Sunday, October 13, 2013

The myth of the arrogant Church




Back in July, my article entitled "Sorry, You're Not Allowed To Do That" ran at Catholic Exchange. In a nutshell, I repeated the unbroken Christian teaching that Christianity is a revealed religion, and that Jesus Christ entrusted His divine revelation to the Apostles and their successors under the protection of the Holy Spirit. Neither you nor I have the authority to change the teachings of Christ, nor are we the arbiters of Truth.

As is typical, some readers reacted by accusing both me and the Church of being "intolerant", "foolish, "self-righteous" and "hypocritical" among other things. Some highlights:
"…religion was created by human [sic] because they are social beings. They gather together to make themselves feel superior to others by believing they have it right."
"Do you think yourself superior to someone because you are Catholic, because you are not. We are all equal. Nobody and I mean NOBODY has the right to look down upon someone else because they are different from them."
"This attitude that our way is the only way has led to countless crimes against humanity throughout the history of the Church."
"The authority of the Church does not give you the authority to condemn others….[H]ow can you dare to judge and criticize others who are following the plan God has for them?!… [D]o you hope to lead others to Faith by condemning them?...How can you limit your love only to those the same as you?"

My first thought when I read such things is always: How does one "feel superior" for simply repeating and submitting to truths and ideas that are not one's own? If I were to declare the sun hot or the Pietà beautiful, could I legitimately be accused of self-righteousness? Neither declaration has anything to do with me, and both would be true whether or not I had ever even existed must less opined.

And as for the accusations against the Church, these folks have it exactly backwards. The Church, after all, does not claim to have the fullest Truth in order to condemn anyone, but in order to save everyone! Being entrusted with and then proclaiming revealed Truth is not arrogant, it's a sacred duty at the service of all. The mission and authority of the Church is a gift to every human being, so that no one is lost.

Think about it: What kind of God would not leave a source of clarity and truth for all to see? How cruel that would be: We would be relegated to a lifetime of groping in the dark, never knowing what is true and what's a lie, never understanding our place, never really knowing our Creator. The result would be existential angst and moral/social chaos. A loving God would not leave us there.

Clarity of doctrine and the moral law is a gift, not a curse, and a Truth-telling Church is mercy and inclusion, not judgment and exclusion.

We all understand that a lighthouse beacon does not exist to oppress and limit a ship as it navigates its way into the harbor, but exists to illuminate the way. If the lighthouse keeper dimmed or diverted or distorted the light, would it help or hurt those on the journey to the shore? Wouldn't those souls aboard the ship benefit from the piercing clarity of light in the surrounding darkness? Who could believe that their course -- their very lives -- would be better served by hazy, inconsistent, or scattered points of light?

Which would you prefer?

The human heart longs for direction, light, clarity, and Truth. And God, who created the human heart, understands that perfectly.

I came to testify to truth....He who hears you hears me....A city set on a hill cannot be hidden….The church is the pillar and foundation of truth….On this Rock I will build my church….The gates of hell will not prevail against it….I give you [Peter] the keys to the kingdom of Heaven….Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven….I will lead you to all truth….I will not leave you orphans….

A loving, merciful Jesus has kept His promises. The Light of the World has left us a beacon in His Church, and a recognition of this fact is not arrogant, it is humbling. And the beacon itself is not condemnatory, it's a lighted path to eternal safety, perfect peace, and unending joy.

+++++++


A slightly edited version of this article ran at CE last month. 




.

413 comments:

  1. Excellent post Leila! There are many people who believe truth is relative and any church or organization that claims to have the truth is arrogant. I love your lighthouse analogy. I couldn't agree more. The Church doesn't reveal the truth to surpress or enslave us, but to set us free. Free to know the truth and to live in accords with that truth and to be pleasing to God.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hear hear! I really hate it when people accuse me personally when I didn't come up with church doctrine and am simply repeating it. It's like they think I somehow have the ability to change it too.

    It's the same when discussing about transexuals. I didn't make their dna male or female. But there it is clear as a blue sky. No matter what a person believes of physically changes science shows otherwise. Maybe it's unfair but I have nothing to do with it.

    If only people used logic....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm starting to believe that blogger purposely changes my or to of....because it happens often.

      Delete
  3. Deltaflute, maybe if you discussed "with" trannies instead of "about" them, you would understand their situations differently....and not be so "arrogant" as to imply they can't be "logical"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Miss Gwen, she might be able to understand their feelings and pain more, but she that would not change the objective truth of things. Similar to wanting to help, know and understand the feelings of anyone with a problem or a disorder -- we want to have compassion, but not at the expense of what is true and what is best for that person in the long run. Think about it: One could listen with great compassion to an alcoholic while also still holding firmly to the truth that alcoholism is not good. Not a perfect analogy, but I am sure you can understand the concept I'm trying to convey.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The human heart longs for direction, light, clarity, and Truth. And God, who created the human heart, understands that perfectly.

    Well said. We do not search in vain.

    ReplyDelete
  6. But Leila, "disorders" are going away due to political pressure. Again, feelings over logic. Did you see the opinion piece in mainstream media giant Washington Post several weeks ago where the writer said that not all sex between teachers and students should be criminalized? This is the same mentality that dictates that all sexual feelings must be approved and legally protected at all costs. Truth and innocence be damned.

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-30/opinions/41619432_1_teachers-consensual-sexual-activity-sexual-relations

    Hello, pedophilia! That will be off the books, too. At some point, I'll want to say that I'm an alligator and it will be alligator-phobic to say that I need mental help. Because I feel that I'm an alligator means that I will be an alligator. One must approve and encourage, and demonize anyone who dare say anything different.

    Here in radical leftwing extremist CA (using Alinsky tactics on the libs), boys who think they're girls (or who say so because they can legally - it's encouraged to do so) or girls who think they're boys (same line of disordered thinking) can use each others' restrooms in schools. You know full well that any abuses will be covered up. (The mainstream media, i.e., the Palace Guard of the White House, doesn't report - or report without provable bias - on the March for Life each year, nor did it report the 10s of thousands of bikers who rode in DC on 9/11, nor is it reporting the Veterans' March today - vets are removing barricades from memorials - nor the truckers' rally that started on Friday and ends today, all in protest of the left and its Messiah, Obama. So no, no abuses to such illogical, feelings-based thinking on any sexuality issue will ever be reported, or reported without distortion.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Church isn't arrogant, but sometimes people are.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Maybe it is easy to rely on the truth when dealing with transexuals, but the Church has no truth when dealing with a child born with ambiguous genitalia. While rare, it does happen, and I wonder how many who are on this site would know how to handle such a challenge. I guarantee you that there are more than a few Orthdox Catholic bloggers who would have all the answers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Excellent point about coming to save everyone- not condemn- a mission of service. Thank you for this post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. "...but the Church has no truth when dealing with a child born with ambiguous genitalia"

    Francis Catholic, could you elaborate? I'm not sure what you mean. My understanding is that the surgeons would work with whatever is the most predominate sexual characteristics.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bravo! Excellent post, Leila!

    Francis Catholic, can you tell us what you mean? I'm not sure what you mean either. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "How does one "feel superior" for simply repeating and submitting to truths and ideas that are not one's own?"

    Actually, Leila, they ARE your own.

    I've never heard you say, "This Church teaching seems wrong to me, but it's the revealed truth, so therefore I am required to believe it."

    ReplyDelete
  13. Miss G- To give full context, I posted about Chastity Bono being on dancing with the stars. I don't know her personally and I'm not a journalist but she still was on my tv.

    I refer to her as a her and explained during the post that it's because genetically she is a woman. God made her that way. I had nothing to do with it.

    Someone confessed that transexuals wish they could change their dna and that I should respect her "choice "to be male. But as I pointed out no matter what a person does on a fundamental level you are one gender always (the exception being those lacking a sex chromosome but they usually identify as female because of the single x). I cant in good conscience ignore that.

    This isn't about feelings it's about biology. It's not logical to expect me to ignore dna.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Captcrisus- Leila didnt come up with these ideas so properly they aren't hers. She shares them. Like I didn't come up with evolution as a concept. But I share or agree with the idea.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Francis Catholic- Yes there isn't any specific teaching on hermaphrodites. However the Church espouses body integrity. In other words you cannot alter the body for non -theraputic reasons. If a child could reasonably function sexually or otherwise as one gender but having a different genders sex organs interfers with that than you can surgically alter the person. Usually though a child doesnt have this problem. So a parent cannot change the state they were born in because it interfers with body integrity. Its the same with circumcising. http://guggiedaly.blogspot.ca/2010/07/catholics-and-circumcisiondo-you-know.html

    ReplyDelete
  16. My intention was not to suggest that feelings of compassion and shared humanity should guide your thinking about transsexuals (though it's not the worst idea in the world). I was trying to suggest a different method for talking/thinking about sexuality and transsexuals. Talking to people and getting to know them, listening to their insights and thoughts about the topic at hand might help your argument or give you a new perspective. At any rate, it sounds oddly arrogant to go on and on about "logic" and how "wrong" other people are based on watching a short performance by someone on a TV show (that had nothing to do with sexuality). Why essentialize all transsexuals based on your viewing of one individual on a TV program?

    ReplyDelete
  17. G- The point of the post was how horrified I felt about normalizing a disorder on a family tv show. It had little to do with Chastity Bono. I feel the same way about Modern Family.

    Getting to know a transexual while it evokes sympathy will not change my mind about the basics of gender. That's an unchangeable Truth based in science. It's not even religious. If that makes me arrogant then I'm in good company with scientists.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love the light house image! Great post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Deltaflute, thanks for pinpointing the arrogance of the Church for me! And, you continue to be confused with the difference between "sex" and "gender" but that's something that's already been argued here before. In the meantime, I'm just as happy to count science on my side as well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Catholics should just be thankful for having a rich culture. They should avoid picking on LGBTQs or thinking they have the only true religion.

    ReplyDelete
  21. G- Do you mean sexual intercourse? Because sex and gender are synonyms. http://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus/british/gender When someone asks me my sex or gender i say female.

