world.»

                      First, truth is analogical. In one sense, it is a certain relation of conformity between intellectual judgment and extramental being. Some truths are contingent, and others aren’t.

                      Second, deduction is certainly important, but knowledge of extramental reality requires more than deduction. In that respect Cartesian epistemology is seriously flawed. The work of Stanley Jaki is helpful on this point.

                      «This is the basic premise of Natural Law.»

                      The truth is more complex than that suggests. Which school of natural law theory do you have in mind?

                      «They talk about abduction (hypothesis), deduction, and induction.»

                      Those are all important, of course.

                      “This insight makes their logic superior to the traditional deductive approach.”

                      I agree that deduction alone is not sufficient.

                      “Hylemorphism is an abduction, an unproven theory.”

                      Hylomorphism is a philosophical, not a scientific, theory. The standards of proof are not the same. I presume that you don’t buy the error of scientism, which isn’t empirical science.

                      “While you can argue rationally to the possibility of matter and form, you cannot prove it, because form remains forever hidden by accidents.”

                      First, there are different standards of proof. A philosophical proof in the classical sense is other than a scientific proof in the modern sense. Second, neither substantial form nor proto-matter can be demonstrated by modern experimental science, but modern experimental science isn’t the ultimate standard of human knowledge.

                      Second, accidents are forms, but not substantial forms.

                      “A conclusion to its existence as a principle of being is an example of what Gelpi calls the fallacy of essentialism.”

                      Do you deny the reality of angelic beings, e.g., St. Gabriel the Archangel? Angels are immaterial subsisting forms. Moreover, not all non-accidental forms are immaterial.

                      How does one explain accidental change and substantial change without relying on hylomorphic theory properly understood?

                      “Metaphysics is supposed to be a theory of everything. When it cannot account for certain realities, or if it seems awkward, then it has to be re-examined, even abandoned.”

                      Being is analogous. We need more than a single theory to explain things included in the hierarchy of being. Metaphysics, which studies being qua being, cannot replace empirical science, and empirical science cannot replace metaphysics.

                      “Belief in an unchangeable substantial form cannot account for evolution.”

                      First, substantial form is not the substratum of substantial change. Second, it’s certainly true that a “metaphysically modest” scientific theory of evolution cannot stand on nothing but substantial form. Third, becoming presupposes being, not vice versa. If there were nothing to undergo change, there would be no change. (Note that the act of creation ex nihilo is not an instance of substantial change.)

                      “An abiding conclusion that afflicts us today is the notion of a great chain of being…”

                      If one denies the hierarchical structure of created being, one cannot consistently hold a Christian worldview. Angels, for instance, are ontologically superior to stones.

                      “So, from bottom to top: [proto-matter, elements, minerals,] plants, animals, human beings [and angelic substances]. [1] This seriously weakens the argument for ecology and [2] the sense of interdependent realities that form a larger whole.”

                      Regarding 1, that is far from obvious. Regarding 2, that doesn’t follow. You’re jumping to unwarranted conclusions.

                      “This then led to the idea of a hierarchy in society, with higher levels superior to lower levels.”

                      The notion of hierarchy is not inherently problematic. For instance, you must have heard of the hierarchy of angels. Moreover, the Church is structured hierarchically. Hierarchy does not entail that all human persons are not of equal dignity.

                      “So, the static medieval world.”

                      Static?

                      “Democracy could not exist until it broke free of this idea.”

                      Do you actually hold that democracy, as opposed to anarchy, precludes all hierarchical structures?

                      “The Church still struggles with this today. Ideas have to come from the top (even though this actually violates the witness of history).”

                      That’s a caricature.

                      “The Church struggles with the dignity of they [sic] laity in general and women in particular.”

                      What exactly do you have in mind? Are you referring to the fact that only males can be ordained priests?

                      “Discounted Natural Law arguments are also based on hylemorphism, such as the notion accepted even among Christians that blacks are inferior to whites, or it is a noble deed to baptize black slaves on their way to dismal death working in the fields. Their bodies might be crushed, but their souls are saved.”

