Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

The present crisis in a nutshell

Forgive me for beating my favoured drum but this needs repeating ad nauseam.

The church is currently split between those who imagine conforming the church to the ‘Spirit of the age’:

  • brings greater credibility/relevance and leads to growth.

And those who believe conforming the church to the ‘Spirit of the age’:

  • erodes credibility and authority and leads to decline and fracture.

The evidence is with the latter group. The power with the former.

For evidence consider the liberalisation of Anglicanism which has led to a such  toxic climate that members of that communion no longer stand together- even at the altar! What was a united body has been reduced, by the modernist experiment, to an umbrella organisation for bitterly divided factions.

Should the Catholic church take the same road, and many of the current hierarchy seem to desire this, the result will be no different. Schism is the only possible endgame when current praxis and historic doctrine are brought into conflict.

SHARED PROCLAMATION OF TRUTH GUARANTEES UNITY- not touchy feely half truth designed to make faith palatable to the world. No matter how clever the sophistry provided to hold such compromise together. That is why liberal congregations are dying, losing vocations and closing parishes. But orthodox congregations experience growth where enabled to flourish.

Alas, many in ecclesial authority today are the instigators of the 60’s and 70’s modernist experiment. And having given their entire lives and ministry to said experiment, they are now too blind/ stubborn to concede its obvious failure. So they continue to marginalise/undermine authentic Catholicism- the expression of faith that works- and strain every sinew encouraging change that the magisterium does not allow- the expression of faith that always flounders.

That, in a nutshell, is the crisis of the church in our day.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Previous

Shoebox appeal 2017

Next

website & windows

224 Comments

  1. Simon Reilly

    Was the C of E ever united? The same Church where parishioners will have nothing to do with the parishioners of a neighbouring church even if its a sister parish?

  2. Paul Byrne

    Thank you for an excellent essay, Father. You are, of course, right about the inevitability of a split, as in the Church of England. I assume that many at the top of the Church are aware that this split will happen sooner or later and may well welcome such a development. Pope Francis is reported to have said that he may enter history as the one who split the Church. The Pontiff and his kitchen cabinet may well be of the view that modernists and the uncritical middle will remain with him. Those who oppose the current agenda are seen as a dispensable minority, and New Church would be better off without them!

    • Ed of Ct.

      Bergoglio Francis reminds me of infamous B. Spong of USA and Tutu of South Africa . Those two( like Bergoglio Francis ,Roisica , Paglia Radcliffe McElroy Dolans both coasts and Martin USA and Ireland ) have so undermined the Anglican Church that it has Disintegrated under their spong and Tutus misrule.

    • Pam

      Seems the Church messed up. Homosexuals were allowed in the Church, (Fulton Sheen?), they seemed to behave and even bear fruit but it was not actually a good fruit. The guard went down, more entered and then the pillage of truth and innocence began. The Popes and Bishops did not admit, repent, bear the cobsequences and suffer the humiliation. Rather to this day they deny and cover and God chastises. He is not mocked. His ways don’t change. The only way back to Him is the same as it has always been. Admit, clean up the priesthood by removing all who claim “homosexuality” (no follower of Christ is a sin. A true follower has temptations and knows this one is no different than any of the other deadly sin but that it does pervert the sinners perception of right and wrong and male and female,) and suffer the agonies that come with the clean up and the repentance. The Church will be smaller at first but God will bless it again and souls will return because through grace the scales will drop from people’s eyes.

      • Admin

        We must be very careful in our use of language. Being homosexual in inclination is neither here nor there. Where the rot came in was where people, swept up by the sexual revolution, no longer kept to vows of chastity. Gay and straight. Those who took secret women and sired children out of wedlock and those who entered the gay scene by night and the sanctuary by day. This is what caused the abuse crisis and also led to much compromise, cover up and corruption as clergy lived two lives. I have seen it myself all too often. So you make a valid point- but it is to do with a sexually active group of men within the priesthood rather than those of any orientation who, when chaste, can be a great blessing to the church.

        • Pat

          Unfortunately, Christ Himself forecast the scandal and had harsh things to say about the perpetrators.

        • Pam

          I respectfully disagree when it comes to the priesthood. It may not prevent anyone from being “in the pew” but it should definitely matter for Holy Orders. It is definitely “here or there”. Who among us would not speak up if rectories housed nuns and priests together even if the nun was Mother Teresa and the priest was Pope John Paul II? A basic part of all spirituality and our faith is that we do not put ourselves in occasions of sin. Someone who is inclined to homosexuality is telling us they are not called to priesthood where they will conduct CCD classes for teen boys and children, where they will spend their lives with other men etc. The disconnect with the opposite sex is a flag that should never be ignored. Further the tendency toward the put down jokes of the opposite sex and the stereotyping of sexes and the inclination to see through a sexual rather than a pure lens all should make this clear. The Father told us what man is capable of when He condemned fornication, adultery, sodomy, incest, bestiality. In holiness we have always known not to even sit with a sinful thought for a second but to chase it away in horror. Someone who has spent so much time on the thoughts to actually label themselves “homosexual”, has entered into sin. Certainly there are MANY who have had a thought entered and chased it away immediately and they cannot be called homosexual. Rather they are human. When they have done that firmly and from the outset, the temptation, like all temptations cease because it is conquered. That has always been Church teaching and my own experience with other sins. Further, the effeminate are also condemned in the Old Testament so why would we think that has changed? So I guess it boils down to you being willing to accept “an orientation” and me saying, Old School, “NO! No such thing.” Doesn’t exist unless you want to label every person and every weakness as their orientation. (Is Jane Doe oriented to gluttony? Jim to anger?)Just don’t even go there. Don’t even get that far. Enough for each day is its troubles and God makes all things new each and every day. And today God gives us the means and grace to overcome every temptation without dwelling on it and even fearing it, if we want it. We should hate the sin and see it for the enemy to the soul it is no matter what sin it is. God Bless.

          • Shawn Marshall

            some of us believe homosexuality is s psychological disorder of which the demonic take advantage. So – chaste homosexual priesthood? – No.

  3. Tony Hill

    Religious pessimism is itself a form of abstract delusion and becomes an addiction. I should know – it’s what drove me away from the Church in the first place and what keeps me away because I came to regard all Church practice as banal and vacuous. I have never recovered and I have lost any metaphysical convictions.

    All wisdom and truth does not reside with liturgical and theological conservatism. How could it, how happy and good were we before Vatican 2, what would the world of orthodox truth look like if it were put into practice? Wouldn’t we all be bored to tears?

    Predictions of schism will be self-fulfilling. We inhabit a lost world, a world of intractable contradictions, paradoxes and wretchedness. There are some issues where we can feel confident that Love is outraged: abortion, rape, paedophilia and outright murder are on the list but there are many other areas where I haven’t got a clue about what is right and wrong and nor has anyone else if they are honest. It’s too complex, there are too many variables – the Feser article on capital punishment in the Herald is a case in point. Some Catholics think that killing another human by way of sanction is permissible, indeed divinely authorised. Some Catholics think nuclear weapons, guaranteeing as they do the deaths of millions, are moral.

    Things are difficult and messy. God knows what the Truth really looks like. Love is the answer, I have absolutely no doubt, but the World and its ways – including some Catholic ways – don’t fit. Isn’t that abyss of sinfulness, loss, grief and despair what the Cross was all about? But how do we act accordingly? I don’t know.

    • Pam

      Bored to tears? How could we be? We would be too busy, too full of the love of Christ and thoughts of Him and the saints. Neither “side” is perfect but one side denies truth. This is all further complicated by the knowledge that at the end times God will be dragging the bad in with the good, so maybe that explains the heresy….Best to stay on the narrow road and keep oneself close to Christ.

  4. Tony Hill

    PS I have just read the piece on Fr Walter Ciszek SJ in the Herald. I then went to Wikipedia, as one does, and the second of the quotes from him in that entry seems to me to say as much as can ever be said, and that is probably enough.

  5. David Knowles

    In his speech on the 11th October to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelism, the pope sets out quite clearly his understanding of the development of Christian doctrine. Those who say that he has been silent regarding the so called ‘corrections’ can no longer take that line.
    In my view anyone who reads this speech can be left in no doubt that the Holy Father has been quite open about his views and for my part I see him moving the church forward after the back peddling of the previous two pontificates. The real home for those who believe in frozen doctrine is within the Society of St. PiusX.
    This has nothing to do with the liturgy or traditional Catholic piety, it is about mercy, compassion and love. At the root of the whole problem in the church today is that some of us believe that there is room for both objective and subjective understanding of the application of truth, and others believe that nothing in people’s lives, relative to their particular situation can be exceptional. There must be just a little room, occasionally, for a little grey when we have so much black and white.
    Jesus Himself has said that on the love of God and neighbour hangs the whole of the Law and the Prophets. The Law is the guide, it is not the end in itself.
    In my view there has to be a new understanding about how ‘tradition’, ‘revelation’, and the ‘deposit of the faith’ relate to real lives. Change and growth are not necessarily to be equated with heresy; indeed any thing which does not develop, grow or change is dead.
    Surely we cannot reject out of hand, all the teaching of our Shepherd, the Vicar of Christ. Like all his predecessors he is only a man and like nearly all of them he will not get everything right. He might not have a giant intellect, but he has an enormous and loving heart.

    • Pam

      David, the fruit of the group you seem to favor is bad. Children are not considered a blessing but a burden. Marriage is about receiving/feeling happiness and not about dying to self/giving. It is about lust and power not love. It has no true repentance. It welcomes abominations and builds them up in the eyes of children. It disdains discipline and while it seems to love the sinner, it leaves the sinner in a same or worse state. The other side, has become cold in some respects but it sees the light. It tries so hard to be faithful, it fears sinners. We should help them love the sinner better but not reject the truth. Paul, Peter and Jude affirm no adulterer nor man who lies with a man as with a woman will enter heaven. Love first and foremost leads souls to truth. If we want heaven and God and His will, what sexual sacrifice is too great? Do we really believe God will not provide nor reward obedience and true contrition? Do we really not see that divorce is actually being encouraged and license is being promoted? Do we not believe any of the apparitions that are approved by the Church that warn we need to repent? Do we not see the destruction of innocence which Christ came to restore? Have we forgotten that Christ let EVERYONE walk away who would not believe His body was real food and His blood real drink that we MUST consume to have life? Both “sides” have shortcomings but only one side believes God meant what He said. You are loving no one who you help go to hell.

      • David Knowles

        Sorry Pam but I don’t recognise the kind of Christ or the kind of Christianity to which you refer. It seems to me that there is at present a kind of apocryphal mentality around which is only interested in the so-called hard sayings of Jesus and in spreading doom and gloom about chastisement and the like.
        I am one of those who “wait in joyful hope of the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ”. I am not afraid, rather I am confident of His mercy. I have taken Him at His word in His not so hard sayings.

        • Pam

          Hope you reconsider and look at both sides of Christ and don’t discount the half that doesn’t suit your taste.

    • Paul Becke

      An informative post and a much needed corrective . I believe Francis has a very considerable intellect, also, by the way.

      • Pam

        I have looked online for that speech and what I was able to find had nothing to do with the Pope setting out his view of the development of Christian doctrine. Would you cite where you found the speech please, David or Paul?

  6. Just to pick up one point purely on logical (and, I admit, some would say nitpicking) grounds David what would you say about rejecting teaching of a current Vicar of Christ if it could be clearly demonstrated that that particular teaching directly contradicted the teaching of previous Vicars of Christ ?

  7. David Knowles

    Mary,

    This has happened before on more than one occasion in the history of the Church.Take for instance the condemnation and suppression of the Jesuits for all time by one pope and their subsequent rehabilitation by a later pope. There is also the declaration by Pius V after Trent that anyone who attempts to change or alter the Mass in future would be anathematised. PaulVI did just that.
    Of course this kind of contradiction would be impossible in the case of an ex-cathedra pronouncement.

    • Understood and noted David but, to refine it a bit further, what about a teaching which directly concerned the moral law (not one Ex- Cathedra obviously)

      • Pat

        Same conditions would apply. Outside the Ex-Cathedra constraints, popes can change things. Also, they can and do ‘put their feet in it’ just like the rest of us.

      • David Knowles

        Mary

        Just to let you know I have replied to you a few days ago but my comment has not materialised on the site yet. Also another couple of things. If these have got lost in the ether perhaps Fr. Ed would let me know?

  8. Patrick fahey

    Well said Fr Ed and please keep asking these questions. If the current pontiff is to be believed and followed why does he not carry out the function of the Vicar of Christ at its most basic level eg teaching the Faith. He has produced an ambiguous document Amoris Laetitia and has been asked for clarity ie one of His central roles yet he remains silent – why? In the absence of His silence we must infer that He knows that the document he produced is not Christian in its teaching and hiding behind the cloak of mercy is a smokescreen for his own new distortion of Christian doctrine. When he accepted the position of Pontiff he knew or should have knew what the role requires – he refuses to do so despite numerous call for clarity – what has he got to hide if he is certain of what he says. Is the Pope Catholic is the old rhetorical joke. Now the answer has to be almost certainly No.
    God Bless,

    Patrick.

  9. Pam

    You mean you din’t listen to Christ? “By their fruit you shall know them.” People whi disagree with a spouse are egged on to infidelity and divorce because of current policies that have led “Christians” to believe it is of no real co sequence to God. The democraatic platform which has been made up of Christian Catholics among others, promotes sodomy to children and abortion to them as well. It encourages illegal acts as a “right” and rejects the cross. Christ’s promise of salvation demands our cooperation. THAT is basic Catholic dogma. Sounds like you left the faith. Pray to love the truth whether or not it “feels” good.

  10. Andrew

    I have to,as I usually do,agree with your correspondent David Knowles.We are fallible and weak human beings on the whole. Jesus has told us about the Kingdom of Heaven and has told us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Above all he has told us to love God and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

    Over the centuries the Church has tried to expand, explain and interpret the sometimes somewhat bare statements of Jesus, not always succeeding in convincing others of the love of God for us ,his creatures.

    An important detail of what Jesus teaches about love is that of a man and a woman and the Sacrament of marriage. However I don’t see Jesus, and I mean here Jesus,t alking about homosexuality, nor indeed about sexual practices outwith marriage.

    Yes,to my mind anyway, the Church is right to try to explain as best it can, the teaching of Jesus, but always in a spirit of love and understanding of the difficulties which some people have.

    This is what I believe pope Francis is trying his best to do.

  11. Kathleen

    David,

    There is so much joy in our religion. There are so many wonderful things. A Christian life is indeed a happy life. I chuckle when people insist we are humorless, terrified creatures kneeling out of obligation and hope to avoid punishment.

    Most of us kneel out of love not fear. We serve the Lord because he is good.

    But, there is much danger to your grey compassion. I know you mean well so I hope you will bear with me.

    I have spent my life having to find diplomatic and kind ways to tell those with misplaced compassion to “Get behind me, Satan”

    God sends our crosses, He also sends us the graces to bear those crosses, if we choose. By attempting to work around those crosses or abandon them we fail to gain those graces. Which leaves us weak, inexperienced, lacking in knowledge and fortitude to handle life’s challenges. And when those do-gooders walk away……we have to find a way to pick up the pieces of our lives.