    I don't see how science can be on your side. If a person was born female than genetically they are female. What you look like doesn't matter. Chastity Bono will never be able to produce sperm. Not because of some physical abnormality but because she's not generically male. She could have bore children but I assume she changed that.

    This isnt arogance or superiority. It's fact. I'm sorry if the facts disturb you. Blaming me or the Church for the facts is exactly what Leila was talking about. It doesnt make sense. We did nothing to alter the natural state and on a fundamental level no one can alter it. This is reality.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Bill- Catholicism isnt a culture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture Catholics dont all share the same language, foods,customs, or technology. There are certainly cultures who are Catholic but Catholicism as a whole is too diverse to simply be a culture.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Bill - Catholicism is the ultimate fullness of all Truth. Other religions only have partial truth. We don't pick on LGBTQs, but instead offer them the most supreme love of God, which far surpasses romance.

    Never forget that Catholicism is true for every person in the world, it's objective NOT relative!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Captcrisis, you said: I've never heard you say, "This Church teaching seems wrong to me, but it's the revealed truth, so therefore I am required to believe it."

    I changed/reversed my will on several issues when I recognized the legitimate authority of Christ's Church: Contraception, sterilization, death penalty (even though it is not intrinsically evil, I am now against it, when before I was a "fry 'em!!" girl), atomic bombing (Hiroshima, Nagasaki). Among other stuff.

    Aside from that there is the unchanging moral law and all the doctrinal truths. Do you think I came from the womb believing in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary or Transubstantiation? Heck, there were doctrines I never learned till I was 27. How does that make them "my own" ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you changed your "will" because the Church told you so, then I was wrong.

      Delete
    2. My reply will be at the bottom of the thread. Thanks!

      Delete
  25. Miss Gwen, I personally have had months-long private dialogue with a recent (college-age) transgendered person. Very cordial, even terribly sad. Didn't make much headway (she is Catholic).

    On circumcision, I have to point out, there is no Church prohibition. Baptism is the New Covenant "circumcision", and I personally do not circumcise my boys (it's unnecessary and seems so harsh), but it's not prohibited. And of course I support the Jews right to practice it!

    ReplyDelete
  26. "They should avoid picking on LGBTQs or thinking they have the only true religion.

    The Church does not "pick on" LGBTQAI…(etc…). The Church speaks the Truth on the nature and meaning of human sexuality. Do you think the Church "picks on" adulterers (some of whom truly have sad and compelling stories and reasons) when she says that adultery is wrong?

    As for the Church saying she is the Truth: That is her reason for being. She exists because Christ established her to teach His divine Truth (refer to the original post). To suggest that she should refrain from mentioning that basic fact is absurd and impossible. Of course there is truth in other religions (the Church herself readily admits that), but not the fullness of truth, which can only be found in Christ and His Church.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Never forget that Catholicism is true for every person in the world, it's objective NOT relative!

    That's just crazy talk. There at least 6 billion non-Catholics in the world. They don't lack any necessary truth by not being Catholic.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Deltaflute, bingo. Catholicism is not a culture. I remember when Nicole went to Africa to the diocesan pro-life conference in Nigeria. The Catholics there were culturally incredibly different, but we are united so wonderfully in our faith, which we share across so many, many diverse cultures. Catholic means "universal" and it sure is. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Of course there is truth in other religions (the Church herself readily admits that), but not the fullness of truth, which can only be found in Christ and His Church.

    No religion has the inside track on the truth. I am glad to be looking to Jesus for my own personal salvation. But there are other truths to be learned outside of and even despite Catholicism.

    ReplyDelete
  30. So, Jesus is true for you, but not for others...? How can Jesus be both true and untrue? Why did He say "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life"?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Deltaflute,

    "If a person was born female than genetically they are female."

    Google "Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome."

    Here's a really good post by Matt Sitman on these types of issues: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/08/22/ye-are-all-one-in-christ-jesus/

    ReplyDelete
  32. "I am glad to be looking to Jesus for my own personal salvation."

    Bill, how can Jesus save you if He is not God? And if He is God, then He's the Lord of everyone, not just some.

    If Christ is not God, then Christianity is of no import whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margo and Leila, as a Christian (and a Catholic), I of course agree that Jesus Christ is God. That said, I must beg to disagree with the assertion that Catholicism holds itself to be the exclusive path to salvation. Lumen Gentium, one of the major documents of the Second Vatical Council declares the possibility of Salvation for non-Christians: "...the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, .... Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience." (Lumen Gentium 16).
      My four years of Theology at my beloved Georgetown taught me that. See Leila, the Jesuits aren't all THAT bad!

      Delete
    2. M. Albinoni, welcome! Please put all your comments at the bottom of the thread or else I cannot find them easily.

      I actually already wrote a post to that effect, here:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-non-catholics-be-saved.html

      Yes, there are faithful Jesuits. ;) I went to Boston College, though, and my dad went to Georgetown med school. We don't give money to those schools, for some very good reasons.

      Of course the Church teaches that the Church is the only path to salvation. Even those non-Catholics who are saved are only saved through the grace of Jesus Christ, which comes to us through His Mystical Body. There is no separation between Christ and His Church. The two are one. Hopefully the Jesuits taught you that? :)

      Delete
  33. Leila- There is no specific prohibition but as Guggie pointed out there is a prohibition on medically unnecessary amputation of innocents. There is also a body of discussion among several Pope's as to why circumcision is immoral because it violates baptism which replaced it. In the Council of Florence they specifically discusses it particularly with regard to spiritual matters. But if you wish to bring the question up its probably one for the Vatican to answer since in the modern age the subject hasn't been brought up.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Jesus is true for all believing Christians. The writer of the Gospel of John claims that he said he was those things. That writer could be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Again Bill, how could Jesus be true only for some people (believing Christians) and then not true for others? How can anyone have such duplicity? Either Jesus IS Truth or He's a liar, but He cannot be both.

    ReplyDelete
  36. If Christ is not God, then Christianity is of no import whatsoever.

    Not so. Christianity is the most important thing that has ever happened to this world. I doubt that the Nazis would have been defeated without the courage and tenacity of people who believed what Christians believe. I don't want to think about this any more than I have to. I place my trust in Jesus. I don't care what anyone else chooses to do and far be it for me to say that they are wrong if they don't believe what I believe.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Bill, pretend things cannot be true, and pretend things cannot save anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Jesus tells us to care for one another, "love your neighbor as yourself". Catholicism is not an individual faith, it's a community, and we're called to go out and share God's love with all people.

    You're pretending that Jesus is only true for believers, when in reality, He's True regardless of whether people believe in Him or not.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Pope Pius XII 1952 said. From a moral point of view circumcision is permissable if in accordance with therapeutic purposes it prevents a disease that cannot be countered in any other way.

    Before that in 1445 it was prohibited as immoral. Had to go through my archives to find those quotes. Had this discussion three years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  40. What you believe is very important to you. Others have beliefs that are equally important to them. Worry about you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. So, I should just let people do their own thing, and be "whatever suits you"? NO! That's not love! How much would I have to HATE someone to allow them to persist in sin and rejection of God?? I refuse to hate people! My biggest desire is to see all people embrace God's love, mercy, and grace for them, poured out through the Sacraments found in His Church!

    ReplyDelete
  42. "I don't want to think about this any more than I have to. I place my trust in Jesus."

    You can trust him because he's real, and he's God. The God of all. But I want you to be gentle with yourself considering what has just happened in your life, and let this conversation go. It's not good for you right now. I wish I could forbid you to read these debates until you're stronger… Bless you, Bill!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Margo,

    Society cannot function if everyone thinks like that.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Deltaflute, then you are talking about discipline, binding and loosing (depending on the spiritual needs of the era) not the moral law. It's like cremation, I am guessing. If cremation is done so as to reject or make a statement against the resurrection, then it is wrong to do so. But this era sees that cremation (which has never been inherently immoral) has a place (specifically for economic reasons). It seems that the Church has no need or desire to bind and loose on the issue of circumcision in this era.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Bill, could society function if everyone followed the Ten Commandments and followed Jesus' teachings and partook of the Sacraments? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  46. Leila,

    I am perfectly capable of debating this with you. Let me just say this and I will take a break. Who was it that said: "As for me and my house, we shall follow the Lord". I feel the same way. Everyone in the world does not have to look to Jesus for their salvation. I do, and that is all that is important to me.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Bill, there is no private God. God is the God of all.

    ReplyDelete
  48. could society function if everyone followed the Ten Commandments and followed Jesus' teachings and partook of the Sacraments?

    Yes. It would function almost perfectly. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Leila- http://guggiedaly.blogspot.ca/2010/07/catholics-and-circumcisiondo-you-know.html

    The 1440 s document is called Cantate Domino. It says that anyone who follows Mosaic law including circumcision alienated themselves from Christianity.

    The 1952 document reinforced Pope Benedict XIV degree about amputation. Amputation is listed in the catchechism. Since circumcision is a medically unnecessary amputation Pope Pius in 1952 specified that point. Its also referenced in the catechism. CCC 2297 So if the Catechism lists it as dogmatic with regard to body integrity so to the 1440s document in relation to morality and following Mosaic law.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Body integrity and the following of Mosaic law seems more than needs of a particular era. But again I cant tell you anything more than that. It suffices to say in this age you cant unless there's some medical reason which you can't prevent by other means.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Deltaflute, if you are saying (and I'm not quite sure) that it's against the moral law to "amputate" via circumcision, then you will have to agree that Jesus and Mary and Joseph went against the moral law. Otherwise, it's a matter of binding and loosing, and is not rooted in the unchanging moral law.

    The first Council of the Church (Council of Jerusalem as recounted in Acts) is all about the requirement for circumcision. The conclusion of Peter and the Church was that it was not *required* of gentile converts. I don't believe there was an argument that circumcision was immoral as amputation. In fact, quite the opposite.

    Again, I am not a proponent of circumcision, but the very devout Catholics I know that have circumcised are not in violation of any Church teaching or moral law.

    ReplyDelete
  52. That blog post is a stretch, and misleading in my opinion.

