Fr H nails it..


A quite brilliant post from fr Hunwicke:

In Mgr Ronald Knox’s brilliant collection of Essays in Satire, there is a piece about a ‘Professor’ who invents a new sin. Now, even Knox’s brilliance has been quite superseded. Now, you see, we have completely new types, genres, of Sin. The Third Millennium has branched out into a whole novel taxonomy of Sin.

Earlier this month I approached this subject and asked three simple questions. Here they are again:

(1) Can you square it with the Sermon on the Mount and the ethical teaching of S Paul?
(2) Can you square it with the Lord’s parables about not knowing ‘the Day or the Hour’?
(3) Does it apply to murderers and paedophiles?

Let me explain what the New Casuistries teach about Sin.
(a) Graduality. People cannot give up their Sin instantaneously. They should be given the time, and the grace of the sacraments, to wean themselves off it gradually.

(b) Acceptance without Approval. Remarried divorcees may be in a position to which the Church cannot give formal approval; but she may welcome them as they are into her Sacramental life.

(c) Elements of truth. Outside the relationship of heterosexual monogamy, other models of relationship exist in which important elements exist of the values proper to Marriage itself: and it is these elements which we should emphasise (permanence; self-sacrificing love …).

Now apply Fr Hunwicke’s Question (3).

Would you accept that, since a paedophile has very strong inclinations, his aim should be to work hard to abuse children less and less frequently? How do you feel about the Church accepting that some paedophiles are gentle and affectionate to the children they abuse, and that we should concentrate our attention on those good elements of gentleness and affection? Take someone with a pathological impulse to murder; should the Church continue to maintain the teaching of the Ten Commandments about Murder, but, without approving of the murders, accept the murderer as he is?

Probably you wouldn’t. Probably most people, even very liberal Catholics wouldn’t, unless they are themselves paedophiles or murderers or both. Why not?

What we have is, in fact, the adoption by liberals of two quite distinct categories of Sin. There are sins which (most people would agree) are really sinful. Such as abusing and/or killing children. The clever little games (a), (b), (c), would never be acceptable here. If somebody suggested that it really is in accordance with nuanced Christian morality for a paedophile to abuse children as long as he does it gradually less frequently, most of us would probably kick him. However they do it, they should just give up, or genuinely try to give up, their vice. They should receive Absolution and then “Go and Sin No More”.

But there is now a quite different category of Sin. It consists of things which, because they are condemned by Christ or by long centuries of Christian Tradition, liberals might agree are in some sense technically sinful. But liberals do not feel that they are really wrong. So they devise sophisticated ways of avoiding the requirement of the Gospel: repentance and a firm purpose never to offend again and to avoid the occasions of Sin. Like children who have cheated and found out the answer to a sum, they start with the conclusion and then try to find the right ‘workings’ to get to the answer. “I want a way to argue that a homosexual couple may continue to live in genitally sexual relationship: where can I find clever arguments to support that conclusion?”


Those are the two radically distinct categories of Sin in which Liberals believe.

Neither in the Bible nor in two Christian millennia is there evidence for (II).

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54 thoughts on “Fr H nails it..

  1. The implication of this article is that the sexual orientation of a loving gay couple is akin to that of child abusers. That is a disgraceful, homophobic accusation and should be withdrawn. The Roman Catholic Church has an horrendous reputation after decades of paedophile clergy going unpunished. To suggest that such wicked men are no worse than a legally-married gay couple is an outrage.

    1. No the point is quite the opposite- that because they are so different we treat them differently but- in fact- all sin is sin and separates us from God without repentance.

      1. Fr John
        Most ‘normal’ people regard child abuse as a wicked sin since it causes lifelong trauma to the victims.
        However, your stigmatising of homosexuals is likely to cause a similar guilt and self-loathing about their inclinations. It is not liberals who “start with the conclusion and then try to find the right ‘workings’ to get to the answer”. It is “conservatives” like yourself who try to mould and pre-judge people into the categories beloved of religious legalists and fundamentalists. Man is not made for the Sabbath.

