Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Please Read Bishop Morlino's Letter

Bishop Morlino's letter on the abuse scandal is very good. (H/T RedState) Here are several highlights:

If you’ll permit me, what the Church needs now is more hatred! As I have said previously, St. Thomas Aquinas said that hatred of wickedness actually belongs to the virtue of charity. As the Book of Proverbs says “My mouth shall meditate truth, and my lips shall hate wickedness (Prov. 8:7).” It is an act of love to hate sin and to call others to turn away from sin.

The summary is the aphorism "Hate the sin; love the sinner," but the people advocating the second often do it at the expense of the first. It is very difficult to say "It's ok to be gay," and condemn the gay lifestyle as gravely sinful and destructive. But it is, and it needs to be done more especially by those who are called as teachers in the Catholic Church.

There has been a great deal of effort to keep separate acts which fall under the category of now-culturally-acceptable acts of homosexuality from the publically-deplorable acts of pedophilia. That is to say, until recently the problems of the Church have been painted purely as problems of pedophilia — this despite clear evidence to the contrary. It is time to be honest that the problems are both and they are more. To fall into the trap of parsing problems according to what society might find acceptable or unacceptable is ignoring the fact that the Church has never held ANY of it to be acceptable — neither the abuse of children, nor any use of one’s sexuality outside of the marital relationship, nor the sin of sodomy, nor the entering of clerics into intimate sexual relationships at all, nor the abuse and coercion by those with authority.

We've known this, and we have constantly received reflexive disdain for pointing it out. From the Catholic League, 2010: "The conventional wisdom maintains there is a pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church. Popular as this position is, it is empirically wrong: the data show it has been a homosexual crisis all along. The evidence is not ambiguous, though there is a reluctance to let the data drive the conclusion. But that is a function of politics, not scholarship." But so many others have pointed it out. We're called bigots; we've become used to it. We're realists.

It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest. And the decision to act upon this disordered inclination is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable. Such wickedness should be hated with a perfect hatred. Christian charity itself demands that we should hate wickedness just as we love goodness. But while hating the sin, we must never hate the sinner, who is called to conversion, penance, and renewed communion with Christ and His Church, through His inexhaustible mercy. 

At the same time, however, the love and mercy which we are called to have even for the worst of sinners does not exclude holding them accountable for their actions through a punishment proportionate to the gravity of their offense. In fact, a just punishment is an important work of love and mercy, because, while it serves primarily as retribution for the offense committed, it also offers the guilty party an opportunity to make expiation for his sin in this life (if he willingly accepts his punishment), thus sparing him worse punishment in the life to come. Motivated, therefore, by love and concern for souls, I stand with those calling for justice to be done upon the guilty.

If you get away with sin in this world, there is more likelihood that you end up in Hell. That is common sense applied to spiritual reality.

Obviously I advise everyone to read the entire thing. And when I say everyone I am including myself; I haven't finished it yet.  I need to get back to work now.

Thank you, Bishop Morlino.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Msgr. Ronald Knox's The Creed in Slow Motion

There are a lot of great public domain books out there about the Catholic faith. One that I'd been meaning to read for some time but just got around to it is The Creed in Slow Motion by Monsignor Ronald Knox, the famous English priest and Catholic convert. The book is a collection of addresses delivered during World War II; here is an excerpt from the first chapter:

Well, we are starting off this afternoon with “I believe in God”; that ought to last us for the length of a whole sermon, even if we cut it down as much as we can. Let me direct your attention first of all to the use of the word “I”. Surely that's curious, if you come to think of it? Surely saying the Credo ought to be a tremendous congregational act, uniting us in a common profession of faith, and surely at that rate it ought to start “ WE believe”? But it doesn’t, you see, ever take that form. Go out to Lourdes, and watch from the top of the slope tens of thousands of candles flickering there below, in the torch-light procession. So many of them, they don’t look like separate candles; it is just a vast haze of light. And the people who carry them are singing Credo; Credo, not Credimus. And so it is at Mass. If you watch the Gloria, it is we all through, Laudamus te, Benedicimus te, Adoramus te, Glorificamus te, and so on; we lose ourselves in a crowd when we are singing the Gloria. But when we sing the Credo, we are not meant to lose ourselves in a crowd. Every clause of it is the expression of my opinion, for which I am personally responsible. Just so with the Confiteor; it is always Confiteor we say, not Confitemur, even when we are saying it together. Why? Because my sins are my sins, and your sins are your sins; each of us is individually responsible. So it is with the Credo; each of us, in lonely isolation, makes himself or herself responsible for that tremendous statement,” I believe in God”.

Interesting to read since the liturgists had changed the English translation to "We believe" back in the post-Vatican II reforms and it was recently returned to "I believe" in the changes of seven or eight years ago. I like how Father points out that the first person plural is used extensively in the Gloria and also the imagery of how the combination of candles make a brighter light; the "I"s combine form a large "we". The collective is comprised of individual parts, of individuals, in fact.

I will continue to post on this highly enjoyable work. It possesses the clarity of thought, precision and focus which is often lacking in much of today's religious writing discussion.