                      That is a grave distortion of Thomistic natural law theory. Where did you get your information concerning natural law theory?

                      “I can’t find the exact quote, but it is interesting that the Council of Trent’s explanation of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist does not use the transubstantial language of the medieval theologians. The Vatican Council then mentioned other ways in which Christ is really present.”

                      It would help if you could supply precise, rather than generic, references.

                      “The subject of change does not underly a change, it emerges from change.”

                      I don’t know what that can mean. You haven’t provided any theoretical account of what you mean by change.

                    • hombre111

                      Holy Moly, we are starting to write a book together. I will be gone the rest of the day to a priests’ study day and then a chrism Mass with our bishop. I figured I was talking to a professor and feel a bit overwhelmed. Thanks for giving me the time.

                    • hombre111

                      Last night, eight priests from near and far came together for a dinner together followed by a reconciliation service. I sat on a hard chair and heard confessions in English and Spanish for two and a half hours. Tonight, another parish and the same thing. The faith of the people is there. But I tremble as the number of priests continues to shrink. If a hundred young men fell out of the sky tomorrow, it would take at least ten years before the perhaps twenty who finally make it are ready to do real pastoral work. In the meanwhile, the loss of one priest brings the diocese deeper and deeper into crisis. Ten years? What a fix. Well, I have that off my chest. Time to get back to work.

                      I agree with your critique of Kant. Gelpi, following Peirce, would say that Kant’s whole approach was logically flawed. Going back to the abduction (hypothesis), deduction, inductive thing, Peirce would say that Kant postulated an abduction as a proven fact and then argued deductively to its unproven consequences. I think the Church often does the same thing. For instance, in marriage, the unbreakable sacramental bond, or, in priesthood, the indelible mark that makes us an alter-Cristos. This is what Gelpi calls the essence fallacy: Just because you can conceive of it mentally is no proof that it exists in reality. Assuming its existence in reality locks the Church in stone and there is no room to face the challenges this world presents. And so, a marriage, no matter how badly lived, is a sacrament that cannot be broken, and the indelible character makes a priest ontologically superior to Mother Theresa.

                      While Thomas does quote authorities like Aristotle and Augustine, and quotes objections that come, usually without citation, from somewhere, this is not shared systematic inquiry, which would have been difficult in his day. I am talking about shared discussion with his peers, a common search for truth. Did Thomas submit his writing to the judgment of his peers and respond with a new understanding? Not that I know of. It would have made a great read. Pope Leo could have asked Catholics to study both Thomas and the Franciscan tradition, but he did not. I am looking for a good English translation of Bonaventure and Duns Scotus. One aspect of Scotus that I want to ponder is his idea of Haecitas, which guided Peirce in some of his thinking.

                      I am not sure what you mean when you say truth can be apprehended via special divine revelation, which is infallible. The Scriptures, with all their ambiguity, are the source of revelation. Anything else is particular revelation, not binding on the whole Church. On top of that, a person who has such a revelation has to make it clear in his own culturally, intellectually, and emotionally conditioned mind. Then he has to find a way to express that truth in the humanly limited words and concepts available to him. Then, as time goes on, words change their meaning and new cultural understandings appear. (Example, for St. Thomas, the use of arguments from authority. Then along comes Bacon and the scientific revolution, and any authority knows less than the people who succeed him. So much for the conclusive impact of arguments from authority. The Church has never gotten over this).

                      I admit there are immutable truths, like “do the good.” But immutable truths are risky. As I said, all you need are new facts, better logic (Peirce criticizing Kant) or a more adequate perspective (Can the viewpoint of an old celibate ever grasp the meaning of sexuality in MARRIED life? I say no, and am not willing to grant Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor the control over married people that they demand). Once you get into a stand about immutable truths, it is hard to continue. The Church can make its infallible statements, but since they are expressed within limited cultural and intellectual categories, they are not the perfect explanation, and they will have to be amended at some time or other to make sense to later generations. For example, since matter/form, substance/accidents are a huge stretch for most modern people, there is a legitimate search for a more effective explanation. Aware of this, Peirce and Gelpi see much more room for progress if we would only take what Gelpi calls a contritely fallible approach to our conclusions.

