Friday, July 12, 2013

Quick Takes (which will cover all your weekend reading needs)






1) Wow, I have not posted in a while, but that doesn't mean the Bubble hasn't been hopping! As of today, there is still a conversation going on at the last post, and if you haven't read through the almost 500 comments, you should fix yourself a cup of tea and get started. Remember to hit "load more" after the first 200 comments (ugh, Blogger!!), and then again and again and again, until there is no more option to "load more".

The sad part is that after all that, it seems that most gay "marriage" supporters still really do want these kids to sit down and shut up.


2) A powerful companion piece to the last post is this piece by Robert Oscar Lopez. It's hard to read, heartbreaking really, but in this day when gay "marriage" is seen as such a beautiful, just, and ordered thing, we have to open our eyes and see, and open our brains and think:


And as Catholics, we are required to speak, and not remain silent. Speaking can be in the form of facebook links, discussions with family and friends, letters to the editor, blog posts, tweets, whatever. When the issue comes up, don't be silent. Say something, even if it's simply: "I disagree with same-sex marriage. It's just not right."

Remember, Jesus is not interested in whether or not you get along with the world.

To that end, this short piece at First Things, by Robert P. George, is worth a full reprint here (emphases mine):
A little Sunday sermon from a guy with no license to preach: For those of us who are Christian—and I suspect the same is true of our friends of other religious traditions—it is tempting to embrace those doctrines and teachings of our faith that are acceptable to the “beautiful people,” to the trend setters and opinion shapers, to the powerful and influential, while going silent on, or even denying, those teachings that will mark us as standing in opposition to the values that are dominant in elite sectors of the culture. We’re all-too-willing to be “tame” Christians. We want the comforts and consolation of religion, but we’d like to have them without risks or costs. We don’t want to jeopardize friendships, family relationships, professional and economic opportunities, prestige, social status, and the like. We don’t want people to think of us as retrograde or “out of touch with the times,” much less as intolerant or prejudiced. So we are tempted to pick and choose—to be “cafeteria Christians.” 
But if we are serious about our faith, we will understand that a true Christian is never a “tame” Christian. A true Christian will stand up and speak out for what is good and true, what is right and just, both in season and out of season. He or she will not go silent, even when bearing witness is unpopular—even when it is personally or professionally risky. He or she will know that there truly is a “cost of discipleship,” and will be prepared, with God’s help and by His grace, to pay that cost—whatever it turns out to be. A faithful Christian will be ever mindful of the words of Christ himself, “If anyone would be my disciple, then let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
One man who did just that is a courageous mayor in France who refuses to transgress the Natural Law and is willing to face five years in prison for not going along with what he calls the "farce" of gay "marriage" in his town. Jean-Michel Colo says he "will not perform an illegal act", reflecting perfectly the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail:
[I]t may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." 
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. 
Amen.

Okay, and since we are on the subject (don't you long for the recent days when we didn't have to talk and hear about homosexuality all the time and when it didn't permeate every aspect of our culture?), here are two more worthy links about gay "marriage":

(Because we hear, reflexively and repeatedly, that it most certainly won't.)

And the great piece by the brilliant Mary Rice Hasson:


As one commenter stated of Hasson's analysis, this is "undoubtedly the most concise, cogent, coherent explanation for how the contraception pandemic has given rise to the fallacy of same-sex marriage."


3) Oh my gosh, have you seen Pope Francis' first encyclical, written largely by his predecessor, Pope Benedict?

Ahhhh, I wish it could be required reading for all. It's called Lumen Fidei  (The Light of Faith).




And the popes quoting Dostoevsky (and Nietzsche) in the first few paragraphs is just too good to miss! I love that as Catholics, we never stop learning, we never plumb the depths of our Faith. Thank you, Jesus.


4) Speaking of the new encyclical, my friend Brandon Vogt got into a little bit of a pickle when he tried, in good faith, to spread Lumen Fidei far and wide. You can read about it on his blog, and then you can take steps to help us "Free the Word", as Brandon proposes a solution to a very unfortunate problem that is hindering evangelization in this digital world:


This is perhaps the only time you'll ever hear me say, the Church needs to get with the times (at least with regard to copyright rules)!


5) Okay, I know this is a few weeks old, but I can't get past it. I have said often on this blog that certain things have left me speechless, or that I just could not believe what I was hearing/reading/seeing. But this. This. This! This is really it. It's got to be a bad parody, a Saturday Night Live skit, bizarre dark humor, a joke of some kind.

Except that it's true!!!

This really happened!! 

We have arrived at the point where the head of a Christian denomination, female Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, is openly siding with the demons (yes, yes, I said that!) against a saint! A possessed and exploited girl is delivered from the demons by St. Paul, and Ms. Jefferts Schori slams St. Paul! As being intolerant!

Like Fr. Barron, I want to laugh out loud! I mean, it's come to this? Oh, wow, it can't get much crazier. The Episcopal Church is already dying out, but when its leadership literally sides with the devil, you've just gotta chuckle and shake your head!




And not to get back to the gay stuff (although how can we avoid it?), but this really is happening, too, in California!

All Same-Sex Couples are Infertile
(The gist? Insurers should be required to provide
"infertility" treatment to gay couples!!)

Another head-scratcher that makes me wonder if we haven't slipped right down the rabbit hole with Alice. Or arrived in the Twilight Zone. Jesus can't come soon enough!


6) As have many of you, I have learned so much from the saintly Karen Pullano in the aftermath of the loss of her oldest daughter in a car crash -- just a few years after she lost her small son to cancer. Her most recent post has really hit me at the level of my soul. She has lived through an earthly hell, and yet she is not angry at God. Listen to her tell it:
Last weekend we attended our oldest daughter’s high school graduation.  It was a lovely celebration honoring the class of 2013. Except for us, there was no graduate. I didn’t have a camera at the ready or flowers to give or anyone to meet for photo ops afterward. The classmate who was tragically killed in a car accident several months ago; that would have been, should have been, our girl walking across the stage. She was remembered and honored and greatly missed by her entire class and it was all very moving as I tried desperately to keep the tears in check. 
It was suggested to me, not for the first time in the last 5 years, that I could and should be angry. I’m told that it would be okay to yell and scream and rail at the Universe and at God. He’s a big God after all and can take it and will still love me despite it. 5 years ago we sat helplessly by our 4-year-old son as a brain tumor and chemotherapy ravaged his little body. For 9 months we watched him suffer and then die. 
I had no anger then and I have no anger now ….
Read the rest here.

I want to be like Karen. (Who is expecting her newest little girl any day now!)


7) Here is a sweet little princess to capture your heart! Meet Rebecca:


Click my photo for more info!

Rebecca has Down syndrome, and a heart condition; ASD, enlarged RA, mild insufficiency of TV, and mild pulmonary hypertension…the left side of her heart has normal function. A brain CT and EEG were both normal.
Rebecca is a precious little one who is just 2 years old. She was found abandoned at a bus stop when she was about 5 months old.  This sweet little girl has delays; to be expected, of course, but she does not seem to be receiving the therapy she needs to help her progress more quickly. Her heart condition is slowing her down, too. Imagine the great progress she will make when her heart is fixed, and she has someone to help her learn and develop! Rebecca is crawling now, and her fine motor skills are behind. She badly needs a loving family and the continued stimulation that will help her develop and improve her future. It is certainly not too late to begin working with her…at all! Rebecca is sweet, quiet, and loves to watch other children play. A family for Rebecca will help her join other kids at play!

Please consider Rebecca for your own family, or pray and share her with others!

+++++++


Now, in the last few posts I think I have exhausted what I want to say about all the gay "marriage" fallout, and it's time to get back into what we should be doing spiritually. There is no new sin, and there is no new antidote to sin. We simply must get to the heart of what really matters. So, get ready for some of that.


Have a great weekend, and thanks to the wonderful Jen for hosting!






457 comments:

  1. With respect to your #2, I second your longing for the days when more interesting questions dominated the public consciousness. There are *many* interesting philosophical questions in the world; abortion and homosexuality often don't strike me as among them. They're *important* questions (don't get me wrong), but since they concern applied ethics you either have your first principles right (in which case your answers to abortion and homosexuality will be correct inferences from correct first principles) or you have your first principles wrong (which will manifest itself accordingly). But since we don't discuss first principles much anymore, most conversations about abortion, homosexuality, etc., involve lots of wheel-spinning. I'd really like to hear a robust societal debate about what makes killing immoral, or what makes someone a person. Instead, all we get are debates whose buzzwords involve sneakers. Bah.

    Sincerely,
    ~Benjamin

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  2. I didn't know that Karen was pregnant! God bless her! :-) I hesitate to ever say that anyone "deserves" to be pregnant, but she is an exception!

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  3. I was interrupted by my last comment by the kids, so I'm just going to finish up in this last comment.
    As a commenter who has no talent or skill in debating, I just have to say how frustrating it can be to have "something to say" but without the means to say it--that is, in debating. I used to be against debating, believing all it lead to was arguing and a battle of wills (and egos) and in some cases, that may be true. But I've learned that some things have to be hashed out, or debated, because people keep trying to throw dirt over the Truth.

    But just know that as I read the 400+ comments on this blog or any blog that is speaking the truth, that I am fist pumping in the air for those who have have the talent to speak "debate"! And like you have pointed out, even just saying that we are against this new definition of "marriage" alone can say a lot. Or spreading the word by linking to others blogs, or forwarding stories on Facebook. Even in those small ways, we don't have to be silent...

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  4. I haven't followed Karen's story and don't know much about her (but what you've written here) but I tend to understand what she's talking about. I have had people tell me I could be angry at God for the sadness that is the loss of my baby boy earlier this year. I understand that some people have anger at such a thing. But all I have felt is immense sorrow...sadness...loss. But not anger. I feel like anger wouldn't help me heal at all. I'm glad to know I"m not alone in that.

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  5. For a funny take on Bishop Schori, you should visit www.lonestarparson.blogspot.ca
    A rural Anglican priest in Texas who seems more Catholic than Catholics!

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  6. I read your posts regularly but I think this is the first time I'm replying.

    Your article convicted/disturbed me. I feel like I stay silent too much, but I'm not sure what to do.
    I rarely post on Facebook anymore. It's just not fun anymore. All my conservative friends have pretty much fled (not deleted their accounts, just never posting anymore). My real-life friends (on Facebook) know I"m a practicing Catholic.

    I have a wide group of people I know professionally, and although I was taught not to discuss politics or religion (unless invited to), nobody else seems to have these scruples. I did test the "debate waters" after HHS mandate was announced--I commented on somebody elses status about it and I got dog-piled on by people I didn't even know and people who I did know and thought were nice (until that incident).

    Now, when the wall is very heavily pro-abortion or pro-ssm, I don't even bother answering them. I do, however, post my own status as a Bible verse, or a "like" to a pro-Catholic page, just to announce to my friends list that there are practicing Catholics in the world.

    Maybe this is kind of wishy-washy. I was reading another blog recently by another lovely Catholic lady who was unfriended and insulted by somebody she had been very close to in RL over this issue.

    And not to turn this in to a wall of text, but has anybody else noticed a difference between the SSM issue and the premarital sex issue? I was subjected to some teasing over not believing in premarital sex, but never lost a single friend over it. I'm pretty sure you're still "allowed" to disagree with it. So what makes same sex activity so freaking special that you're not even allowed to disagree with it? That people will hate you? Sorry for the long message. God Bless.

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  7. Mary, you have hit on something that I've been thinking about, too, and I want to write on. There is a level of rage and ugly darkness in both the abortion and same-sex marriage debate that is not in any other debate. I am certain there is a demonic element to all of this. Satan wants nothing more than to attack human life and the family (marriage/sex is the foundation and source of both).

    This is part of a mass email that supporters of Students for Life got two days ago, from the Texas state capitol:

    Right now, our SFLA team is locked in a Texas state Representative's office as the pro-aborts are screaming, chanting, and marching because the pro-life bill, that bans abortions after 20 weeks and forces abortion facilities to abide by common-sense safety standards, passed!!!

    While you prayed with Texas pro-lifers today, the pro-aborts brought bricks to throw at lawmakers, jars of urine, feces, a semi-automatic firearm, and packets of pads and tampons to throw at pro-lifers. That's just gross... but it shows the depths they were willing to go. They knew they were going to lose this fight tonight, and so they literally resorted to flinging fecal matter to prevent babies from being saved and women protected.

    Why? Because they saw this fight in Texas for what it really is, the beginning of the end of legal abortion in America.

    And now in the midst of our victory, Planned Parenthood has lost control of their mob. They are threatening riots.