    Note this part of the 1440 document: "... that makes it all clear: and whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally."

    That bolded part is the money line. Just like cremation. In 1440, there were things going on in Europe that necessitated that reminder. Mosaic law cannot save. But that, again, is an issue of binding and loosing, in light of what that particular era was facing, spiritually and politically even. The Catholics of that era needed to know and hear and understand that the the Law of Grace replaced the Law of Moses.

    Binding and loosing. Making sure that no one was confused that Mosaic Law could save.

    As for amputation, I'm sorry but that is ridiculous. If circumcision was the same as amputation of the penis, I would not have eight children or a functioning husband. That makes absolutely no sense at all. The blog post author is really reaching. I know she hates circumcision, but that's no excuse for that type of exaggeration.

    ReplyDelete
  53. "It says that anyone who follows Mosaic law including circumcision alienated themselves from Christianity."

    Actually, it says that anyone who followed Mosaic law including circumcision under the belief that Mosaic Law saves alienated themselves from Christianity. A huge, huge, huge, distinction, and one that cannot be omitted.

    I am sure that American Catholics who circumcise are not doing so because they believe the Mosaic Law (and not Christ) saves. I've never heard of a Catholic who lives by Mosaic Law hoping for salvation.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Leila- Unfortunately I know a few Catholics who do believe that circumcision is a part of being Catholic and necessary. It's become a prevelant part of American culture that it happened frequently enough to make people believe so.

    Circumcision is the amputation or surgical removal of the foreskin and often times the connective tissue underneath. The female eqivalent would be removing the hood and clitoris. If an adult were to undergo the procedure they would receive anestheisia. I wouldn't equate it with removing the entire penis but it is amputation in the medical definition as you are removing a portion of a body part. A part that serves a purpose to protect the penis. My husband's aunt still has a part of her leg but she did undergo an amputation.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Leila- As I said I'm not the person to ask only the arguments are compelling. As for Jesus and circumcision Jesus also observed ritual sacrifice and Saturday Sabbath as a Jew. We know that at his death the Old Law was abolished (note not at his birth). It safe to say what governs one under Old Law has been replaced by the new much like the observation of passover is replaced by the Holy Eucharist and circumcision with Baptism.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I agree with you more than I disagree. However, I still don't believe there is a Church prohibition against circumcision, unless the circumcision is done in the belief that the Mosaic Law saves. Then, that would be sinful, since it would be a denial of Christ (thus a denial of one's own faith, which is ridiculous on its face). Not trying to be difficult, but I have never in my life heard of any Catholic who believes that circumcision is necessary for salvation. That is bizarre to me….

    ReplyDelete
  57. "I know a few Catholics who do believe that circumcision is a part of being Catholic and necessary."

    They actually believe that the Mosaic Law (and circumcision) is necessary for salvation?

    ReplyDelete
  58. The female equivalent [of circumcision] would be removing the hood and clitoris.

    That simply isn't true. I'm a guy, I'm circumcised, and it doesn't particularly make a difference to the best of my knowledge. Whereas removing the clitoris would have a strong effect on a person's ability for sexual pleasure.

    I won't comment on the overall morality of male circumcision, but I don't take kindly to implications that I've somehow been "mutilated," as many obnoxious anti-circumcision folks will assert.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Leila- What about body integrity? If we say transgender persons cannot amputate because of body integrity (or anyone desiring to remove a part of their body for non theraputic reasons) why is circumcision okay?

    Yes some view it as necessary to being Catholic. If you ask them why they circumcise they say religion and Jesus was. Keep in mind I grew up in Mississippi. A lot of people are very uncatechized. Even some Protestants believe its a part of their faith. They think of it as being intiated and therefore necessary to be Catholic. Salvation I dont think even crosses their mind. But discussions on salvation are equally confusing. Most can quote OSAS but dont know the Church's stance. I've also seen it on facebook. I can find some links to people pointing it out if you like. Catholics against circumcision is one place to start.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Deltaflute, that level of bad catechesis is to be lamented. That seems crazy to me. I can't account for what Protestants believe, as there are as many Protestant beliefs as their are Protestants. But for Catholics to be that ignorant is sad. In these parts, I've never heard of such a thing. Of course, that level of ignorance has no bearing on what the Church teaches. Yes, I'd like to see any link to Catholics who are arguing that the Catholic Faith says circumcision is necessary. I'd be interested in that.

    As for transgendered people, they are attempting to change and deny their very natures. The nature of a man (or a penis) is not changed by circumcision. It still functions and gives life as it was intended to. You are not arguing that those who circumcise are trying to make their boys into girls, or that circumcised men are no longer real men, correct?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Chris, agreed. Circumcision of females is different in kind, not just degree, from circumcision of males. As a woman married to a circumcised man, that seems pretty obvious. He has not been debilitated, and his functioning and capacity for pleasure still exists, unlike females who are circumcised.

    Again, I reiterate that I am fairly firmly against circumcision. I wish no one did it (with the exception of Jews who are keeping the covenant).

    ReplyDelete
  62. And I'm just laughing... how did this conversation become about circumcision? Ah, the Bubble is always floating in surprising directions!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Chris- http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_penis see genital homogony between the sexes.

    I cant comment as to sensitivity or pleasure. I would ask someone who wad circumcised as an adult.

    There are some circumcisized men who do feel mutilated and suffer from sexual disfunction. I'm not a man so I cant speak to it either way. But if someone removed my clitorial hood I think people would be more sympathetic if I said I felt mutilated and that it affected my sex life.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Leila- I'll have to dig around later. Today is Thanksgiving so that would take more time then I have.

    No one is arguing that it changes gender. But then transexuals cant fundamentally change their gender either. Would it be wrong to want to amputate a finger if for no other reason than they want to? I'm talking about body integrity and surgery. Does not the Church have a stance on unnecessary medical procedures particularly amputation?

    ReplyDelete
  65. Oh I remembered one quick one...This was Guggie's husband asked his mother. I'll have to dig for the others later. But it gives you an idea. http://guggiedaly.blogspot.ca/2011/01/confessions-of-circumcised-son.html

    ReplyDelete
  66. Leila, well, we all know a little something very personal about the males in your family. What about your new son-in-law? Never mind.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Lena, well, it would be easy to guess about my husband, as of course everyone knows he is Jewish! :)

    And long ago I mentioned that we don't circumcise. Way back when this was a blog read mostly by the infertile Catholic blogger ladies (and ex-infertile Catholic blogger ladies). ;)

    Deltaflute, there is no comparison at all. Are you saying that Jesus and the rest of the Jews were not real men or were purposely rebelling against their natures as men? That Jesus did not have bodily integrity? Or Joseph? Or St. John the Baptist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband is a Jew who converted to Catholicism sixteen years ago, for those who are new here. ;)

      Delete
  68. "But then transexuals cant fundamentally change their gender either."

    But they are trying to. That is their aim, to change their nature, their very sex.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Leila- What is the Catholic Church's stance on body integrity? Does it not have a problem with amputation.

    1) ancient Jewish circumcision is not the same as modern day removal of the foreskin. It involved a small prick or blood letting.

    2) Does not St. Paul say circumcision is not necessary? Or the following of the Old Law was not in affect after Jesus death? Would that mean it was still in affect prior to his death?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Deltaflute, that is sad (the link) but clearly appears as totally ignorant. I have never heard of that. I guess it's similar to when people were told or believed that divorced (and confessed) and not remarried people could not receive Communion. It's cultural, or era-driven I guess. I don't think it's widespread, at least not today. Weird!

    ReplyDelete
  71. You didnt answer my finger question.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Deltaflute, yes, the Church would be morally opposed to unwarranted amputation of the penis, for sure. Unless for medical necessity, of course.

    1) Can you show me how you know this? I remember Chris West making the point that only a bride would see a man's circumcision, and that is why the Christ was naked on the Cross (not just for humiliation's sake, but to fulfill the understanding of Christ and the Church, His Bride). How could a pinprick be "seen"?

    2) I never argued that circumcision is "necessary". Not once.

    You didn't answer: Did Jesus lack bodily integrity?

    ReplyDelete
  73. Leila- I've seen it a lot. I know people who will tell you this. Maybe its a Southern thing or an American thing. But I know people my own age who circumcised over this false belief.

    ReplyDelete
  74. As for the finger, no. No one should amputate a finger. And no one should amputate a penis.

    No one is arguing amputation of penises or fingers.

    ReplyDelete
  75. "Leila- I've seen it a lot. I know people who will tell you this."

    I can't account for it. I'm not disputing your experience, but I've never seen it. I have only heard of it for folks who want their boys to "match" their fathers, or for "health" reasons (which I reject). Of course, except for Jewish folks.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Leila- Than Chris must be misinformed. Because I've read several sources including Jewish ones that say otherwise. I'll have to find them later we're about to eat.

    Never said you said it was necessary. Only asked what the Church's stance was on body integrity.

    Again Jesus falls under different rules for one he is God and two Old Law versus New. Body integrity is New Law per St Paul saying not to circumcise Gentiles.

    Gotta run!

    ReplyDelete
  77. "Do you think yourself superior to someone because you are Catholic, because you are not. We are all equal. Nobody and I mean NOBODY has the right to look down upon someone else because they are different from them."

    Lol- A clue would be beneficial. Anyone who says this ridiculous tripe hasn't the foggiest about the Catholic teachings on brotherhood, family, unity, and/or serving neighbor. Emotional bawling. These are the same type of commenters who whine and envy those who are better looking, better athletes, better educated, etc. They won't take the time to learn anything you might have to offer to improve their game, their skills, their understanding, whatever it may be, because they're too busy being hung up emotionally. You know, seventh grade homeroom type discourse.

    Great post, though. You nailed it with the idea that a loving God wouldn't leave us blind or confused as far as expectations on how we can and should relate to Him in the fullest way possible. And it's simply because of Love that desires that relationship at all.

    ReplyDelete
  78. * that He desires that relationship at all.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Chris West was wrong about what? That Jesus was naked on the Cross? The circumcision was a sign that was visible? Take your time, I'm in and out of the house tonight anyway. :)

    I still don't get the bodily integrity thing. It wasn't just Jesus, but many others, the saints, St. Joseph. Did they not have bodily integrity? Their bodies had the same functioning as any other man.

    Nubby, amen!

    ReplyDelete
  80. If you changed your "will" because the Church told you so, then I was wrong.

    Why is "will" in quotation marks, captcrisis? I did change my will, not something else.

    And, it was not because the Church "told me so", it's because I found out, through a very thorough, amazing, spiritual and intellectual journey, that the Church has legitimate authority. She is what she claims to be. That discovery was life changing, as you can imagine. When one finds legitimate authority, one submits, no? The great thing is, the teachings of the Church hung together perfectly, in one big "tapestry of truth", unlike the hodgepodge philosophies and acts that had been patched onto my life until then. Suddenly, it all came together. The Church's teachings make sense, all interwoven in integrity (and never changing). Pretty cool!

    ReplyDelete
  81. If Chris West espouses that ancient circumcision is the same as modern than he would be wrong. Ancient circumcision ranged from removal of the tip of the foreskin to a simple slice. Only a small scar would be visible if anything. Modern circumcision removes the entire prepuce and sometimes underlying connective tissue to the glans. This leaves glans completely exposed. Ancient circumcision didnt do that.

    Body integrity is having autonomous control over ones body. If St Joseph or Jesus did not choose circumcision for themselves then they did not have body integrity. But you're confusing following the Old Law with the New. Or it seems that way. Jesus and St.Joseph practiced ritual slaughter of animals too. Are they somehow less because they followed the Old Law while it was in affect?

    As for the finger why is it wrong to amputate a finger? Is it okay for a parent to remove a child's finger? What if they were born with an extra digit which is functional?

    I want to be clear that I'm using Socratic questioning. As I said there's nothing specific. But I feel like you are scoffing at Guggies points about body integrity or medical procedures without giving them fair balance. If the Church has clear directives about medical experiments, organ donation, and amputation on an innocent for non theraputic purposes, is not circumcision the amputation of the prepuce without a baby's permission for looks not also included? And if not can we perform circumcision on a girl? Could we amputate extra digits?

    These are questions not just for the laity but also the hierarchy.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Just realized that I used body integrity with transexuals when I really meant body alteration or amputation. Sorry for the confusion. One means autonomy over ones body and the other means altering with permission. It was a bad analogy anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Leila, the exchange article was really good and you could really tell by the "nasties" that showed up so quickly. You forgot to quote the "furthermore" dude from that com box. I love the scripture cuts at the end of this post. " he who hears you" and " bind and loose" etc. He said these things in private to his disciples which clearly is a passing of authority directly to men. It's all about authority.
    And Nubby, yup yup yup.
    Deltaflute , did you see the story on Fox about the dying man who escorted his daughter from a hospital gurney? I couldn't copy it here:)

    ReplyDelete
  84. Deltaflute, it's all very interesting, but honestly, you are going farther than the Church. There is no prohibition against circumcision by the Church. I don't like circumcision, but that doesn't change the fact that the Church often lets cultural habits and mores stand.

    You notice that at the Council of Jerusalem, which dealt specifically with the issue of circumcision, no directive was given that circumcision was not allowed. Just that it was not necessary for salvation. That is still where we are, as far as I have ever heard. You could make a case that it's wrong to do something to a baby's body without permission, or to mutilate or change it in any way, physically, but you'd also have to say that it's immoral to pierce a baby's ears (if that is your criteria for why it's wrong to circumcise). But the Church doesn't say that ear piercing for little baby girls is morally evil, either. I just think that we must be careful and not give the impression that the Church is saying something that she is not. We can't go farther than the Church does. That does not mean that you can't have your own personal opinion on why you think it's bad or wrong or imprudent to circumcise. I think so myself. But the Church does not forbid it.

    And no, I am not confusing the Old Law with the New. The precepts of the Old Law were binding and loosing matters, things that change and are changeable, and Jesus freed us from the burdens of those laws. By contrast, any part of the universal moral law that was in place before Jesus (and that would be: All of it) was still in place then as it is today. Moral law is unchanging.

    ReplyDelete
  85. I don't want to get into a big spat over this because school is crazy busy, but I may have accused you guys of arrogance (I would be surprised if I hadn't, anyway) and I think I should explain. What I find arrogant is not the claim that the Church is right about everything – it's the claim that you know that it's right.

    To me, it's kind of inconceivable that everyone isn't at least a little bit agnostic. Even Richard Dawkins isn't dead set on atheism. So, while I can't speak for others, that's what I consider to be arrogant. It's nothing specific to Catholics, but just the idea that anyone could have such incredible faith in their own ability to determine what is true and isn't. You haven't determined the entirety of truth on your own, but you have determined without a shred of doubt that the Church holds that truth, and I firmly believe that it simply isn't intellectually honest to refuse to admit that you could be wrong about that, however slim you may think the chance of that is.

    I think the same thing of atheists all the time. Be strong in your convictions, but also have the humility to accept that you could be wrong. Hope that makes sense.

    Don't anyone engage me in argument, or I'll never learn these biochem pathways!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Michelle, it's not really what you think. It's that the puzzle pieces fit. It's that the key opens the lock. It's that it makes beautiful sense and hangs together. Add to that the real life experience of interactions with God in one's life, and the example of the saints (who are stone-cold sane, and yet have experiences that point to union with God -- read up on St. Teresa of Avila's life for one), and it brings a sense of peace (even in suffering, even in worldly turmoil) that tells the brain, heart, soul, body that this is True. It's hard to explain, but when since we are made for the Truth, and to seek the Truth, submission is the only response to finding it. It's not arrogance, it's… "WHOA!!!" And it's knock me to my knees grateful, because previously I had no idea.

    I think that's a universal sentiment of converts and reverts, many of whom were not looking for what they found. But we ended up in the same place.

    For me, I would say look to the lives and writings of the saints, to get what is missing here on the Bubble. They are the embodiment of the Faith, they personify Truth, and they come from every culture, every walk of life, every era. And their Truth is somehow the same.

    ReplyDelete
  87. As Greg Koukl, the Protestant (Presbyterian, I think) apologist, and friend of Frank Beckwith (and co-author of their brilliant book on Relativism) would say - 'If it's so wrong to judge, then why are you judging me?', to those kind of responses.

    See how their argument actually 'commits suicide' as Koukl puts it?

    He's got a great book, called 'Tactics' which has amazing tools for responding winsomely, yet destructively, to these sorts of attacks. He also has great audio/video resources on his website, 'Stand to Reason'.
    Although Protestant, you can actually use some of his arguments against the Protestant position itself. Needless to say, with Frank Beckwith reverting to Catholicism, and the arguments actually working against his own position, he's a bit sensitive and not too pleased when you point this out, so you normally get banned from the blog if you use his own argument against himself. :)

    Koukl's famous for debating Deepak Chopra on air and making mincemeat of his new Age position without raising his voice or being nasty.

    ReplyDelete
  88. You haven't determined the entirety of truth on your own, but you have determined without a shred of doubt that the Church holds that truth, and I firmly believe that it simply isn't intellectually honest to refuse to admit that you could be wrong about that, however slim you may think the chance of that is.

    Yes. I agree with this statement. There is a world of difference between the truths upon which I choose to live my life and the truths of which I am not aware or those I see held by other worldviews.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Leila- I'm confused. Did I not say there was anything on the subject? People are always saying the Church is too ridgid. Here we are having a lively debate about the subject. Are you looking at some final word? Because as I said that's a question for the Vatican. Debates dont have to have the perfect difinitive answer. Debates can be meant to ponder the subject. St. Thomas Aquanis posited much before it was official. Some of which was later found to be wrong.

    As I said the CCC discusses body integrity with regard to experimentation, organ donation, mutilation, sterilization, and amputation. Piercing your ears or cutting you hair isnt any of those things. Would you agree that it is reasonable that since circumcision is the amputation of the foreskin that it could fall under amputation of innocents? You agree that the procedure is painful. Medically its surgery. As I said there hasnt been much on the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  90. "You haven't determined the entirety of truth on your own, but you have determined without a shred of doubt that the Church holds that truth, and I firmly believe that it simply isn't intellectually honest to refuse to admit that you could be wrong about that, however slim you may think the chance of that is."

    Who says a person comes to an entirety of truth on her own about anything? And why is that even relevant to comprehending a truth? Do you know the entirety of truth about any one subject before positing an answer? Or do you reason with what you know?

    The issue isn't at all how one comes about the truth. The issue is that one finds it.

    A relevant point, in my opinion, isn't, "I don't know the answer, nor do I have the entirety of truth, therefore I cannot posit an answer" but it's rather, "How do I know that I don't know? How is it that I am even aware that the moment I learn something new, I realize instantaneously that I don't have all the answers?" That is the more relevant question in terms of seeking a source for the answer.

    Lonergan's proof, again, I recommend to you, Michelle. He calls this idea the "notion of being".

    ReplyDelete
  91. so you normally get banned from the blog if you use his own argument against himself.

    I am grateful that I was not banned when I was all but trashing the Catholic faith. I needed this site to workout my unbelief.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Deltaflute, the reason I pursued the circumcision question was because you said this:

    "So a parent cannot change the state they were born in because it interfers with body integrity. Its the same with circumcising."

    You implied to my readers that it is against Church teaching to circumcise. I clarified that there is no such Church teaching. Catholics who circumcise their boys are not in sin. But I personally am against it. Our opinion, though, is not Church teaching. I am happy to discuss the issue, but I can't have it stated that Catholic parents are not permitted to circumcise. That's all. After that, we can debate the issue as much as you want, but I'd be on your side. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS: I do think that piercings and tattoos are a type of mutilation of the body, but I have no moral problem with a level of those mutilations. Sometimes, it's an issue of degree. I love pierced ears! (My girls only have one set, ha ha, and I am glad.)