                      You come back to Thomistic philosophy of knowledge, which relies on Aristotle. As I said, it cannot stand up to the modern scientic research done by men like Piaget and Dewey. The triadic approach offers a better explanation which, like Thomas, defends moderate realism. Gelpi would say, and I agree, that all reality fits within an interconnected, dialogic process called Act, evaluative feelings, and general tendences, or law. To understand this takes as much meditation as the thinking of Aristotle and Thomas.

                      I apologize as I try to simplify: We are touched by some kind of impinging fact which impacts our senses. The senses immediately respond and the way they respond already contains some kind of sense of vague generality. Thus, I see a rattlesnake. The sense experience becomes a perception, which contains an evaluation: danger! Emotions and memories are triggered. The imagination comes into play. There is mind-play. Intuiution. All of this contains an expanding sense of generality. Finally, at some point, logical inference steps in. From all the above, I form a more general conclusion. This inferential process is also triadic: abduction, deduction, induction. An inductively proven abduction concludes to a law, an awareness of general tendencies that move a being to action, that operate within our world. But this awareness of law might find a better explanation somewhere because of the humanly fallible process that preceded it. Hence, contrite fallibility. A decision can be made before reason kicks in, or after.

                      One more thought, about Evolution. If you want a great read, Read “On the Edge of Evolution.” Anyway, its author, loathed by Darwinians, says evolution can be divided into three aspects. 1) Random mutations. 2) Survival by adaptation, the survival of the fittest. 3) Common origin. Only the first goes against Christian thinking. Electron microscopes and the discovery of DNA demonstrates conclusively that there is a common origin across all living things. . Easily observable genes are responsible for change. The idea of an invisible, unchangeable substantial form becomes the quaint explanation of another era.

                    • hombre111

                      First, let me unburden myself a bit. This is the time of year when I rage at the inertia created by the whole substance thinking mind-set. I rage because of its practical consequences to the Church and to me. Drove to the Cathedral for our annual Chrism Mass with a bishop who is a pretty good man, the only eloquent bishop we have ever had in my 76 years of paying attention to bishops. We renew our priestly vows and the people in the crowded Cathedral applaud. I am grateful. We sit on one side of the cruciform shaped cathedral and I look at the pews behind me, which are empty.

                      When I was a young priest, there were 107 of us, but now there are 46, in a diocese that has grown from 60,000 or so to 180,000 or so. We have nine seminarians, but no new priest for another year. Things have just gotten worse. Two priests retired and one left the diocese. The new assignments are out. One poor guy, from Africa with a bad accent, is in charge of five parishes. He becomes the sacramental minister while a deacon administers.

                      My parish alone has 10,000 people, two thirds Hispanic. A new pastor who is Anglo with some ability in Spanish. He is vocation director, which means he will have to travel often. The Associate has a larger ministry and will be part time. He is from Spain. Which is to say, he is not Mexican and the people know it. The unspoken assumption is that this old man, age 76, is going to step in to make up the difference. We have seven, sometimes eight Masses on a weekend, plus the usual slew of funerals and other sacraments. I will do the best I can, but I am not as strong as I was, and so I look forward to the new situation with dread.

                      This is the new normal everyone takes for granted. The priest shortage, which exists because of a vocation shortage, was obvious by 1989 to anyone with eyes to see. Thanks to the Church’s inertia, we still pray for vocations and wait for the young celibates to fall out of heaven. Turns out, they are reluctant. No chance to ordain married men matured by life. And for God’s sake, don’t ordain women.

                      Well, this has worn me out. I will get to our conversation later.

                      .

                    • ForChristAlone

                      “God’s little people”

                      How condescendingly superior you are. Did you ever read Msgr Pope’s articles on humility I recommended?