    So many people look at my life and say “I don’t know how you do it” The truth is I did it one day at a time with God at my side. He sent this challenge and that gave me insight to handle the next one. And so on and so forth. But I learned the hard way, some help isn’t help. When people wrongly smooth my path or encouraged me to avoid a cross. Bad things happened. To me. I opened myself up to despair, self-pity, bitterness. I find myself in sticky situations with fair-weather friends and no real tools. I closed myself off to real help, true compassion and genuine resources.

    My cross looks impossible to so many people. That’s fine. It isn’t their cross. I am really not that cool. God gives me the help I need. That’s the secret of my success. Other people’s crosses look impossible to me as well. I am, we all are, often tempted to “help” them with their cross. But if my help is designed to let them avoid their cross I am making thing harder for them in the long run.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help each other. It just means we have to be careful our help doesn’t weaken the person. God has a mission for each of us, we should respect one another enough to believe we are strong enough to do what God asks.

  12. Pam

    Andrew, I struggle to believe your response comes from a sincere search for truth. Christ and the Father are One. The Father condemns a man lying with a man as with a woman so Christ condemns it. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Peter, Paul, and Jude did not teach their own beliefs but were sent “to teach everything I (Christ) have taught you” and they say no homosexual will enter the gates of heaven. To pretend it has not been clear for ever in our faith is actually fiendish or the result of severe attacks of the evil one. What the Church is asking is that we be mindful how deeply in denial a soul can go and how difficult the struggle can be to fight human passions and will and to be kind in bringing anyone out of the denial. This is true for adulterous unions as well as for homosexual relations and true for dealing with those feeding the temptations to these and really any other grave and deadly sin. One way, many a parent uses, is to continue to state the truth matter of factly without hatred or bitterness but also with firm resolve that they will not be swayed by tears or self-pity. They comfort, encourage, give guidance on how to take the proper course or what to do in given circumstances, but a great deal of true love is not giving in to the lie that will harm. Christ has told us pray! Ask and you will receive the grace for today’s struggle. Seek and you will find He IS God and can make YOU a saint who overcomes all grave temptations. Knock and the door to His heart will be opened to you and you will see that it is so pure and so spiritually centered that all the things of the flesh appear to be nothing. All! Christ is so pure He, of course, does not speak of relations all Jews knew were abominations. What seems to be lost is that we must take up our cross. If that cross is same sex temptations, we must chase them away, seeing the horror of sin in it. Don’t see any in it? The ones we see are the rebellion against God’s plan of procreation, against loving other (female/male) and not self(person of same gender), against true love of neighbor (abusing friendship and leading a soul to sodomy), against the body (the anatomy is harmed by anal/oral sex.), against innocence ( teaching this is not sinful, grooming, glorifying sex over morality etc.), harming the dignity of one’s status as a child of God and harming family unity, creating division for selfish motives and more. We are asked to die to the flesh here on earth. We are told to live in God’s grace. We cannot succeed on our own. We cannot be good. Only God is good. Those who think someone is good because they do some good things even when they lead souls to grave sin in other ways is not helping the soul by not speaking to them about the peril they are in.

  13. Pam

    Andrew, I wrote a reply earlier but it isn’t appearing so I will try again. Jesus clearly spoke about homosexuality. As He tells us, He and the Father are one so the Father’s declaration of homosexuality, a man lying with a man as with a woman, as an abomination, Jesus said it. Jesus also said it when Peter, Jude and Paul all tell us that no fornicator, adulterer or sodomite will enter the gates of heaven. Jesus also told us through at least one Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine of Sienna. Jesus never spoke of something all Jews understood to be an abomination because there was no need to say what everyone already knew, although through Peter, Jude and Paul we know He told his Apostles this teaching hadn’t changed because they were commissioned to “teach everything I have taught you”. The love that God has for us entails self-denial for our own good. It entails overcoming temptation and developing virtue and self-discipline. It is not about “feeling”. It is about “being”. His love is holy. It is pure. It is not of the flesh but seeks what is above which is eternal. In our faith we know that God is living. We know God and His will through the Bible, the Saints, the Magisterium, the Traditions. The Jewish people knew same sex relations were grave sin. We have all known it. Now, so far from the time of Christ, people are struggling to believe what has always been and will always be truth. God is the best Parent and like all good parents, His yes means yes and His no means no. Same sex relations, adultery are a no. Just as a child cries, has tantrums and stomps its feet and cries, “You hate me!”, but the parent calmly picks the child up and goes about their business and helps the child grow in discipline, maturity and virtue, Catholics today are standing up for truth and without bitterness or anger, reiterating the truth. Adultery and sodomy (same sex relations) are grave sin and lead to hell. They harm us. The Pope is hopefully trying to be a kind but firm parent, asking pastors to accompany people out of deadly sin and into love of God that orders life correctly and leads to heaven, without committing the heresies of being married to two people and receiving communion or being in an active homosexual relationship and receiving communion. When one falls, the remedy is to rise again to life, not to leave one on the ground and say they are fine there. With Christ one can leave the adulterous second relationship or the same sex relationship and find healing and wholeness. The consequences of the sinful relationship WILL be bad fruit: children who suffer, financial strain etc. That is the POINT. That is the lesson for all mankind. Don’t do it. Now the consequences are lived out in atonement and reparation or in punishment as God wills. Same with same sex relations. Love does not leave a soul in grave sin. Christ has said His grace is enough. Temptations exist but when we turn to Him, we find the strength to handle them or the healing to be rid of them. That is true with all grave sin. No exception. One way we overcome sin is by seeing just what a hateful thing it is. Meditate on why adultery and sodomy or same sex relations are hateful. Evidently someone didn’t like my helpful list on this site. They hurt the human family. They are opposed to God’s plan for man and woman. Christ mentioned He wants us to live ONE day at a time. Each day we get a new chance to listen and obey. Ask and you will receive the grace you need to be faithful to Christ today. Seek and you will find the path that leads to Christ. Knock and His Sacred Heart will be opened unto you and you will find a brother, a Lord, a healer for whom nothing is impossible. We are weak, but as Paul says “When I am weak, then I am strong.” When people stop trying to force their way on God and humble themselves before Him, they will find the grace to overcome their sin and be faithful to His will. ONLY God is good. He waits for us to ask.

  14. A

    Pam,
    I rarely make an intervention here,but I do read regularly what people write on Fr Ed’s blog. You may struggle to understand that I am trying to be sincere in following Christ( and indeed seeing in the teachings of the Catholic Church,the teachings of Christ !) However,I admit that I have come to try to base my faith
    on what I see as the core teachings of Jesus,namely to love God and to love our neighbour,as we love ourselves.

    Yes, particularly in regards to policy about sexual relations, it is sometimes difficult to KNOW exactly what Jesus teaches. If I am not sure then I would always point out to someone who asks : a) what we know directly about the teachings of Jesus, and b) what teachings we have had throughout the ages from the magisterium of the Catholic church. After that I would try my best to exercise above all compassion.

    In the ‘olden days’ ,which I clearly remember ,the Catholic Church was the ‘perfect society’. Those who were unable to fit in completely with the sexual mores, or what was understood of them, were simply banished . Nowadays we make more of an effort to understand what motivates people to do what they sometimes do.

    On another tack we have to try to understand that there are many other ‘imperfections’ which are not necessarily of a sexual nature. We should not judge people simply on the basis of their sexual orientation. nor on their genital activity. In fact some people would say that we should not judge others.FULL STOP.

    In all works of evangelism we should point out what we understand of the teachings of the Church and do our best to accompany those who seek our help.

    Yes,again ,Pam, I do understand those who find strength in what they see as inflexible teachings ,but I ask you to believe that those who seek to accompany in love and compassion,those who cannot live up to some of these inflexible teachings,may be equally sincere in attempting to follow Jesus.

    • Admin

      When you say some “Cannot live up” to church teachings are you suggesting:
      1) God’s grace is deficient in granting us the help necessary to attain sanctification
      2) Self control is simply impossible or unreasonable to demand in sexual matters

      This would be helpful to know.

    • Pam

      I assume “A” is Andrew? Christ’s teaching on homosexuality IS clear as I have pointed out and which you have not responded to. What exactly about Him speaking through the prohibition of a man lying with a man as with a woman do you not accept? What exactly about Him speaking through the Apostles do you not accept?( If you are Catholic and you receive Communion, you obviously believe the Apostles were trustworthy regarding the institution of the Eucharist and Christ’s ascension into heaven and even as regards love of God and neighbor, this is what they SAY he said, yet you believe it. Christ spoke directly to St. Catherine about this sin and she wrote about the conversation in her “Dialog” and the Church has named her a Doctor of the Church. You see, you are clearly under attack or deceiving yourself or us. You are your god. You have decided what you will believe and you have decided that you know more than centuries of saints and Apostles and Popes. That is clear also in your comment about Olden Days, which I lived in. We never felt perfect which is why so many went to weekly confession then, but we did know what was sin and what wasn’t . St. Paul set the example in one of his letters when he told the community to send away a man and woman who were in an unholy union. She had been his father’s wife. But Paul warned people to be willing to take them back and be kind when they realized their sin and to help them to that end but he was aware of the power of negative influence. If the Church has failed in the kindness when a person falls away, that absolutely needs remedy and we agree. I see that harshness in the Church often, that does not forgive the repentant sinner. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the bath water. We still remove the unrepentant sinner until they SEE the error and understand the HARM it causes. You are actually judging yourself when you say someone is “unable” to fit in with sexual mores. That is a matter of will. They most certainly can fit in with God’s grace and their will and when you think you can just rely on some teachings and not others you are also judging. But recognize there are two types of judging. Christ gave examples of behavior He called sinful and He affirmed the Ten Commandments. He also taught the law of love, but HIS love ends with great self-sacrifice and death. To recognize that something opposes His way and teaching is NOT the judging He condemned. (So speaking up to someone who you think is harsh to a repentant sinner would be something you should do.) The judging He condemned entails deciding someone is damned, unable to be saved, worthy of death at human hands. He gives us the example of stoning the adulteress to death and the example of the brother who won’t share his inheritance. With the brothers Jesus isn’t denying a wrong, He is saying HE isn’t the one who is called to decide it. The brothers need to make choices and God the Father will judge their choices. Jesus decries busybodies. No question. But the more I read Him, the clearer it is God has ordered all things and we choose to be faithful or not. We should be kind to every soul that comes our way, grave sinner or not. But that kindness should lead them OUT of sin. If it does not, it is no kindness at all but escapism, refusal to face the dilemma before oneself. We are told that if our brother sins and we do not tell him, we suffer the consequences of his fall for not speaking up. We agree that sexual sins aren’t the only ones out there that should be addressed, but the sexual sins are overt. They are not so easily hidden from public view and they cause great scandal. And no robbers or people with anger issues are trying to say, “My sin is not sin. In fact it is a valid state that should be recognized as such.” That effort itself shows the rebellion and lack of humility.

  15. Darren

    Sorry. I’m confused. Are you simply a separatist group adopting the title “Ordinariate”? I presumed you belonged to the Ordinariate established by Pope Benedict. And yet, no one on this blog corrected whoever the woman thinks she is who addressed Pope Francis as ‘Bergoglio’. The Holy Father chosen in Consistory is the earthly Shepherd of the Church. Those who seek to go their own way thinking they know better than the Pontiff or Consistory, are those who stand against truth. Docility is one of the Theological counsels and unity Jesus’ own prayer – the One who is the Truth that I hope you are all speaking about

    • Admin

      Strenge comment Darren. I have a blog and people comment. Why judge me or the Ordinariate on somebody else’s comment? I dont have time to correct every point or issue raised.

      • David Knowles

        I do think it is exceptionally rude to refer to the Holy Father by his surname. Many of the ‘traditionalist’ bent do so as a derogatory insult. But then they are more catholic than he is aren’t they?

        • Admin

          I never have. I also dont like this practice at all. But sadly, on face value, many do seem more Catholic than him at present. Hence the crisis!!

    • Pam

      Darren, in my country, “Ed” is a male name. Not a woman’s. You are correct that the comment disrespects the Pope’s stature as Pope. Why not just make that comment?

  16. A

    Dear Father Ed,
    I have absolutely no doubt in believing that God’s grace is sufficient at all times.
    I also do not believe that self control is simply impossible nor unreasonable to demand in sexual matters. However one would have to define exactly what one means by ‘sexual matters’

    I know that there are people who may have been abandoned by a spouse and left in a very difficult and sometimes lonely position. There can be times when that abandoned person may find friendship and love with another person who might be of the other sex or indeed of the same sex. While they are friends ,that relationship would be acknowledged as positive by the Church. Should they, however, initiate, as nature can sometimes urge them to do, any sort of genital activity, does that immediately become a huge sin ?

    YES! YES! YES! some people would say. Others might say, and I would be amongst them, that there are many more serious sins. Cruelty of a physical ,mental or sexual nature, is a much more heinous sin. Yes, we need the teachings of Christ
    and the helpful interpretations of the Church to see our way through the difficulties which surround us, but we cannot go ‘banging on'(no sexual pun intended) about the imperfections in the lives of others. We need to look first and foremost at ourselves and try to make the improvements which we can ,if we see ourselves falling short. We probably hope for God’s mercy for ourselves and we must try to show that we believe in it for others.

    • Pam

      A, I see that you avoided answering my questions above. Still waiting for an answer. As to your thi king the sexual sin is less heinous, I would suggest that you consider how the enemy preys on a soul. It is often by minimizing grave offenses. The foundation of Christ’s teaching is first love of God. Self-pity, forgetfulness of God, indulging the flesh or justifying a “right” to sin as you seem to imply because of distress or the cross of it, is all just leading souls astray. It doesn’t matter that the enemy has other wicked ways of destroying souls. This way will also destroy.

  17. Tony Hill

    God’s grace isn’t deficient, Father, but we (or those of us who are not saints despite our calling) are and Christ died to bridge the gap, didn’t He? It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try but it does mean, I submit, that we shouldn’t be excluded from the Christ who called upon and dined with sinners if we fail in our trying. I see nothing, for example, in Amoris Laetitia, which condones or welcomes those who obstinately persevere in sinfulness.

    The answer to your second question is “yes”, again for most. Hence, once more and continually, the Calvary moment.

    I have asked the question before but why/what is the Eucharist if not for the rescue of fathomless human fragility? The top people, being conspicuously shriven, will be duly rewarded and ushered in ahead of hoi polloi let there be no doubt. But I would venture that the appalling, recidivist residue are also, and perhaps especially, welcome even if they must follow after – Council of Trent, St Paul and Ordinariate liturgy on the matter notwithstanding.

    The Eucharist is a prize for the imperfect.

    • Admin

      No it has always been a prize for the perfect, hence the need for confession first and for absenting if we havent been perfected by that sacrament of grace. When did we all become protestant?

      • Mary B

        Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say it is a gift to the imperfect who are trying to become perfect?

        • Pam

          one part of what I wrote should read “no one intentionally goes to communion”, NOT confession. Sorry.