      Delete
  93. vanillacatholic, so I am guessing that Beckwith and Koukl are not friendly anymore! (I mistakenly read that as Beckwith banning people from his blog, but I realize now you mean Koukl's blog. It's early here and I should never jump out of bed and start reading comments before my brain wakes up, ha.)

    I love Beckwith. Turns out, he and his brother went to the same high school as my husband, and my hubby and his brother were friends (now reconnected on facebook). I love their intellects and holiness!

    And I love that line and will have to use it: 'If it's so wrong to judge, then why are you judging me?' So simple, perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  94. I had exactly the same thing happen to me when I answered my brother's query on FB, "What do you think about divorce?" I specifically didn't want to sound judgmental, so I just quoted Scripture, God's Word. I was excoriated by my brother and by a relative who is divorced.
    I think people react negatively when they think someone, even God, is suggesting that the decisions they have made or the beliefs they hold are incorrect or wrong. If Catholic Church doctrine or teaching says something contrary to what they personally believe, then, of course, it's the Catholic Church who is wrong. It's called "God, according to me."

    ReplyDelete
  95. " Be strong in your convictions, but also have the humility to accept that you could be wrong. Hope that makes sense. "

    I believe it is Michelle that stated this, but I may be wrong. :-)

    This really stuck with me because I have had heard many people say this before. Keep in mind that I'm not a debater or a theologian, so my words here are very simple and hopefully clear. And as always, because I am so limited in my own knowledge (but not belief), please step in Leila (or anyone) if I need to be corrected!

    I just wanted to point out that what you see as "arrogance" is what we see as Truth. We see God and our Faith as a fact, just as we know that the earth is round as a fact. We will never be able to deny this (unless we lose our gift of faith by our own choosing) because it is real, a fact, it can't be denied. But this isn't arrogance. It is simply true. It takes the gift of faith to believe this and understand it though, and so I understand if you continue to argue against this.

    I do admit though, that there can be arrogance in argument. It's easy to get caught up in our own desires that everyone believe because we know what is true. It's easy to become arrogant and even to look down on others who don't believe--though here I am speaking for individuals and not the Church.

    There are times when it takes a lot of humility to walk away from an argument, especially when the other person remains unconvinced, or worse--they think you're wrong. Sticking around and trying to make someone believe can sometimes stem from arrogance because we're all human with the weakness of pride.

    But for those who are persecuted and forced to take a stand--like the saints and martyrs who were given a choice to live and deny their faith or die for it; this also takes much humility, not arrogance. It takes a lot of courage and supernatural love to give up your life; this is the reason so many martyrs are raised to the altar, because it takes a supernatural and heroic love to do this.

    I admit this isn't said very well but hopefully you get my point: simply that of course there can be the attitude of arrogance among us who aren't always humble but are striving to be; but the Church itself doesn't act out of arrogance, but faith in what is true.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Pathway to Peace, good point. And it's always interesting when Christians get mad at the Church for disallowing divorce and remarriage, even though it's Jesus' own words which forbid it as adulterous. I often gently told folks in RCIA (when I taught), "Your issue is not with the Church, it's with Christ. The Church is simply repeating what the Lord said explicitly." Heck, don't shoot the messenger!

    Becky, beautifully stated!

    ReplyDelete
  97. If Catholic Church doctrine or teaching says something contrary to what they personally believe, then, of course, it's the Catholic Church who is wrong.

    I feel that way about a lot of things. Divorce, gay marriage, contraception, in-vitro fertilization, etc. It is certainly possible for the Church to be wrong about these issues since it is a human institution.

    ReplyDelete
  98. No Bill. It is not possible for the Church to be wrong about those issues if Christ is God. If God founded the Church to speak in His name, then the Church is not wrong on those issues. The Church is both human and divine. She is not merely human. And she is divinely protected. I point you back to the OP: God would not leave us wandering, orphans, never knowing….

    Bill, you agree that one of these statements is true and the other is not, correct?

    Jesus is God.
    Jesus is not God.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Vehemently disagree with you, Bill.

    "She [the Church] is not an organization established by an agreement between a few people, but—as Pope Benedict XVI has so often reminded us—she is a work of God, born precisely from this loving design, which is gradually brought about in history. The Church is born from God’s wish to call all people to communion with him, to friendship with him, indeed, to share in his own divine life as his sons and daughters (General Audience, May 29)." Pope Francis

    Sacred Tradition is alive and breathing through the living Church. Nothing is merely human about her (the Church) except her members. We aren't the Pharisees, clinging to man made traditions, putting new wine into old wine skins, clinging to old laws, raising man-made ideas above revealed Truth.

    No. Nothing is "merely human" about her work, nothing is dead about the Church which is alive by the working of the Holy Spirit, who is indeed a Person, who is the Lord and Giver of Life.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Bill, you agree that one of these statements is true and the other is not, correct?

    Yes. I do.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Great, thanks. Then it would follow that *if* Jesus is God, and *if* He founded a Church to teach in His name, we could trust the teachings of that Church, correct?

    And, if Jesus is not God, it doesn't really matter what he said or did, nor would it matter about any church he founded, nor could he be anyone's source of salvation, correct?

    ReplyDelete
  102. And, if Jesus is not God, it doesn't really matter what he said or did, nor would it matter about any church he founded, nor could he be anyone's source of salvation, correct?

    Jesus has done more good for this world than anyone who has ever lived. That is good enough for me.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Bill, then I am satisfied with that. :)

    The rest will come. :)

    ReplyDelete
  104. Some seem to finally get it when comparing moral laws to physical laws.

    Example: Gravity pulls us down and we attune our life and safety around it. The law of gravity does not change regardless of our opinions of it or how well we understand it. It also does not change if we choose to ignore it. No matter what, it still keeps us stable on the ground. Living in harmony with the law of gravity allows us to live a joyful life. Disharmony with gravity will hurt us or even kill us. We really never break the law of gravity, it breaks us!!

    ReplyDelete
  105. Physical laws describe how physical events take place. To be comparable to physical laws moral laws would describe how we act. Instead they describe how we should act. Therefore they are not comparable to physical laws. You can't break a physical law. You can break a moral law. Physical laws have always existed. Model laws have evolved over time. Also, they vary from culture to culture.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Moral law is a constant, like physical law, regardless of actions taken against it. Thus, the comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Moral law is a constant, like physical law, regardless of actions taken against it.

    You're not understanding what I am saying, Nubby. If the law to not murder were like the law of gravity, there would be no murders because it would be impossible to commit them. If the law of gravity were like the law not to murder, it would be illegal for you to levitate but you could do it by disobeying the law of gravity. Thus, they are not comparable at all.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Beg your pardon, I haven't misunderstood at all. Your line of reasoning here is faulty. The point of the comparison is that moral law and physical are unchanging regardless of how people wish to act against or try to act against them.

    You can try to disobey the law of gravity all you want, good luck with that. That is the point. There are constants to the world. Gravity is one of them, per Ben's example. And to further my own point with Michelle and the idea that we need an entirety of truth before abiding by the idea of it: we don't need to rediscover gravity and re-do the calculus to understand that it is a truth; we must accommodate it, not it accommodate us.

    Same with moral law. We must accommodate it, as believers, even as citizens.
    The comparison is of the two being constants. However you wish to reason away the possibility of us breaking one or the other is irrelevant to the point of the comment.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Nubby is right. We can endeavor to defy the law of gravity by jumping off a building, but we will pay a physical price. In the same way, we can endeavor to defy the moral law, like committing adultery, but we will pay a spiritual price.

    Side note: My daughter and her husband met Pope Francis today!!! I am so excited!!

    ReplyDelete
  110. In the same way, we can endeavor to defy the moral law, like committing adultery, but we will pay a spiritual price.

    Ok. How abou someone like Elton John and his husband or Ellen Degeneris and her wife. Have they violated an indisputable moral law or have they violated some sort of religiously based taboo. Are they similar to someone walking off a cliff to try to violate the law of gravity. This is where the arrogance issue comes up.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Actually, it's where the issue of humility comes up. And logic. Arrogance has nothing to do with recognizing natural law and, being believers as we are here in the Bubble, following Divine Law. One does not cancel out the other. Arrogance isn't a point of discussion when talking law.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Do you think it's "arrogant" that gravity doesn't work the same way in outer space?

    ReplyDelete
  113. I'm not aware of gravity being any different anywhere else. We have an atmosphere that slows the fall of a leaf from a tree but gravity is not changed at all. Would you agree that calling Elton John and Ellen Degeneris sinners is arrogant?

    ReplyDelete
  114. Bill, I would never approach a stranger and say, "Ellen Degeneres (or whomever), you are a sinner!" But we can know that misuse of the life-giving faculty is sinful. Life is sacred, and thus so is the life-giving act. To misuse the sexual faculties is of course sinful, no matter which way we choose to misuse those faculties. Do you think that Ellen and Elton do not sin? I believe all humans sin. Some even sin gravely. I am a sinner, too. Why is that arrogant? Truth is not arrogant, it just is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now, there does come a time when folks are obligated to perform the spiritual work of mercy that is "admonishing the sinner". Also, "instructing the ignorant". For example, I have eight children in my charge. I am responsible to form them, to admonish, to instruct. Priests and bishops have many folks in their charge. We are responsible before God for how we interact and form those souls. We are responsible for one another. Perhaps I have a friend who is sinning gravely. There is instructions from the Lord on how to approach that. And in addition to speaking privately with someone in hopes of leading them back to the path of Christ, there is an obligation to speak the truth, generally, lovingly, consistently. In season and out of season. If you read anything in Scripture, you will see that obligation is very clear. None of this is arrogant. It's humbling.

      Delete
    2. "There are instructions…"

      Forgive typos!

      And for some reason, I am no longer receiving comments in my email inbox! Frustrating! Anyone else having that problem?

      Delete
  115. There is indeed gravitational variations. Consider the moon. Is that arrogant of the physical law, that gravity fluctuates? Better question: Does the word "arrogance" even apply when discussing law? No.

    To your other point, no, I don't think it's "arrogant" to call humans sinners in general, considering we are fallen from grace. I'm a sinner, too. I don't think it's arrogant if anyone should call me a sinner, generally speaking. They'd be right. Yet, realize the Catholic playbook doesn't include a chapter on judging souls.