                    • hombre111

                      The Old Testament speaks of the Anawim, the little ones whose simplicity and humility leads them to God. From the Anawim, the prophets said, would come the Messiah. The Christmas story is the story of the little ones called by angels to the manger. Jesus blessed these little ones. In my experience, they are often the ones most open to God.

                    • papagan

                      Straw man.

                    • papagan

                      “Damn those lazy children who keep showing up because their parents are being forced to support their families on less and less.”

                      Perhaps a solution more to the liking of those who wish to dismiss Catholic social doctrine and the question of social justice is to sterilize parents who do not earn enough to support another child, or to abort the extra child that the parents cannot support financially in view of insufficient income. There you have a new version of caritas in action: Caritas in service of corporate profit and material comforts!

                    • papagan

                      “Again I disagree with your interpretation.”

                      You can disagree all you wish. It remains the case that “hombre111” is correct with respect to the important distinction he mentioned. Persons who believe that a homosexual tendency cannot be anything other than a voluntary sin on the part of the individual with the tendency are persons in need of sound philosophical and theological education.

                    • Countryman

                      So say the deviants

                    • papagan

                      “Are you more concerned with straightening out the world or saving souls for Christ?”

                      Save souls and let the world go to hell?

                      “Is it ‘social justice’ to slaughter the unborn?”

                      Of course not, but that’s only part of the overall picture.

                  • papagan

                    “I agree that there are certain God[-]given rights. The right to live your life the way you choose to live it.”

                    Really? Does that include wicked choices?

                    “There was no scholarships for me, no day care[,] no money to support my efforts[.] I did it on my own.”

                    Oh? You received no help from above?

                    “We achieved a better life because we worked for it.”

                    What did you use? Did you use any good you did not receive from another?

                    “I play by the rules.”

                    Is that sufficient?

                    “Does capitalism have it’s short comings? Absolutely.”

                    Pope St. John Paul II says something much stronger in Centesimus annus, 42.

                    “It creates the possibility for people to use their God[-]given freedom and skills to make something of themselves to achieve a better life.”

                    And the common good?

                    “You talk about human rights[,] but are more concerned about what Walmart is paying than the unbridled slaughter of the unborn.”

                    I’m not sure that that is a fair charge. And what about the claim that “the economy kills”? Would you simply dismiss that with the charge of communism?

                    “As you claim to be a priest[,] your focus should be to bring people to Christ.”

                    And ignore the pressing question of social justice?

                    “Christ died for all our sins so that we have the possibility of salvation. To achieve that salvation the wisest and most merciful [J]udge of all placed responsibilities and conditions on achieving that salvation. It is my choice as to whether I accept those conditions set forth by Christ to achieve that goal. It is entirely up to me.” (Emphasis added.)

                    Pelagianism is alive and well!

                    “The same way with a person[‘]s life. They can accept their condition and work to improve it or they can hope that others will do that for them. Some have a better start than others[,] but all can achieve success if they work for it. I know I have traveled that path.”

                    That’s a mighty howler. There is the problem of grossly imbalanced and unjust conditions. There’s the problem of ignoring the doctrine of the universal destination of material goods. There is the problem of mixed priorities. There is the problem of hasty generalization. Too much to discuss within a brief space.

                    • Countryman

                      Wow, 3:43 in the morning and your writing to me. Get tired of surfing porn sites and thought hassling Catholics would be some fun. I’m sorry that you had to wait so long for a reply but I have a real life and can’t stay up all night. I’ll pray for you though.

            • “You still don’t get it.”

              No, you don’t get it. You live and always have lived an insulated life.

              You see self-sufficiency as a bridge too far because it’s never been demanded of you and you impute your own dependency to others, who are debilitated by your phoney compassion.

              You and your ilk need to look at the legacy of your delusions that have been public policy for the past fifty plus years. They are the source of innumerable iatrogenic social pathologies of persistent, intergenerational poverty, fatherlessness and widespread immorality and cultural debasement and corporate welfare schemes.

              In the Church, you’ve fomented rebellion and laxity, all while being assured of a comfortable and reliable sinecure, obtained under false pretenses.