        1. Man is not made for the Sabbath but nor does he get to make the Sabbath in his image. He is made for God and God has revealed in Christ Jesus a faith which is proclaimed here in a form understood since the time of the Apostles, certainly as far as sexual morality is taught. It isn’t anything to do with liberal or conservative but fidelity to the teaching of the faith as handed on. By what authority would you change it? Popular opinion? An Anglican Synod? The voice of certain Cardinals who have overseen loss of vocations and growth?

          1. Gay people, by their very nature, don’t fit into your rigid rules. Not everyone has a vocation to celibacy. It is cruel to condemn homosexuals to lives of loneliness and a lack of life-long commitment and intimacy. (You presumably counsel gay youngsters into life-long sexual abstinence, despite Our Lord giving no opinion of gay people). Your view of an unchanging view of marriage, from the Apostles onwards, is historically naive and inaccurate – as the sexual lives of many Popes attest. By trying to fit men into rigid laws and rules, the danger is to produce passionate campaigners for marriage like self-loathing Cardinal O’Brien who “doth protest too much”.

    2. The use of the emotive juxtaposition of “loving gay couple” versus “child abusers” has shock value for about 10 years. You will label us as homophobes today, and as paedophobes tomorrow and as incestophobes and after that maybe beastophobes. It’s the great slide of compromise. If “love” is the only requirement, for which a multitiude of definitions exist, then we cannot stop the slide. Similarly “I’m OK with contraception, but not with abortion”, today will slide into “I’m OK with abortion but not with infanticide” tomorrow. I give it 10 years. Then the materialists win. Unless we put our feet down now and say “there IS objective sin”.

  2. The christian belief is that marriage is between a man and woman- so gay marriage cannot be recognised. And traditional teaching says sex outside of marriage is sinful. Surely you know that already though being ordained?

    1. Go and sin no more…was Jesus a pharisee?
      REPENT for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…was Jesus a Pharisee?
      If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out…was Jesus a Pharisee?
      Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error…was Paul a Pharisee?

      Just asking…

        1. Middy, Paul was just as much a, Pharisee when he preached those words, as you are a catholic, i.e. nil!

          Since you have changed your religion to Mohammedanism, for sure you should know what a real conversion is all about?!

  3. I think “Anthony” has failed to hear Pope Francis’ remarks about gay people – “Who am I to judge?”
    Fr Ed: You seem to support the ‘gay Catch 22’.
    Sex outside marriage is wrong.
    Gays can’t marry.
    Therefore, gay sex must be wrong.
    34 nations disagree. How long will it take for the Church to stop its homophobia?

    1. Sex outside marriage is wrong. Gays can’t marry.
      Therefore, gay sex must be wrong.”

      Christian orthodoxy in a nutshell; couldn’t have put it better myself.

      “34 nations disagree.”

      Who cares what the powers and principalities of this world think, or fantasize?

  4. You seem to have cut his words off where it suits you- having left out the bit about them living by the church and being in good conscience- perhaps his words regarding gay marriage in 2010 help you see a different story – namely that the welcome is for people regardless of orientation but is not a carte blanche for free sexual license. It has ever been thus for Christians surely?

    “The identity of the family, and its survival are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. … Let us not be naïve: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [that is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project, but rather a ‘move’ of the Father of Lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

  5. “34 nations disagree. ”

    Well, that settles everything! Brilliant logic, dogma and theology, “Fr”(?) David. Let’s kick the laws of God to the curb, people, because 34 nations disagree! All hail the Church of Anything Goes!

    Antony didn’t fail to hear Pope Francis’ remarks. You failed to recognize them in full, suitable to your agenda.

    1. I suppose that 34 nations regard baby-killing (i.e., abortion) as a “human right” as well. Does this mean that Fr. David has instituted a “Feast of the Holy Abortion” in his congregation?

      1. No William. Unlike abortion, marriage is meant to bind people together in love. For many decades, the Vatican was slow to hand its child-abusing clergy over to the civil authorities. You may not like it, but the secular ‘world’ has authority over all of us.
        You asked “Who cares what the powers and principalities of this world think, or fantasize?”
        Answer: Child abusers.

        1. It saddens me how quickly people pull the child abuse card in argument regarding the Catholic church. What has that to do with the debate in hand? Shoddy certainly. But hardly relevant to a discussion of what the church should teach in integrity.