    The question isn't one of arrogance or condemnation. Natural law and divine law express foundational truths; it's not arrogant to recognize and abide by those. Do you think it's arrogant to be a practicing Catholic?

    ReplyDelete
  116. Leila,
    Your daughter and son-in-law met the Pope? That is boss! woot!

    ReplyDelete
  117. Do you think that Ellen and Elton do not sin? I believe all humans sin.

    That is just sidestepping the question. I will answer it for you. Yes. It is arrogant to suggest that people like Elton and Ellen are sinners. Nevermind this "we are all sinners " bs. They are not sinners because they are gay and married. That is what I meant and you know it. Thus, your idea of a universal moral law is erroneous. If you were right, then I would know they are sinners for that reason since I would know this moral law myself if it were truly universal.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Yes, people who pretend to get "married" and perform homosexual acts are sinning. Yes. There are tons of different kinds of sexual sins.

    Look, Bill, you misunderstand the concept of Natural Law. Consciences can be clouded and dulled by sin and by bad formation. I am sure there was a time in your life (you are older than me, and gay "marriage" is a very new idea) when you thought homosexual acts were sinful. You were talked out of your understanding of that, for any number of reasons. The same is true for people who were once against abortion and are now for it. For some reason, people get swayed (usually emotion or popular opinion) to go with the sin of the age. But that does not change the moral law.

    Let's look philosophically: Why do you think that regular people go along with certain evils in society, Bill? Genocide, naziism, racism, adultery, abortion, etc. What makes them do it?

    ReplyDelete
  119. So if you don't know about it, then it must be "arrogant"?
    Then if there's a law in physics that you don't know about, it must be "arrogant" of that law to exist, or that other people know of it?

    Can we stop using the word arrogant? It's not applicable to moral law. It's only applicable to people. It's not like man created these laws to hold them over our heads. If you want to call someone arrogant it wouldn't be man, it would be your Creator. And do you really believe God is arrogant, Bill?

    ReplyDelete
  120. Nubby, here are tons of photos of my baby girl with Pope Francis! Check page 12!

    http://fotografiafelici.com/index.php?page=scripts%2Finserimento&cerimonia=10751+06+Udienza+Generale+novelli+sposi&data=2013-10-16+18%3A04%3A20&cod=332&language=ITA#foto

    ReplyDelete
  121. Leila
    What is the ceremony that your daughter is part of in these photos?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johanne, it's the weekly Wednesday Papal Audience, but there is a section for newlyweds to get a blessing! You have to reserve a spot ahead of time. I am so happy for them!! I love the one where Pope Francis has his hand on my son-in-law's arm. :)

      Delete
  122. Let's look philosophically: Why do you think that regular people go along with certain evils in society, Bill? Genocide, naziism, racism, adultery, abortion, etc. What makes them do it?

    I suppose that to them, they think they are complying with Natural Law as they understand it just as you think you are when you condemn homosexual acts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I would say that in their hearts, they know that it is wrong to kill people, but that they a) have convinced themselves that Jews (or blacks, or women) are not fully human (so they justify), or b) that the end justifies the means.

      Do you think that people inherently understand this axiom: "We don't kill innocent human beings"?

      Also, did you used to think that homosexual acts were immoral?

      Delete
  123. Also, did you used to think that homosexual acts were immoral?

    Of course I did. But now I rely on experts in the field of psychology who almost universally agree that it is not a disorder. Who better to rely on?

    ReplyDelete
  124. Why did you think those acts were sinful?

    And, are you saying that psychologists are the arbiters of the moral law? If so, then Christ's words on the subject of sexual morality and marriage are moot.

    And, when psychology declares (at it will) that adult-child sexual relationships are healthy, and also other forms of sexual deviancy, will you rely on their expertise as arbiters of the moral law then?

    ReplyDelete
  125. Why did you think those acts were sinful?

    I was raised in an Italian Catholic family. There was no question that it was sinful. Furthermore, any sexual act except one between a married man and woman that resulted in the semen entering the vagina was sinful. I know better now.

    ReplyDelete
  126. You know better because secular psychologists have told you so? Are they the arbiters of the moral law? Can you answer my other questions?

    ReplyDelete
  127. Leila,

    I guess I should just admit that Catholicism isn't really for me. I thought I experienced some sort of divine intervention. But, looking at what people like you believe, I can see that it's just not my cup of tea. I will continue to be a cultural Catholic and keep going to mass and social events with my wife, but I'm not going to buy that it is the one true religion. I'm pretty sure that it isn't. People will come to see the Church's stand against gay marriage, divorce, contraception, etc. as proof positive of its falibility and humanness. I'm done commenting on this thread.

    ReplyDelete
  128. For the sake of argument, I will respond to this (and this is just for the sake of argument)

    And, if Jesus is not God, it doesn't really matter what he said or did, nor would it matter about any church he founded, nor could he be anyone's source of salvation, correct?

    Of course it would matter. For a couple of reasons. First, there is the position taken by Muslims, that Jesus is a prophet, but not a Saviour. (And of course, Muslims believe they are right, they have the one truth, as do people of other faiths, and therein lies the conflict). As a prophet, His words and deeds were important and meaningful, just as the words of other non-divine prophets were.

    Furthermore, it absolutely matters what people believe, regardless of whether or not it is true (meaning that whether or not Jesus is God, it matters that people believe it). Beliefs shape culture, society, history, even when they are later proven to be false. A very simple example -- the Greek myths were a religion (there are still some Hellenes that believe these myths as religion, but in general most people accept they are myths and untrue). But for hundreds of years, they shaped a society -- its art, its governance, its engagement with the rest of the world. So they mattered, even if they weren't true. "The same is true for Christianity (or really, of any faith)-- it matters, even if it isn't true. Surely you don't think, say, the beliefs of the Hindus don't matter simply because you don't think they are true?

    In other words, Jesus need not be divine or the founder of a Church to be meaningful in the world. You are setting up a false "if, then" here.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Comparisons of that magnitude need more than broad brush strokes.
    If one is going to compare, then one needs to talk about the differences specific to each belief system, the history, the archaeological findings that support or falsify that religion, its followers, its traditions, its cultivation, its duration, its teachings, etc. One needs to take into account all the variables. There's no false, "if, then".

    It's also a matter of:
    the leader(s) of religion A claimed x, y, z How did the truth of the claims pan out, if at all? Where's the proof?

    ReplyDelete
  130. I'm not comparing, or trying to argue that any one religions has a greater claim to Truth and Proof -- I'm addressing Leila's question where she said: "And, if Jesus is not God, it doesn't really matter what he said or did, nor would it matter about any church he founded, nor could he be anyone's source of salvation, correct?"

    I'm saying -- no, that's incorrect! She seems to be saying, if it's not true, it doesn't matter -- it matters, and therefore it's true. What I am saying is that such an if,then is incorrect. Plenty of belief systems "matter" even if they are patently untrue, or held to be untrue by others.

    They matter BECAUSE people believe them to be true, and because the beliefs shape actions, governments, cultures. I'm sure most people on the Bubble are quite sure that Islam and Hinduism are not true religions. Do they matter? Of course! They matter to the millions of people who believe them.

    There is quite solid archaeological proof that certain beliefs of certain religions are wrong -- I'm thinking, for example, of the LDS claim in the Book of Mormon that the Native Americans in the US are descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Plenty of devout Mormons, however, still believe it, and believe that Jesus visited the Americas where He preached an additional gospel. It matters, because they believe it.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Leila was using point A to B logic to draw out a conclusion for Bill in that instance regarding authority, not importance in a general sense.

    ReplyDelete
  132. "And, if Jesus is not God, it doesn't really matter what he said or did, nor would it matter about any church he founded, nor could he be anyone's source of salvation, correct?"

    Sorry, I always seem to leave out the word "ultimately". It's the C.S. Lewis quote:
    "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." (And Christianity is based on one premise: Jesus is God and rose bodily from the dead.)

    Bill, I wish you would have actually answered my questions before skipping out. :(

    ReplyDelete
  133. "In other words, Jesus need not be divine or the founder of a Church to be meaningful in the world."

    But Jesus does need to be divine to save your eternal soul. That's the point. Mohammed won't do that. And if Jesus was mere human, he could not do that, either, no matter how nice a philosopher he was.

    ReplyDelete
  134. But that's not all of what you were asking Leila. You didn't just ask whether He could be a source of salvation, you asked whether what He said and did mattered, and whether his Church would matter. And I'm saying -- yes! It would! And I'm familiar with Lewis and Mere Christianity, and figured it was his syllogism you were using. Whatever you think or believe about Mohammed doesn't determine whether Islam matters -- what matters is that millions of people DO believe in Islam, and take actions in accordance with their belief. Again, do you believe all religions that you believe to be false to be of "no importance."? Many people think they have the One Truth (and Lewis was not Catholic, he joined the Anglican Church, and certainly did not believe in many Catholic truths.)

    ReplyDelete
  135. Why did you think those acts were sinful?

    Because I had a natural awareness of Natural Law? I don't think so. Because of Italian Catholic prejudices? More likely.

    And, are you saying that psychologists are the arbiters of the moral law? If so, then Christ's words on the subject of sexual morality and marriage are moot.

    Jesus had a lot more to say about the Pharisees and overly judgmental religious leaders than about sexual morality and marriage.

    And, when psychology declares (and it will) that adult-child sexual relationships are healthy, and also other forms of sexual deviancy, will you rely on their expertise as arbiters of the moral law then?

    That is mere speculation at this point.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Jesus had a lot to say about a lot, Bill. He didn't show up against the Pharisees because of mere judgmental attitudes, He was showing them who He was , the revelation of the Incarnate God, and illustrating to them, without mincing words, how they were failing miserably to accept Him, because they were so hardened in their ways, and in their hearts. They were the ones clinging to the writings of the scribes who over many years even argued to which degree to implicate the law. Jesus came to fulfill, not to do away with, but to make all things new.