    • Pam

      Tony Hill, Christ died so that we may all be restored to the life of grace and relationship to the Father that was lost by the fall of Adam and Eve. That life of Grace is as John puts it in the opening to his Gospel, “the power to become children of God.” It is something more powerful and marvelous than we can fathom and yet people are made to feel trapped by sin. Sin cannot prevail over a human will aligned to God and in a state of grace, (which is achieved through the sacraments). We may half-heartedly try and fail in our lukewarmness and lack of understanding and then we go to confession before we approach the sacrament. No one goes to confession intentionally in grave sin who sincerely believes. Judas did not sincerely believe. And the issue is that there IS a question to me and perhaps many others about people being obstinate in sin if they are divorced and remarried without an annulment and yet Amoris says there may be circumstances where this can continue and they can receive. The reasons given do not include getting an annulment. There seems to be a concession that they have a VALID first marriage. That means Christ says they are adulterers. He says it clearly. He says it emphatically. Peter was so shaken he said it was better then to never marry, but Christ replied with HIM, it was possible. It seems however that the reasoning to allow this continued state of adultery is being afraid of causing more harm (not possible to be worse off than in a continued state of mortal sin) or finances (Christ’s Church has no faith He will provide?) or it being difficult to abstain and keep the love (is this serious?) sounds like it is coming from someone who hasn’t read a Bible. Admittedly, I left the Church for many years and came back thinking I would find the same Church, but the one I left didn’t give people excuses to stay in adultery and neither would Christ. He would give them strength to choose Him over EVERYTHING. He was clear that leaving someone for another caused adultery in the one left behind and was adultery. The only way to get things right was to either go back to spouse number one or to become and stay single, at the time I left. And I left because I knew that men expected premarital sex and NO ONE was interested in a woman who wanted to wait and I wanted to be married. I didn’t get it. I chose my will. God in His mercy brought me back 15 years later by extraordinary grace from saying the rosary for a sick sister. I repented and confessed and recognized my error and the harm I caused. Yes, families suffer when they cannot stay in adulterous situations and be in good standing in the Church, but not because the Church is harsh but because this is the fruit of the sin. It is like Adam and Eve saying, “We messed up but, oh well, we are just creatures. You can just overlook this because it would be so awful to be banished.” He said, “No. The actions have consequences. That is not ok here. You have to leave.” It is not OK here to be adulterers and “in communion” or to be fighting to legitimize sodomy and “in communion.” That is the problem I see. That is dangerous to have that cavalier blindness around children and innocents. Helping someone means bringing them to truth so yes they are welcome at the service but in the spirit of the recognition of the magnitude of Who it is they receive and His purity, they in truth and humility should wait until they at least recognize they are in sin and need to make changes and go to confession or start whatever action pastoral and civil they need to do to show they are turning away.

  18. Patrick fahey

    A good question Fr Ed. As I stated I think that the present pontiff is protestant and that the protestant innovations of the liturgy since VAT 2 indicated that most of the hierarchy is as well.
    To be a Catholic surely you need to conform to the Catechism, attend the Catholic Mass ie that formulated at Trent and be in communion with the See of Peter. However when that See has been usurped by a protestant we have schism and that is what this current pope will leave as his legacy. If this is not so then why not simply state, and he is usually very quick with his one liners, the truth about his perfidious document?

    God save us,

    Patrick.

  19. Tony Hill

    Well, that will be one way of shortening the communion queue.

  20. A

    Patrick,
    I would hesitate to take issue with you , but didn’t you leave out in your list of what constitutes being a Catholic, being a follower of Jesus Christ ?

    • David Knowles

      Well said ‘A’.
      Sometimes I think loyalty to Christ has been replaced by loyalty to the tribe!

      • Pam

        David and Patrick, those are not mature responses. If one is following the Catechism, the Council of Trent etc., one is following the faith and teaching handed on by Christ. Sound bites don’t bring souls together. These “clever” put downs are destructive of any kind of useful communication.

        • Paul Becke

          No, Pam. David made a very good point. Anything but a slick, vapid sound-bite. However, very few cradle-Catholics can see it, as t seems to be what I believe has been described as a siege-mentality in Northern Ireland. It seems to apply to the US and Scotland, as well.

          • Pam

            Paul Becke do YOU see what a broad brush you use to categorize “cradle Catholics”. That is a form of bigotry. It is definitely not constructive to attack fidelity to the teaching of Christ handed on in the Catechism (although there have been some changes there) and the Council of Trent and to not understand that IS following Christ. It defines Christ’s understanding of what love truly is and it is NOT at one with sin.

  21. Tony Hill

    Mary B: I very much like your formulation. My point was that the Eucharist is not merited and I am sorry if that now makes me a Protestant, which it may well do. The Lord indeed gifts himself, and I was essaying a little irony. You, however, state it more elegantly; all of which is quite consonant with Amoris Laetitia.

    • Admin

      St Paul wrote about the danger of receiving communion unworthily, the church has always taught that we need to go to confession or else not recieve when in a state of mortal sin.

    • Thank you for your kind words Tony. To be clear however I do not think that the reception of Holy Communion if in grave sin (of whatever sort and not just sexual, but what about fiddling taxes, deliberately driving dangerously etc. etc?) is authorised by scripture nor can it be authorised by the Church.
      To that extent I share, as I think I have made clear previously on this blog, the generally expressed reservations about the footnote in AL but not, of course, about the rest that document.
      It all turns upon whether you/ the church think that engaging in sexual activity outside sacramental marriage is actually sinful or not. I am fully aware that many, particularly nowadays, think it’s perfectly OK whatever. Many more think it’s OK in certain circumstances. .The problem is that that is not what Christ taught nor what the Church has always taught for centuries and therein lies the rub. And of course I accept that it’s difficult. But it is even more difficult to try and practice that in your everyday life when, not just the prevailing culture says it’s all OK to let everything hang out and do what you want but the Church then starts to head in that direction as well. Because what I am clear about and, in this I absolutely agree with Fr. Ed, is that this will inexorably lead to the unravelling of family life and the marital bond and the casualties of that are, in the first instance, children but then society in the wider sense as we can already see all around us.
      Cardinal Walter Marx, when interviewed after AL, said that sexual continence for those in second marriages was, to paraphrase, a jolly good thing but only if you were heroic and the average Christian wasn’t heroic. I was not just appalled by that but also outraged because, to bring in now a personal note, my husband is so severely disabled that our marriage has for many years been anything but “normal” and will continue to be so until one of us snuffs it. We can, on occasion, manage to hold hands but that’s it. I have, on more than once been advised by “well wishers” at least one of whom would consider themself to be a Christian, either to leave him or to have an affair. Needless to say I haven’t. I don’t want to, not just because of the the teachings of the church, but also because I know the huge distress this would cause to our children and our wider family as well as the dreadful example it would give of what ” in sickness and in health” actually means. But, extrapolating from the Cardinal’s remarks, if I did I, I could tell him all about it, say I wasn’t up to being “heroic”, he would tell me that was fine, I didn’t need absolution and I could show up for holy communion and he would give it me, although most Catholics would instinctively recoil from this scenario. So what’s the difference?

      • Admin

        Thank you Mary for a very honest and open response. What a heroic and necessary witness you give to the sanity of the churches traditional teaching on such matters.

      • Paul Becke

        Apparently, what Francis has in mind is consistent with the Church’s teaching, but I believe Cardinal Marx is wrong. All Christians, one way or another, are all, without exception, called to a heroic life , though we will still not be perfect. We are all ‘unprofitable servants’, and should never lose sight of that.

        • Pam

          Paul, if it was apparent the Pope was being consistent with Church teaching we wouldn’t be having the problems we are having with AL.

          • Pat

            There have always been those who see things differently and chose to interpret in a different way. I read some time ago that a bishop, in the US, who was accused of being a communist replied along the lines of :- “Dear me no, I’m much more radical than that, I’m a Christian”. Comfort zone disturbance always provokes a reaction and, in the long term, that may actually be a good thing. After all one has to stir up hardened ground to prepare it for planting.

          • David Knowles

            Pam,

            Why are you having problems with it Pam? How is it affecting your life?

          • Pam

            This is not that type of thing Pat.

          • Pam

            I have a problem with it because it is contrary to the teaching of the Church to say one CAN be in an adulterous relationship or a some sex relation AND receive communion. It affects not just me but all of us because it undermines marriage and virtue and harms peace, friendship, family and truth and more.

  22. Sorry Reinhard Marx not Walter

  23. Tony Hill

    Thank you Pam and thank you Father. As the poet said: the meaning is in the waiting.

  24. Pam

    Driving dnagerously? Those people who don’t get out of the passing lanes when they refuse to let others pass? You equate that with adultery and sodomy!? Mary!!! Lol. Just pull over and no one will need to drive dangerously. I see this baloney every day. Who are you to judge, enforce as Christ said to the brither who wanted intervention in splitting the family inheritance. Otherwise, I think we agree. Doesn’t matter what the world thinks about morality. Christ and the Church has been clear to Catholics.

    • Mary B

      Pam, firstly forgive me for informing you further about road traffic law (and I bear in mind that you are clearly in the USA and I acknowledge also that I am an English lawyer but the moral law applies irrespective; on that I think we both agree). Driving dangerously is not the same as driving inconsiderately. The clue is in the nomenclature. In my work over the years I have seen the result of dangerous driving many times and I can assure you that, if it is done deliberately, it completely fulfils the threefold requirement for mortal sin of grave matter (deliberately endangering another’s life and/or property) full knowledge and full consent. Someone pulling over would not have made any difference in the causing death by dangerous driving cases I have dealt with.

      Secondly “Who are you to judge, enforce as Christ said to the brither who wanted intervention in splitting the family inheritance” doesn’t make sense so, if you are trying to make a point, perhaps you might want to rephrase it.

      Thirdly – and if I may offer a piece of unsolicited advice – it is that you might find others more receptive when you express orthodox views if you did not express them with, on occasion, shrill rudeness. Proclaiming the truth is one thing. Insulting people individually and en masse and hectoring them is quite another and is always counterproductive.

      • Pam

        Mary, shrill rudeness is in the ear of the hearer. Certainly nothing was shrill as typed. I was surprised that you would equate dangerous driving with sodomy and adultery. Sodomy is the correct term and if someone is offended, they should be asking themselves why? It isn’t the term that is the problem but the act between to people of the same sex which has destroyed friendship as we know it. Again, not a shrill statement, just a fact. As per your question about the example of Jesus refusing to be the enforcer of laws for the brother who wanted Him to step in and force his brother (typo evidently in the original), to share the inheritance the older brother had acquired, the point is Christ is not a vigilante enforcer. Regardless that He KNOWS and IS the TRUTH and the LAW, His and our role is to show people the Father by living the virtue, doing the good, teaching the Truth and showing the love (and the love He shows is not touchy/feely but selfless dying and giving). In our country there are many liberals who have decided they are going to make us do things not by spreading truth and love, but by the force of wills. The road incidents I speak of are an example of that and I am truly sorry if there was a breakdown of communication because of our different nationalities. It has nothing to do with goodness and everything to do with anger and passive aggression and it actually CREATES road rage here in the U.S. and it IS driving dangerously because it is willful blocking and barricading of lanes, in concert with like minded drivers. Truly, it can and does lead to serious injury and deaths and may well be a mortal sin although these people seem to believe they are fighting a “just war” and would contest your assertion that they are knowingly sinning. That is not the case for adulterers and people in same sex relations and to refer to them as a group is not insulting “en masse”. It is stating a truth. Your ears are reacting because you are sensitive to the truth of the statement and have a chance to face that truth. Are you as careful to tiptoe around the dangerous drivers whose carnage you see or are you straight with them in the hopes they change? We shouldn’t tiptoe around mortal sin.

        • Mary B

          Pam,
          Actually shrill rudeness is objectively measurable just as culpability for sin is. Using terms like “LOL” and “baloney” is rude. Full stop. The manner in which you have expressed yourself ( not necessarily the terminology although how would you describe female homosexual conduct?) has, in my opinion, given the overwhelming impression of being shrill which, for these purposes, is discernible on an objective standard based on what the reasonable man or woman would think.
          Apropos lane blocking you say that it has “everything to do with anger and passive aggression and it actually CREATES road rage here in the U.S. and it IS driving dangerously because it is willful blocking and barricading of lanes, in concert with like minded drivers. Truly, it can and does lead to serious injury and deaths and may well be a mortal sin although these people seem to believe they are fighting a “just war” and would contest your assertion that they are knowingly sinning. ” Well, just as grave sinful sexual conduct is never excused by a belief that you are doing it for a good reason (unless you are going to align yourself with the most extreme liberal interpretations of the footnote in AL), neither is a belief that, by driving like an idiot, you are fighting a just war ( a ridiculous assertion and comparison to make anyway ) a get out for seriously sinful conduct. Although, given that you initially described my suggestion that deliberately driving dangerously was seriously sinful, by immediately conflating it with lane blocking and then saying “LOL” and describing the (false) comparison you had made as “baloney” I am more than ever confused about what you are actually trying to say.
          I wasn’t actually talking about the way you described certain groups of people as insulting them en masse but, rather than go into that which is relatively tangential in the light of the rest of your post:-
          1. To say to me that “Your ears are reacting because you are sensitive to the truth of the statement and have a chance to face that truth” is yet another example of the shrill rudeness you have denied but this time outrageous as well. How dare you presume to know what my motivation is? For the record however my position on this blog and elsewhere has always been one of defending orthodox sexual morality and, as you may possibly have noticed if you read what i wrote about my own circumstances, at some personal cost. But what I have also pointed out which is entirely concordant with the teaching of Christ and the Church is that mortal sin is not just about sex.
          2. Yes I did always point out to people that they had committed a criminal offence although they were usually fairly well aware of that by that stage. It’s not my job as a lawyer to get them to change however.
          3. You get far more flies with honey than vinegar. You will have converted no one to your viewpoint by what you have posted on here. Quite the opposite. If you are really anxious to convert others rather than harangue then may I respectfully suggest you reconsider your approach and also think whether you may indeed have damaged souls by the way you have carried on here (and if not you have certainly given a bad example which is nearly as bad). If you come to the conclusion that you have then the confessional is available to you as it is to all of us without exception.

          • Pam

            Well, it must be a British thing because neither LOL nor baloney is rude. A swear word,in place of baloney, now THAT would be rude. “Shrill” over here refers to highly excited, high pitched and testy. That seems a poor descriptor for what I wrote. I am making no presumption of knowledge of your morivations but rather pointing out that since this remark causes a strong reaction in you, it suggests issues you need to deal with. I wrote a truth of the faith of used the terms the Bible used. Your issue is with God’s choice of words. He is too shrill evidently as well. While mortal sin is certainly not just about sex, apples are not oranges. Very few people wake up proud to be dangerous drivers, seeking their rights to be dangerous drivers and have everyone cheer on their choice. It is inapt at best. The sin of sodomy andI would think even more so the sin of female same sex relations deeply undermines God’s plan for man an man’s well-being. It harms that plan more than cruelty which doesn’t do the deep harm to core human interrelationships, even though it harms them. We disagree on how the truth should be proclaimed. I haven’t seen much if any evidence of the Church leading souls away from the sin with their methods. We ha e gone from bad to worse. Now people have decided they decide their gender despite their dna. We now have a push to sexually mutilate teens etc. Too much honey and all you get is amess. We need clear truth and when the soul sees the light, then the honey.

          • Pam

            If culpability for sin was objectively measurable, God would make man the judge but He does not because it is not. It is one of the reasons the Church opposes the death penalty. Nor is shrill rudeness in a written statement objectively measurable. You assume your “reasonableness” when you may well have an axe to grind. The reader puts the emphasis where they will.