          1. You are right, Fr Ed. It is shoddy of William Tighe to link “baby killers” with gay marriage, when he ignores the abuse of children already born.

        2. “Fr” David, you are not only the eptiome of erastianism but also a very dangerous false prophet who uses all the tools to proclaim the hedonistic “gospel” and thus is unable to diverge what is true and what is false!

  6. For many decades, the Vatican was slow to hand its child-abusing clergy over to the civil authorities. You may not like it, but the secular ‘world’ has authority over all of us.

    I agree, Fr David, and it is shameful, but it wasn’t just the Vatican was it? Read the Archbishop of York’s report on the former Dean of Manchester Cathedral.
    And let’s see what will emerge from the review of historic child abuse in state run care homes, and prep schools and so forth. How slow were the police, the social workers, school governers etc, etc, etc over years?

    1. I do hope we’re not descending into “your church’s abusers are worse than my church’s abusers”. Romans 3:23 is relevant “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and that includes me, Ed, and you, the reader.

      1. I was most certainly not playing the my church verses your church card. My comment centred more on the fact that the powers that be are as likely to be just as .slow in supporting child abuse victims hence I spoke of police, social workers and so forth, as in Rotherham and Rochdale

  7. The thing is, in these End Times that we are in, and we are you know, satan is desperate to gain as many souls as possible before he is locked away for a thousand years – a short parole, then thank God, for good. He is attacking the Church of Christ like a mad dog, madder than usual! He has gained many souls through the ordination of priests with unnatural inclinations. This is not just through the direct consequences of their not being fit for purpose, so to speak, but by the fact that they give satan a foothold. If you chip away with a small hammer at a large rock eventually you will do significant damage- and he has. I have said before that this battle of the end has only two real players, God and satan. It is purely a spiritual battle. We of course are involved because we are also spirits, souls, that are incalculably precious to our Father. Satan has won many minor skirmishes in this war, the acceptance of abortion (the murder of a child of God) is one. Satan knows he has very little time left to rob our Father of His children and he will become more vicious every hour until the end. Then he will appear in human form – the antichrist. While our Lords fragile, weak, sinful children spend their precious time trying to belittle their fellow man, satan smirks and hisses and gloats. If the church of Christ does not unite in this battle against our adversary countless souls will be lost to Christ and every one of those souls will be recalled at judgement. Please, the church of Christ, stop your bickering. Unite and face the real enemy, the hidden enemy.

      1. To the first question. As long as we differentiate ourselves we stay separated. Christ left one Church. The one Holy and Apostolic Church. We have divided His body – this is our sin, and it is an abomination. As long as people ask, which church are you? the body of Jesus will stay divided. I was baptised Church of England and remained so for 65 years. For the last 3 years I have been a Roman Catholic.
        To the second question. No.

        1. Well it’s your church that does not want unity with me, i.e. does not allow me to take communion.

          The reason for the second question is that all your eschatological talk seems more aligned to the premelennial dispensationalist doctrines espoused by American evangelical protestantism than Roman Catholisism.

          1. Harvey isn’t it a little strange for protestants to
            a) demand to leave communion with Rome
            b) then blame Rome for not being in communion with them?

            You cannot have your cake and eat it. Rome is MORE than happy to give you communion – once you reconcile yourself with her and stop protesting! And through the Ordinariate there is even a way to do so without losing your identity and culture. How charitable is that?!

          2. My TALK is the language of Love. It is not my fault that you do not recognise it. Open your heart to God, not your mind and you will see, by the Grace of the Spirit, what is hidden from the learned and given to mere children. You will probably not understand a word of this though because unless you change and become like a child you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Matt 18:3

  8. Let me be more serious. I don’t think Fr Hunwicke ‘nails it’. I think he commits the grave sin of bibliolatry. Both the C of E and the RC church agree that it is a sin. Within the confines of this sin, it is possible to be smart, clever, ingenious – and to impress the (rather easily) impressionable. But the essential basis of the argument – the bibliolatry – is wrong. It’s true that Fr Hunwicke makes a token appeal to 2,000 years of Christian tradition, but it’s only a token appeal and not the basis of his sinful argument. Note how there is no consideration at all given to the possibilities of the Spirit giving life or of the God of surprises – both possibilities actively referenced by the Pope in the recent synod. Fr Hunwicke’s theology is shoddy and low-grade.