              You’ve never had to meet a payroll or a mortgage, but you lecture those that do, with insularity and impunity as moral inferiors.

              You don’t love the poor, you look down on the poor. You peddle the bigotry of low expectations and great white father.

              What you really love poverty, the more there is, the more you get to complain and b*tch and cast aspersions on those who are acquainted with economic reality, telling yourself that you OCCUPY Main Street and an impenetrable fortress atop Mount Morality. Your concept of justice is the cheap counterfeit of the metastatic kleptocracy and your concept of solidarity is insular cheerleading. You don’t like Wal-Mart? You are the architect.

              Unfortunately, the full fruit of your ambitions, while rushing headlong at us, probably won’t get here in time to visit vengeance on you. Of course, if you make it to 90, there’s a good chance that you cry for comfort from a bed, if you can-and the death panel will offer you narcosis for their comfort, not yours, as they count the costs of the elderly as drains on the public treasury that could otherwise mine a deep vein of votes among the hedonistic young by “giving them” subsidized contraceptives.

              Christian charity demands I care about your soul. It does not demand that we bow our heads in silent and clericalist assent to your rants, simply because you think a collar and your assuredness about the nobility of your intents, or some nonsense from some other partisan is agreeable to your viscera, any more than we watch a five year jump from a roof because he thinks a cape will allow him to fly.

              You have to be a complete fool to say that something that is sliowly but inexorably becoming unsustainable is a success.

              Now, keep your promise and go away.

              • hombre111

                Are you done with your work of fiction? Sigh. You still don’t get it.

                • Its factual and you know it.

                  • hombre111

                    Your view of life resembles the world seen through the bottom of a dirty glass.

                    • Your view of life is that of a spectator.

                • ForChristAlone

                  You will need a hefty dose of humility to allow what DE has to say to you to sink in. Try Msgr Charles Pope’s website; he has a two day installment on humility that you could use this Lent. You might find him palatable because he’s an orthodox priest who serves a predominantly Black community in DC – that should be bona fides enough for you.

                  • hombre111

                    Maybe, maybe not. The fact that he attracted you does not bode well for his bona fides.

                    • papagan

                      🙂

                • papagan

                  You might be interested in some of the recent comments posted above.

              • papagan

                “Christian charity demands I care about your soul.”

                That’s incomplete. One’s neighbor is not just a soul, but a whole person–body and soul. Attending to the needs of the soul doesn’t eliminate the physical needs of the person. Man surely does not live on bread alone, but without bread man does not live.

                “You have to be a complete fool to say that something that is slowly but inexorably becoming unsustainable is a success.”

                That applies perfectly to those who place their trust in capitalism, which harbors the seeds of its very own destruction. (Here I speak of capitalism in the second sense mentioned by Pope St. John Paul II in Centesimus annus, 42.)

                “Now, keep your promise and go away.”

                Unable to tolerate any opposition?

                • Neither of you is opposition. You are exercises in charity.
                  Now on to the matter at hand. Hombre111 made a very strident announcement that he was so disgusted with Crisis that he was compelled to leave. No one requested it, nobody forced it.
                  I expect people to adhere to their word.

          • papagan

            “Perhaps if priests gave more sermons about the virtue of chastity there would be less need for charity!” (Emphasis added.)

            That statement reveals a fundamental confusion that is not uncommon. The virtue of chastity would fail without caritas. Charity in the sense you intended is possible in the absence of caritas. The privation of caritas is the terrible poverty which afflicts those who are inordinately attached to mutable good and not properly focused on the immutable Giver of gifts.

            • MHB

              Nope, Not confused. In my weekly attendance at Mass, I have not heard priests talk about the virtue of chastity. Justice, yes, chastity, no. And if you are a priest, do you talk about chastity? You chose to focus on clarifying and missed the point entirely.

        • ForChristAlone

          “Only the government can muster the resources”

          Hundreds of billions spent on the poor since the 1930’s and still we have homeless on the streets and poverty. You solution has been an abysmal failure and has made a mockery of the poor. But you leftist statists will put your head on your satin pillows tonight night and get to sleep soundly in your self-righteousness.