    I've never seen or heard anything like this, ever. The sounds coming from the capitol rotunda are demonic. No video we have taken so far has even come close to showing you how evil it sounds right now. But we have some awful pictures of protest signs that I don’t even want to show you.

    Thankfully, I've just received word that all of our SFLA team members and our students are safe and accounted for — as they are locked in a Texas state Representative's office with police protection outside the door as we can't leave the capitol until all of the riots cease.


    I have heard that they are going to throw menstrual blood on the representatives next. It is sick, dark, ugly, evil….all so that they can kill children who are innocent, who are not and could never be a curse. It's demonic… what else could account for it? And the same with gay "marriage". I have never encountered as much vitriol and sick, sick talk as I have from being on facebook and having debates with gay people, esp. gay atheists. It left me shaken in my soul, mostly shocked at the darkness and depravity of their words to me, and how quickly they went from civil to vicious. All because I challenged their ideas, calmly, not attacked them personally.

    It's the avenging conscience at work:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/10/laughing-at-dead-babies-and-avenging.html

    I want to write more about this when I have time to collect my thoughts, but for now, the simple answer is that we must become saints. We must be light in a world of darkness. These people are pawns, they can be redeemed, but now they are working (even unknowingly) for some very dark forces. It's powers and principalities that we are fighting, and the devil does not go quietly. It's a battle for souls. The truth (even spoken quietly, lovingly) stings like holy water when it's thrown on a victim of demonic possession. Speak the truth, yes, we must. Souls will respond or they will recoil, but the fact is that we must love and speak the truth. The two go hand in hand. You don't have to say much, just make sure your position is known among your friends and colleagues, and sometimes that is enough. You can be their silent conscience after that, and if you are living a life of grace, they will know. That is powerful. It is Christ.

    "Truth comes with graces attached."

    We cannot concede even one soul to the devil, and we want every soul to make it to Heaven.

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    1. "stings like holy water when it's thrown on a victim of demonic possession"

      Whoa, that didn't sound right! I don't mean to imply that all supporters of abortion and ssm are demon-possessed, not at all. But my point is that you sprinkle words of truth into this ugly debate and it's not unlike holy water being sprinkled by a priest in a possession case. You are going to see all hell break loose. We should expect it.

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  8. Down a crazy rabbit hole for sure, in so many ways! Yes, same sex marriage will affect us all. There's no way that it can't. But I truly feel that we will make NO progress there until we can get people to understand once again that sex is intrinsically connected to having babies. I feel so ridiculous to even have to say that, but it's true.

    I needed Lumen Fidei. It's like an anchor in a world gone mad, where there is not any solid ground to stand on to even try to help people understand the truth.

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  9. Hi Mary,

    I've been thinking something similar to you. I see premarital sex and same sex marriage as two sides of the same coin of the virtue of chastity.

    Here's my summarized perspective on how we got to where we are today. Originally, God made Adam and Eve with the command "to be fruitful and multiply", allowing humans to participate in furthering the human race. God also gave us free will so we would be free to love Him, while also free to reject Him. He also allowed sex to be pleasurable. Now, at some point down the road, humans began noticing just how pleasurable sex is and they began to crave that pleasure, at any cost. The Victorian Age did not help much, on the surface, all seemed well, but it was also a time of great repression, without explanation. So, fast forward to the 1960s with the sexual revolution and of course, people are going to rebel. Why repress sexual urges if you do not understand why they're wrong? If only humans could have somehow been educated on the reasoning for sex only being between a husband and wife. I'm not saying the sexual revolution would not have happened, but maybe it would have been to a lesser degree. And now of course in 2013 all hell is somewhat literally breaking loose. And that brings me to the abortion issue. Now, I am extremely pro-life and against abortion in any circumstance. Yet, in having discussions with people who are pro-choice, I want to offer an alternative perspective.

    Not every pro-choicer is necessarily pro-death. Some of them really do not believe it's a human or they don't want to believe that it is a human. To them, sex is a common part of life. It's not that they want to kill an unborn child per se, I think it is more that they really struggle with saying no to their sexual desires and they honestly cannot fathom a life without sex, which to me is really sad.

    I really see the solution being straightening abstinence-only education and truly focusing on the entire virtue of chastity. It is my prayer that people will be able to open their minds to that virtue not as repression, but as freedom to be respected and genuinely loved.

    Ahh! Sorry this was so long! I just had a lot I've been wanting to say…please don't ban me, Leila :)

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  10. Ha ha, Margo, I would never ban you! I agree that your average pro-"choice" person is not thinking too much about the actual truth of abortion, but only wants to be able to have sex with no consequences, and this is one way to make sure of it (they put the question of human life our of their minds). But the people at the Texas capitol are not your average low-information American pro-"choicer". They are the true believers. They are the base of the abortion lobby, and they are rabid in their understanding of abortion as a positive good, even the highest good for women's "freedom" and equality. No amount of reasoning or even late-term dead babies will stand in their way. The reactions (read again carefully what went on in that State House) were not just ignorant folks who believe abortion should be legal. The tip off to me is the demonic sounds and howling, the human feces and urine, the threat to hurl menstrual blood. We have left the realm of thoughtful human discourse and fallen into something very dark and under-worldly.

    I will also make a distinction about pre-marital sex (and adultery) and homosexual sex. Both are mortal sins, and both are sexual sins. But fornication or adultery are sins that come from temptations from natural (if unholy) attractions. The thing about gay sex is that it's an act that is unnatural and deviant (in the true sense of the word that it 'deviates' from normal, natural, ordered biological acts). It is a perversion or twisting of the sex act as designed biologically, and the fact that we are now saying that such acts are suddenly not only tolerated, but then accepted, and then declared "good", and now declared "marriage"! It's unreal, surreal. And to now even voice an opinion on that (this "change" has happened so quickly), is to be hit with the most vitriolic attack, to be brought into the most disturbing, vile and vicious speech I have ever heard -- it cannot be other than some pretty dark spiritual warfare.

    Thankfully, not all homosexual people (even those who are not chaste) go along with the ugliness of those in the movement, so that is a good thing. There are many gay people, for example, who would distance themselves from the ugliness and lewdness of the gay "pride" parades (proudly including children), etc.

    Here is a display clearly shows (explicitly) that there is a satanic element to the core of these movements. They don't attempt to hide it:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/not-your-average-pro-choicers.html

    Hope that makes sense.

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  11. "A true Christian will stand up and speak out for what is good and true".

    And thereby hangs the problem. Christians do not seem to be able to find agreement on that in quite a few areas.

    Now an easy solution for some is to say that those Christians we disagree with are not really Christians. But how is easy is that to to sustain?

    'What we really believe in is rendered visible by our obsessions'.

    If an alien researcher were to read the work of contemporary Christian commentators, conservative and liberal, what would this alien conclude about the object of Christian faith?

    The true nature of marriage?

    Funny that, I always thought I was Christian not a Marriagian.

    What is really important? Here is Walter Brueggemann.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY73t_yMbLc

    I tend to trust scholars rather than prelates, they have less power and therefore less to defend other than the truth.

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  12. Flying Goose, what makes a Christian is baptism, actually. Baptism leaves an eternal mark on the soul. Baptism incorporates one into the Church (yes, even Protestants are members of the Catholic Church, if imperfectly so).

    What is Christian belief? It's the teaching of the Magisterium. It's the Deposit of Faith given to the Apostles and their successors by Christ himself. Christianity is a revealed religion, and there is an authority (delegated by Christ) that protects that revelation (whether any particular Christian understands that or not).

    This might help:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/06/sorry-youre-not-allowed-to-do-that.html

    Christianity is not a personal philosophy, or an evolving set of ideas.

    "Funny that, I always thought I was Christian not a Marriagian." Clarify for me, are you a Christian? I thought you were an atheist, but I could be mixing you up with someone else. Thanks!

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    1. The Christian/Marriagian things came to me because we have made the whole thing like the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th Century, i.e. a touchstone issue. It is not. What is, is Jesus Christ.

      I am not an atheist but I am sceptic by which I a mean some who thinks and considers. From the 'Greek 'σκέπτομαι' skeptomai, to think, to look about, to consider. There are equivalent spellings US "skepticism", English spelling "scepticism". Sceptics are those who would think, look and consider rather than simply react or subscribe'.

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  13. Also, Flying Goose, I can't find who said this or where?

    "A true Christian will stand up and speak out for what is good and true".

    Can you point me to it? Sorry, long night with a sick child so I'm not totally focussed.

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    1. Never mind, found it!! Sorry! It's from Prof. George.

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  14. Its in the quote, in the second set of bolds. a sick child, my sympathies, I have three of my own, and its very hot here. Sleep does not come easy in the heat. Hope things improve.

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  15. Flying Goose, the early heresies were usually about the nature of Christ. The Church spoke to those issues with clarity. The same thing is happening today, although the "issue" in this narrow place in time (which seems so big to us since we live in it) is the moral law, human sexuality. But the Church continues to speak and clarify, just as she did then. Nothing has changed, most specifically the Deposit of Faith. If the Church got the teaching on homosexuality wrong for all these 2,000 years, then what on earth can we know she got right? ;)

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, God says. The idea that 20 centuries in, we just say, "Whoops, we messed up on the basics of the moral law, specifically that human faculty that transmits human life and creates souls for all eternity" is just sort of silly. If we got this wrong, then heck, we most certainly could have gotten the divinity of Christ wrong, the sacraments wrong, the Canon of the Bible wrong, etc., etc., etc.

    I think that we forget that Christ commanded us to stick with His Church and not the spirit of the age. This frenzy and frantic embrace of gay "marriage" is certainly about the zeitgeist, not about Christianity.

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  16. Ha ha, thanks! Last night was only the second time in my 21 years of parenting that we called 911. My little guy woke up panicked, not able to breath (turned out to be croup). He was the reason we called last fall, for the first time! Lost consciousness after holding his breath that time!

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  17. "The Christian/Marriagian things came to me because we have made the whole thing like the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th Century, i.e. a touchstone issue. It is not. What is, is Jesus Christ."

    Jesus Christ is Truth. The moral law is as much a matter of Truth as is the nature of the Trinity. The Deposit of Faith (revealed Truth) is about both faith (what we believe, i.e, the Creed, the nature of the Sacraments, the Church, the Trinity, Mariology, etc.) and morals (how we live). Faith and Morals. Both.

    Truth.

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  18. "I think that we forget that Christ commanded us to stick with His Church"

    And which one are we supposed to stick with?

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  19. You're asking me that question? Lol. Obviously, I would say the one with the unbroken line of Apostolic Successors, who are in line with Peter's Successor. The Catholic Church with Peter as its earthly head. Any other church community has no promise of protection by the Holy Spirit. Once you leave the Apostles, there is no guarantee what you're gonna get.

    Do you believe in Christ (truly died, truly risen), Flying Goose?

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    1. That claim is neither incontrovertible or uncontroversial.

      As to your questions.

      Yes and Yes.

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    2. Please see below. I don't want to answer comments via the "reply" mode, which I prefer to use for corrections or clarifications only.

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  20. If you could address this:

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, God says. The idea that 20 centuries in, we just say, "Whoops, we messed up on the basics of the moral law, specifically that human faculty that transmits human life and creates souls for all eternity" is just sort of silly. If we got this wrong, then heck, we most certainly could have gotten the divinity of Christ wrong, the sacraments wrong, the Canon of the Bible wrong, etc., etc., etc.

    How do we access Truth, Flying Goose? Keep in mind, it has to be easy enough for an illiterate peasant to understand.

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    1. We kind of messed up with the earth being the centre of the universe. We no longer advocate capital punishment for heretics, clearly we got something things messed up in the past. Why not this?

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    2. As to your illiterate peasant, well I would say education is better than indoctrination.

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  21. "We don’t want to jeopardize friendships, family relationships, professional and economic opportunities, prestige, social status, and the like. We don’t want people to think of us as retrograde or “out of touch with the times,” much less as intolerant or prejudiced. So we are tempted to pick and choose—to be “cafeteria Christians."

    Well, I really think he is leaving out that many people see truly conflicting evidence regarding the "goodness" of gay unions. They are trying to be kind and loving, and they are trying to apply the golden rule. In my own head I think, "Well, if I was gay and was terribly in love with another woman who was terribly in love with me, and we wanted to be together forever and live with the same rights as heteros, how would I want others to treat ME?" Many people,(like myself) know people in gay relationships who seem quite happy, loving and truly TOGETHER, and this is hard to reconcile with the teaching that homosexual activity is ALWAYS intrinsically evil. THere is evidence to the contrary, but gosh, a lot of us are seeing it around us and really thinking about the good and the bad.