  9. “The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” the Pope told those in attendance at an Oct. 25 audience.

    He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?”

    “What is being proposed is not marriage, it’s an association. But it’s not marriage! It’s necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” Pope Francis stressed.

    He lamented that there are so many “new forms” of unions which are “totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage.”

    Noting that there are many who cohabitate, or are separated or divorced, he explained that the “key” to helping is a pastoral care of “close combat” that assists and patiently accompanies the couple.

  10. Is Fr Hunwicke saying – and are you, Fr Ed, saying – that there is no difference between sinful behaviour that causes direct and obvious harm to other people, and sinful behaviour that does not? If you would say that there is a difference, what is its nature?
    The existence or otherwise of such a difference seems relevant to homosexual relations between consenting adults, and to remarriage after divorce (especially, for example, where the divorce was the result of desertion and adultery by the previous spouse).

  11. Flabellum,

    The comments you cite were made after the Pope was sandbagged at the recent Synod when a Vatican-authorised document was rubbished by highly conservative bishops and cardinals. Cradle Catholics I know (as contrasted with ‘more Catholic than the Pope’ johny-come-latelies such as Fathers Hunwicke and Tomlinson) were deeply dismayed by this set-back. However, they and I and many true Catholics (including the highest Cardinal of these isalnds) are hopeful of better things at the next Synod.

  12. Now that even the Anglo-Catholic rump of the Church of England has abandoned the indissolubility of marriage (as epitomised by the imminent second marriage of the Bishop of Fulham) it is even more incumbent upon the Catholic Church in England and Wales to uphold Our Lord’s teaching on marriage.

  13. Both sorry and glad to see the news about the Bishop of Fulham, whom many Ordinariate people, including Father Ed., must know pretty well. Sorry because the breakdown of a marriage is always a matter of sadness (‘experto credite’), glad because it is a cause for gladness when a ‘survivor’ of such breakdown finds happiness thereafter and also because it now seems vanishingly unlikely that Jonathan Baker, whom I regard as an outstanding Anglican, will ever ‘swim the Tiber’. Glad also because, despite these traumas, he will presumably still be able to provide some leadership to ‘traditionalists’ within the C of E, to whose continuing well-being many ‘liberals’ (like me) are very committed.

    1. I was very sad to hear about Fr. Jonathan, who has many strengths and is a good man. It does however, along with FIF’s support of the Pilling Report, impact very negatively on the AngloCatholic movement. For if one embraces homosexual unions and remarriage after divorce- then by what yardstick can one oppose women priests? Orthodoxy is not a pick and mix economy and once you cave in on one issue you must surely accept the logic for all. To say I can cope with gay marriage and remarried divorced bishops but not lady clergy is, frankly, a most mysognistic position to take. I could have no truck with it.

      1. Fr Ed, the decline of orthodoxy and catholic life in FiF was predictable after the formation of the Ordinariate. It is still very sad to see how the Anglo-Catholic movement in the CofE is falling pray to liberal modernism and Zeitgeist. The amalgamation of Forward in (the modern) Faith and Affirming “Catholicism” is probably just around the corner?!

        1. Yes and, as you know, I called it. However the rate is faster than imagined. I don’t however think a merger will happen- rather a new body will form for the purpose. Which is to say, it will happen, but in a way designed to save blushes

      2. I understand that most applications to Roman Catholic marriage tribunals for a decree of nullity succeed; 95% in this country in one recent year, I recollect being told.
        If so, and if Bishop Baker had joined the Ordinariate, he would presumably be statistically likely to have been able to obtain such a decree, and be (re)married in a Roman Catholic ceremony.
        (I am happy to have my statistic corrected).

        1. Maybe so, but he would no longer be able to serve as a priest (and as you know, being married he could never have become a Catholic bishop)!

  14. Anthony, you have finally learnt how to spell ‘Erastian’ correctly.

    Would you like now to tell us what you think it means?

    1. Middy, the neo-liberal protestant Mohammedian, can’t even spell my name right so I will wait with my answer until he behaves properly!

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