    • David Knowles

      Pam

      Driving dangerously, which results in the deaths of thousands of people worldwide, is far more sinful than gay people expressing their sexuality.
      I think the Catechism, which does not use the antiquated, if not malicious term ‘sodomy’ is kinder in its language regarding same sex attraction than you are. The kind of polarised language you use is the reason so many young people today view the church as bigoted and irrelevant to their lives.

      • Admin

        Only if you take a mortal view of matters David and this life is all there is. Otherwise the car accidents, however tragic, are much less concerning than the sins people commit because being hit by a car isn’t a bar to eternal life in God’s kingdom.

        • David Knowles

          Fr. Ed

          So murder is ok because the victim can get to heaven?

          I was talking about the sin of the drivers causing the deaths not the unfortunate victims of the dangerous drivers.

          In any case, how can you possibly judge the culpability of individuals in their actual situations by applying blanket condemnations?

          • Admin

            Sorry I misunderstood. I still dont think it works. Because we either choose to be in a state of grace or not. How we choose not might have greater or lesser consquences on the lives of others- but for us the result is the same.

        • Father no one is saying that being hit by a car is a bar to salvation. However for the driver of the car who has deliberately driven it dangerously so as to seriously injure if not kill then hitting someone with a car might well be. I think you are slightly missing one of the point s Ia was making that not all serious sin is sexual.

        • Pam

          David, Mary asked me to look up authority for the idea that some mortal sins are punished more severely than others and in looking for that info, I read quotes from St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Sienna, and St. Bernadine all condemning, in very strong language, the homosexual act. It is definitely more grave to your immortal soul, though no sin is to be taken lightly.

          • As all mortal sin leads to hell David but you might well wonder how hell, being the absence of God can be worse for homosexuals than others. Unless you think it’s possible for God to be a little bit absent which is like saying it’s possible to be a little bit pregnant or slightly dead.. See my response to Pam below however. This argument with her is not going anywhere because she is not equipped to pursue it.

          • Mary B

            Also David you will note two things from Pam’s post there. One is that she has let the cat out of the bag by admitting that she only started to look up authorities for what she had so confidently (possibly even arrogantly) promulgated when I challenged her – not, incidentally, that she put forward anything from any of the saints she has mentioned except St Bernardine. In other words she was shouting her mouth off on here without having checked that what she was saying did indeed represent church teaching.
            Secondly that she once again conflates the proposition of (1) the punishment of some mortal sins more severely than others with (2) condemnation of the homosexual act as being, in effect, a mortal sin per se.
            There is , as you and I and I suspect just about everyone else reading this blog can see, absolutely no logical connection between 1 and 2. However as Pam clearly won’t or can’t I am not going to carry on pointing out the failures in her reasoning because I think I will then risk straying into the area of intellectual bullying.
            Anyway we all know about invincible ignorance!

          • David Knowles

            Pam,

            Sexual sins pale into insignificance when compared to many others.
            Sexually moral people have committed genocide, mass murder, horrendous terrorist atrocities.
            Your view or anyone else’s that they are the worst thing that offends God is codswallup. The flesh is weak . It is sins of the mind not of the body that are the most horrific.
            People who fight their own sexuality, like some of the saints were quite naturally hung up about sex and gave it far too much prominence.

          • Pam

            David, Mary doesn’t seem to listen with love and is not looking out for your best interests spinning my accommodation of her request as having ideas first and authorities second. Some teaching are so longstanding we know them without knowing the exact cite. You will note Mary had to look up an authority herself from the Baltimore Catechism. Also I listed liliesofthetrinity.com as the site where the quotes of St. Francis, St. Bernadine, St. Augustine and many others can be found. You really only need search “What Saints have said about sin or gravity of sin”. In looking at that information you will note that the saints, particularly Bernadine and the Blessed Mother to St. Bridget of Sweden emphasize there are sins that are punished more and mongo those emphasized by THEM is same sex relations. Why would Mary want to hide that information from you? Certainly not for the good of your soul.

      • Pam

        David, The language you find “polarized” is actually the language. It is a group that seeks to abuse and use that has made that language offensive. It is simply words with definitions that have specific meanings. It is not an insult like a racial slur. If the word sodomy offends you, why? Because it is associated with well known and established teaching of sin? That is where your battle is. Not with me. The language is not polarizing, it is accurate. As to dangerous driving being more sinful, I would contest that very strongly. I lived through the 60’s and saw the reports and the news and the families by the thousands whose sons were lost to aids and the thousands more who contracted HIV which men and now women are still contracting. This came out of nowhere. One day no one had ever heard of the disease and then every week there were more thousands lost. It was unbelievable, a true plague. When people realized that there was a price to pay for promiscuity the denial and anger were so deep that gay men purposely infected healthy people, men and women and gave tainted blood to blood banks and starting looking for young virgin boys who they could safely have sex with. It has been a nightmare of grooming, seducing, coercing, playing weaknesses to ensnare etc. It is a spiritual battle. The current push is to promote same sex unions to limit promiscuity although most gays will admit they don’t feel as obliged to fidelity as a heterosexual couple would feel. It is a tragedy all around. It has been reported that upwards of 45% of homosexuals are actually rape victims and that IS the case for Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell. This is not about hating people or groups this is about a spiritual battle that wants to lie, deceive, lead souls to hell and it is something everyone should work to overcome. Christ has PROMISED His grace is enough. You sugar coat using the phrase “express their sexuality.” It is clear science that anal and oral sex are harmful and increase cancer, lower the immune system, lower life expectancy, are one of the ways HIV and AIDS are transmitted. Anal sex leads to incontinency, tears and surgery. It is all clearly against our biology. I am so aware our young people have been indoctrinated and do not have the support and truth they need. I have seen kids groomed, coerced, known of the rape victims, seen the mental abuse of the young to break down their confidence and self-esteem and manhood or womanhood. It is nasty, subtle stuff and it is not loving. The Church is not bigoted nor irrelevant for all these reasons. It is the light in the darkness. With Christ, no sin is too great to overcome or be forgiven. The Church is HOPE and THAT, the world cannot abide. They want people to think it is impossible, to hard, not fun etc. It is just the opposite.

        • David Knowles

          Pam

          There is some truth in what you say. However hiv has killed mostly heterosexuals in third world countries such as Africa.
          Promiscuity, rape, sexual abuse,peodiphilia, grooming and std’s are statistically more associated with heterosexuals than homosexuals.
          Most of the abuse hurled at homosexuals is concerned with the activities of men. What about lesbians? They don’t spread aids, they don’t become incontinent, and as far as I know are not very much involved in rape.
          As I have said many times before, so-called Christianity is a very convenient vehicle for homophobic bigotry.

          • Pam

            David there is a lot of truth in what I say. Yes Africa has been decimated by Aids which is why so many nations there have forceful laws against homosexuality and their Bishops are crying out the dangers but are not being listened to. The only way to contract the disease is blood to blood contact and shared needles and homosexual relations are the main methods. Many people are bisexual and hide their homosexuality with a wife. That is why so many heterosexuals are involved in Africa. Statistically, heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals but despite its small percent of the population, homosexuals have a much greater proportion of rapes, stds, hiv etc. Lesbians are definitely involved in rape, grooming, etc. , but the real damage is that the one God formed as the nurturer, the more selfless, the glue of family, has rejected God’s plan and rejected man and becoming one. She who has been created to love and nurture chose self and anger, resentment, and isolation. There is no bigotry in the Catholic perspective, just truth. Is one bigoted to hate a sin? No. Catholics would lead souls away from temptations to sin. That is where real love is.

        • Andrew Welsby

          You lived through the ’60s and witnessed HIV and AIDS??? Probably tells us all we need to know about your grasp on reality…..

          • Pam

            Whatever that means Andrew…? As opposed to those too young to have any idea?

        • Mary B

          Pam, the consistent teaching of the Church is that mortal sin is mortal sin. If driving dangerously fulfils the criteria for mortal sin then it is every bit as bad as homosexual conduct which also fulfils those criteria. if you are going to be the standard bearer of orthodox morality and there is nothing at all wrong with that then you need to get your moral theology right.

          • David Knowles

            Mary,

            A bit of rationality from you as usual Mary.Thank you.

            ‘Secular’ homophobes are merely homophobic, whereas some Christians who are homophobic don’t realise to what extent they eggagerate and warp the teaching of the Church so that it becomes a weapon of anger, hatred and bigotry.
            I have every respect for those who genuinely accept the Church’s traditional line on this matter but who nevertheless are not filled with venom, bitterness and yes, in some cases, hatred for those who are saddled with same sex attraction.

          • Paul Becke

            I think well-meaning apologists for sodomy and its practitioners, here, are missing the point, namely, that it is a most seminal sin (no pun intended).

            Murders between homosexuals, males at least, tend to be unusually violent, and the knowledge that it’s disordered drives a relatively high percentage of them I believe to drink and drugs, and the kind of cynicism that prompts them to fornicate without contraception, or even apprising their partner of it.

            As regards Pam’s choice of language, that Mary has brought up, I have the strong impression that Americans tend to swear all the time – Pam’s was just actually truculent and combative, wasn’t it? – and I believe it is down to the enormous stresses so many of them are living under all the time.

            I read today that the number of homeless in the UK is the size of the population of Newcastle, one of our major cities, so what the number in the US must be, doesn’t bear thinking about. And then there’s the food-banks, (now adopted here, of course, in the UK), instead of adequate welfare, a dreadful health service for poorer folk, etc.. Well, the root problem is the bought and paid for politicians in the pocket of the ‘deep state’, isn’t it ? But anyway, for too many people, it must be a hideously stressful existence. – hence the routinely-incessant swearing. Not that I’m denying that I’m prone to swear under stress, and sometimes just frustration – compounded on occasions by a hint of animism, cursing inanimate objects!

  25. Patrick fahey

    Dear A,

    For me being a Catholic means being a follower of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Those who are not Catholic and purport to be so can be questioned on the basis that their churches have usurped the teachings of the Saviour which is precisely what is now happening in the Church that He formed.

    God Bless us all,

    Patrick.

  26. David Knowles

    Fr. Ed,

    How can you possibly know the result of anyone’s actions or intentions? Only God and the person involves knows.
    Yes, we can judge and sometimes we could be correct. But our judgements are human and fallible and sometimes they are wrong. Should they even be made in the first place?
    Using moral absolutes as certainties and applying them in all cases makes of Christianity a kind of religious totalitarianism which rides roughshod over the realities and particularities of people’s lives.
    I remember when at Vatican II it was decided to emphasise the adulthood of the laity and to strongly uphold the supremacy of conscience, there was a lot of conflict about what this could mean.
    It was finally accepted as legitimate only if the conscience was properly ‘Informed’. It was ultimately decide that this meant informed by the magisterium. I remember wondering what the point of all that had been.
    After the Council the main problem has, until this Pontificate, always boiled down to whether Truth is always absolute or sometimes relative. In practical day to day living it has been my experience that most laity and priests believe the latter whilst the official line postulates the former. I realise that in the circles in which you move this may not be the same.
    What the present pope is trying to do is introduce some transparency into our lived situations. He has simply acknowledged the reality of the dichotomy between theory and praxis.
    Beating the drum for cut and dried, one size fits all moral absolutes can sometimes be cover for deep psychological insecurity. For my part I applaud Francis and am confident to follow where he leads. Time, I believe will prove him right. He is the logical successor to John XXIII and despite the strong counter councillor activities of their intermediatries it is these two who have let a geni out of the bottle which can not be put back in.

  27. Pam

    The teaching of the Church is that not all sin is the same. All mortal sin is an act, with knowledge of its sinfulness that is freely assented to. But those acts have degrees of severity. Not all have been labeled abominations. Some have.

    • Mary B

      Pam,

      This is a composite reply to the various replies you have posted in response to me and to Andrew and to David Knowles.

      1. The HIV/Aids epidemic was in the 80s and 90s. not the 60s. This is not opinion, it is verifiable historical fact. Your response to Andrew is a non sequitur.
      2. I would be very interested to see you produce an authority for your proposition that the Church grades mortal sins according to severity ; the fact that some of them have particular names doesn’t alter their relative gravity.
      3. It is perfectly possible to be rude without using swear words. For example, if I were to suggest that the strident nature of your postings about homosexuality and the fact that you have got even more over the top when you have turned your attention to ” the sin of female same sex relations”, is due to the fact that these issues cause a strong reaction in you and suggest issues you need to deal with, maybe even an overreaction because you yourself are repressing certain inclinations in yourself, that would be very offensive without a single swear word being used. Of course I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.
      4. The debate on Fr. Ed’s blog is always spirited but also almost always civilised, charitable and measured. if you want to engage in the ranting you have done here (we are not talking about the issues themselves but rather the way you express yourself and behave towards other posters) then may I very respectfully suggest that some of those traditionalist blogs of the swivel eyed variety might be a better home for you. The Remnant or Vox Cantoris I would think would suit you perfectly.

      • Pam

        Mary, the sexual and drug revolution began in the 60s and I have seen the evolution of it all. Exactly which reply to Andrew are youmlabelong a non sequitur? You seem to struggle with pride and a lack of humility. Perhaps simply because of the times I have lived in or more likely because of who God made me to be, I have been exposed to all the many sinful sides of same sex relations. I have seen children’s innocence lost to the sin, teachers pushing the sin, families harmed by the sin, victims of the rapes that led to the sin, the loss of innocence and friendship, the young men seeking a father figure who were seduced instead, the authority figures who abused their station to both coerce and seduce and on and on. There is no question the act is sin and leads to sin and promotes many sins and especially against innocence and true love. I see the spectrum of the sin and recognize it for what it is but at the same time KNOW that those who are involved in the sin had little or no light to help them recognize the beast that sought them out. You may want to silence truth by labeling it vitriole but that is a political spin, not at all what is written. It is an assumption and a defensive outlook. Has Fr. Ed put you in charge of the blog or have you declared yourself the arbiter of all that is good and true? What is over the top is your hypersensitive and vitiolic labels and for that I am sorry. Hearing unpleasant truths should be a cause for prayer and seeking, not lynching. My “reaction” is in fact no reaction at all but an inderstanding of the purity of Mary and Christ and an extrapolation from there. Women were created, among other reasons, to be fruitful and to love and nurture not only the child, but the man. Rejecting the man (or the woman for men) is a stunning rebellion, pure and simple and it begins with a thought, a temptation, which Christ can and will overcome if we give Him the opportunity and follow His way. Instead of teaching THIS to children, we are leading them happily to the sin and the fall. None of this is ranting. It is responding in truth to the posts. We cease to be Catholic when we are sorted into categories. We are free and go wherever He sends us.

        • Mary B

          Give over Pam. The record is stuck. And although I will freely admit to hotheadedness and, sometimes, intellectual pride as some of my less attractive features, hearing accusations of lack of humility and pride from you takes the biscuit. Or cookie to translate. All advocates are taught that you don’t make a good point better by bashing it to death. You’ve said your pieces ad nauseam. Literally. Largely I don’t disagree with the gist of what you say but I do vehemently disagree with the way you say it. Now, unless you can come up with that authority I asked you for (about which I noticed you have, so far, been conspicuously silent ), I am cutting this discussion short and won’t be responding further. Vale.