    I know that I am on the fence, so I err on the side of accepting and not speaking out against it (much). I really don't want to be cruel and hurtful to friends when I am far from certain about the validity of the Church's teaching on this matter.

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    1. I can almost be certain that Peter believed that world was flat and at the centre of the universe. But we changed our mind on that, if a little reluctantly.

      In Rome, not far from the English College, is a statue of Giordano Bruno, he believed in the sun centered solar system. For this and other things he was burnt at the stake. My question to Leila, is why should we trust the intellectual integrity and thus teaching authority of an institution that has behaved so poorly.

      This is a question one never hears an answer to.

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  22. Mary,

    I invite you to read and consider this article from the Public Discourse: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/03/9432/

    I think what so many relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual, are forgetting about is friendship. To me, it seems like relationships are so focused on the sexual aspect that people forget to simply be friends to one another.

    Personally, I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with the "rights" argument for same sex marriage in terms of tax benefits, hospital visitation, etc. I think there should be wider parameters in general for visitation since I already would want my close friends to be able to visit me if they wanted and if I (God forbid) found myself hospitalized. And with tax benefits, I'm barely paying taxes myself since I've been mostly unemployed in my 22 years of life, so I can't really comment on those, except to say that they are of this world and all humans are made for Heaven, so it seems to me that they can be taken or leaven, since I'm just trusting God to provide for me in this life.

    No one is saying that two men or two women cannot live in a close friendship with one another. We're just asking them to refrain from sex and to love each other in an even higher way according to God's plan. I agree that same sex attracted people should be treated with respect, yet we cannot ever condone or allow sin. It is far more loving to lead your friends away from sin and into God's love. It's more cruel to allow your friends to persist in sin.

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  23. Flying Goose,

    It was NEVER God's plan for two men or two women to procreate. He deliberately made males and females to be sexually complementary so two would join together, become one flesh, and carry on the human race. God never intended for humanity to be so obsessed with sex, which was just supposed to be ONE aspect (of many) for a married husband and wife. God does give every human a specific cross to carry, but if we accept His help & grace, we can succeed in carrying that cross and offering up any hardships we come across throughout our lives.

    Do you think it's possible to live a full & happy life without ever having sex?

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    1. Yes, thats not the issue, you are about denying people the choice, people who do not subscribe to your metaphysics and which you have failed to a give a good reason for binding them to it.

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  24. Wow, God's perfect love is not a good enough reason? How about Heaven? I'm pretty sure most people have even a basic desire to go to Heaven after they die. So, wouldn't they like to be informed of a way to get there? Or is this (temporary) life on Earth more important than eternal life?

    And you do not have to believe in God to be bound to natural law. Two penises cannot create a child neither can two vaginas. Marriage has limits, as do a lot of things in life.

    Must we fulfill our every desire in life to be happy?

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    1. Thats is an opinion. Is marriage purely about procreation? Bit difficult for the couple who marry in their 60s.

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  25. Flying Goose, if you could please put your comments at the end of the thread, thanks.

    Of course the Church's authority is controversial. All heretics, even the ones who proposed the very early heresies you referenced, were not happy with Church authority and thought they could supersede it. Heck, that sort of thing goes back to Korah.

    You reference science (flat earth) which is nothing but a red herring. The Church does not teach science. As for faith and morals, do you deny that Christianity is a revealed religion? Do you not realize that Christians since the beginning have understood that the Faith is revealed? (Of course, the moral law can be ascertained by the light of human reason, i.e., Natural Law… read MLK in the OP).

    Where do we access Truth, Flying Goose? You did not answer. How do we receive Christian Truth?

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  26. "We kind of messed up with the earth being the centre of the universe. We no longer advocate capital punishment for heretics, clearly we got something things messed up in the past. Why not this?"

    You absolutely avoided my question, which was this:

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, God says. The idea that 20 centuries in, we just say, "Whoops, we messed up on the basics of the moral law, specifically that human faculty that transmits human life and creates souls for all eternity" is just sort of silly. If we got this wrong, then heck, we most certainly could have gotten the divinity of Christ wrong, the sacraments wrong, the Canon of the Bible wrong, etc., etc., etc.

    How do we know what is true and what is not?

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  27. As to your questions.

    Yes and Yes.


    Great. So, Jesus is God, correct? Now, did He found a Church to teach the Truth in His name?

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  28. In Rome, not far from the English College, is a statue of Giordano Bruno, he believed in the sun centered solar system. For this and other things he was burnt at the stake. My question to Leila, is why should we trust the intellectual integrity and thus teaching authority of an institution that has behaved so poorly.

    This is a question one never hears an answer to.


    Then you haven't read much, because that is addressed all the time. We trust what the Church teaches on faith and morals (the Deposit of Faith), we don't ever say that Church leaders are sinless, or prudent or even that they make it to Heaven. Again, you seem to want to make this a science discussion?

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  29. Mary, you said: "I really don't want to be cruel and hurtful to friends when I am far from certain about the validity of the Church's teaching on this matter."

    But then again I have to ask you, like I asked Flying Goose, how can you be sure of anything the Church teaches? If they are wrong on something this basic and fundamental (and the Church has not wavered by the way), then what aren't they wrong on?

    I beg you to really pray about what Blessed Fulton Sheen has said about this very thing:

    The lesson that emerges from Easter is that the world was wrong and Christ was right; that there is a world of difference between an authority on which you rely when it pleases you, and one which you trust absolutely whether it pleases you or not; for what the world needs is a voice that is right not when the world is right, but right when the world is wrong.

    To avoid another Calvary and its colossal error that the majority is always right, the world needs a standard of virtue, truth, and goodness, other than the will of the masses. In those moments when the popular will coincides with God's will there is no need of an external authority outside the mass; but there is need of one when there is a conflict between the two, as there was on Calvary.
    ...
    The millions of the world who keep their fingers on the pulse of public opinion and follow every theory, every vogue, every panacea, every popular immorality, and who approve the appointment of every anti-moral educator, have no standard of right and wrong. A thing cannot measure itself: A tape measure must be outside the cloth; a speedometer must not be a brick in the roadway; a judge must not be a shareholder in the corporation whose cause he judges. In like manner the judgment of the world must be from outside the world. Such a standard is the need of the hour -- an authority that does not, like some politician, find out what the people want and then give it to them, but which gives them what is true and good whether it is popular or not. We need someone to be healthy when the world is sick; someone to be a stretcher-bearer when the battlefields are freighted with wounded; someone to be calm when the house is burning; someone to be right when the world is wrong, as on Easter when they who slew the Foe lost the day.

    Where is that authority except in the Church of the Risen Christ which in each new generation is condemned by the world and then rises to a new and glorious Easter? At least a thousand times the bells have tolled in history for the death of the Church, but the execution never took place; the coffin is ordered by the corpse never appears; the mourners assist at her burial but she sings a requiem over her mourners; still doomed to death, but fated not to die, she survives a thousand crucifixions and a thousand deaths, and alone has survived the crash of all civilizations, because not involved in their ruin.

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    1. *Venerable Fulton Sheen...not quite 'Blessed' yet, although I wish he were! :)

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  30. In other words, mary, the Church exists for you precisely because Christ knew we needed a Rock of Truth to stand on exactly at those times when our emotions and the popular culture sway us into error. We would have no need of a Rock otherwise.

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  31. "I agree that same sex attracted people should be treated with respect, yet we cannot ever condone or allow sin. It is far more loving to lead your friends away from sin and into God's love. It's more cruel to allow your friends to persist in sin."

    And while we are at it, let's dispel the myth that being against gay "marriage" means that we must scream "sinner!!" in the face of our friends and neighbors. Since when do we ever do that? We don't do it with adulterers, with fornicators, with liars, etc. We don't need to scream and wail and point fingers. But we are to be Christians, to be saints, and to make our love of Christ and His laws known. Sometimes, that simply means that when the issue is brought up (as it OFTEN is), we speak. We say, "I don't believe in this. It's not right. I love you, but it's not right." Gosh, how many times I wish someone would have told me that in my young adult and teen years, for example.

    Essentially, the myth that we must "hate" and be in someone's face to be opposed to sin is bizarre to me. We must pray, we must speak, we must love. Again, Jesus is not impressed if we are beloved by the world. He is only impressed if we take up our Cross and follow Him, in love. We have to love Him and His Cross more than we love even ourselves, even more than we love members of our own family. If we are saints on earth (the goal), then we will attract people to us, and they will be open to Christ and to Truth and to grace.

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  32. "Yes, thats not the issue, you are about denying people the choice, people who do not subscribe to your metaphysics and which you have failed to a give a good reason for binding them to it."

    Flying Goose, the Church is not denying people choice… we are HUGE on that pesky "free will" thing. People can choose to sin, and sin freely. They don't have a moral right to do so, but they can abuse their freedom and do so. No one is stopping them.

    What is your metaphysics? You don't sound Christian, but you say that you believe Christ died and rose. What is your theology?

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  33. "Where do we access Truth, Flying Goose? You did not answer. How do we receive Christian Truth"?

    Where does knowledge begin? In ignorance and from that ignorance asking questions.

    A question for you. Is it morally correct to put heretics to death? Straight answer, Yes or no?


    BTW theology is the queen of sciences.

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  34. Thats is an opinion. Is marriage purely about procreation? Bit difficult for the couple who marry in their 60s.

    Even their act is ordered toward procreation, FG. And don't forget Abraham and Sarah. :)

    Marriage is not *only* about sex and procreation, but if humans were created asexually and were self-sufficient from birth, we would not need marriage at all, would we? What is marriage for? Why did God design it? Why did he design sex?

    If mutual masturbation and sodomy were part of his design for marriage, how come it's never come up till just now? How can the "one flesh" union described by Jesus be accomplished by two men?

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  35. FG,

    Sex needs to be rightly ordered. The heterosexual couple in their 60s may be married since their sex is rightly ordered toward procreation even if procreation does not occur, although miracles do happen, just look at Abraham & Sarah in the Old Testament as an example.

    And no, it's not an opinion, it's a fact!

    Do you believe Jesus is God? Do you believe Jesus that what Jesus said is Truth or is Jesus just an opinion?

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  36. My theology

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

    I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried;
    he descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again;
    he ascended into heaven,
    he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
    and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting.
    Amen.

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  37. No, FG, you don't believe those words in the way that the writers of those words intended them. Do you?

    ReplyDelete
  38. What does it mean to believe? Does believing require an action or response? How do you think God would want humans to respond to the beliefs expressed in the Creed?

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  39. Where does knowledge begin? In ignorance and from that ignorance asking questions.

    Nope, I didn't ask where knowledge begins. I asked how we access Christian Truth. How can an illiterate peasant, for example, know that he has Truth?

    A question for you. Is it morally correct to put heretics to death? Straight answer, Yes or no?

    Is this a death penalty question, then? The morality of the death penalty is in the Catechism, here:

    2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."68


    No, the Church would not advocate the application of the death penalty for heretics, or for most anyone else.

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  40. "I believe in … the holy catholic Church"

    If you do not believe this in the way that the writers of the words believed it, then you don't believe the Creed. You cannot assign meaning to these words in opposition to what the writers intended.

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  41. Margo
    'I believe', is not the same as 'I know'

    Before 1600 the object of the english verb 'believe' was almost always a person not a proposition.

    Jesus is not an an opinion but a person, one can have opinions about Jesus, thats origin of the word Dogma, from the Greek, δόγμα, opinion.

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  42. How much patristics have you read?

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  43. "No, the Church would not advocate the application of the death penalty for heretics, or for most anyone else".

    But it did, so why did it change its mind?

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  44. Because the death penalty is not intrinsically evil and thus application is a matter of prudential judgment, not dogma.

    With the Creed, are you kidding? You can mean the exact opposite of the intent of the writers and you say you agree with the Creed? That is so disingenuous. Do you realize who wrote the Creeds?

    A confession of belief means that WE BELIEVE it to be TRUE. It's not a "we follow blindly". Did you read the Pope's new encyclical?



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  45. "If you do not believe this in the way that the writers of the words believed it, then you don't believe the Creed. You cannot assign meaning to these words in opposition to what the writers intended".

    Unlike the the later Nicene Creed, the apostles creed has very little theological explanation within it, it is rather terse baptismal formula.