          • hombre111

            You still do not get it. Let me spell it out one more time. It does not matter how much you spend on the homeless and the poor if you have social and economic structures in place that create more homeless and poor. In our country since Reagan, the money goes from the bottom to the top. Wages have been flat for generations. What that really means is that, with even one percent inflation over 35 years, the average blue collar guy has lost 35% of his earning power, while the 1% makes out like gangsters The average American lost $5,000 in his annual wages during the Great Recession, and has not recovered.

            • ForChristAlone

              Aren’t you due for your 10 year sabbatical? How about another stint with the poor in Central America? I can give you a few locations where the people are desperately poor and could use your help. Let me know if you’re game for it and I’ll send you the references.

              • hombre111

                Lots of poor to work with here, thanks.

  • publiusnj

    There is a lot of wisdom, justice and mercy to the injunction “judge not….” My answer to the oft-put question whether anyone is going to Heaven or Hell…including myself…is “God only knows.”

    That said, it is an entirely different question whether particular conduct by ourselves or others is sinful or not. Sexual relations with another male are sinful. That is true for all males; it is not a question of judgment but of moral analysis.

    So, while the validity of “judge not” is beyond question, it can also be used as a cop-out. We therefore need discernment to know when we are being misled or rightly guided by anyone using that saying.

  • Yet another quote from the Bible:

    But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. Matthew 18:15-18

    The curious thing about “pastoral approaches” is that they never result in conversions.

    • The bloke in II Corinthians who was excommunicated in I Corinthians for sleeping with his father’s wife was finally re-admitted only after great sorrow on his part. St. Paul did not want him to sorrow unto despair.

      Nowadays the priest would encourage the orientation “gifted” fellow to bring his special friend to Church.

  • BXVI

    This is so obvious. It is astounding that anyone thinks otherwise. Apparently there are many that do. But Pope Francis is in fact quite judgmental – just of a different crowd. Have you read his homilies? He rants about “Pharisees” with “rotten, putrid hearts.” Who is he talking about? Well, we all know who he’s judging, don’t we?

  • Denise Smith

    Excellent article. Sadly, we haven’t the courage or the love (in the truest sense of the word) to live this Gospel out. Those of us who do, pay a heavy price. The fact that we no longer value ‘right judgement’ redounds to the copious effects of sinful behavior on our culture. For those of us in helping ministry…it is exhausting. The Church in the US is dancing to the tune ‘Caesar’ is playing. Bravo!

  • Mike Gannome

    The author amazingly failed to mention where the “who am I to judge” attitude of Cardinal Dolan came from – our beloved Pope Francis. He is the one who started this big ball rolling by stating those exact words himself when asked about gays.

    • Oh, that ball’s been rolling well before the 1960’s. It’s the pretty boys in office who like to be liked. Their private thoughts about God, the world, and the meaning of life were packaged for public consumption. The prevailing culture ate it up.

  • JRDF

    If I’m not mistaken, Cardinal Dolan was just following his Boss’s lead: “Who am I to Judge?” — Pope Francis July 2013.

    ———————-

    Whether it is the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the Institution of Holy Marriage, Fidelity to the US Constitution, or the moral convictions of a human being, etc.

    ! Relativism is the wretched path to Irrelevance !

  • James L

    I always understood the translation as “Condemn not, less you be condemned.”
    The words of Christ, “By their fruits you will know them,” require making a judgement on the activities of others. If “Judge not” is correct, then how do you explain the contradiction?

  • Jenny Tomsic Bioche

    What a relief to have the “j” word called out into the light. Great article!

  • AcceptingReality

    Moral relativism and the ongoing silence from our pulpits, regarding the main moral issues of the day, have led many in the Chruch to mistake being non-judgmental for being pious. That appears to be what has happened with Dolan. BUT, it is alarming that a prince of the Church apparently doesn’t know the simplest of biblical principals. And doesn’t know what the scriptures say about judgement. That is an indication the this moral relativism has infected our seminaries for a long, long time. This lack of frankness is referred to as being pastoral. It is anything but pastoral. They use that word because it helps them avoid the real difficulties of preaching the truth and leading souls to heaven.

  • squishee

    Well said. I am particularly fond of Wisdom 9: 1ff “God of my fathers, Lord of mercy, you who have made all things by your word and in your wisdom have established man to rule the creatures produced by you, to govern the world in holiness and justice, and to render judgment in integrity of heart…” (Oft recited Canticle of the Divine Office)

  • Thomas J. Hennigan

    A good article and I agree with the previous comment by Daniel P. Those who are unmarried for whatever reason are also obliged to live in chastity. Chastity is the spledour of love or charity, so the Lord will never deny us the necessary grace to live in union with him in whatever state of life we are, married, consecrated or unmarried.
    St. Thomas Aquinas considers charity the supreme virtue, but he also considers prudence the guiding virtue especially for those called to govern others. Prudence disposes us to choose the proper means to our end. That applies to our final end or goal which is eternal life. He also deals with false or wordly prudence, which is not really prudence, for instance to be silent when one should speak and to speak when one should be silent. He also holds that if one is not able to govern his own life, he cannot govern someone else or a community. It seems to me that Cardinal Dolan committed an imprudence in his answer (here goes ,I am judging his behavior). As for Pope Francis, I also think that it was not prudent for him to say “who am I to judge” when this could easily have been misinterpreted, which it obviously has been. He should do as Pope Benedict did when he gave interviews on his foreign trips. He had the questions sumbmitted beforehand. That is prudence.

    Judgement is an act of the mind which is natural to it and we cannot avoid it. However, what our Lord rejects is condemning others and judging their personal culpability, which only He can do.

  • MHB

    1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathens who do not know God; that no man transgress, and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we solemnly forewarned you. For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”
    I believe the man said, WHOEVER disregards this, gay straight or otherwise.

  • Guest

    Most people have heard of, and can quote, Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged”, usually quoted for their own purposes to squirm out of any criticism. However, John 7:24 is always overlooked, where Jesus Himself said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” It looks like John 7:24 was also overlooked in the article and the following comments.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    It would seem that there is an important philosophical question here. Given that ethical concepts are different (“Love your neighbour as yourself” is something rather different from: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”), do we have available to us a rational criterion, one that is valid for all, according to which we can decide which ethics is best, in that it is rationally founded?

    No doubt, one can point to the likely consequences of different choices, but the acceptance of consequences is also the object of a choice – the fatal flaw in all pragmatic or utilitarian systems of ethics.

    Hume famously argued that one cannot derive a prescription from a description, that one cannot deduce an “ought” statement from an “is” statement. After all, those advancing the “love your neighbour” principle and those advancing the “eye for an eye principle” are not arguing over a description of something. (There are difficulties with that, too: how do we analyse a statement like, “You ordered potatoes, I supplied them and so you owe me £x”?)

    Over 50 years ago now, the Catholic philosopher, Miss Anscombe observed, “In present-day philosophy an explanation is required how an unjust man is a bad man, or an unjust action a bad one.” Are we yet in a position to give one?

    • Your eloquence stated what I’ve been trying to communicate in a haltingly manner to our agitated interlocutors.

      And (on an unrelated noted) Maurice Blondel is, thanks to you, getting some serious attention by a prickly Tudorite fellow I know. Pax.

  • In case this great article from Touchstone Magazine hasn’t been posted yet, here’s the whole “born gay” thing questioned or rejected by liberals and homosexual scholars and academics:

    http://touchstonemag.com/merecomments/2015/02/born-homosexual-lesbian

  • Ronk

    The proper response to “You are so judgmental!” is “Why thank you! “

  • MIKE

    JESUS on “JUDGING”.
    1. Judge with right judgment (Jn 7:24).
    2. You will be judged with the same measure by which you judge (Mt 7:2)
    3. Take the log out of your own eye first, so that you will be better able to see to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Lk 6:42; Mt 7:5).