    • David Knowles

      Pam,

      I find the language you use offensive and the way you use it vitriolic.
      Jesus, and even the Old Testament, in condemning sin were never as vehemently aggressive. What exactly is your problem?

      • Pam

        Well we disagree with your characterizations. Seems you read vitiole where I write realities. And it seems you are not opposed to the sin or do not recognize its harm. Please meditate on that. Jesus called the leaders “Whitewashed tombs with dead man’s bones” or words to that effect. That is strong. He caused a melee at the temple overturning the tables of the merchants. It is called zeal, not vitriole. He hates the lie and loves the Father. He hates sin. We are ALL called to hate it. It is hurling souls to hell. Promiting it, coddling it, working to undermine belief in its sinfulness is diabolical. It was never His style.

        • Andrew Welsby

          Pam,
          It might be a good idea if you were to take a break, go and lie down in a darkened room with a cold compress at your temples and meditate on the real harm that your expression of “realities” as you perceive them is causing to the Christian faith and the Catholic Church. After that, you may feel that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is appropriate.

          When you feel able to make positive and charitable contributions, then you could think about rejoing the debate. But until then, perhaps you would keep your toxic opinions to yourself?

  28. Pam

    Appears we have a little good cop, bad cop games going on in the effort to downplay the danger to society of normalizing same sex relations. Deceit and lies are the mark of the father we don’t want to follow. All mortal sin is deadly but there are degrees of sin as Christ taught us and the punishment is more harsh on some than others.

    • Mary B

      All mortal sin is deadly; in that you are quite right and, if unrepented and unabsolved, leads to damnation. You however are saying that the punishment is harsher for some forms of mortal sin than others, hence some forms of damnation are harsher than others. Your authority please.

      • David Knowles

        Mary,

        I think that the sins that Pam finds particularly deserving of damnation are the ones SHE her selves has massive issues with.
        ‘If we have the tongues of men and of angels and lack love etc’ . seems to apply here.
        It is one thing to support the traditional teaching of the Church, but it is another to go right over the top as if one is being personally threatened by them being questioned.
        I think there are other quite serious issues at play here that have nothing to do with the Faith but a lot to do with Pam and it is probably better for all of us to ignore her comments in future
        ,

        • Mary B

          Completely agree David. As you will now be able to see that was the conclusion I had already come to.
          M

      • Pam

        Not correct, David. Just that this one is being foisted on Catholics and society in general at the moment and I know its underbelly. Nothing I have said is “over the top”. Just straight forward. Mary, I gave the reply to the auestion about degrees of sin and will check the Catechism for further citations.

  29. Pam

    Tried to post this earlier but site was down. Christ is the ultimate source when He talks about punishment for sinners and says to those who know the truth it will be worse than for those have never been told or when He tells Pilate his sin is less than the sin of the leaders who turned Him over and the punishment is greater for those whose sin is greater but it is also portrayed in Dante’s inferno which many mystics agree shows hell as a place of differing degrees and types of punishment. Also Jesus speaks of the many houses in Heaven and the logical counterpart would be differing houses of suffering in Hell.

    • Mary B

      As you have come up with what you say is your authority I will comment merely to say that what you have posted is most certainly not an authority. It is speculation on your part (quite possibly deriving from wish fulfilment because of your own hang ups as to which see above). Even if it doesn’t derive from your own psychological issues, it is directly contrary to the consistent magisterial teaching of the Church which is that unrepented mortal sin condemns to Hell and once you are there it doesn’t matter if you are being fried or you are being boiled and whether it is at a very high or a slightly lower heat because Hell is the absence of God, knowingly having rejected Him and that is it. Kaput. Finito Benito. Now be a good lass and go and do what Andrew suggests.

      • Pam

        Jesus Christ saying Pilate will be judged differently than the leaders is authority. He said it would be worse for some sinners tan others. He is also JUST so the punishment will be tailored to the offense. The Catechism says in paragraph 1858 for example says: “The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.”

      • Pam

        Mary B, Do you not see your rudeness, condescension and resistance to the search for full truth?

    • Pat

      And we must never forget that Divine forgiveness and mercy are there for ALL who seek it in genuine repentance.

  30. Pam

    The truth is neither harmful to Christianity nor toxic. What is toxic is lies and deceit or half truths parading as charity. The inability to accept correction or hear a different opinion as well and to label it in inflammatory language.

  31. Steve G

    Prior to reading this strand I had imagined that the greatest divide in Western Christianity was that between Catholic and Protestant. I now wonder if the greater divide is not between those Christians who are defined by what they are for and those who are defined by what – and how much – they are against. In this regard, at the very least, can we not count Pope Francis as being on the side of the angels.
    Thank you, David Knowles and Mary B for openly and honestly upholding the values of the former. Thank you also Pam, for your “reductio ad absurdum” caricature of the latter. I will try to visit you next time I am in Salem.
    May the “Fors” be with you.

    • Admin

      I think the modern divide is between those who believe in a revealed faith- to which we owe fidelity. And those who believe in a faith that is still being revealed- via the insight of man.

      • It’s not that simple Father. As Pam has amply demonstrated

      • Pam

        Faith that is still being revealed opposes the truth the Church teaches that revelation is complete with Christ’s ascension. What is going on is perhaps more playing “what if”. Today I heard on the radio that God really didn’t tell the Jews to wipe out every man, woman and child as we read in the Bible in the Old Testament. According to the speaker, a priest, the Jews misunderstood God because they interpreted His command according to the definition of the pagan nations around them! He didn’t really mean it. The priest was told this by a Spiritual Director because the priest had a tough time preaching a loving God when He would do this. YET, God punished the Jews when they allowed some to live or did NOT kill all livestock, people etc. The attempts to destroy the Truth of His Word is endless! God says in the Old Testament to someone, “Why do you mourn the loss of these people,” or words to that affect, relating that He is God and is doing what is best and that should be enough for this leader, prophet.

    • Pam

      You are the one defining by deciding who is “for” and who is “against”! Actually, some, like myself, are trying to uphold the true teaching of Jesus Christ and some are deciding those “hard” and unpleasant truths should just be avoided.

  32. Tony Hill

    Mary B, yours earlier in response to mine is very moving, if I may say so, and profoundly loving. I suppose I would say that the answer to your question is that you are able to hold yourself up better than most but that those weaker than you are not disqualified. That’s the confounding thing about Christ: because his Love is infinite, it doesn’t obey rules of proportion.

    • David Knowles

      Tony,

      I totally agree that Mary is a shining example of marital fidelity and unconditional love, showing the power of the Sacrament of Matrimony and its grace. She is to be greatly admired.
      Through the power of his sacrament the priest can change bread into into the Body of Christ. Through the power of our sacrament we married people can also make miraculous changes if we make use of its potential and not ignore the graces and strengths it conveys.
      What you have said about the infinite love of Christ not obeying the rules of proportion must have been inspired by the Holy Spirit and I found it immensely moving. I think that we creatures with our finite minds sometimes apply our human limitations to God, not realising that rules, limits, barriers, precedents and fears do not apply to Him.
      We have a tendency to attribute Him with human reactions and emotions.
      Even that wonderful hymn, ‘Immortal, Invisible’ falls short in describing God. If we study the O.T. it is possible to make a list of scriptural descriptions which appear to portray of a vengeful almost vindictive God, but what we must remember is that Jesus took on our humanity in order to reveal a loving Father who was unknown to the world until then.
      When we consider how a human father loves and cares for his children, always wanting to provide the best for them and forgiving them time and time again, it is impossible to imagine how much more we can expect from our Father in Heaven.
      I think that in our differences and our arguments about the Faith we often fall into the trap of bringing God down to our level.

      • Pam

        Tony, God in the Old Testament seems harsh to those who only understand superficially. People seem to struggle with the concept that we ARE creatures. We are made for Him and by Him. David understood Gods love. Abraham understood God’s love which is why God revealed Himself to Him. Abraham saw it in the world around Him. It is a gross exaggeration to say the people didn’t see His love but what they also understood better than modern man is HIS power and OUR dependence. They had a humility before God that has been lost in this idea that God “loves us” philosophy that doesn’t face the other side of God. He DOES love us. BUT those who love HIM are those who keep His commands Jesus tells us. And John explains that those who love Him make themselves pure as He is pure. That is detached from the flesh, ulterior motives, guile and manipulation etc. Yes God forgives but He as the best Father, doesn’t say I forgive and go about continuing in the sin. He says, “I forgive you. Go and sin no more.” He is just and pure and holy so that while He loves us, we cannot be with Him until we overcome sin. Heaven is not heaven if it is full of sin. If we only have venial sins, we can be purified in Purgatory but if we die in mortal sin, we have not loved Him and have chosen not to make ourselves pure. We have chosen not to love as He loves by dying to self. He doesn’t send us to hell. We send ourselves by not taking advantage of His grace while we could. He promised to give us the grace to overcome any sin, every sin. When we presume on His mercy, we err. He said the road is narrow and few are those who find it. The Apostles said we should work out our salvation in holy fear. They lived with Him and sometimes feared to ask Him a question. Please don’t presume. Yes His generosity is immense. Everything about Him is perfect. We need to work to “be like” Christ and not complacent or presumptuous.

      • David and Tony. Again thank you but I would rather, if you don’t mind, that we do not focus on me and mine. I only brought my circumstances up to illustrate the point I was trying to make. I would also add that I have been far from perfect as our own marital story has unfolded, very often giving in to anger and resentment to name but a couple of sins, and it is only because we enjoy generous support from family and friends and well as having the spiritual sustenance of the Church and the Sacrament of Matrimony that we have managed at all.

        It seems to me, whilst trying to be as charitable as I can, that you can’t just say that Christ’s love is infinite (which undoubtedly it is ) and that therefore means that certain actions just aren’t sinful which is what Tony is saying apropos those who don’t think they can be “heroic ” (to use the Cardinal’s expression) or don’t even try or who, perhaps, try for a bit, fail and then give up. As I have pointed out in another posting you get into all sorts of trouble if you apply that argument to other sins.

        Pam’s woefully inadequate “authority” for her proposition that some sorts of mortal sin get punished more harshly than others goes thus:-

        1. Some sins are more grave than others. True. She has referred to the catechism in support of this but it’s not news to any Catholic or at least it shouldn’t be; indeed the passage she refers to goes on to talk about relative gravity specifically in relation to deciding what constitutes grave matter and hence one of the criteria for mortal sin.
        2. Some sins will get punished more than others. True. That has been the consistent teaching of the Church hence, inter alia, the distinction between mortal and venial sin and also the teaching on purgatory.
        3. Because some sins get punished more than others some mortal sinners ( the ones she identifies are, of course, those who are sexual sinners) will have a harder time of it in hell than other mortal sinners – unrepentant murderers perhaps. False. This is a totally illogical deduction to make from the first two propositions and is in any event completely unsupported by any catechetical teaching of moral theology I have ever heard of. Actually I think it is heretical.

        But with the greatest respect towards the argument deployed by Tony which has been couched witha great deal more charity the same structure of analysis shows:-

        1. Christ’s love is infinite. True.
        2. Some people find it harder than others to avoid certain sorts of sin. True.
        3. Therefore for those people it’s not sinful for them to give into temptation because Christ’s love is infinite. False.

        I have tried very hard not to be Pharasaical here. Like everyone nowadays we have friends who are in “irregular” relationships and their Christian charity should often put us all to shame. I also accept completely that individual circumstance can greatly reduce – even all but blot out – individual culpability for actions which are of themselves sinful. But I don’t think you can say that even Christ’s infinite love changes the nature of those actions from objectively sinful to morally neutral. Nor is that what the Church has always taught.

        • Paul Becke

          A lot of truth in that concluding paragraph of yours, Mary, if I may say so.

  33. Again Tony thank you for your kind words. However I don’t think your analysis can possibly be correct superficially attractive although it is. Upon your logic those who declare themselves unable to refrain from having sex in a second marriage are not guilty of sin (I do of course except that the degree of culpability will vary enormously according to circumstance but that doesn’t affect whether the nature of the act itself is simple). Whereas someone who tries their hardest and maybe fails now and again but who really tries has to struggle on. Try applying that to those who say they are are too weak to resist the temptation to fiddle their taxes or nick from their employers or to have an affair or even, God help us, say they are not strong enough to resist the temptation to access child pornography; would you really say that those actions were not per se sinful?

  34. Ronald Sevenster

    What I dread is not a schism but what will happen after it. The remaining faitful traditionalists and conservatives will be persecuted and marginalized by the official Church. And this Church will regain some of its earlier power by a process of step by step paganization that will attract today’s desperate masses. Catholicism will be transformed into a complete pagan religion with sexual ceremonies, open prostitution and, ultimately, devil worship. This is just a matter of time. Today there are already parishes and congregations where gay symbols and flags are openly displayed, and where sins that according to divine revelation “cry unto heaven for vengeance” are celebrated and promoted. Within a generation we’ll see acts of fornicating committed on the altars.

    • David Knowles

      Ronald,

      In the immortal words of John McEnroe, “You can not be serious!”
      We seem to be going from the sublime to the ridiculous to the absolutely barking mad!

    • Steve G

      I think you are being unduly pessimistic, Ronald. After two hours in Norwich Cathedral, yesterday, I can assure you that most places of worship are far too cold for that sort of malarkey.

      • Admin

        Witnessing my good friend Simon Ward being made a Canon?

      • Mary B

        Pam,
        I most certainly did not admit there were differences in gravity of mortal sin at all. You obviously see what you want to see. What I said was “Some sins are more grave than others” ( hint: this is not news) and went on to point out that, in the paragraph of the Catechism you referred to, that the degree of gravity was being instanced precisely to differentiate between the two categories of mortal and venial sin.
        So go off and find me a proper authority from the Church Fathers or the magisterial teaching of the Church or one of the Doctors of the Church that says that the punishment in hell for some sorts of mortal sins will be worse than the punishment in hell for other types of mortal sins (not different, actually worse i.e. more severe in degree) or let’s just call it a day. If you can find me a specific authority which directly verifies exactly that point I will re-engage with you. But I don’t mean “many people agree” or “it is logical to assume” or anything woolly like that. I mean an actual dogmatic statement to that precise effect. But I think I may be waiting a long, long time.

        • Pam

          Mary, without much effort I have found from St. Bernadine of Sienna a quote that those who have lived in same sex relations (not his exact phrasing. See whitelilliesofthetrinity.com for the exact quote) suffer MORE in hell than any other because this is the worst sin. Also the Blessed Mother to St. Bridget of Sweden says those who knowingly persevere in sin suffer a GREATER punishment. She said they crucify Jesus again. Both of these quotes speak to the differing levels of punishment even in hell.

          • Mary B

            Neither of those are magisterial teaching. Very interesting – if you like that sort of thing – but not authoritative.

    • Pam

      Ronald, if the schism were allowed by God, which I believe we have some power to avert through prayer and sacrifice, it would still all work to good. The faithful would die martyrs or continue to live the faith by celebrating the sacraments, living love and acts of charity, making sacrifices in reparation OR before it gets so bad, Christ will return. I read that Lucia said the Blessed Mother was somber and sad at every apparition. She was sad at how many souls were going to hell every day. We should all be sad. Wow to those who are laughing now. Blessed are those who mourn.