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  46. FG, your comment reminds me of this paragraph from my friend Kim's conversion story, when she made a last ditch effort to stay out of the Catholic Church by talking to Anglicans and Episcopalians:

    I also saw that old, familiar subjective truth model raising its ugly head again. It was explained to me, by the dean of an Episcopal seminary, that the Episcopal Church is not a “confessional” church in which one is required to concur with any particular interpretation of doctrine. An Episcopalian, he said, cannot ignore the articles of faith (found in the Book of Common Prayer) or the creeds, but at the same time he need only profess them with regard to how he personally interprets them. Shocked, I remember clarifying, “Do you mean that one man in the pews can profess belief in a literal resurrection, and the man next to him can profess a metaphorical resurrection, and they’re both right in the eyes of the Episcopal Church?” The answer was a definite “Yes.” I was told numerous times that Episcopalians believe that “everyone is right, both Protestants and Catholics.” But I had already learned that it is only in the world of subjective truth that two opposing doctrines can both be right. Subjectivism is simply antithetical to the objective Truth of Christ.

    Here entire story may be of interest to you:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/01/from-radical-feminist-to-devout-catholic.html

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  47. "Unlike the the later Nicene Creed, the apostles creed has very little theological explanation within it, it is rather terse baptismal formula."

    Which still give you absolutely no right or authority to believe it to mean the opposite of the men who wrote it.

    Remember you talked of the early heresies? How do you know for sure that those were heresies? When and how was all that determined and settled?

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  48. Leila, I have Bachelor of Divinity and a Masters in Theology. I know how the creeds came to their present form.

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  49. The Apostles creed developed over time. It certainly was not the first credal statement. Perhaps one of the first is this.
    Though he was divine, he did not cling to equality with God, but made himself nothing. Taking the form of a slave, he was born in human likeness. and was obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has raised him on high, and given him the name above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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  50. FG, I am unimpressed by your degree if it led you to believe that you may interpret the Creeds in any way you'd like.

    Let me ask you if you agree with this statement:

    If words can be interpreted in any way that any person decides then words are essentially meaningless.

    And, what do you think the writers of the Creeds were up to when they wrote those words? Weren't they actually meaning something real? Or was it all up for grabs, in their minds?

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  51. "Though he was divine, he did not cling to equality with God, but made himself nothing. Taking the form of a slave, he was born in human likeness. and was obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has raised him on high, and given him the name above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

    Thank you for quoting the Church's Sacred Scripture! Beautiful, isn't it?

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  52. So, all we do is simply proclaim "Jesus Christ is Lord"? Shouldn't we be obedient to Jesus? Follow His teachings?

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  53. Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter."

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  54. Shocked, I remember clarifying, “Do you mean that one man in the pews can profess belief in a literal resurrection, and the man next to him can profess a metaphorical resurrection, and they’re both right in the eyes of the Episcopal Church?” The answer was a definite “Yes.”

    Comment on this, FG?

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  55. If words can be interpreted in any way that any person decides then words are essentially meaningless.


    But its not quite like that is it. This not one person saying what this or that word means. This is argument about authority. You seem to have no awareness of the church history and how doctrine developed over time. Not only that you seem to have no awareness of how the authority of the papacy developed over time.

    I cannot ignore the work of church historians even if you can.

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  56. “Do you mean that one man in the pews can profess belief in a literal resurrection, and the man next to him can profess a metaphorical resurrection, and they’re both right in the eyes of the Episcopal Church?”

    What that means is that we do not seek to open windows into men's souls. We believe in freedom of belief, it saves a lot of firewood.

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  57. FG,

    Please stop trying to find a time when the Church fathers were wrong so you can use it to justify the Church being wrong about same sex marriage. If you are genuinely interested in learning why the Church will never permit same sex marriage, then I encourage to first start learning about the virtue of chastity, which reveals God's intended purpose for our bodies and relationships.

    And no, we do not have "freedom of belief", we cannot decide doctrine for ourselves, but rather submit to Christ. If Jesus Christ is indeed our Lord and Savior, shouldn't we be focused on striving to imitate Him and to agree with Him?

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  58. What do you understand by these words,

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting.

    Lets see if we concur.

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  59. Margo
    "Please stop trying to find a time when the Church fathers were wrong so you can use it to justify the Church being wrong about same sex marriage."

    I began with this,
    "A true Christian will stand up and speak out for what is good and true".

    This is not about same sex marriage, this about truth and authority, and the sources of both.

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  60. "I encourage to first start learning about the virtue of chastity, which reveals God's intended purpose for our bodies and relationships".


    That's a rather presumptuous thing to say to someone you do not know.

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  61. Isn't Jesus the source of Truth? Why not first try to understand why the Church has its teachings and then see if you agree with the reasoning?

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  62. I was merely suggesting the virtue of chastity since it explains many of the Church's teachings.

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  63. I'm heading out for the rest of the day, but I shall return later tonight to continue this discussion :)

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  64. "What that means is that we do not seek to open windows into men's souls. We believe in freedom of belief, it saves a lot of firewood."

    You are really hung up on burning heretics (have we done that lately?), but I'm asking a question: Did the writers of the Creed believe in a LITERAL, BODILY resurrection?

    Do the Creeds have actual meaning?

    And yes, people are very free to disbelieve Christianity. Happens every day.

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  65. "What do you understand by these words"

    I understand them to mean exactly what the Catholic Church understands them to mean. It is her Creed. If you understand them to mean what the Catholic Church which gave them to us means, then we concur. If not, then we do not concur.

    Question:

    Do you believe Christianity is a revealed religion?

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  66. No you have not, but is that because the power to order such things has been taken away? :-)

    Yes they did, and so do I. Anything else is gnostic.

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  67. This is not about same sex marriage, this about truth and authority, and the sources of both.

    Great, let's go:

    What is the source of Truth?
    What is the source of Church authority?

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  68. "That's a rather presumptuous thing to say to someone you do not know."

    If you have a good understanding of the Christian view of the virtue of chastity, then why do you stand against the Christian view of the virtue of chastity? (My assumption is that you believe that sodomy [which Christianity has always held to be a grave sin, one crying out to heaven for vengeance, even] can be the basis for a marriage, and is a moral good. If I'm making the wrong assumption, please correct me.)

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  69. But you are identifying the church Catholic solely with the Roman Catholic church. And you have not answered the question.

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  70. No you have not, but is that because the power to order such things has been taken away? :-)

    Sorry, I am not sure what this refers to? Or to whom you are addressing it? Thanks for any clarity (cut and paste the thing you are responding to, if possible.

    Yes they did, and so do I. Anything else is gnostic.

    Again, I am not sure what you are addressing here. I think you are addressing the bodily resurrection of Christ. So, good! We agree that Christ really rose, and that He is God. That is critical, no? Even St. Paul said that if Christ had not truly risen, then we are the most pitiable of men, and our faith is in vain. But you seem to be okay with they Episcopalian way of symbolically interpreting the Creed? Do you think that would go over well with the writers of the Creed?

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  71. Chastity for me as a married man, is a living out of my marriage vows for love of my spouse, if I were a monk it would be faithful; living out of my vow of celibacy. I am not sure how it pertains.

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  72. "But you are identifying the church Catholic solely with the Roman Catholic church."

    No, not solely Roman Catholic. My parents are Eastern Rite Catholics.

    And you have not answered the question.

    Which question? Sorry. You might need to cut and paste what your referring to.

    If you are talking about the tenets of the Creed and what they mean, here is what I believe, exactly…

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church breaks down each of the lines of the Creed and explains it, in great and beautiful detail (over many, many chapters, very systematically, footnoted throughout). I concur with every single line. Do you?

    Here is from the Catechism, re: the Apostles Creed:

    194 The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is "the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith".13

    That footnote, #13 is from St. Ambrose:

    13 St. Ambrose, Expl. symb. 7: PL 17,1196.

    You probably own a Catholic Catechism? That's how I believe the Creed.



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  73. 'Did the writers of the Creed believe in a LITERAL, BODILY resurrection?'

    I was speaking of both ours and Christ's.

    The answer is yes, and so do I.

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  74. No, when speaking of chastity, I think Margo was talking about for everyone. We are all called to it. Here is the section explaining Christian chastity:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

    Chastity does not allow for acts of sodomy between two men or two women. Can you show me where in the history of the Church such things were not seen as grave, mortal sin?

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  75. 'probably own a Catholic Catechism? That's how I believe the Creed'

    I do.

    My disagreement with is on the nature of the church. The church it is like a bouquet that has been broken and scattered, broken and scattered by the falleness of the humans who,have responded to Christ's call to come out from the world and be a light to the nations. Until such time as that bouquet is put back together again there is no one church.

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  76. The answer is yes, and so do I.

    So, it would be wrong for any Christian church to teach that it's perfectly acceptable to believe in a symbolic Resurrection, correct?

    And if they did so, they would be wrong (in error) on one of the biggest [if not THE biggest] points of Christian Truth, correct?

    And if a Christian said he only believe in a symbolic resurrection of Christ, that Christian would have an erroneous belief, correct? And the Church should be sure to correct him of his serious error, correct? (Being that one of the mandates of the Church is to teach.)

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  77. "Chastity does not allow for acts of sodomy between two men or two women. Can you show me where in the history of the Church such things were not seen as grave, mortal sin"?

    But our understanding of same sex attraction has changed, it used to be seen in purely behavioural terms. We now know it to be far more about a persons intrinsic nature. Those who thought it a sin in the past were ignorant of this. If they wrong about that then they may morally in error in condemning it. Knowledge changes things.

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  78. "My disagreement with is on the nature of the church. The church it is like a bouquet that has been broken and scattered, broken and scattered by the falleness of the humans who,have responded to Christ's call to come out from the world and be a light to the nations. Until such time as that bouquet is put back together again there is no one church."

    Yes, this is your opinion. I hold the position that the gates of hell have not prevailed against the one, true Church and never could.

    Your position is not one that would have ever been held by any of the writers of the Creeds, and they lived in the time of great fragmentation and heresies abounding. Was it St. Jerome who said… "the whole world woke up and groaned and marvelled to find itself Arian" or something to that effect? And yet the Church was still there, still teaching (even when it was only the See of Peter that had not been corrupted, among all the other ancient sees teaching heresy.

    We are not different now from then, are we? No new sins, and only recycled heresies. The Church continues to teach on….

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  79. 'So, it would be wrong for any Christian church to teach that it's perfectly acceptable to believe in a symbolic Resurrection, correct'?

    No, thats not how we arrive at doctrine.

    It is built on a stool of three legs. Scripture, Tradition and Reason. That is not infallible, but a kit of tools with which we can arrive at some contingent conclusions.

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  80. "Yes, this is your opinion. I hold the position that the gates of hell have not prevailed against the one, true Church and never could".

    Thats a somewhat circular argument.

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  81. We do not find our identity in our proclivity to be drawn to any particular sin. Our identity is man, or woman, or Christian…. Not in our tendency to sin.

    No, we don't see things differently today. The nature of sexual sin does not change. There are folks drawn to all sorts of sexual deviancies, but we don't bless them, even though they say that they are born that way. We don't pretend that sodomy is beautiful and virtuous.

    If we can change the moral law (which is fixed and revealed), then we can change anything and everything about our Faith. You fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the Church. Do you believe that Christianity is a revealed religion?

    And what can we think of any Church that taught evil as a good (or good as evil) for 20 centuries and got it all wrong? Can that be what Christ intended? Is there a possibility that you are wrong and the Church is right?

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  82. I hold the position that the gates of hell have not prevailed against the one, true Church and never could

    Uh, those are the words of Christ.

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    1. You claim that church is the one true church, and base it on scripture. But that is not what the text means, It refers to Peter, and or his declaration of faith. He immediately through his dullness becomes a satan. So we see human fallibility right at the beginning.

      Your church is not the church but part of broken church.


      "I hold the position that the gates of hell have not prevailed against the one, true Church and never could"

      Is the church dead? No, wounded broken maybe, but not dead.Death has not prevailed against it.

      Delete
    2. Clarifying: You said that that statement, about the gates of hell not prevailing, is circular and only my opinion. They are the words of Christ when founding his Church.

      Delete
  83. No, thats not how we arrive at doctrine.

    It is built on a stool of three legs. Scripture, Tradition and Reason. That is not infallible, but a kit of tools with which we can arrive at some contingent conclusions.


    Who has the authority to speak on revealed doctrine? Remember, there is no new doctrine, as revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle (John). Development of doctrine is simply plumbing the depths of the doctrine we already have from Christ, learning more about those Truths, understanding them more clearly. Nothing in it can be contradicted or negated or reversed by later pronouncements. And, in Catholicism, theologians do not have authority to determine doctrine. It's not their job.

    In Catholicism, the three legs of the stool are Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium. Reason is presupposed in all.

    Is the Episcopal Church wrong to say that a Christian is professing the Creed faithfully if he believes in a resurrection that is only symbolic?

    What is the responsibility of a church to teach the Truth of the Creeds, not just whatever anyone wants to believe?

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  84. "Is the Episcopal Church wrong to say that a Christian is professing the Creed faithfully if he believes in a resurrection that is only symbolic?
    "
    We belong often before we believe, we come to believe through belonging to and participating in Christ.

    Jesus said come unto me all, thats pretty big word.

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  85. "Clarifying: You said that that statement, about the gates of hell not prevailing, is circular and only my opinion. They are the words of Christ when founding his Church".

    No I meant that your church claiming to be the one and only church is circular.

    I maintain that Christ founded the church and we, that is all of us broke it, but we have not killed it.

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    1. Edit: because we could not, thus the gates of hell, greek Hades (death) have not prevailed against.

      Delete
  86. "You claim that church is the one true church, and base it on scripture. But that is not what the text means"

    Yes, it's what the text means. The Church interprets her texts, not any individual believer. Where did you get your authority to interpret what the nature of the Church is? You say you have read Church Fathers, so you should be aware of the hierarchical and authoritative nature of the Church, from Scripture onward.

    It refers to Peter, and or his declaration of faith. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. Peter is the keeper of the Keys. He is the Church's earthly head, strengthening his brethren. When the NT (given to you by the authority of the Catholic Church and her bishops and pope) says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth, what did that mean? Where do we get this truth from the Church? How?

    He immediately through his dullness becomes a satan. So we see human fallibility right at the beginning. Yes, this is no secret: Peter was a man, a sinner. That has nothing to do infallibility. He didn't want Jesus to die…. He wanted Christ to change the plan, somehow, because he couldn't bear it. Jesus rebuked him, as he should have! Peter had some further mortal sins to commit before he was strengthened. It would take till Pentecost till the Holy Spirit animated and strengthened the Church to go forth.

    You seem very educated in the Church in many ways, so surely you are clearly aware of the difference between infallibility and impeccability? The Church has never, ever denied that Popes can sin, and even could go to hell.

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/06/pope-fact-infallible-does-not-mean.html

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  87. "No I meant that your church claiming to be the one and only church is circular."

    But let's say hypothetically that there is one, true Church. That Church would be correct in saying that it was the one, true Church right? What else do you want her to say? Of course, saying it does not make it so, but if it's so, then it's so. You think the Church is scattered, broken, has no central authority, no head Shepherd to look to on this earth. I totally disagree, and so do the Fathers. Where do we get Truth? How do we access it? You keep saying education, but who gives us the Truth? Who gives us Christ's truth? Is Christianity a revealed religion?

    "Is the Episcopal Church wrong to say that a Christian is professing the Creed faithfully if he believes in a resurrection that is only symbolic? "

    We belong often before we believe, we come to believe through belonging to and participating in Christ.

    Jesus said come unto me all, thats pretty big word.


    Anyone can come to Christ, praise God. But that was not my question. Is the Episcopal Church WRONG to say that a Christian is professing the Creed faithfully if he believes in a resurrection that is only symbolic?

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  88. "Yes, it's what the text means. The Church interprets her texts, not any individual believer."

    Yes the church does, but it is not just your denomination.

    You are resting your argument on the assumption that the church of the early councils is the same as the church of today. It is not, we are very happy top see the Bp of Rome as a kind of elder brother, a first among equals. But the papacy has not acted in that way for nearly a thousand years. Until its does, we cannot come back. That would be to admit that all the fault is with us, it is not.

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  89. 'But let's say hypothetically that there is one, true Church. That Church would be correct in saying that it was the one, true Church right? What else do you want her to say? Of course, saying it does not make it so, but if it's so, then it's so. You think the Church is scattered, broken, has no central authority, no head Shepherd to look to on this earth. I totally disagree, and so do the Fathers. Where do we get Truth? How do we access it? You keep saying education, but who gives us the Truth? Who gives us Christ's truth? Is Christianity a revealed religion'?

    Thats the church that existed before all the splits, that church does not exist anymore, not in an undivided way. Thats how it is, human sin.

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  90. "Yes the church does, but it is not just your denomination."

    Please be very specific (my head is muddled with a cold, and I need clarity and simplicity). Who has the right to interpret Scripture authoritatively? Who, specifically? And is it the same people who had that right (from God, I am guessing), in the third century, the fifth century, the tenth century, etc.?

    "You are resting your argument on the assumption that the church of the early councils is the same as the church of today."

    Yes, it's the same Church as my Church today. If not, what Church was it?

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  91. "Anyone can come to Christ, praise God. But that was not my question. Is the Episcopal Church WRONG to say that a Christian is professing the Creed faithfully if he believes in a resurrection that is only symbolic"?

    No it is not wrong for the reasons stated, the church welcomes all, whatever their beliefs. Orthodoxy is process, if God is infinite then it will take an eternity to know him fully.

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  92. "Who has the right to interpret Scripture authoritatively?"

    The whole church, reunited, that situation does not at present pertain.

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  93. "No it is not wrong for the reasons stated, the church welcomes all, whatever their beliefs. Orthodoxy is process, if God is infinite then it will take an eternity to know him fully."

    Thank you for being so clear.

    So, a church has no obligation to teach truth and correct error, even on an issue as fundamental as whether or not Christ rose from the dead, bodily? It's fine to tell "believers" that there is no real truth here, and that we can all be right?

    What, then, is the function of a church? Jesus said at his trial, "In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth." If the Church is not compelled to teach the Truth, then what is the Church for?

    Again, I am grateful for your clarity, so grateful. I hope the readers can see the two sides we present, and that they are incompatible.


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  94. "Who has the right to interpret Scripture authoritatively?"

    The whole church, reunited, that situation does not at present pertain.


    Every last believer can interpret the Scriptures together? When did that last happen in the history of Christianity?

    And where do you get this?

    Back to the other issue: Do you think it was important to the writers of the Creed that Jesus rose bodily? Is that they way they expected the text to be understood? If an Anglican minister does not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, he would be in grave error, correct? He would be disbelieving the points of the Creed, right?

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  95. "Again, I am grateful for your clarity, so grateful. I hope the readers can see the two sides we present, and that they are incompatible".

    Let me make it clear, you claim an authority that no one on earth has.

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  96. Every last believer can interpret the Scriptures together? When did that last happen in the history of Christianity?


    Authority is vested in ecumencal council not one bishop, whoever he may be the successor of. Even that authority is contingent, go and read the end of the Summa.

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    1. Or rather what happened to the angelic doctor before he was able to complete it.

      Delete
  97. Sorry, just to be more pointed:

    1) Is Christianity a revealed religion?
    2) What is the purpose of the Church?
    3) If "the whole Church" had the authority to interpret Scripture in the fourth century, how would that work since Arianism had practically taken over, even the major ancient sees (aside from Rome)?
    4) How did we know what was heresy in the early Church and centuries?
    5) If the Church got it so wrong for 20 centuries regarding the moral law, isn't everything up for grabs? How can we know anything for certain?
    6) How do we access Truth? (You said education, but by whom? Who has the authority to tell us what is true so that we can be saved?)

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  98. "Let me make it clear, you claim an authority that no one on earth has."

    I claim no authority at all. I have no authority.
    The Church has always claimed authority.

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  99. "Authority is vested in ecumencal council not one bishop, whoever he may be the successor of. Even that authority is contingent, go and read the end of the Summa."

    What did Aquinas (a saint of the Catholic Church) believe about Church authority and papal authority? His vision of Jesus shows us that we are in for more truth, goodness and beauty than we can dream of on earth. It does not mean we cannot know any truth, goodness or beauty on earth.

    When was the last valid council in your opinion? (And without a new council to proclaim homosexuality a good, then you must stick with whatever the last council said, correct?)

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  100. The Church has always claimed authority.

    And it has mistaken that authority for power. Power often abused.

    We we given the authority to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed. But instead we amassed, as a church, temporal power and wealth.

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  101. Sorry, I am still baffled. If the church is not charged with teaching the truth that Christ rose bodily from the dead, without ambiguity or equivocation, then I cannot think of anything the church would be good for. What could be more important or fundamental than that? I mean, it's the basis for our entire faith! It's the crux (literally) of Christianity.

    What kind of church would not care about truth or the Creed? And if they don't care, then why should anyone? At this rate, you'd see Episcopalian leaders siding with the demons against the saints! (Oh, wait…. #5)

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  102. Aquinas saw in his vision a God, that everything had written was straw.

    Last valid council, 787AD.

    must we stick to it, No. Why? because we have no choice but to act as we are, with the proviso, we could be wrong.

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  103. "And it has mistaken that authority for power. Power often abused."

    Power is always abused. There is always that danger. It is as true as it is irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not the Church teaches truth.

    No one claimed a sinless Church, so you are arguing a straw man.

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  104. I am not obsessed with truth. we look into a glass darkly, I am more concerned with the weightier matters of the the law.

    Anyway its now midnight and I must sleep, Vigils is at six.

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  105. You should be "obsessed" with truth, as it is the very reason Christ came to this earth, in his own words to Pilate.

    The law compels you more than Truth? I don't get it.

    Last valid council was that far back, so Christ has left us without a guiding, teaching Church authority? That seems against his promises. And, Thomas did not disavow the truths he wrote about. He just realized that anything we can write about Truth pales in comparison to seeing Truth Himself. We know that already. It doesn't release us from the obligation to reject error and seek truth, goodness and beauty. Nothing Aquinas saw in Jesus negated what he had written about Truth. If anything, it confirmed the awesomeness of Truth manifested in the Person of Christ, who is Truth Himself.

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  106. Sorry, that last part was redundant. Good-night and have a happy Vigil.

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  107. Flying Goose

    I agree with you. There are weighty matters and we do undoubtedly look at the world through human, dark, and unilluminated eyes. You, me, our host Leila, and all the people that came before us. All the people that will come after us.

    We are not angels; we are not animals. We are human.

    When you criticize the people of the Church in the past for not knowing the earth was flat, for not knowing how unclear "Thou shall not kill" was, for not possessing all truth as if they were -- not angels -- but God Himself, I get your frustration. But realize, we look in hindsight, and even then, we do not see clearly. Good Lord (that was a prayer) have you ever tried to study history?

    You said there is never an answer to the burning of Bruno. Yes, be we don't know why he was burned, but we do not know on what grounds he was declared a heretic. He angered many people, not just Catholics. There is no answer.

    The Church did, however, realize that she should lead civil society out of such punishment. Good!

    The truth is, today, even America, the nation of freedom, still executes criminals.

    Actually, we do worse. Our nation still executes children for no crime at all. And the Church says NO! The society, hopefully, will follow her wisdom.

    I get your frustration, but please realize, we all are a work in progress. The human race is a work in progress.

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  108. Margo said, "I agree that same sex attracted people should be treated with respect, yet we cannot ever condone or allow sin. It is far more loving to lead your friends away from sin and into God's love. It's more cruel to allow your friends to persist in sin. "

    But that is just it. I know relationships where it really does not fulfill the requirements of a "sin". We are talking about care, steadfastness, honor, tenderness, sacrifice, joy, sharing etc. The sexual component is there for them and brings them joy...hard to say it is evil.

    If two same sex persons having sexual relations is so sinful because their sex is not ordered towards procreation, then I would really like to hear every bishop in the world proclaiming loudly about the utter and equal sinfulness of contraceptive sex. I would like to hear them railing against the fact that a family larger than 5 is rare in most parishes. I would like to hear sermons on NFP regularly.

    many many people who are conflicted about the morality of same -sex unions are trying to be loving and caring towards gay persons... and they see very little to convince them absolutely that it is worth hurting someone deeply, and possibly even driving them to suicide, to tell them that gay unions and sexual relations are gravely immoral.

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  109. mary,

    I agree with you about wanting to hear the bishops speak more and strongly against the contraceptive mentality and I want NFP to be more well-known!

    All else I can say is that evil/sinful actions & behaviors can bring joy, it's Satan's way of luring us away from God. God does call each and every one of us to carry our tailor-made cross and to deny ourselves for His sake. However, we must trust that when we do practice self-denial, Jesus has something much greater in mind.

    We are talking about care, steadfastness, honor, tenderness, sacrifice, joy, sharing etc. Yes! That is a beautiful friendship. Why can't they continue in that close friendship and deny the sexual component?

    Again, I've asked this question several times here in the Bubble and have never really gotten an answer: is it possible to lead a full and happy life without ever having sex? And I'm not talking about priests, monks, sisters, nuns, etc. I'm talking about ordinary, lay, single people (or those attracted to the same sex). I realize that there are many pleasures that come from sex (God did want the husband and wife to enjoy carrying on the human race), but is life really so empty without those pleasures?

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  110. Mary, I have to take issue with the idea that telling someone that sin is sin (and yes, homosexual acts -- which are really only mutual masturbation and/or sodomy) is driving people to suicide. Then you are saying that telling the truth is harmful to people. What if adulterers were committing suicide because a society was very much against adultery? Would we have to stop saying adultery was sinful and start saying it was good simply because our saying it's sin would possibly be the cause of the suicides? Of course not.

    Some say it's the "unacceptance" that has led to homosexuals committing suicide. However, I always think of the Jews, marginalized and vilified in so many nations, and yet you didn't see them distraught and committing suicide for being Jews and being ostracized. I remember one young man on a blog saying that he had never been happy, not one day in his life, even though his family accepted him as a gay man. He was still blaming society for that, but really? Never happy? That may be because being same-sex attracted is not a "good" and gay thing (in the true sense of that once-noble word). The Church believes we must speak the truth, that people are more that their disordered inclinations (and that there is more to life than sexual pleasure however one wants to get it). Have you considered that many (most) homosexuals are not at peace because there is something in their human nature that knows this is simply not right. That we are not made to perform those acts with people of the same sex. We do them no favors by saying, Hey, as long as you feel good… it must be right!

    I just don't get it. I really don't.

    Did you read what Fulton Sheen said about going with the zeitgeist? What is the Rock there for, if not for those times when the world is very, very confused? And if the Church is wrong on this issue of sexuality (the most sacred act precisely because it is the way God designed life to be transmitted), then what else is she wrong on?

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  111. PS: And I totally agree with you and Margo! Our priests should be teaching the truth about contraception, since that is exactly what started us down this path. As soon as we divorced in our minds the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, this situation we find ourself in today (abortion, gay "marriage") was only a matter of time in coming. Again, the wisdom of the Church will prevail in the end, but so much destruction (of life and marriage and the family) till then. So heartbreaking.

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  112. Again, I've asked this question several times here in the Bubble and have never really gotten an answer: is it possible to lead a full and happy life without ever having sex? And I'm not talking about priests, monks, sisters, nuns, etc. I'm talking about ordinary, lay, single people (or those attracted to the same sex). I realize that there are many pleasures that come from sex (God did want the husband and wife to enjoy carrying on the human race), but is life really so empty without those pleasures?

    Such a great, great question, Margo.

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  113. "many many people who are conflicted about the morality of same -sex unions are trying to be loving and caring towards gay persons... and they see very little to convince them absolutely that it is worth hurting someone deeply, and possibly even driving them to suicide, to tell them that gay unions and sexual relations are gravely immoral."

    Mary, if you knew that it was a mortal sin (let's say you went along with unbroken, unambiguous Christian teaching on this issue), would you want people to feel good about it so that you wouldn't "hurt them deeply"? What is worse than being separated from God for eternity?
    Isn't that the deepest hurt of all? Love means wanting the highest good for someone, wanting them to attain Heaven and union with God forever. To wish anything less for them than that (even an earthly life of pleasure) is not truly loving.

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  114. Margo said, "Again, I've asked this question several times here in the Bubble and have never really gotten an answer: is it possible to lead a full and happy life without ever having sex?"

    Probably, for people who have very low drive, but I think the union is pretty amazing...probably one of the most amazing things, and really, it is so wonderful and healthy (in a marriage) and healing, that I do think it is a bit odd to deny it throughout your entire life.

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  115. "Mary, if you knew that it was a mortal sin (let's say you went along with unbroken, unambiguous Christian teaching on this issue), would you want people to feel good about it so that you wouldn't "hurt them deeply"

    You mean if I was quite sure, as I am about murder or adultery? No. I would try to be brave and speak up and say (in a loving and respectful way) that I thought it was not good, as I have done about the egg and sperm trade. A better analogy might be in-vitro fertilization. I have many friends who conceived that way, and their children play with mine regularly. If I was loud and out about the evils of it, I would lose friends. They would view it as me saying their kids are not valid...or something. I have trouble with that one in friend circles. I really don't want to hurt them and the deed is done.

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  116. "Love means wanting the highest good for someone, wanting them to attain Heaven and union with God forever. To wish anything less for them than that (even an earthly life of pleasure) is not truly loving."

    Yes...I get that...but lots of thoughtful people are totally unconvinced by the argument that homosexual acts are gravely immoral.

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  117. "Probably, for people who have very low drive, but I think the union is pretty amazing...probably one of the most amazing things, and really, it is so wonderful and healthy (in a marriage) and healing, that I do think it is a bit odd to deny it throughout your entire life."

    Throughout the history of Christianity and well before, in Judaism, and in the orthodoxy of the major religions, sex is a privilege of marriage. Jesus himself said that fornicators will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. What are your thoughts on that? Because of course not everyone gets married, and that has been true forever. So, singlehood (and not fornicating) is "odd"?

    I think we are so sex-obsessed in this culture that we don't even know how to live without the Almighty Orgasm. Most people place the Almightly O above God himself. We can all see that. It's more important than the virtues, than self-control, than self-possession, than Heaven. I honestly don't get it. What will you tell your teens, if they don't marry till they are in their late twenties or even later (or never)? That they are odd if they don't have orgasms? I'm honestly asking.

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  118. I think Flying Goose's heretic question is a good one.

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  119. "If I was loud and out about the evils of it, I would lose friends. They would view it as me saying their kids are not valid...or something. I have trouble with that one in friend circles. I really don't want to hurt them and the deed is done."

    I totally get this. I have friends and relatives who conceived this way. Do I say things to their face? Of course not. But if they asked, or if they looked on my blog or fb (or if it were before the fact) they would surely know. You don't have to confront someone personally, in their face, but you do have an obligation to oppose, in whatever reasonable way you can, things that are morally wrong.

    "Yes...I get that...but lots of thoughtful people are totally unconvinced by the argument that homosexual acts are gravely immoral."

    Same can be said of abortion, even late-term. But "thoughtful people" are not the arbiters of Truth. We are Christians, and we follow the moral law as laid out by His Church.

    What heretic question? About if we don't burn heretics anymore? No, we don't apply the death penalty like that anymore. Is heresy still a grave sin, worthy of separation from God? Yes, absolutely. Does every grave sin merit the death penalty? No. In fact, the Church would say today that we should not apply the death penalty to any grave sin (even sin which harms others bodily, not just their souls), even though the death penalty itself is not intrinsically evil.

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  120. Leila those are tough questions....but, well I think lots of kids (most) figure out self stimulation all on their own, in their own private moments. I just cannot, with a straight face, tell my boys (when the time comes) that they should never do this because it is gravely immoral.

    I actually think it is impossible not to do. Yes, I said it. I think it is impossible for young male men not to ever do it. All the males I have queried on this agree. When they are young it is something they wake up doing (practically).

    Pornography is another deal altogether, because there is a person being objectified and harmed. I will certainly educate them to shun it even though it is ubiquitous.

    In terms of marriage...I will tell them that sex belongs in marriage and that is the highest place for it and that I regret not waiting, and all that, but that they should, at the very least, be in a serious relationship with a girl they are considering marrying if they cross the bridge. After that, I will have to let them be free to act as they see fit. I know soooo many men who said, "yes yes yes"...and lied to their overly involved mothers in this regard, as they happily fornicated away.

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  121. I hope no one minds if I pipe in and comment on Leila's original post.

    I've been thinking a lot about how to speak up more in today's world. I think one of the things that makes it so difficult is we live in a world of sound bytes. Facebook, twitter, smart phones allow everyone to comment but rarely is there a good discussion. (One of the reasons I love Leila's blog.)

    I tell my friends that human sexuality is advance Catholicism. To truly understand our sexuality. You have to understand our purpose in life (To love and serve the Lord), chastity, charity (basically you have to understand that charity = love.) You also have to understand such concepts as a "well-formed conscience" and "occasion of sin." If you understand those principles we can debate human sexuality. You don't have to agree but you have to know the concepts otherwise we aren't speaking the same language.

    I can't even begin to talk about marriage. How do I explain to someone that my love for my husband is suppose to give him a small glimpse of the love Christ holds for him? That if I, a flawed sinner, can love and adore him the way I do....how much greater is the love his Lord and Savior have for him?

    These aren't simple concepts. They aren't easy concepts even for life-long, faithful Catholics. We have a national attention span of 140 characters. How do we do this?

    Especially, when (as Benjamin mentioned) we have a nation of people who wouldn't even know what "First principles" mean.

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  122. "Same can be said of abortion, even late-term."

    I know no thoughtful arguments for or people who condone late-term abortion.

    It is killing, and no person I have ever heard has been able to clearly argue that a 5 month old fetus is not a human person.

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  123. Kat...you speak some serious wisdom there!

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  124. Mary, Mary, no! Please, mother to mother…. don't put your children in that position, of believing it is "impossible" not to self-abuse (yes, that it the way masturbation is traditionally described, as self-abuse). Even when I had no clue about any of this moral stuff, I never masturbated as a child (never thought about it!), and I know young men who do not. I know, you will say that they are lying, but I know these young men. They have always understood that in that area they have to have self-mastery and they don't indulge. It's very possible. It's something I talk openly about with my boys (my third son just became a teenager today! yay!). They do not use or abuse girls, or themselves and one day they will not objectify their wives. Is it impossible to not have sex with yourself? Of course not! But I guarantee if you think that and telegraph that, they will think it's impossible not to use their sexual faculty, which is meant as a gift for their wives and no one else, for their own self-enjoyment. It's the height of selfishness to have sex with oneself, and frankly, most people have an innate sense of shame in masturbating (as they should!!). It doesn't mean one cannot be forgiven (Lord knows, I've been forgiven of the most egregious offenses), but to set the bar so low as to say it's impossible not to self-abuse? Ick. Really, it's so against human dignity. We must call our children to something higher. Why are we so afraid to? We are called to be saints!

    Sigh. This discussion makes me sad. The possibilities for human dignity and sanctity are endless, and we sell our kids so short. :(

    By the way, again, this is a matter of offense against God (sin) and we are not teaching our kids. No wonder they do not stay Christian, and if they do, their Christianity blends right into the Spirit of the Age. What is this "Cross" that Christ asks his followers to take up, to their death?

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    1. Sorry, SUCH bad syntax, but I hope you got what I was saying.

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  125. Margo...hi, not sure if you are still there, but I wanted to reply to something you said way back: "He also allowed sex to be pleasurable. Now, at some point down the road, humans began noticing just how pleasurable sex is and they began to crave that pleasure, at any cost."

    Not sure if you believe in evolution, but pretty much any life scientist (including ones of faith) would tell you that the pleasurable aspect of sexual acts arose because it was selected for as an adaptation. If it was not pleasurable it wouldn't happen. Just like if eating sugar was not pleasurable it wouldn't happen.

    I think humans have craved the pleasurable aspect of sex from the beginning of sex in hominids. I don't think it took them much time to "notice" it.

    In a way, this is why exclusive (especially male) homosexual attraction is so puzzling. It is maladaptive in the extreme.

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  126. We are talking about care, steadfastness, honor, tenderness, sacrifice, joy, sharing etc

    Mary, what if a couple engaging in adultery shared the above? Would you then conclude that adultery is a moral good?

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  127. Kat, bingo!!!

    Mary you said:

    I know no thoughtful arguments for or people who condone late-term abortion.

    It is killing, and no person I have ever heard has been able to clearly argue that a 5 month old fetus is not a human person.


    But see, again, you are basing your morality on your tastes and opinions. You find late-term abortions heinous (as you should) so you can't find thoughtful arguments for them. However, I have found thoughtful arguments for infanticide. Peter Singer gives thoughtful arguments. His logic is impeccable, if you accept his worldview. I think he and his peers, many of them, are very thoughtful, not emotion-based. They are also dead wrong.

    On the other hand, you do find thoughtful arguments for gay "marriage", because you yourself have experienced nice things when you are around gay couples. So, it does not repel you on its face. You have a calm feeling about it, and you (I'm guessing) don't think about the sodomy that occurs, etc. (Most have put that part out of their minds, and replaced it with the picture of a loving couple). I have also found many thoughtful arguments for gay "marriage" in the sense that they are not only emotion-based, and they are given in a respectful manner. But they are still dead wrong.

    Who is the arbiter of truth? How do we access truth?

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  128. Also, there are plenty of Christians who advocate for late-term abortions. Look at Senator Sylvia Garcia, who argued strenuously in favor of late-term abortions while wearing a "Catholics for Choice" button (ugh). Not to mention that Obama, Biden, and Pelosi all claim to be Christian and enthusiastically advocate for late-term abortion.

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  129. OK Leila...I appreciate your words, but I have been brave enough (lately) to ask many men I know about this, and every SINGLE one said it was impossible as a young man (they made that distinction). I am just being honest. And I think it would hurt them....How? Because I think it would make them truly think I was a wacko and that possibly the other things I am trying to teach them...such as: there is a God, Jesus existed, there are moral absolutes, etc. are not true.

    If you know so many men who have never indulged in this (or who do not as young men) then they must start a blog and show us who they are. I would love some healthy, normal examples to use. but really....I am unconvinced....it is a release. If not combined with pornography, I don't see the big problem.

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  130. Mary:

    You know you can talk about sex without talking about sex. You don't have to tell your boys not to do stuff. You could talk about the importance of not reducing people (including themselves) to toys. You can teach them to treat their bodies and others with respect.

    I'm not a mom, so maybe someone who is would like to chime in on my thoughts. But I always thought teaching teenagers about sex was like teaching toddlers about dealing with emotions.

    I know a toddler is going to have a tantrum. But I'm not going to put up with it. I teach the toddler how to express themselves properly. I give them tools for dealing with their emotions and keeping their cool. I am kind but firm when they lose it. But I don't just say "Oh, okay well you are going to have tantrums anyways so go right ahead....." (Yes, I've had plenty of chances to do this. I have a lot of nieces and nephews and cousins.)

    The same is true with teenagers. Teach them to respect themselves and others. Give the the knowledge and the tools to understand what is going on (they are becoming adults) and how to deal with their emotions/urges. Are they going to screw up now and then? Probably.....but help them learn from those experiences and to grow.

    And above all else, teach them they are better than their whims.

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  131. "His logic is impeccable"
    No it is not. Killing fetuses= killing one year olds= killing old people= killing people who drive s.u.v.s = killing anyone who lives in a house larger than 1200 square feet= killing anyone who eats meat = killing all blind people...etc. etc..

    that is his logic...

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  132. I have thought of having my grown son (and some of his friends, two of whom are in seminary or in process) and my second son write something on this, I truly have! But I don't quite want to put them on the spot like that. Believe me, I always talk to them when I hear the "it's impossible!" line, and they are all over it. It's so degrading for them to hear that that's what people think of men. And these are normal, red-blooded guys. But really, who would want to do a blog post talking about how they don't masturbate, and then have all the atheists and others jump in calling them liars? I remember when the atheist from UK said that my daughters were lying because around 100% of American co-eds had had sex (??). I told him he was wrong, that I know plenty of young women who are not having sex and living happy lives, and he came back stronger, insisting that I don't know my daughters and that they are lying to me, and they are sleeping around for sure. What does one say to counter that? Do I want to put my sons in that position?

    I will guarantee one thing, though: If you cannot or will not teach your sons the moral law (which is consistent and cohesive and unchanging from the beginning), then they will not believe the other stuff you teach them about the Faith and they will not be practicing Christians in any meaningful sense. Kids sense when things are not adding up, and when parents pick and choose, and when the moral law is piecemeal, not cohesive. The reason my kids are staying Catholic and in a way I NEVER was as a child and teen and young adult is because it makes sense as a whole. They take the whole thing and see it all fits together, as only God could design. It's been beautiful. God is faithful. He honors our efforts.

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  133. Kat...that is a pretty good analogy, and I don't think just because something is hard to do that we should not try to achieve it...but there is a problem created by tantrums. It causes anguish for those around them and can actually harm the child physically, not to mention psychologically down the road if people give into their tantrums.

    How does self-stimulation harm anyone? How is so different from taking yourself for a pedi every month?

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  134. "You know you can talk about sex without talking about sex. You don't have to tell your boys not to do stuff. You could talk about the importance of not reducing people (including themselves) to toys. You can teach them to treat their bodies and others with respect.

    I'm not a mom, so maybe someone who is would like to chime in on my thoughts. But I always thought teaching teenagers about sex was like teaching toddlers about dealing with emotions."

    Kat, this is excellent! You should be a mom. :)

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  135. "How does self-stimulation harm anyone? How is so different from taking yourself for a pedi every month?"

    Nooo…! Did you just compare the sacred, life-giving act of sexual expression to getting a pedi?

    Something that is so sacred that even the act of spilling seed deliberately was worthy of death in the Bible?

    See, I always ask atheists how sex, in their eyes, is any different from eating ice cream. Maybe I will switch to the pedi analogy now.

    Sorry, I am just cringing. Sex is not recreation for the bored, or a release for the stressed. Especially sex with one's own hand. Bleeeech.

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  136. Leila...I would not put my sons in that position either...but maybe someday when they are older...but sorry...I just cannot tell them something I am not convinced about, I would be lying and they would know it.

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  137. Well...it is a bit of a stretch...sorry...but it is very different from doing it with another person. There you might be treating the person as an object, or conceiving a child out of wedlock, or leading them on etc. etc.

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  138. "No it is not. Killing fetuses= killing one year olds= killing old people= killing people who drive s.u.v.s = killing anyone who lives in a house larger than 1200 square feet= killing anyone who eats meat = killing all blind people...etc. etc.."

    He does not advocate killing people who eat meat, I don't believe? So, I'm not following. He uses a net-pleasure model, essentially.

    "It causes anguish for those around them and can actually harm the child physically, not to mention psychologically down the road if people give into their tantrums."

    I would argue that masturbation is very addicting to boys, and it can definitely harm them both as boys (who are more than likely to look at porn) and as adults (more porn, more depravity, more objectification, more addiction, ruined marriages).

    Did you see this? Even atheists may be catching on to the problems with masturbation….

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/65000-reddit-users-flock-to-forum-founded-by-atheist-to-quit-pornography-ma

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  139. I'm answering Mary's question about why self-stimulation might be harmful. I don't want to scandalize anyone so please feel free to skip this post.


    Self-stimulation harms you because it forms a habit. You can begin to use that "release" much the way a drug addict uses a drug.

    Just like there are gateway drugs......so can self-stimulation be. You start getting curious, you start wanting more. you start wanting to get "there" faster. Which can lead to pornography.

    But it also debases the whole concept behind our sexuality by becoming overly familiar. It is no longer special and it certainly isn't a gift anymore.

    I don't want to be overly crude but I have a number of friends who have walked a very different life than I have. They introduced me to a concept called "mutual masturbation." The idea is they want that release......and they get it by having sex with someone else. There is no love, no kindness, nothing. It is just about having sex for that release. Often they pick partners they have good chemistry with and many of them tell me they have no desire to socialize or be with these people other than for that purpose.

    I think sometimes kids discover that activity before their sexuality really forms. So it becomes a habit (because it feels good) before they understand what it is. So while I agree with Leila that it isn't impossible for people to have the self-control not to fall into that trap I also think it is important for kids to understand how to overcome beyond just "don't do it."

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  140. "Sex is not recreation for the bored, or a release for the stressed." Actually it is. For lots of faithful, non-contracepting, Catholic couples. It is not JUST that...but it can be that. No doubt about it!

    Husband is upset...work is terrible..feeling stressed...not in the fertile period...let's go...you need some fun and love! That does not seem out of Catholic thought. Am I wrong?

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  141. Kat...thanks for your candor. Well...I think in that scenario you just described, those people are fooling themselves because women in particular are not really wired like men, and they form attachments through sex very easily. In no time you would have a hurtful situation...not to mention what happens when a pregnancy results from this!

    I know many toddlers who self-stimulate like crazy. The doctors advice seems to be that you should gradually tell them not to do it in public, but you should never tell them it is bad or shameful, even as they grow older, because it causes neurosis. Do you think we should tell young children it is "wrong"?

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  142. "Husband is upset...work is terrible..feeling stressed...not in the fertile period...let's go...you need some fun and love! That does not seem out of Catholic thought. Am I wrong?"

    No, you are not wrong. You are right. But that is still self-giving, self-donation. It's an act of love that is legit in the context of marriage.

    Having sex with one's hand (while objectifying a person in one's mind or on the internet, likely) is not self-donation. It's selfish, and it's solitary. Sex is not designed to be a solitary act.

    Now, I will say that if a husband is using his wife just to get a mechanical orgasm because he is stressed (or vice versa, with the woman), then yes, he might be using her as an object for stress-relief. Not a great way to approach it.

    With one's own hand, it's always simply using one's own body as a toy. It's actually quite degrading if you think about it. Who feels proud of that? I mean, I get that some folks do in this depraved culture (hey, look at me, I'm a masturbator, and I love porn!), but it's not something we would ever call virtuous. What happened to virtue? We are Christians, folks! We are commanded to live with purity. Purity cannot, by definition, include "self-pollution" as it used to be called. Masturbation is not compatible with purity.

    Where is Christ in this? Why have we forgotten him?

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  143. Lots of things can form habits. Drinking alcohol comes to mind. Millions do it responsibly...and some do not.

    So...I am trying to think about this as you are...you think that if every parent told their teens that self-stimulation is wrong and dangerous and addictive, we would have less porn? I don't see it that way...I think we would have less porn if the SCOTUS would interpret the First Amendment a little more responsibly, AND, if we really taught our youth about what objectification of women in that way does to them (MOTHERS and SISTERS)....you know...

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  144. Mary, you might find this article helpful: http://www.catholic.com/blog/trent-horn/why-am-i-only-sometimes-called-a-bigot

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  145. "Do you think we should tell young children it is "wrong"?"

    I've had eight toddlers (as everyone knows). Only one of them habitually self-stimulated (usually when he was sitting there, bored). He was two I think? He's three now. When he did it, usually we would laugh to ourselves (it was nothing willfully sinful… he was two!), and whoever was there, either me, my husband, or the other kids, would tell him to put it back in his pants and play with something else, that we don't play with our private parts. It was no big deal. Even today, when my boys (any of them) are sitting around as boys do (and men, ha ha), "adjusting" things, I tell them, "Remember, it's not a handle", and we all laugh. It's really not a big deal. It's so easy to teach. Our private parts are not toys, we don't play with them, they are to be used with our spouses one day if God calls us to marriage. Really, it's so simple and they really get it.

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  146. you think that if every parent told their teens that self-stimulation is wrong and dangerous and addictive, we would have less porn? I don't see it that way...I think we would have less porn if the SCOTUS would interpret the First Amendment a little more responsibly, AND, if we really taught our youth about what objectification of women in that way does to them (MOTHERS and SISTERS)....you know…

    Why is it either/or? Why not both/and?

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  147. you think that if every parent told their teens that self-stimulation is wrong and dangerous and addictive, we would have less porn? I don't see it that way...I think we would have less porn if the SCOTUS would interpret the First Amendment a little more responsibly, AND, if we really taught our youth about what objectification of women in that way does to them (MOTHERS and SISTERS)....you know…

    Why is it either/or? Why not both/and?

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  148. "those people are fooling themselves because women in particular are not really wired like men, and they form attachments through sex very easily." - I absolutely agree! My friends were and are nuts. :-)

    I don't think we should teach young children it is "wrong" I think it has to be tailored to their understanding. I don't think a child is sinning because the poor thing doesn't know what's going on. I think there is a difference between teaching a child "this is not how we behave" and "this is wrong."

    Wrong is a little harsh. There are ways to encourage certain behaviors without passing guilt.

    Explanations can wait until they are older and they understand. But they should come sometime.

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  149. Leila..I am trying to see your point...but I see a HUGE distinction between porn and self-stimulation, especially for males who are driven crazy by their hormones when they are teens and young twenties. One is clearly using and abusing another person.

    Question: Do you think of a woman who goes to the spa regularly or takes time to herself watch mindless soaps to stress-release as practicing virtue?

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  150. Kat said, "this is not how we behave" and "this is wrong." Good point. But here is the kicker...my middle son will always ask, "Why is that not how we behave?" "What is the reasoning behind that? Why? Why? Why?"

    I was kind of like him as a child...and when you cannot get good answers, you lose trust.

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  151. JoAnna, great article! Thanks for that link! I will be using that a lot (Trent is an amazing guy.)

    Mary, of course I see relaxation and renewal of mind and body as a good thing. We all need to unwind and have some leisure time. But we don't have permission to transgress the moral law in doing so. Lots of people unwind by watching porn and masturbating. Who's it hurting? These are consensual adults!

    Kat, exactly!! When my two-year-old did that, we just redirected and told him to play with something else. When he insisted for a while there, we did definitely tell him "no" in the same way we would if he was going to play with a light socket. He eventually stopped and we don't see that behavior anymore. No big deal at all. This is not a big deal folks, it's teaching virtue as a habit. It will serve our children very well (and help them get to Heaven, their eternal home, too!).

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    1. "Lots of people unwind by watching porn and masturbating. Who's it hurting? These are consensual adults!" I hope it was obvious that that was sarcasm.

      Delete
  152. OK...gotta go to bed. Perhaps I can chat tomorrow. Appreciate all the comments. Sleep well!

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  153. Mary, I am sure that your son would respond to appeals to human dignity and right order. Please read the article JoAnna linked and think about why the kids react as they do to the topic of masturbation. They know, at base, that it's undignified. They know.

    By the way, to add to my answer about the spa day and soap opera, I should say that it's not intrinsically evil to go to a spa, or to watch a soap opera (subjectively it could be, if a lot of immoral stuff were going on there or on the screen). But it's intrinsically evil to have sex with one's hand.

    Have a good night's sleep, thanks for the great comments!

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  154. Kat said, "this is not how we behave" and "this is wrong." Good point. But here is the kicker...my middle son will always ask, "Why is that not how we behave?" "What is the reasoning behind that? Why? Why? Why?"

    I was kind of like him as a child...and when you cannot get good answers, you lose trust.


    Then he would make an amazing Catholic theologian! We love reason with our faith! Start giving him sound theology and good Catholic explanations to read. He might love it and really crave more and more. That's what happened to me. :)

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  155. Mary, I'm not sure what to tell you about the "why" questions. Although maybe it is worth having a conversation with your son about sometimes having to accept things even if we don't know the "why" behind it. Usually, not knowing "why" means we need to get more information or learn more about something. I think it is completely acceptable to tell a child "I'll explain when you are older" especially if you can point back to an example when he learned something new that he didn't understand before.

    Oh this is so strange to me. My parents were born in the 40's so I was taught never to speak about this stuff in mix company or in public. In fact, they never gave me the "talk."

    Instead they taught me about self-respect and respect for others. Modesty and how to act like a lady. I got through my teenage years without too much fuss. I knew several girls who got pregnant in middle school so..... I know it is possible to teach your kids this stuff without getting into all the details.


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  156. Kat, you have such wisdom. You are so right. Thank you for saying things so much better than I could.

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  157. I just read this article on Public Discourse, and it seems apropos to this convo! It starts:

    Once upon a time, sex education was a simple biology lesson. Students learned the facts of life, and, with those facts, that sex is part of something bigger, called marriage. Teachers explained that this was the moral and healthy way to live.

    In those days, people understood that men and women are different, and that their union is unique, unlike any other relationship. It went without saying that boys grew up to become men, and girls, women.

    There were only two sexually transmitted diseases, and having one was a serious matter. Certain behaviors were not normal; individuals who practiced them needed help, and a child’s innocence was precious.

    Things have changed.


    Read it all. It will (it should) make you sick, but it's so important:

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/07/10408/

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  158. As for breaking the masturbation habit (the Reddit article), read any of the testimonies! Gosh, this guy is FAR from a Catholic's understanding of sex, but note that he felt innately ashamed of self-abuse:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/lndjd/no_m_since_april_no_p_since_may_my_story/

    And it IS harmful and addictive. It is degrading at its essence. My understanding is that lots of these stories and lessons are on Reddit now. It's so sad, but it's also amazing to see natural law and conscience play out. Natural Law leads to human flourishing. "Fappping" leads to what we are reading in these people's lives, i.e., not flourishing at all. Just depression, shame and sadness. The Catholic Church's wisdom, once again, is being borne out. All she tries to do is save folks the heartache and trouble, by telling the truth from the get-go. ;)

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  159. Stacy
    "I get your frustration, but please realize, we all are a work in progress. The human race is a work in progress".

    I think thats the point I have been making all along. Sometimes we make wrong turns.
    We change them often in the light of experience. Look at the Catholic Church's response to holocaust and its abandoning of the theology of supercession.

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  160. For anyone interested, here are the "90 day reports". I'd actually love to see what a good social scientist can put together about all this! ;)

    http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/r7xob/nofap_resource_thread_90day_reports/

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  161. "I think thats the point I have been making all along. Sometimes we make wrong turns."

    Sorry, not on doctrine. Stacy was not implying doctrinal error. Just human sin.

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  162. Leila,

    "It doesn't release us from the obligation to reject error and seek truth, goodness and beauty."

    I don't disagree. The problem comes when truths held with faith and sincerity nevertheless are found to be untrue and therefore unjust in the light of current scientific understanding.

    Those of us who differ with you on same sex marriage do so not out rebellion but on basis of what is now known scientifically about human sexuality. Things that were not known by our forebears.

    When science changes our understanding of the universe, we adjust metaphysics accordingly. The school men understood this.

    We say that you (plural) are perpetuating an injustice that was excusable in the past because of ignorance. That ignorance no longer exists, therefore the injustice is no longer excusable.

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  163. "The problem comes when truths held with faith and sincerity nevertheless are found to be untrue…"

    Found to be untrue by whom? Left wing secular scientists? They can tell us what is true in science, but they cannot tell us what acts are moral or immoral.

    What is "known" now that was not known then? That people have an innate desire to perform sex acts on those of the same sex? It's immoral to act on those feelings, whether the feelings are innate or not. Science cannot tell us the morality of a sexual act. The moral law does not change.

    Could you answer my numbered questions? Thanks FG! I'm off to bed now here in Mountain Standard Time.

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  164. Sleep well.

    I will answer your questions as time permits.

    1) Is Christianity a revealed religion?
    2) What is the purpose of the Church?
    3) If "the whole Church" had the authority to interpret Scripture in the fourth century, how would that work since Arianism had practically taken over, even the major ancient sees (aside from Rome)?
    4) How did we know what was heresy in the early Church and centuries?
    5) If the Church got it so wrong for 20 centuries regarding the moral law, isn't everything up for grabs? How can we know anything for certain?
    6) How do we access Truth? (You said education, but by whom? Who has the authority to tell us what is true so that we can be saved?)

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  165. "Is Christianity a revealed religion?"

    It is religion with revelation at its heart. The prime revelation is God's self disclosure in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. That is the revelation. Christianity is the religious response to that revelation. Its structures both in terms belief and organisation have developed over time.

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  166. 4) How did we know what was heresy in the early Church and centuries?

    We did not. Christian theology had not solidified in the early centuries.

    It is arguable that Mark's gospel has an adoptionist Christology. Adoptionism was later seen as a heresy.

    Justin Martyr did hold that creation was out of nothing, that was a later and logical development from the notion of God's sovereignty.

    These are just examples that show that doctrine developed over time it did not fall pristine from the heavens.

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  167. 6) How do we access Truth? (You said education, but by whom? Who has the authority to tell us what is true so that we can be saved?)

    To accept something on authority is an abdication of personal responsibility. Especially when it has been shown that that authority has not always been trustworthy.

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  168. 2) What is the purpose of the Church?
    Being there for others in the name if the living God.

    To worship a Christ like God, who calls us to be Christlike, that we might draw others into the like ness of Christ.

    God became man that man might become God. Thats the work and purpose of the church.

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  169. Found to be untrue by whom? Left wing secular scientists?

    If you view everything through conservative lenses you will only draw conservative conclusions.

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  170. "How can we know anything for certain"?

    There is physics and metaphysics, the former provides us with the everyday, although contingent 'certainties' we need to live in this universe.

    The latter will always be the province of speculation and opinion. How could it be any different?

    I know many atheists who are as certain about the non existence of God as you are certain of that God's existence.

    I remain in learned ignorance. I live by faith.

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  171. Flying Goose,

    It's hard to get a handle on what you're saying. I'm trying, so bear with me if it's not accurate.

    Of course the human side of the Church (i.e. us people) has developed in doctrinal understanding. I think it would be useful to clarify doctrinal development.

    There's a heretical notion of it, one the Modernists held, that dogma changes radically over time. This view says that there is no fixed dogma, that it is always changing with the times.

    The Catholic notion of doctrinal development is different. It is about the communication of the truths of faith to people over the course of history. What's true is true, but it wasn't immediately obvious ("fall pristine from the heavens" I think were your words). With Christ and the Apostles, revelation concluded. 2,000 years later, we're still trying to more fully comprehend it. It's a progression in knowledge, which means that at times some conclusions must be reconsidered. That's why there are different levels of certitude in doctrine, with de fide dogma being the highest level.

    I do take exception to your statement that "God became man that man might become God." No, man will never become God. Man is made in God's image, to know, love, and serve Him so that he may live with God in Heaven forever.

    Taken all together your comments are perplexing to me. On one hand you seem to be saying that we live in such cloudedness that we can never be sure of anything. On the other hand you seem to be saying that we are on the level of God, and it's His fault for not making his truths clearer to us. Neither view is correct.

    There are physical truths and there are metaphysical truths. The search for knowledge is the search to find them. The light of faith aids that search.

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  172. Stacy
    I do take exception to your statement that "God became man that man might become God."

    Then you take exception to St Athanasius. In De Incarnation 54, Athanasius writes: "He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God."

    When we mix the water and wine we allude to the same doctrine.

    "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity".


    Thomas Aquinas, taught that "full participation in divinity is humankind's true beatitude and the destiny of human life" (Summa Theologiae 3.1.2).
    For more on theosis see. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis

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    1. Flying Goose,

      No, you misunderstand. Please read the full ST 3.1.2 where St. Thomas quotes St. Athanasius. He is explaining why the Incarnation was necessary for the salvation of man. He's talking about participation in the divinity, sanctifying grace, which St. Thomas addressed earlier in the Summa, before the part about virtues.

      No amount of grace turns us into God Himself, it draws us into communion. Maybe that's what you meant, but in my opinion, you should be careful about isolating quotes from their context because that can be misleading.

      Delete
  173. I would also add that Thomas exclaimed when he encountered the risen Lord. My Lord and my God. If we take the resurrection of Jesus seriously, and i think that we must, otherwise give up, then we must acknowledge that something extraordinary is happening. People do not rise from the dead.

    We proclaim a risen Lord Jesus, this leads to see definitive self disclosing of God in the person of Jesus.

    This is the prime revelation, and we are still working it out.

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  174. It is the blog that never sleeps!

    Flying Goose,

    I'm curious as well. What do we know now that we didn't know then about homosexuality?

    I know we know it shouldn't be treated with "electro-shock therapy" but that is more an advancement in understanding psychology and mental health in general (Thank goodness!)

    The biggest issue I seem to run into when talking to friends about this is that they believe disordered = unnatural. So they think if they can just point out it occurs in nature (in animals) I'll just fold up like a wooden chair. That leads to a long talk about what we mean when we say "disordered."

    I can't expand more because I have to go to work. But I am very curious to know what has changed in our understanding in your opinion.

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  175. OK...y'all got me really thinking....I also found this, which is rather amazing:
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/65000-reddit-users-flock-to-forum-founded-by-atheist-to-quit-pornography-ma

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  176. Kat

    When st Paul or indeed the writer of leviticus was speaking about homosexuality they were not speaking about nature and being. They understood it in purely behavioral terms. ie here is set of behaviors which people are engaging in and they should not be.

    The current view, supported by science, is that, homosexual behaviour arises from being homosexual. Pre modern people did not have the conceptual apparatus to have understood it in that way. Hence their less than sympathetic view.

    Our conceptual apparatus is evolving all the time as our knowledge about the universe continues to expand.

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  177. Flying Goose, may I ask - are you Orthodox?

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  178. Your earlier reference to the last valid (in your view) ecumenical council, among other reasons. I am struggling to make sense of some of your statements if you are (Roman or Eastern Rite) Catholic.

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  179. As I mentioned earlier I am a sceptic, a devout sceptic or sceptical devout. Scepticism, it seems to me is the proper philosophical attitude to any metaphysical system. Christian doctrine is a metaphysical system.
    I should qualify that by repeating what I mean by sceptic. "From the 'Greek 'σκέπτομαι' skeptomai, to think, to look about, to consider. There are equivalent spellings US "skepticism", English spelling "scepticism". Sceptics are those who would think, look and consider rather than simply react or subscribe"

    I am not Orthodox, but I am moving in an easterly direction.

    The kinship Church of England has with Orthodoxy is twofold. England was orthodox before 1054, and our argument with the Bp of Rome is similar to theirs.
    Unlike other Western Churches, ie the Lutherans, and Calvinist, and also the Roman catholic Church. The C of E is non confessional. If you want to know what Anglicans believe, then you must look at how they pray and worship.

    These are two points of contact.

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  180. Thank you, Flying Goose, so you are Anglican?

    And, ha!, this is the 200th comment! Need to "load more" for those who did not subscribe to comments!

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