    The fact that you're comparing what percentage of scripture is devoted to this or that teaching does rank the importance of all of it. If He said a mere two sentences authoritatively on any one subject, it matters, it's authoritative. It's meant to be followed.

    ReplyDelete
  137. So, Catholics are prejudiced now, Bill? All of us Catholics, whether brought up in Catholic families or joining the party late -- we're all prejudiced? Nice.

    ReplyDelete
  138. * does NOT rank the importance of it all

    ReplyDelete
  139. Of course the Church teaches that the Church is the only path to salvation. Even those non-Catholics who are saved are only saved through the grace of Jesus Christ, which comes to us through His Mystical Body.
    I agree. Jesus came to save ALL. That said, I feel it necessary to point out that it is not necessary to be a Christian to attain salvation. Lumen Gentium takes pains to mention Muslims, and even talks about people "who in shadows and images seek the unknown God" because the "Saviour wills that all men be saved". Pope Francis confirmed this when he said, "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!"

    There is no separation between Christ and His Church. The two are one. Hopefully the Jesuits taught you that? :)
    Of course they did.

    ReplyDelete
  140. He didn't show up against the Pharisees because of mere judgmental attitudes, He was showing them who He was

    I don't know, Nubby. When I think of Jesus, I think of him telling people not to judge others lest they be judged themselves. Catholics have lost that spirit big time.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Is that what he came for, Bill? Really? That's what He came here for?

    Not to lift us out of the muck and crap of sin? Not to show the Pharisees that He was infact the logos of God that they so eagerly wrote and clung to and fought over and basically lost their own spirit in?

    Bill- come on...

    ReplyDelete
  142. You realize the fight He had in front of Him, right? Between the Pharisees and Sadducees, what was his approach? Flip to a parable in your bible. Any one. What does Christ talk about in his parables?

    ReplyDelete
  143. Jessica, if Jesus is not God, Christianity (and anything Christ said or did) ultimately does not matter. I stand by that. Ultimately, belief in Jesus would have been meaningless (again, I apologize for always leaving out the "ultimately"; for me, the "ultimately" is a given, but I realize in writing this blog that it's not a given for everyone.

    And C.S. Lewis did not disagree with "many" Catholic truths. Heck, he even believed in Purgatory. He was so close to Catholicism that he actually has been a bridge for many evangelicals and Protestants to come to the Catholic Church. Peter Kreeft (former Calvinist) has speculated that that was the reason that God withheld that last bit of grace to bring Lewis fully into the Church. So that he could be that bridge.

    ReplyDelete
  144. One last comment - then I'm done. Of course we don't judge souls, Bill. That's a no brainer. But to think that calling a sin a sin is judging is flat out incorrect.

    I don't judge you or anyone else. Yet, there's a lot missing in your understanding of Christ and His Church, that's meant with no disrespect, as I know you are seeking in your own way. But you came to a blog with some seriously good direction and answers and encouragement from lots of commenters. I'd recommend you don't backhand that.

    ReplyDelete
  145. M. Albinoni,

    I hope you agree that I covered what you said here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/12/can-non-catholics-be-saved.html

    We say that a lot here in the Bubble. :)

    But that does not in any way negate the arguments in the this post, does it?

    ReplyDelete
  146. Nubby, I guess following Christ's teachings faithfully, the same ones that have been taught for 20 centuries, unbroken, have shown us to be prejudiced (in a bad way, of course). ;)

    Gosh, someone tell the saints how wrong they were! According to a small band of western, secular (largely atheist) psychologists in the 21st century, the virtue of chastity needs to be removed from the list of Christian virtues, just like Pluto was bumped from the planet club. Ouch! ;)

    Bill, it's not mere speculation, about pedophilia, etc. It's on the table. So, what happens if it's no longer considered a disorder? Do you rely on their expertise and concur? And I'm curious about what you think constitutes a disorder… in other words, how does the APA determine what is a psychological disorder?

    ReplyDelete
  147. I hadn't seen that post until you directed me to it, Leila - thanks! I see we are essentially saying the same thing, then. My only concern at the time was that I felt many people, both non-Catholics and Catholics, mistakenly assume that our Church teaches that only Catholics can achieve salvation.

    Bill, I hope you continue to "work out your unbelief". Faith is a journey, and often it is a spiral journey, rather than a straight line. I am walking that same path with you -- we all are.

    Nubby, if I may make one comment on your tone and style of communication, you can tend to sound as if you are lecturing whomever you are talking to. I don't know if you noticed, but Bill started off quite positive in his posts, and ended up in a different place and I can't help but feel that you were a huge part of that. Perhaps if you took some time to dialogue about what we, as Catholics have in common, rather than jumping at every single chance to refute something, we may avoid isolating people who are seeking to deepen their faith.

    ReplyDelete
  148. I love it. You mean lecturing like this? ^^^ above?

    Bill knows I support his faith journey and that I am praying for him. Bill also knows, I hope, that I respect him even though I get frustrated when there's a logical impasse. I won't be buying the accusation above tonight, though, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  149. Oh well. Your reaction is unfortunate, as I truly tried to be respectful and tactful when I was speaking to you. I will leave it at that.

    ReplyDelete
  150. I'm ok with Nubby's comments.

    The Redsox are down 5-0 and I can't imagine they will have another comeback. I'm going to bed. If I wake up tomorrow and find out they won I'll be happy even if I missed it.

    ReplyDelete
  151. M. Albinoni, the part you aren't seeing (because you are new in the Bubble) is the history that is here. Relationships are formed and we sort of understand each other. If you read back a few posts (it would take a while to get through the comments, admittedly), you will see where Bill started, and what happened, and where he is now. Nubby's got her way, and we all have ours. It makes an interesting cast of characters here, and if you stick around, you will get the flavor. It's not for everyone, but I've been told it's one of the most respectful dialogues on the internet, and that's not just from believers. I am proud of it. But, you need to get to know us and I hope you will.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Bill, it's not mere speculation, about pedophilia, etc. It's on the table. So, what happens if it's no longer considered a disorder? Do you rely on their expertise and concur? And I'm curious about what you think constitutes a disorder… in other words, how does the APA determine what is a psychological disorder?

    Leila,

    I accept the opinions of recognized experts in their respective fields over archaic religious mores.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Bill, here's what I don't understand. You seem to say that you accept Jesus is the Lord. But when He says something that the current crop of "recognized experts in their respective fields " appear to contradict, you relegate His teaching to archaic religious mores. Really? Do you think Jesus spoke mostly to the people of His time, and His teaching for us would be a different one? Or that in fact He might wrong in some of His teachings? And, have you never come across a belief widely held by recognized experts in their field at a particular time being reversed later on, by new evidence?

    ReplyDelete
  154. Sebastian,

    I did feel good about my own personal encounter with what I thought to be the person of Jesus. But I have to admit that I may have just be experiencing a case of wishful thinking. Some of what I am seeing as supposed "truths" just show how human and fallible the writers of the Bible and the Catholic Church truly are. I much more trust the most up to date information from experts than what the Bible and the Church have to say about the more controversial issues of our time. Sometimes you have to judge a religion by what the zealots do and say, such as in the case of Islam. Catholic zealots turn me off to their faith. They are far to judgmental for my tastes.

    ReplyDelete
  155. Ok, Bill, I think get what you are saying. As for me, I'd rather trust what the Church is saying and has always been saying and has been confirmed in my own experience as true. I don't go by what some fellow believers may be saying in their own interpretation, but what the Lord or the Magisterium (which of course is guided by the Lord) are saying. I've never been misled by them into a patently false belief. Recognized experts in the social "sciences" have often reversed their own findings and will necessarily continue to do so. I'd rather go by a more reliable source of guidance.

    ReplyDelete
  156. Recognized experts in the social "sciences" have often reversed their own findings and will necessarily continue to do so. I'd rather go by a more reliable source of guidance.

    I have more trust in people who can admit that they were wrong and correct themselves, which the Church can't do.

    ReplyDelete
  157. Seriously Bill? Are you saying the Church is patently wrong and simply unable to reverse a moral teaching?

    Take a look at perhaps the biggest threat ever to the (established) Church, the Reformation. Boy, did many of the Church's representatives go wrong in the run up to it, and almost anyone with half a brain (I exaggerate of course) became a Protestant or longed to be one, across all social groups. It nearly destroyed the Church. Was she wrong then in any of her moral teachings? Should she have gone the Protestant way? She determined that Luther's teachings were heresy, and she was right, though some experts in the field (theology) might have disagreed. Look at where divorce and remarriage, abortion, sex outside of matrimony, contraception, gay marriage etc., all endorsed by many Protestant denominations, have led us. Is this good? Is this healthy? Is this how God has intended us, who were made in His image and likeness, and whom He resides in? Weren't we rather meant to take up our crosses, which all of us have, and follow Jesus in His path, and thus discover real beauty, and hope, and love, and peace (by taking up our crosses, which is VERY difficult sometimes)? I am not theorizing or preaching. I am speaking from experience.

    Perhaps all this means nothing to you, as you now seem to doubt that it was Jesus Who rescued you. Ok. You are always free to go back to where you were before. It's the essential freedom we are always given, and it is for us to use it wisely.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Sebastian,

    I appreciate what you are saying. But I have lost whatever interest I might have had in becoming serious about my Catholic faith. I will stick to the basics and not get too involved in issues that force my hand. For an institution that claims to be the ultimate authority on morality, it is obviously wrong about many things and unable or unwilling to admit even that it is possible for it to be wrong let alone that it is wrong. One only need to look at how wrong it is about gay marriage as evidence that it is human and fallible.

    ReplyDelete
  159. Just to be clear, Bill: You will accept the "experts" in psychology when the majority of them declare that pedophilia is not a disorder, correct?

    Curious: What do you think has kept 200+ grown men for 20+ centuries saying that masturbation is wrong? What has kept them from changing that particularly unpopular moral teaching, if the Church is a human institution? I would love a reasonable answer (emphasis on reasonable) that is in line with what we understand about human nature (and males!).

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  160. What has kept them from changing that particularly unpopular moral teaching, if the Church is a human institution?

    The problem is that once the Church says that something like masturbation is wrong, it cannot change that teaching without admitting that it was wrong. To the Church, it's all about maintaining its authority which it claims comes from God. Most people know that such authority does not exist but they are too polite to argue about it.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Are you really thinking about this, Bill? Over two thousand years and none of the hundreds of male popes has even flinched on the sexual issues? How is this compatible with what we know about the nature of power (including what is seen as absolute power) and human nature?

    It's also ironic because one of the main arguments I get from non-Catholics (and anti-Catholics) is that the Church constantly changes her teachings.

    So, which is it?

    And, forgive me, but this line makes no sense at all in light of reality:

    Most people know that such authority does not exist but they are too polite to argue about it.

    Which folks, exactly, are "too polite" to argue about it? I'd like to meet them! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  162. And if you could answer the previous question:

    You will accept the "experts" in psychology when the majority of them declare that pedophilia is not a disorder, correct?

    ReplyDelete
  163. When you find documentation that professional psychologists are saying that pedophilia is not harmful to children, please send me a link. I thought you would get a kick out of people being to polite to argue about it.

    ReplyDelete
  164. You can use this as a jumping off point for where we are headed with pedophilia:

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/09/10295/

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/meet-the-academics-who-are-trying-to-redefine-pedophilia-as-intergeneration

    But you didn't really answer the question. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  165. It doesn't have to be a disorder to be wrong. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Probably the most important thing Jesus ever said if he did in fact say it.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Does it matter if pedophelia is classified a disorder or not? I think the more important question is and should be, does it cause harm.
    Read what Bill wrote Leila. I think he is thinking similarly to that.

    And why would anyone expect a pope to change the churches teachings on masturbation? Or any sexual "sin". Really that is not the job he has been hired for.

    Has the church changed some of it's teaching over the "more than 2000 years? I'd go with probably yes. You'd go with no. Truth is no one will ever know definitively.

    But point is, and this is me beating my head against the wall on this, that the entire world has not ever been 100% catholic. And until it is no one can expect all of us to follow it's rules.

    Morals are tricky. We all have a different moral compass if you will. Saying natural law is carved in all of our hearts is tricky. It's not. We all see things differently.

    And to

    ReplyDelete
  167. now back to the original intent of the post. Arrogance.

    I'll ask a question:
    Lets say there is a child in school with your child. This child is more attractive, smarter, a better athlete, and we will just say a better all around person than your child.
    This child reminds your child continually that they are more attractive, smarter, better athlete and better person than your child.

    Is this child arrogant?

    ReplyDelete
  168. "And why would anyone expect a pope to change the churches teachings on masturbation?"

    Alan, millions upon millions of people not only expect but demand that the Church change her moral teachings. The point is, not only will she not, but she cannot. And nothing (nothing!) like that has happened in the history of the world. The only reason the Church's teachings have not changed in 2,000 years is because of divine protection. There is no earthly explanation. Heck, even a game of telephone will tell you that. But 20 centuries? Let by human sinners? There is no earthly explanation.

    Of course not everyone follows the moral law. That is a given, even among Catholics. We are all sinners and imperfect. But the moral law still exists and we are to conform out lives to it, not vice versa.

    As for "harm". Who defines "harm"? A worker with sticky fingers may steal from his rich employer, and no one would be the wiser. One could easily argue no harm was done. And yet, stealing still remains wrong, inherently.

    Your analogy of arrogance is not accurate at all, Alan. For one, no one in the Church is saying "I am so much better than you!!" In fact, if you read the lives of the saints, they are the most humble of all, seeing their sins clearly. They count others as better than themselves, and yet they fully understand that the Church teaches truth.

    Would you say that the math teacher who teaches correctly is "arrogant"?

    ReplyDelete
  169. "And nothing (nothing!) like that has happened in the history of the world."

    What I mean here is that you will not find that level of consistency in teaching (even when the world opposes her) in any institution or entity other than the Church. It's an anomaly that is worth pondering!

    ReplyDelete
  170. Bill you really did not answer my question:

    You will accept the "experts" in psychology when the majority of them declare that pedophilia is not a disorder, correct?

    See, at one point, you said you would "rely on" the "experts" in psychology, and now you seem to be saying that you won't. Help? Where does morality come from? Who is its arbiter? And are you saying that somehow pedophilia can be not a disorder but still be "wrong"? If it's one day declared to be not disordered, then what would make an ordered act wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  171. Leila,
    Stealing from the rich still causes harm. It cause loss of property. That is harm. Will you honestly argue if "no one is the wiser" then it is not wrong?

    I never said the child claimed to be better. The child was just pointing out truths to your child.

    It's a perfect analogy.

    No a teacher who teaches math correctly is not arrogant. Your point?

    Nor is a lighthouse beacon arrogant (are you really going to argue against my analogy and for this one? Didn't realize inanimate objects were capable of human actions)

    You ask who is the arbiter of morality. I'll give you an answer. For the most part society is. That's why morals change over time. Different society (and religions) have different morals.

    Would you agree that is a factual statement?

    As for disordered, I think a great many would argue that we are not ordered to believe in an all powerful never seen leader. And less ordered to believe in the catholic church.

    ReplyDelete
  172. If it's one day declared to be not disordered, then what would make an ordered act wrong?

    Something like adultery might not be disordered but it would be wrong. All I'm trying to say is the Church is not always right when it condemns a particular kind of action this proving it is human and not infallible. But you can't admit that.

    ReplyDelete
  173. "All I'm trying to say is the Church is not always right when it condemns a particular kind of action this proving it is human and not infallible."

    Not always right according to… whom? Who determines what is right? Alan says that society "for the most part" is the arbiter of morality. Do you agree? That makes morality subjective. If there is no higher authority for what is moral than society, then there is nothing that is right or wrong that cannot be reversed. Nothing.

    Alan, let me try it this way (since, again, I cannot seem to stay on the same page as you; we do not debate well together). Is a math teacher giving correct answers "arrogant" for doing so?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  174. Will you honestly argue if "no one is the wiser" then it is not wrong?

    Of course not, Alan, as I am a Catholic. Certain things are always inherently wrong, no matter if there is perceivable harm or not.

    You ask who is the arbiter of morality. I'll give you an answer. For the most part society is. That's why morals change over time. Different society (and religions) have different morals.

    Would you agree that is a factual statement?


    Absolutely. Now, which society is right? Which individual is right? How do we know? Is there an objective standard of Truth?

    And what did you mean by "for the most part"? That does not make sense when talking about morality. How do you know it's for the most part? And what of the rest? And who decides which part is actually moral?

    ReplyDelete
  175. "No a teacher who teaches math correctly is not arrogant."

    Sorry, I see you already answered that. Sorry! Can you explain your answer? Why is a teacher who teaches math correctly not arrogant?

    ReplyDelete
  176. Leila

    No a math teacher is not arrogant for giving the correct answer. Math has a right answer. A correct answer. One that has a universally accepted answer.

    As to which society is right on all morals I'd say none. I'd say the same to any religion being right on all morals. Hasn't that always been the basic point of our debates?

    As my "for the most part comment" there are churches that, as you have shown, are more global than any society. So that has some play in creating morals as well. And of course some things, like murder and stealing that seem to have been always considered immoral throughout time and societies. So I think many different things do indeed come into play in deciding morality.

    I'm glad that you could actually agree with something I have said, it shows progress.

    But can you answer this? If universal law is written in our hearts you being a catholic would have no bearing on thinking stealing is wrong though. It just would be wrong, catholic or not.


    ReplyDelete
  177. "I'm glad that you could actually agree with something I have said, it shows progress."

    Alan, what progress? I have not changed my position. I have always held the position that different societies have had varied moral values -- hopefully every human being on the planet can agree on that (it's kind of a "duh"). So, I'm not sure of your point? Just because societies have had different values and morality does not mean that they are right or wrong on any particular point of morality.

    "If universal law is written in our hearts you being a catholic would have no bearing on thinking stealing is wrong though. It just would be wrong, catholic or not."

    Absolutely. Anyone can access the universal moral law by mere reason. It's not a point of revelation (as doctrine is). So, yes, the moral law is accessible to all. (That is why Gandhi and Freud, a Hindu and an atheist, could both see that contraception was a disordered use of human sexuality, for example.) However, many, many people choose to deny their consciences, or justify their actions, or cloud their consciences with sin that they cannot (or don't wish to) let go of. Other people have malformed consciences, for varied reasons, including upbringing. That is why, even though it is written on our hearts that "we do not kill innocent human beings", we still see genocide among people, for example. That is why even though we can understand via reason that stealing is wrong, we still have massive amounts of theft (even sanctioned by a given society) that occurs all across the globe, and on many levels.

    What/who is the arbiter of morality? Not "where do opinions on morality come from" but what is the source of the objective moral law?

    ReplyDelete
  178. "No a math teacher is not arrogant for giving the correct answer. Math has a right answer. A correct answer. One that has a universally accepted answer."

    Some would dispute you, of course, but let's say that there was no "universally accepted" answer to the questions of math. Does that mean that there would be no correct answer? And there still might be legitimate math teachers, right? Someone might actually be teaching correct math, and we should listen to that person.

    The way you used the analogy of the child, it sounded like the child was being braggy about herself. But the Church is not braggy about the truth she tells, she's fulfilling her mission, her mandate from her Founder, who is Jesus Christ (God). There is nothing "braggy" or conceited or arrogant about performing the mission she was created to perform.

    A child telling other children that she is great is not fulfilling any kind of mission or duty, she's just showing that she has no social skills. The analogy is really off.

    ReplyDelete
  179. Close to 200 comments, and this thread is about to drop off the face of the earth...

    ReplyDelete
  180. If there is no higher authority for what is moral than society, then there is nothing that is right or wrong that cannot be reversed. Nothing.

    What if that is the best we can do? It's not ideal but it is better than one religion trying to dictate morality for everyone. The Church hates relativism because it takes that authority away from it.

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest. We often have meaty and long discussions -- trust me, they're worth following!