  35. Tony Hill

    Mary, I would draw a distinction between the sin and the sinner’s mind (actus reus and mens rea, as you will know), which is an orthodox, and rather trite, thing to do. The opposition to the divorced and re-married receiving the Eucharist, as I understand it, is that their objective state in and of itself, and definitively, manifests them as unrepentant and obstinately persevering (as indicated by canon law) in sin. But what if they, or either of the persons, are/is not obstinately persevering and instead are/is, however inadequately (falling short of living as brother and sister or of severing the remarriage), seeking to repent? I do not see how such a state of mind could be precisely mapped or discerned merely from their objective condition. That would be a partial and impossible judgment and it would be to privilege the actus reus over the mens rea.

    Who then can determine, at any given moment, worthiness to receive the Lord? I come back again to the central question. Is the Eucharist food only for the shriven, or is it also a nourishment for the weak? The very words of Eucharistic institution, the very fact of Christ being killed between criminals (tax collectors/dodgers, paedophiles, sadistic murderers et al falling, however unpalatably, within that class), seems to me to suggest that the weak are not to be excluded – though, crucially, the truly obstinate and contemptuous may exclude themselves, and there is nothing in Amoris Laetitia which says the contrary. It is the criminal who shows his faith in Christ who is promised paradise.

    I rely too much on poetry, but I do like Redemption by George Herbert. He’s as fine a piece of patrimony as you could wish for.

    Meanwhile, thank you, David, for your words.

    • Mary B

      A very thoughtful analysis Tony, betraying I suspect, that you may know a bit more about the law than you are letting on!
      I can see that the scenario you set out might well be pastoral and doctrinally correct. My question is that, if this is what the Pope has in mind and if he is satisfied it is entirely congruent with the teaching of the Church and of his predecessors then why the hell doesn’t he just say so instead of letting all this confusion swirl around resulting then in accusation, counter accusation and general disharmony?

      Ihave previously reproved Fr. Ed on this blog for being disrespectful to the Pope but, on this issue, I think the Holy Father’s behaviour is worse than unfortunate it is downright wrong. The job of the chief pastor is to teach clearly and authoritatively. It is not to send out deliberately ambiguous documents and then engage in nudge and wink tactics.

      I also have to say I am not, as we say in Yorkshire, right impressed either with the way that the German bishops conference and in particular Cdl. Marx have suddenly become flavour of the month in Vatican affairs. The German episcopate is by and large a disgrace. It has absolutely nothing to teach anybody at all given that it has presided over the almost compete collapse of the German church in every possible respect. The only thing it has got going for it is it is stinking rich and that is not, in my view actually anything to be proud of bearing in mind where the loot comes from i.e. the Church tax.

      On a final and less tendentious note however thank you for reminding me about George Herbert and that beautiful poem. I am a lapsed English Literature undergraduate (the lure of the logic and definable answers to be found in the study of law proved to be too much; quelle surprise!) but I always loved the metaphysical poets.

      • Pam

        Mary there is a flaw in Tony’s proposal. If one TRULY regrets an offense to God one does NOT put oneself back into the occasion of sin. One leaves the situation. That is why the Pope cannot make the distinction. If one is attracted to a sin yet puts it constantly before his eyes, one is deceiving oneself to say they regret it and renounce it. They are welcoming it by their actions AND their thought by consenting to the situation. And they are in denial that this in itself is sinful – “entertaining the temptation.” Pastorally, I would think one would help someone come to that realization and see how they in fact are aware they will fail and yet consent to be in the situation that will cause the failure. If they reject this, they reject the Catholic teaching on grace and temptation and how it is dealt with.

  36. Pam

    Mary, Peace. Itis not a competition but a search for the Truth. You now admit there are differences in gravity of mortal sin. You agree Christ Himself says the sin for some (Pilate vs. the Jewish leaders) will be more grave though both are mortal (killing a man). But you exclude the fact I mentioned that God is just and the unlike are not treated the same and so you say basically that hell is hell so there is no difference. That is a presumption that goes against what we know of God. I will not say you are wrong but that you presume. Neither of us having been there and hopefully never going there, we aren’t in a position to know. It appears you want to make this about what you want to turn into a bias on my part (This article is ABOUT divide based mostly on sexual sin), but for my part, this is about the teaching on all sin and being faithful to it. Tony, you bring up a point that is why I cannot believe one can faithfully teach that remaining married “for good reason”, like the sake of the new children or financial worries, is legitimate Church teaching. It seems heresy to me. In the situation you describe one has welcomed the occasion of sin and welcomed Satan into the arrangement to tempt and cause falls. The only way around heresy would to be declare under Papal Infallibility that the sin is loosed, as far as I can see. Apart from putting oneself in constant temptation and by following the orthodox course of removing oneself from sin, God’s grace IS enough and it is enough for the weakest to the strongest. I will say though that we are not the judge. The Bible relates that the man with stronger passions who overcomes a flaw has done more than the mild person who does not have to battle the passions. Someone who is more disciplined is not necessarily by that fact alone, more pleasing to God. It may have taken very little effort for them to be that way. This is something that should be a comfort to all people afflicted in any way. The black man who has lived with racial discrimination his whole life and has maintained his love of neighbor is more pleasing to God than the person who never had to overcome it and did not need to die to self to maintain that love. The person with same sex attraction who turns away the temptation and chooses God is more pleasing to God in that respect than the person for whom it was no real effort at all. But God does not excuse ongoing sin and lukewarmness. It upsets Him. “Would that you were hot or cold, but that you are lukewarm, I vomit you from my mouth.”

  37. Tony Hill

    Yes, Mary, I think George Herbert comes as close as anyone can, in words, to capturing the texture of the questing soul’s relationship with God and the ultimate tenderness of divine love. A wonderful poet.

  38. Pam

    Mary your response is not at all accurate. The paragraph I referred to distinguished theft and another mortal sin and also the distinguished between severity based on who was harmed mentioning commiting a mortal sin against a parent is more grave than against a stranger.

    • Mary B

      That’s not right either though Pam is it? Theft is not automatically a mortal sin. Neither is attacking someone, stranger or not, unpalatable thought it may be. That whole paragraph from the catechism is specifically directed at saying that some sins are worse than others and the really bad ones are mortal. Nowhere at all does it say that some mortal sins are worse than others (although you don’t have to be a mystic to consider that genocide might be worse than large scale fraud but purely on a outcomes basis). But that is a totally different issue as to whether “worse” mortal sins get a worse punishment in hell than the more “minor” ones which is what you have asserted and I am asking you address.

      • Pam

        Mary, it appears your mi d is not open to truth at this time. As listed in the Catechism, murder and theft are listed as examples of different sins that are mortal. Your law degree is making you pharasic and argumentative I fear. God bless you on your journey.

        • No Pam. The catechism emphatically does not say that theft is a mortal sin. Show me where it says that in terms? And any other number of authoritative sources all say the same. Theft of a penny does not – unless the penny is literally all the victim has and the thief knows it – count as grave matter. Theft of a thousand pounds might not either. Or it might. Theft of food when it is the only means by which the thief can survive is not a sin at all. Plus the idea that you are calling me Pharasaical is bordering on hilarious. I am bring precise about what the authoritative teachings of the Church actually are .rather than agreeing with your formulation of what you would like them to be to fit in, so it would appear, with your own prejudices. If you don’t like being pinned down so be it. First thing I was taught in Law school was you never, ever advance a proposition if you can’t produce the authority. And, so it would appear, you can’t.

      • Pam

        Theft is always bad. Always leads to more sin. Always harmful to the soul. The sin IS always bad. It is the culpability of the person that is at issue.

        • Yet more muddled thinking. No one here least of all me has ever said that sin – if it actually is sin – isn’t bad. That’s one of the salient features of sin.. But not all sins even if they are sins are mortal. This is such basic Catholic teaching that I am amazed you don’t grasp it just as I am amazed that you don’t understand:-
          1. What pharasaic actually means and how it differs from a just and accurate application of what the law actually is tempered of course with mercy..
          2.that to construct and support an argument of any sort legal or theological consists of more than googling for quotes that support your theories, if taken out of context and in some circumstance accorded authority those quotes don’t actually have.
          I could continue to pursue this discussion with you but I’m not going to because I know, as I have said above, that I am prone to intellectual pride. All my continuing to point out how you, quite literally in some cases, do not have a clue what you are talking about, would achieve is to give me some amusement whilst further showing you up. So I’ m not doing it anymore.

        • David Knowles

          Pam,

          If the only thing that I can do to prevent myself and / or my loved ones from straving is to steal, then absolutely no sin is involved.
          In fact if I did not do this I would be failing in my duty to myself and to my family, and that in itself would be a sin of omission.

          • Pam

            David, I believe you are incorrect. The ends do not justify the means. It is why this is what has always been called a mortal sin. While your family may be fed, you didn’t beg or work, but stole. The act of stealing started a chain of sin. Someone else has been harmed or deprived of their goods against their will. This creates friction, anger between “neighbors” and sometimes violence. What if this person falsely accuses another of your sin or treats his family badly because of his/her ill humor. You looked out for your belly but did you look out for God’s will? Did you lack prayer? Faith? Did you reject your martyrdom to satisfy your flesh? Have you encouraged lawlessness? The sin just cannot be escaped just because you felt it HAD to be done. Its ill effects still occur. Hopefully you feel guilt for the theft. This is why God said “Thou shalt not…” to these grave sins. Good intention doesn’t change that bad will come from it.

          • Say one thing for Pam David. She’s persistent even if she is totally misinformed. I particularly like her jumping to the conclusion that you don’t know anything about moral theology and have hence been led astray by me and that I had to look up the Baltimore catechism before I could justify what I had said. The idea that we might already have known this stuff and that I was simply citing chapter and verse to prove to her how wrong she was doesn’t seem to have occurred to her. Although I note that she doesn’t have a proper response to my citing of that Catechism except to say she is sorry for our bad faith. Ho hum. Whilst we do have our share of religious nut jobs on this side of the pond they do seem to be more numerous and virulent on the other side and I have oftern wondered why that might be. There probably a PhD in it for someone.

  39. Pam

    Yes, I meant woe. Lol!

  40. Jeff

    Pam clearly “gets it”. Thanks for taking the time to explain in great detail what being a true Catholic and seeking, acknowledging and following the Truth is all about.

    • David Knowles

      Jeff,

      Please don’t mind my asking, I may be being a bit thick, but are you being ironic, sarcastic or serious?
      I have to ask as I’m genuinely intrigued.

  41. Pam

    Thanks Jeff.

  42. Getting back to the authentic Christianity in Scripture is the only solution. Don’t know what this would do to the numbers and the popularity of the Church, but this is how it started out with power. It was counter-culture.

    • Pam

      The authentic Christianity is being dismissed Peter because it seems “harsh” or lacking in compassion to those whose hearts are breaking because their loved ones fell away from the faith. It has harmed the whole concept OF faith. It is an incredible presumption to think that we, 2017 years after Christ’s appearance on earth, know BETTER than the Church Fathers and Apostles what Christ asked of us, yet that is what we see happening. Christ said it would happen too. The Bible interpreted by a layman who has not been given the gifts of the magesterium to interpret it, will fall into grave error. There needs to be a “will” to be holy and put the spiritual above the temporal.

  43. Pam

    Mary, it seems your problem is thinking this is about law when it is in fact about Spirituality, hence my characterization of you as pharisaical. We follow both law and Tradition with a captial “t” in the Catholic faith and what we follow is not an intellectual exercise but a relationship with Jesus Christ. There have been changes made to the “T” teaching in the new Catechism that makes it a questionable source in some respects but it is the Traditional teaching of the the Church that the Ten Commandments are so important that to break one would be grave/mortal sin (the new teaching added is that one must now know it is sin, fully consent and be able to consent to the sin to be truly in mortal sin.) “Thou shalt not steal” is among the Ten Commandments and that is because these sins all harm love and peace. Whether or not one is culpable because they are starving or have been forced into the act etc., the act causes harm. It causes harm to the person stolen from; leads to distrust, anger, covetousness, greed and on and on even though the person may simply have needed nourishment. It is always sin and always grave sin although the perpetrator may be acting under coercion of some sort and God MAY deal with that soul mercifully. This IS the teaching of the Catholic Church. If someone is trying to change it, they are leading souls astray. I am sorry if I have made you feel competitive. I am sorry for your intellectual pride. Any intellect you have is a gift but your intellect is not enough to understand Him. He is humble and He seeks only the Father’s will. Not His own and He doesn’t dismiss people as easily as you do.

    • Mary B

      The only reason I am breaking my previously stated intention to say that this latest posting of yours, Pam, like most of the others you have put on here, is so shot through with errors of moral theology and understanding let alone fact as to be risible…
      “the new teaching (!!!) added is that one must now know it is sin, fully consent and be able to consent to the sin to be truly in mortal sin”
      It is absolute nonsense to assert that this is new Pam. Someone else may be prepared to have more patience with you than I now have but they will probably be wasting their time as there is none so blind as them who cannot or will not see.
      i hope to God you are not in a position to influence others into this pernicious misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine,

    • Mary B

      Part 2 of my final response to Pam.
      This is from the Baltimore Catechism which, as you will no dour know, was the standard Catechism in the US from 1885 until the 1960’s and was itself based on Robert Bellarmine’s Small Catechism of 1614.

      282. How many things are necessary to make a sin mortal?

      A. To make a sin mortal, three things are necessary: 1.a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

      • David Knowles

        Mary,

        That was the teaching of the Church well before Vatican II and remains the same.
        Pam’s problem like many other slightly skewed extremists is the inability to think rationally. They are attracted to dubious ‘personal revelations ‘, warnings of ‘chastisements’ various questionable so- called apparitions and sensational apochalyptic doom stories which serve to strengthen their own twisted view of Catholicism.
        They will spend a lot of time focussed on these things and will search continually for more of this codswallup to further support their obsessions, the biggest of which tend to be the sexual sins of others.

        • I agree David. The Catholic version of the ” loony on the bus”
          Nine if them ever ever have a proper response though when you apply relentless logic backed up with authorities. They just do the equivalent of theological wriggling combined with shape shifting.

        • Pam

          Mary and David, sorry for your bad faith.

  44. Pam

    You are thinking of the flesh. Spiritually it is the worst because of the harm to your dignity as a child of God or because of its total opposition to God’s plan. This is according to Augustine, Catherine of Sienna, St. Francis of Assissi and others.

  45. Pam

    Mary and David I stand corrected on how recently the 3 conditions of mortal sin have been with us which you have found as such great reason for vileness but that does not change the fact that some sins are always grave matter that always cause harm whether or not the person is personally culpable. Your lack of charity is evidence of your bad faith in leading souls to God’s will and away from carnal sin and your arrogance is sad because none of what you claim as knowledge seems to be leading to holiness.

    • Mary B

      David, I am not going to break my commitment not to respond further to Pam because I am now getting distinct hints of trolling here. However, on the assumption she does not live under a bridge and is simply riven with mega hang ups and scruples ( in which case she probably both deserves and needs our prayers) and for your consideration, I note the extremely ungracious nature of her climb down and that, once again she has absolutely no idea about what she is talking about
      “some sins are always grave matter that always cause harm whether or not the person is personally culpable.” is nonsense as you and I both know. If the person is not personally culpable then there is no sin full stop.
      Enough of this rubbish in the famous words of Morecambe and Wise.
      What do you think about the question I have put to Fr. Ed under the “Persecution” posting?