    It is true that the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and the rest of us are all human beings and subject to error and sin.
    (Look at the sins of Pope St. Peter; and the chosen Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.)

    Know your Faith. There is no excuse for the laziness of not reading.
    Read Sacred Scripture (a Catholic Bible) and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” from the Magisterium so you can spot error – whether the error is accidental or purposeful.

    • MIKE

      CCC: ” 1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.
      This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good,
      or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.
      In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.”

  • Pawel Pawel

    A judgment may be positive, negative, or neutral. Once a judgment has been rendered, the question becomes what should we do when asked about it? There are several options. We could say nothing or “no comment” and let the matter drop. We could say nothing publicly and rebuke, admonish, or praise in private. We could announce our judgment in an appropriate forum. Finally, we could use the public forum that posed the question to instruct viewers on precisely what the Catholic position on the subject is and emphasize that we love the sinner but hate the sin.
    http://j.gs/8891021/aolcom-news-icidgnavbar-0021-html

  • Following Jesus Christ

    Jesus calls them hypocrites: As Ronald Mann confirms, we are not to judge or condemn any person and we should judge things, as well as moral or immoral acts. Jesus said: YOU HYPOCRITES! YOU KNOW HOW TO INTERPRET THE APPEARANCE OF THE EARTH AND THE SKY; WHY DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TO INTERPRET THE PRESENT TIME? WHY DO YOU NOT JUDGE FOR YOURSELVES WHAT IS RIGHT? (Lk 12:56-57) Out of great love for all people, the Bible requires that Truth must be proclaimed. Perversion, if left unchecked, brings great destruction to societies. We should love and respect every person. Pray for the grace to be willing to die in defense of anyone who is treated with abuse or malice.

  • Johnny

    This was made by an orthodox Catholic. Where comedy meets hidden themes, I guess https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN6KoJn-9oA

  • MIKE

    WHO am I to JUDGE ?
    When in doubt – adhere to the teachings of Jesus,
    and the Doctrine of the Faith contained in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” (aka CCC; dark green cover, promulgated as part of the Apostolic Constitution in 1997)

    JESUS said to “judge with right judgment” – Jn 7:26.
    JESUS said we will be judged with the same measure with which we judge – Mt 7:2.
    JESUS said we must take the log out of our own eye first, so we can see clearly to take the speck out of our brother’s eye “. Lk 6:42 and Mt 7:5.

    CCC: “1749 Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is, so to speak, the father of his acts.
    Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated.
    They are either good or evil.”

    CCC: ” 1759 An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention.
    The end does not justify the means. ”

    CCC: ” 1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context.
    There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery.
    One may not do evil so that good may result from it. ”

    CCC: “1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.
    This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good,
    or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.
    In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits. “

    • MIKE

      CCC: “1749 Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is, so to speak, the father of his acts.
      Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated.
      They are either good or evil.”

      CCC: ” 1759 An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention.
      The end does not justify the means. ”

      CCC: ” 1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context.
      There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery.
      One may not do evil so that good may result from it. ”

      CCC: “1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.
      This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good,
      or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.
      In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits. ”

      • MIKE

        Regarding Clergy of all ranks, and the mortal Sin of SCANDAL –

        CCC: ” 2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it
        or the weakness of those who are scandalized.
        It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged
        to teach and educate others.
        Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing. “

  • Athanasius Pernath

    I don’t agree with Mr. Mann’s interpretation of Matthew 7:1. There is a simpler and more obvious explanation – the Greek verb ‘krino’ means both ‘to judge’ and ‘to condemn’ and in this verse it should be understood as the latter. Thus “condemn not that ye be not condemned”. Any possible ambiguity disappears and the sense becomes apparent: judging is all right but condemning must be left to God, otherwise the condemner will be himself condemned for this arrogant act.

  • CHBrighton

    More than three hundred years ago, enlightened people realised that the bible is useless as a guide for human morality. it’s still the case. Move on.

MENU