      • David Knowles

        Mary,

        Totally in agreement about Pam.
        As regards your comment about the mental gymnastics of anglocatholics I have to say that no where else in the world could an institution like the good old C of E have existed. Only the English could have created such a confusing and eccentric organisation.
        An ecclesial community established by the state, it was a con and compromise from its devious inception. The aim of the Elizabethan religious settlement was to have a national church which could accommodate as many varying viewpoints as possible from the Catholic minded to the Puritan.
        From the very beginning the different factions struggled to impose their own variety of Anglicanism. Under CharlesI and his archbishop Laud the high church party gained prominence and altars and altar rails were restored . After the Civil War Cromwell did away with bishops and Anglicanism became Presbyterian. With the Restoration the Puritan element ,in the main, left to found the various free churches. Linked to the landed gentry and the countryside it failed to respond to the Industrial Revolution and he Wesley brothers rose to the challenge with Methodism. The nineteenth century brought with it a greater polarisation with the Oxford Movement on the one side, who wished to restore catholic belief and religious authority, the Evangelicals on the other who preferred the church to be more like a state department run by Parliament.It’s history only shows to demonstrate the failure from the very beginning of its attempt at religious compromise.
        One fails to comprehend how the ‘Anglo-papalist’ movement and the other anglocatholics could believe that suddenly a sacrificing priesthood and a valid Mass had somehow risen from the ashes following centuries of Protestant condemnation of the Mass as idolatry. Yet they not only believed this but also embraced Saints of the Counter – Reformation and the very Martyrs whom their predecessors had tortured to death.
        I remember the first time I visited the Anglican Shrine in Walsingham and being totally gobsmacked. Everything the Reformers had removed and destroyed at the Reformation was there , and much more besides. In the Holy House I was amazed to see displayed the Prayer for the Conversion of England which we say at Benediction.
        Like you and no doubt many others I could not get my mind round it. I remember the old joke from pre-ecumenical days about the catholic couple who entered an anglocatholic church thinking it was catholic. Upon realising their mistake and hurrying to leave they noticed a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and the wife exclaimed,” Oh look even Our Lady’s made the same mistake as us !
        Of course recent developments in Anglicanism have made it almost impossible even for the experts in mental gymnastics to believe in its Catholic claims – hence the Ordinariate.

        • Agree David. What do you say Fr. Ed? I am genuinely interested to find out what your thought process was and what the thought process must still be of those who, unlike you, did not accept the Ordinariate offer.

          • Admin

            I think most of those Anglicans who self identify as Catholic but refused the offer of unity did so for a number of reasons. Some were compromised morally. Some were unwilling to abandon the pension and better renumeration. Some enjoy the civic approval that comes with the State recognised office. Some had ambition for office. Some feared a lack of welcome from Rome. Some had spouses who refuse to join. Some have children in schools with Anglican grants. Some are just too risk averse to make such a move. And some were always rather anti-Roman under the surface and just enjoy the lace and smoke and claiming to be the real Catholic church in England as opposed to the Italian mission to the Irish (to use their moniker). Still others are snobs and enjoy the middle class assurance of the C of E. Still others cannot leave behind gorgeous buildings and nice liturgy for concrete halls and polyester.

          • Thanks Fr. That’s all very interesting and I am sure you are in a position to know.
            What about the doublethink that must, surely, be going on under the surface all the time ( see my comment on your “persecution post””). Just for the record and, in case I’m in danger of getting a reputation as this blog’s resident tricky lawyer, I am emphatically not asking you to comment about how you justified yourself to yourself at the time and how others will still be trying to justify to themselves in order that I can then trip you up and have a go at you. I am genuinely interested. I have asked this question of other Anglo Catholics over the years and had responses ranging from the dismissive to the defensive but never had a straight one which is why I think you as an Ordinariate priest some years down the line are someone who is exceptionally best placed to give it. I accept entirely that your thinking processes over the years will have changed and developed as indeed all of ours have; what I am asking you is for your insights from your own experience of having done it as to how the Anglican mind (some of those minds being extremely brilliant academically, let us not beat about the bush) reconciles these contradictions. The Anglo Catholic priest celebrating the Mass of the 40 Martyrs being, in my view, the most egregious example but there are many others.

          • Admin

            I was raised evangelical- so Catholicism was just not part of acceptability- I then attempted athiesm- badly- at University. I discovered Anglo-Catholicism whilst teaching and was blown away by it. Not realising it wasn’t an Anglican phenomenon. I went to theological college and read and learnt and began to doubt. I became a deacon and read John Henry Newman’s ‘apologia pro vita sue’ – the night before I was priested I finished that book and had a mystical experience and knew, with certainty, I would become Catholic. I continued in my curacy and visited a Catholic bishop who suggested remaining Anglican might be wise- but was open to my becoming Catholic. I was encouraged to look at a parish in TW and did so- I was struck- in a deeply spiritual sense- that it was where God wanted me. I took the post. I doubted and was deeply confused. Pope B16 announced Ordinariate- it all made sense. I brought 72 people with me into the Catholic church. The end.

          • Thanks Fr. and that’s extremely interesting and very telling in re the Catholic bishop who suggested you stay where you were. Not sure that St. Paul would have agreed with that.! However when you were an Anglo Catholic priest – and the more so is this relevant given what you have said about your mystical experience – did you actually apply any logic to the sort of disconnects I have instanced. Or did you just press on and not think about it either at all or too much? And is that what you think other AngloCatholics did/do?

  46. I believe that even though a person may not be culpable because they do not consider something to be sinful, they may still suffer the temporal consequences of an act if it is objectively sinful without them knowing it.

    • That may be what you believe Peter but it’s not hat the Church teaches.

    • David Knowles

      Peter,

      Not being culpable means not to be blamed. Why would a just God cause a person to suffer consequences for a blameless act?
      What you are saying sounds more like the Bhuddist belief about
      ‘Karma’.

  47. Pam

    This is not the faith I was raised in. Mary has been making distinctions of law in so many replies and cannot see that a person can be found not culpable but the act is still sin? The act causes harm whether or not the person is guilty of the punishment of the sin. The sin doesn’t cease to exist. The person is merely found to be lacking all the requisites to be damned by the act. The theft still occurred. The sodomy still harms the body and soul, the adultery still rends a family, the murder still leaves someone dead without chance of repentance, the false witness still harms the person lied about. The taming if the Lord’s name still harms the body of Christ. It is basic and it is why these sins are always grave matter.

    • Pam, this is actually the faith. If what you have been propounding here is what you were raised in then whoever was responsible for your religious education has done you a grave moral injury.
      As a final comment this time hopefully in charity rather than the irritation mixed with incredulity which you have inspired so frequently in this posting may I recommend to you some totally orthodox writings and commentaries etc.
      Anything by Monsignor Ronnie Knox . His books are out of print but widely available second hand on the Internet.
      Bishop Robert Barron. His books,tv series and videos as well as his Word on Fire ministry
      Anything by Fr. Stephen Wang
      Godzdogz the website of the Dominican students of the English Province
      The sermons again widely available online and the course on the Catechism (ditto) written by Fr. Guy de Gaynesforde. As well as his RCIA course
      Despite all I wish you well and hope that you will take some time just to look at some of these sources.

  48. Pam

    Yes, Peter. A bramble bush cannot bear a fig. David the just God does not cause the lerson to suffer for a blameless ACT. He causes them not to be damned becaused they lacked intent or capacity to consent. The ACT of committing a grave sin is indisputable. It is what the church teaches Mary and life bears iut its truth. The person who is not guilty of harming someone’s reputation because they lacked intent or ability to consent has still done harm and someone bears that cross. Someone who is innocently dragged into a sexual lifestyle has had that innocence harmed and may suffer std’s. And lead others astray etc. Some acts are forbidden because they harm mankind and its love, peace and relationship to God in His holy purity.

    • And Pam what distinguishes an act or event which causes harm from a sin is the intention and consent. A natural disaster causes harm. It’s not a sin. A freak accident causes harm. It’s not a sin. Damage to reputation caused without consent or knowledge is harmful but not sinful. That’s the difference as you will find out if you look at some of those resources I have recommended

      • Pam

        Not true. The seven deadly sins are sinful and harmful regardless of intent as shown by the examples given. While a person may not be culpable for the punishment due from the sin, the act always and everywhere results in harm. It is not a good nor is it neutral. The person who steals has commited a sin of theft for which he personally may have lacked the requisite capacity to commit. The sin occurred. The sin happened. It took place. The person after the occurence may be found to be mentally handicapped and unaware of the problem. The sin of theft STILL occurred but the person who committed the sin may be judged by God to lack the capacity to know better and would be judged according to that knowledge. If you want to use sources who may be trying to loose grave sin by saying there is no sin whatsoever, they have some “splaining” to do. Good acts can bear bad fruit and bad acts can’t bear good fruit.

        • Pat

          It’s not sin if the person has mental problems which affect moral evaluation. Do not confuse crime and consequences of a action with a deliberate intent to offend God carried out in the full awareness of what one is doing.

  49. David Knowles

    Fr.Ed,

    If these 170+comments stem from a crisis in a nutshell then thank the Lord the shell wasn’t any bigger!

    • MaryB

      Indeed David As Pam, despite the olive branch I tried to extend, is continuing to spout utter theological drivel (“sin occurred even if the person lacked the requisite capacity to consent” indeed! Yeah right) I really do not have the energy to continue to engage with her. She is also clearly the sort of person who absolutely has to have the last word. I suggest therefore that we could continue this conversation under the ‘Persecution’ posting if Fr Ed is minded to respond to the question I have put to him above?

    • Steve G

      The same thought crossed my mind, Peter. I think the prodigious size of the shell may be explained by the appearance of a new – and truly spectacular – species of nut.

  50. Pam

    * correction: Good acts, sinless acts can’t bear bad fruit and vad acts cannot bear good fruit. Hence adultery cannot bear good fruit nor can sodomy nor can theft etc.

  51. Pam

    Mary, Christ said to the woman caught in adultery, “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go AND S I N NO MORE.” Despite that fact she is not accountable for the SIN, she is told she sinned and not to do it again. How could Christ say that if He has found her not culpable? Trying to pretend egregious acts are not sin because we aren’t condemmned or trying to justify these acts as not full of sin and its consequences, blinds us to the spiritual reality that our actions have consequences that affect everyone. There are no private acts. What we do builds up or tears down the body of Christ even when we do a wrong in innocence. In the post anive I should have said the ten commandments rather than the seven deadly sins.

    • Pat

      Err… you may have overlooked something.

      She was guilty of a sin, according to the applicable religious and secular laws of the day (Mosaic Laws), which merited the death penalty by stoning. Jesus had not yet supplanted the Mosaic Law. What Christ was doing was exercising His Divine authority to forgive sin. I wonder what he wrote on the ground that had such an effect on the accusers.

      • Hi Pat,
        I was told once (can’t remember by who) that a tradition somewhere says that He was writing out the secret sins of the woman’s accusers. Nice symmetry there.
        No idea where Pam gets the idea from that the woman wasn’t “accountable” ( whatever that means) for the sin. That she was indeed a sinner and that Christ was forgiving her is the whole point of the story. As you point out.
        Pam very weirdly thinks seem to think that it’s possible to commit a sin whilst not being morally culpable. That’s a species of heresy I’ve never heard of; the raison d’être of a sin is that it is an action which is defined ( i.e. only exists as a sin) by the culpability of the person enacting it. As I think I have touched on above to David Pam’s world view takes scruples to operatic heights.

        • David Knowles

          I think some one should cut the transatlantic link!

        • Pat

          If the mob saw their secret sins in what He wrote then the message about who He was would have been clear to said audience and His authority to forgive made mainifest. I think that idea about His writing has some weight behind it. If so, I think that it is probable that each person saw only their own sin and nobody else’s offence.

  52. A

    On Sunday,5th November someone came into the church and said,:I forgot all about All Saints’Day (1st November)and didn’t come to Mass.Is that a mortal sin ?
    I said,: If you forgot it,then it’s not a mortal sin,but if you remembered the date and didn’t come to Mass then it is.What advice would Pam give me for the parishioner in question ?

    • Pam

      Andrew, Christ advises the narrow road. I would tell you to advise the parishioner to inform the priest and request absolution. None of us love the Lord as we should. We all forget those days the Church asks us to be mindful of special feasts which we should know out of love of God. We should be sad we are shown our lukewarmness and should resolve to recommit our priorities to things above first and foremost.

    • A you are wasting your time trying to reason with Pam. She thinks that any transgression of any sort whether accidental or deliberate is a sin. She is obviously chock full of scruples and incapable of rational thought on this topic as David has pointed out.

      • Pat

        I remember priests, in preaching, advising that people burdened with scruples seek the advice of their confessors in relation to the observation of various fasts and abstinences.

      • Pat

        All of us need to remember Matthew 7:2 and our petition, in The Lord’s Prayer, that we be forgiven as we ourselves forgive others.

  53. Pam

    No Mary, you have not understood. Sin is an immoral ACT considered to transgress divine law and it is not dependent on motive or culpability or consent. God said some thing’s are wrong and forbidden. We call these things sins. The knowledge of the impropriety of these sins is written in our hearts by God. They are grave matter. One can COMMIT a sin (perpetrate an immoral act that transgressed divine law) without knowing (if it is a lesser sin but becomes grave by its constant repetition, for instance). But everyone is assumed to know the sinfulness of grave sin because it is written in our heart as God tells us. A person who COMMITS a sin but lacked knowledge or free consent MAY not be charged by God for that sinful ACT, but a sinful act did occur. The adulteress did commit a sinful act and so did the mentally handicapped person who committed theft. The applicable law, Pat and Mary, says theft is a crime and a sin. The ACT did not become licit. It is not now legal or good for those who are challenged to steal. The sin is still a transgression against God’s law and a crime in man’s law but in some rare instances it may be that someone will be found to have been so traumatized, so coerced, so unable to act otherwise because of circumstances beyond their control that they are dealt with as though they had not transgressed. It doesn’t mean the sin can now continue and steps would be taken to prevent it from recurring-ie., the mentally challenged person would be accompanied to the store. Since we all know right from wrong innately(unless our conscience has been deformed or obliterated), the circumstance with the adulteress is not really different than the thief. If it is forgiven, it is as if it never happened, you seem to say, Mary. Whether it is forgiven for mercy or for lack of consent should not make much difference. But in one instance you can see a law of God was transgressed and in the other, despite the theft and the loss of goods and the tumult that follows that, you don’t seem to be able to see a law WAS transgressed but the person who did it was shown mercy and justice because of circumstances. That is the point. Sin is a transgression of God’s law but we are not always held responsible if God’s justice or mercy sees our brokenness and inability but He helps us “Sin no more” when we reveal that to Him and allow Him to work in our lives.

  54. Another explanation is that all the witnesses left when Jesus wrote on the ground. Jesus declared a mistrial.

    • Well as no one actually knows nor can ever know that is just as much speculation as the tradition I have instanced. Although you can’t declare a mis-trial – at the risk of being lawyerly – before the witnesses have given evidence and a verdict has been reached…and, as pAt has pointed out, Jesus wasn’t in any doubt of the woman’s guilt.

  55. Pam

    Mary, you don’t seem to understand the definition of scruples nor to recognize the truth of what I said. God bless you on your journey.

  56. A

    Pam, many thanks for the taking the time to reply to my question.
    Your answer was much softer and more gentle than I might have expected,
    given some of your previous responses to questions about the weaknesses
    of some of our fellow Christians.

    Of course I had already mentioned the matter to our parish priest, lately come from Rome after working in the Vatican for seven years, not that that for some people might be a recommendation. He said that I had given the parishioner the correct answer.

    • Pam

      A, My reply may seem softer than you expect because you do not make a distinction that needs to be made. Sin is harmful to us. We should never be comfortable with it nor find any excuse for it. It is best overcome with a clear. cold look. We are not tempted by those things we truly KNOW harm the body of Christ and our souls and wreak all kinds of havoc. We see the ugliness. THAT however, does not mean that we aren’t full of compassion for our neighbor and ready to help them OUT of sin. It should make us more willing and able to do that. My struggle is with loving those who pooh pooh the sin as though it were no threat. I know that is not all right either. God lets the sun shine on the good and the bad and our love needs to shine on both as well. Some posters seem to think a sin is not a sin because someone never intended to sin or lacks the capacity to consent. Those instances are actually RARE. But even in those instances the sin occurred. Only the culpability is at issue. The bad fruit flows from the acts and the harm is done and, as is the case with sin, it is either overcome or increases.

  57. The best advice for someone with scruples is to be anxious for nothing and cast all of their care on the Lord. See Philippians 4:6 and 1Peter 5:5-7. I never heard this from a Catholic priest in confession when I had the same issue.

  58. Pam

    A, What is the Church teaching on missing a holynday if obligation? This is just an indication of the priests poor formation or tepidity to me and a cause for vigilance on your part. What huge effort is involved in humbly saying, “Please absolve me. I forgot about the holy day of obligation but would like to receive the Lord today?” I cannot see the burden. God bless.

    • David Knowles

      Pam,

      To forget is not to sin. Where’s the full knowledge and intent?
      One can not be absolved of a non-sin.
      I know we Catholics have an ‘A’ Level in guilt be you have a PHD!

      • Pam

        There is full knowledge of the sin if one knows one should go and does not. There may be intent in the will prioritizing this world and its tasks to such a degree that one has become so involved in them as to forget what truly matters. There is no humility in blithely presuming nor self-righteously absolving oneself in something considered grave matter. One should think about how this happened and how to avoid it in the future. There isn’t even extraordinary hardship in approaching the priest at the next Mass. God will decide if you are forgiven and point out why He has come to that answer when you are surprised that He may disagree with your thinking. You don’t. Human nature tries to minimize one’s flaws. Take the narrow, humble, holy road realizing WHO you stood up and ask for absolution now while you can.

      • Mary B

        Cum Laude!

      • Pam

        David, you are not open to the truth so what’s the use. I pointed out how “forgetfulness” can be sin.

        • Mary B

          Rubbish rubbish rubbish! just for the record Pam give us an example of what you think would be a venial sin?

          • Pam

            Distracted prayer, fights between young siblings.

          • Pam you have said that distractions at prayer and fights between young siblings are venial.
            You have also said earlier in this thread that any breach of the Ten Commandments is mortal whether or not there is intention and consent.
            Per questions 1127- 1129 of the Baltimore Catechism the two great commandments of God are stated to be love of God and love of our neighbour and that these two great commandments contain the whole of the Ten Commandments .
            Distraction at prayer is failure to love God and therefore by your lights by definition mortal. Even if done through carelessness that, again by the arguments you have put forward, makes no difference to the nature of the act itself it only affects the culpability of the actor. This is because you are drawing an entirely made up distinction between the nature of the act and the culpability for it whereas, actually, the culpability is an essential ingredient of the nature of the act according to the explicit teaching of the church. However if you were right then distraction at prayer is a mortal sin, being a breach of the Ten Commandments because the action itself is sinful and it is irrelevant whether or not there is culpability.
            Similarly fights between children is failure to love your neighbour which is a breach of the commandments and, again according to you , is thus mortal of itself although the kids themselves might not be culpable by reason of lack of consent and intent. But if it’s mortal by definition then it can’t be venial can it?
            So by the logic you have expounded both of those are in fact mortal sins
            Anyway, at this point, I am definitely going to stop engaging with you. It must be horrible being you however. In your world every small lapse whether intentional or not will consign you to hell. You ought to read the stuff I have directed you to.

          • Pam

            Mary, you should know that a venual sin allows charity to subsist even though it offends and wounds it. Paragraph 1855 in the Catechism. While distraction of prayer shows a heart that is negligent and careless and continued, presumptuous distracted prayer could become mortal sin, it is not always the case since most people on realizing their distraction try to refocus and charity does subsist. Same with young siblings quarreling. It COULD tyrn into mortal sin if one doesn’t fight the enmity or jealousy or temper or weakness that causes the discord, but in their innocence, five minutes later they are friends again. Charity subsists. Also per the Catechism paragraph 1853 sin CAN be distinguished by act, or according to the virtue they oppose or by excess or defect or by commandment they violate. They can be classed by whether they offend God or man or oneself. They can be distinguished by whether they are spiritual or carnal or as sins of thought word or deed. The distinctions aren’t arbitrary and they show us the gravity of the offense.

      • Pam

        David, a couple of days ago I posted a response to this question and thought you were ignoring the answer. That is why in the post I just made before this one I said, “You are not open to the truth.” I will try again. There is definitely knowledge when a person knows the day was in fact a holy day of obligation. There can also be intent when someone has conducted their life in such a way as to prioritize the world and put spiritual matters in some separate compartment or when someone has, by choices made, focused on the world to the extent that they are so busy they “forget” what should be foremost. Also, one needs to be aware that we are talking about grave matter. Not an area where one should be presumptuous. God will decide, not us. Our opinion may well be wrong and we can only ask forgiveness while we are alive. Also, we must remember Who it is that we stood up.

        • David Knowles

          Pam,

          I just don’t believe that God is as petty as you make Him out to be. You make our faith seem like a booby-trapped minefield.
          We are not playing a game of religious musical chairs where God stops the music and removes a chair.
          I suggest you may be somewhat intensely OTT!

          • Pam

            It isn’t making anything booby-trapped. It is a jpurney to purity, the purity of God. It isn’t petty either. It is holy. Think in terms of professional athletes or musicians. They reach the level they reach by noticing the difference the discipline and the little things make. They live and sacrifice for their goal in many ways. Paul uses this analogy as well. What we are reaching for is much greater than any trophy or rock star status.

  59. A. What a surprise . Pam thinks the priest is at fault! Because of course she is always right. She seems however to have forgotten that the church’s teaching on missing a Holyday of obligation is the same as it is for all mortal sin and those conditions are as I’ve already pointed that out to her – by showing her the relevant bit of the Baltimore Catechism and she has very ungraciously backed down. So if you genuinely forget there can’t be full knowledge and full consent and so, as she has already conceded in another context, that means a genuine memory lapse means that it can’t be a mortal sin. And as missing mass is always a mortal sin according to traditional theology, in those circumstances it is not therefore a sin at all.
    I am tempted to give her the advice of a very old priest I once heard. “If you want to found your own religion (which she clearly does because what she has asserted here bears little resemblance to Catholicism) then first go off and get yourself crucified then rise from the dead on the third day.”
    The woman has a serious problem A. Don’t waste your time any more.

    • Pat

      “Don’t waste your time any more.”

      I’d say pray for such people. They must have been misled at some stage.

      • Mary B

        That goes without saying Pat and I am happy to make that clear. Indeed I have already had exactly the same exchange with David above ( although the plethora of comm nets on this posting probably make it quite hard to find that now!)

  60. A

    I have to say -finally – on this matter that I asked Pam about missing Mass on All Saints’ day,because this was a question which had no mention of sexual matters.
    She was indeed somewhat more gracious in her reply, or ,at least ,so I thought.

    I was, however, greatly saddened when she attacked, gratuitously, our parish priest. Indeed I mentioned that he has just come back from several years working in the Vatican , wondering if this would please her or indeed not, given that pope Francis is (sort of) at the helm there.

    Tepid in faith is simply not a word which describes our parish priest. I have rarely seen a priest who celebrates the eucharist with such devotion as he has. In addition he is a most eloquent preacher . In a church which often numbers over 300 souls at the principal Mass you could hear a pin drop when he is preaching.

    A great figure of the Second Vatican Council was Greek Melkite Patriarch of Antioch Maximos IV Sayegh and Cardinal Bishop of the Holy Roman Church. Amongst his interventions he said that the Middle Ages were over and that the Latin Church should no longer bind the faithful under pain of mortal sin to attend Mass on Holy Days.

    • Mary B

      The comments you make about the Patriarch are no doubt true A, but irrelevant in this context because, whether rightly or wrongly, the teaching of the Church remained unaltered. I mention this because I think Pam will immediate use your last paragraph as evidence that you (and, no doubt, your parish priest and indeed anyone else who doesn’t agree with her) doesn’t actually think missing Mass is a mortal sin and that’s why you have responded in the way you have

  61. Pat

    The role of conscience

    Many years ago (Pope Pius XII was in office) we were instructed that it was long standing church teaching that we must be guided by conscience. But it was stressed that it must be an informed conscience and that we should seek pastoral advice when needed. I note that Pope Francis, writing to an Italian bishops’ conference on 11 November, has restated just that:-

    ‘Francis told the conference that priests must inform Catholic consciences “but not replace them.” And he stressed the distinction between one’s conscience—where God reveals himself—and one’s ego that thinks it can do as it pleases.

    “The contemporary world risks confusing the primacy of conscience, which must always be respected, with the exclusive autonomy of an individual with respect to his or her relations,” Francis said.’

  62. Pam

    Agreed about conscience and about its formation and think that IS the issue. Consciences are not properly formed and haven’t been for a long time. Missing Mass as a mortal sin is a teaching based on our need for God, not His pettiness or ego or vindictiveness. Not one of us goes a day without physical nourishment or some sort unless we are in a famine. How much more we need Christ Who said unless we eat Him we shall not have life within us. It is mortal to our soul in reality if we reject Mass long enough.

    • Pat

      Sin
      A person has to have full awareness that their intended action is sinful and knowing that take a free decision to proceed. The degree of personal guilt will depend on the completeness of the two preconditions – that is something for a priest to judge in confession. Hence, the papal stress on discernment.
      If either, or both, of the above two parameters is lacking then there is no sin by the person concerned, because awareness at the time was lacking or free will to commit sin was not there. That is why an action can be a mortal sin for one person but no sin at all for another (and all degrees in between can exist). In the case of forgetting that a day was a Holiday of Obligation both conditions are absent and there was no intention to commit a known sin. Therefore, no sin.
      I’m no theologian so perhaps someone can put my point better.

  63. A

    The comments which I made about the Patriarch who was also a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church are not entirely irrelevant in this context. As Fr Ed rightly reminds us from time to time the Ordinariate rite is just as Catholic a rite as the Roman rite. Equally so we know that the Catholic Church linked in full communion
    with the Bishop of Rome is wider than the Latin rite and the various Eastern rites can be just as Catholic as the various Western Latin rites. Catholics there are not subject to the same disciplines which Latin rite Catholics are subject to and are just as much Catholics.

    In most ‘Catholic’ countries Holydays of Obligation are only those which are at the same time public holidays. In Italy, for example, the ‘hols of ob’ are 1. Immaculate Conception, 2 Nativity, 3 Epiphany,4.Assumption and 5. All Saints.
    This varies from country to country and they are not the same in every country.
    For example Ascension is celebrated on a Sunday in Italy but on the traditional day in France where it is a public holiday.

    Now I accept that we are each subject to the ecclesiastical disciplines of our respective bishops, but we should also be aware that the Catholic Church is in many ways a ‘broad’ church, both in practice and in understanding.

    I have also to add that our new parish priest certainly did stress the fact that All Saints’ day was a holyday of obligation in our country (not England !) and that everyone should make every effort to come to Mass. Our previous parish priest,in post for 28 years, a lovely man ,never stressed the necessity of coming to Mass on Holydays of Obligation, aware of the difficulties perhaps which sometimes people have.

    • I note what you say A and I accept that in “catholic” countries it is easier if you want to put it that way.
      However on this issue I have to say – at the risk of aligning myself with the Pam faction – I think your former parish priest was quite wrong in law and indeed in pastoral practice to do as he did . If you extend that argument into other spheres you end up not asking anything of anybody because it may be hard to do and, ironically you end up back with the ” heroism isn’t for the average Christian” argument.
      They are called holidays of obligation for a reason and this is the Catholic Church.; you don’t just decide that one bit of magisterial teaching is not re ally applicable. If you want to do that you can go off and be an Anglican!
      As for the “difficult ies people may have” I can hear my late mother in law giving a loud snort of derision at this point. No-one nowadays has to walk miles through wild countryside to attend Mass and no one risks being arrested or persecuted. It may be a bit inconvenient sometimes but that is part of what I think Eamonn Duffy calls the intrusion of the holy into everyday life ( or something similar). Moreover there is a huge public witness to be given when Catholics are pouring out of church on a weekday.

    • Pat

      “aware of the difficulties perhaps”

      Or confident in the awareness of his flock as to what was expected on such Hoylydays? I’m assuming, perhaps unwisely, that his preaching would have provided the knowledge needed – or was it printed in a church newsletter?

  64. A

    dear Mary B.,
    please don’t worry. Be assured that we are both singing from the same hymn sheet.
    It is, however, a matter simply of stress – in the sense of emphasis, of course.
    Our former parish priest arrived at the age of 50 and retired at the age of 78.
    From three priests in the parish the number went down to one priest in two parishes, giving him an estimated number of 2,400 Catholics to care for.
    He was scrupulous in absolutely everything he did and celebrated Mass every day without any day off. Of course when a holyday of obligation came along, he celebrated Mass in both parishes as well as in the local school. It goes without saying that he reminded the parishioners of the special day, but he didn’t make a big thing of it. I think, but don’t know , that he was aware of the difficulties which some people may have in finding time to attend Mass on a working day.

    Our new parish priest is a much younger man, full of life AND faith AND fun and has worked hard to continue building up the parish(es).

    I don’t for a moment think that the Patriarch Maximos IV was in any way, during his many powerful interventions at the Second Vatican Council, trying to suggest that people do not actually need to come to Mass. From an Eastern perspective he found the Roman ideas somewhat too legalistic and felt that it was bad to bind the faithful,UNDER THE PAIN OF MORTAL SIN, to come to Mass every Sunday.

    We are lucky in our city parish here to have an attendance of about 25% of all those who claim in some way to be Catholics. Today we had about an extra 100
    because there was a special event in connection with the children’s preparation for the sacraments, And yet it means that about 70% of the parishioners are committing at least one mortal sin each week.(I am sure that even Pam would allow those who are weak,infirm and bedridden not to come).Also some of those who do not come to the parish church may well have gone to another church, but that is equalled out by those from other parishes who come to
    ours. Pax et bonum !

    • Noted A and I wish your new PP well. He obviously has a big task on his hands. As for this thread ( a record breaker I think on Fr. Ed’s blog) it is time to call it a day in my opinion. Rational argument with Pam has failed and she is once again contradicting herself. As I have said it must be horrible being her; she is exactly what puts people off the beauty truth and sheer joy which distinguishes Catholicism.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén