I’m Not at All Eager to Start Another Brawl Over the Pope, But…—Peter Robinson

 

An email from a friend:

Worry less about Francis on economics, but sweat the upcoming Synod on the Family instead.  To paraphrase George Gilder, economic growth can get switched back on in an instant.  All we need to do is set in place the right policies.

But the family?  Don’t mess with that. Damage to the family would be permanent.  You couldn’t repair that with lower tax rates. The upcoming Synod on the Family looks to be Humanae Vitae all over again. The 1968 crowd is getting ready to make their final push before they expire.

I wish he didn’t, of course, but I’m very much afraid that my friend has a point. The effort within the Church to persuade Pope Paul VI to overturn the Church’s traditional teaching against birth control back during the 1960s proved immense—a majority of the panel of experts the Pope convened to advise him on the matter recommended that he permit birth control, which, of course, would have altered the Church’s very conception of married love, marriage, and fidelity. Only a minority report, and the Pope himself — in a display of what might be termed holy stubbornness— led instead to the publication of Humanae Vitae, reaffirming the Church’s historic teachings. (If you’ve never read Humanae Vitae, by the way, you’re in for an intellectual shock. With astonishing accuracy, Paul VI predicted the ills to which the breakdown of marriage would lead. Even if you think we Catholics are crazy—a view I share from time to time myself, I admit—Humanae Vitae is worth a read.)

Now Pope Francis has called a Synod on the Family, and another major effort to alter historic teachings appears to be underway—an effort to make annulments easier to obtain, for instance, or to permit those who have remarried without annulments to receive communion. Here again, this sort of talk may strike a lot non-Catholics as crazy. But what’s at stake is the Church’s ancient and unchanging teaching that marriage is indissoluble—and the fundamental commitment that makes possible the permanence of the family.

Someone—anyone—tell my friend why he’s wrong.  Tell him—and me—why we don’t need to sweat the Synod.

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  1. user_1030767 Inactive
    user_1030767
    @TheQuestion

    Western Chauvinist:

    When I first heard about the Synod on the Family I thought, “Thank God! Just in time.” I’m sticking with that response.

     

    Schism schmism. Let’s have a declaration on the family. Be not afraid, Peter!

     

    That’s a good point.  Many, many people seem to think that being good is just about not hurting people.  That’s sort of true, but only if you recognize that families are part of what people are, and restructuring them from above is a kind of violence.  The Catholic concept of family needs to be advertised.

    • #31
  2. user_407430 Contributor
    user_407430
    @RachelLu

    Western Chauvinist:

    When I first heard about the Synod on the Family I thought, “Thank God! Just in time.” I’m sticking with that response.

    I like your confidence. It’s sort of hard to share it in virtue of some of the rumors and intimations coming out of the Vatican these days, but I’ll still enjoy yours.

    As I’ve mentioned here before, popes are not always good and wise. God’s Providence upholds us at all times, but we often fail to understand the whys and hows. Some popes have done some pretty terrible things, and the pressure right now on Pope Francis to “modernize” is very, very intense.

    Before Humanae Vitae was issued, Elizabeth Anscombe said that she had no fear that the teaching on contraception would be jettisoned (because the Holy Spirit couldn’t possibly allow that) but she was gravely worried that it might be obscured. She was of course delighted with the actual result. I’m pretty much in that same place now.

    • #32
  3. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Donald Todd:

    There is a difference between aborting a child while the mother is going through medical treatment, and having a child die in utero while the mother is going through a course of medical treatment. The second scenario does not directly attempt to kill that baby.

    Life is a risk. That baby may not survive chemo or x-ray therapy but it might. Will the baby survive the abortionist? The baby is not intended to survive the abortionist.

     Donald,

    I have witnessed  my sister nearly killed by her pregnancy.  She nearly starved to death for six months because of her preeclampsia symptoms.  

    There was no treatment Donald.  She had a choice between an abortion, or risking death.

    She risked death.  You would take this choice away from the woman, so that you don’t have to confront this scenario.

    Pretending that this scenario doesn’t exist does you no credit.

    • #33
  4. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Donald Todd:

    Lets split hairs. I said that the United Methodist Church condones abortion. You qualified my statement while admitting that the UMC condones abortion. What I said was not misleading.

     It is misleading to lump those who favor abortion in all circumstances, to those who only approve of it in the narrowly tailored scenario where a women’s life is in jeopardy.

    • #34
  5. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Frank Desoto: #33 “I have witnessed  my sister nearly killed by her pregnancy.  She nearly starved to death for six months because of her preeclampsia symptoms.

    There was no treatment Donald.  She had a choice between an abortion, or risking death.

    She risked death.  You would take this choice away from the woman, so that you don’t have to confront this scenario.”

    To be exactly sure, I risked nothing on this.  Your sister risked it all and kept her child.  My compliments to a mother who loves her children at least as much as she loves herself.    Her act reminds of Another Who took a cross to protect His own.

    With regard to “choice,” no one has the moral right to kill the innocent, but they do have the moral wrong to do so.

    • #35
  6. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Donald Todd:

    With regard to “choice,” no one has the moral right to kill the innocent, but they do have the moral wrong to do so.

     Donald,

    There is a conflict of rights in this scenario that you are not acknowledging.  Not only does the child have a right to life, so does the mother.  How do you personally square that?  It seems to me you are not even trying to.

    • #36
  7. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Frank Soto #34 ” It is misleading to lump those who favor abortion in all circumstances, to those who only approve of it in the narrowly tailored scenario where a women’s life is in jeopardy.”

    Having caved on “life of the mother” we’ve established that the child is of lesser worth than the mother.  That is the argument made by the pro-aborts:  The child is of lesser worth than the mother.  Being of lesser worth than the mother, the child is expendable.  That too is the argument of the pro-aborts.  Being of lesser worth finds between 55,000,000 and 60,000,000 children being aborted since Wade-Roe.  I wonder how many were as important as their mothers?

    Justice says that the innocent should not be punished.  Punishing the innocent is unjust.

    I picked a side, and can be counted on to stand up for it.

    • #37
  8. user_340536 Member
    user_340536
    @ShaneMcGuire

    As a Protestant, I have a longstanding policy of not telling Catholics what to do. I hope whatever comes out of the Synod is for the glory of Christ and His kingdom, whether that means upholding tradition or breaking from it.

    • #38
  9. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Donald Todd:

    Frank Soto #34 “ It is misleading to lump those who favor abortion in all circumstances, to those who only approve of it in the narrowly tailored scenario where a women’s life is in jeopardy.”

    Having caved on “life of the mother” we’ve established that the child is of lesser worth than the mother. That is the argument made by the pro-aborts: The child is of lesser worth than the mother. Being of lesser worth than the mother, the child is expendable. That too is the argument of the pro-aborts. Being of lesser worth finds between 55,000,000 and 60,000,000 children being aborted since Wade-Roe. I wonder how many were as important as their mothers?

    Justice says that the innocent should not be punished. Punishing the innocent is unjust.

    I picked a side, and can be counted on to stand up for it.

     Donald,

    When you have a conflict of rights where both parties claim the right to life, you must move down to different criteria in order to ascertain what is right.  The fact that the mother can survive without the child, but the child cannot survive without the mother, means that the mother can definitely be saved.  Hence the deference to her decision.  It is similar to a scenario where only one of two siamese twins can be saved, the deference usually goes to the one who has a slightly better chance of surviving the procedure.  No one claims that one child is of less importance, only that if you attempt to save both, you’ll likely lose both.  

    I am still awaiting your method of reconciling this conflict.  Simply saying that you’d force the mother to attempt to carry to term when it will put her life in severe jeopardy is a wholly un-serious position if not explained. 

    • #39
  10. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Schism schmism.

    The word is apostasy, with the end goal being The Abolition of Catholic Man. Beware the Man of Sin.

    • #40
  11. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Donald Todd:

    Frank Soto #34 “ It is misleading to lump those who favor abortion in all circumstances, to those who only approve of it in the narrowly tailored scenario where a women’s life is in jeopardy.”

    Having caved on “life of the mother” we’ve established that the child is of lesser worth than the mother. That is the argument made by the pro-aborts: The child is of lesser worth than the mother. Being of lesser worth than the mother, the child is expendable. That too is the argument of the pro-aborts. Being of lesser worth finds between 55,000,000 and 60,000,000 children being aborted since Wade-Roe. I wonder how many were as important as their mothers?

    Justice says that the innocent should not be punished. Punishing the innocent is unjust.

    I picked a side, and can be counted on to stand up for it.

     So you don’t acknowledge the mother’s right to life?  You need to address this point or there is no reason to continue this discussion.

    • #41
  12. user_536506 Member
    user_536506
    @ScottWilmot

    To say that what’s at stake in the upcoming Synod is the Church’s ancient and unchanging teaching that marriage is indissoluble—strikes me as absurd and dangerous. Christ himself gave us this teaching.

    But I reckon that as the Synod draws nearer, we’ll hear more nonsense about the Church changing her teaching on the reception of communion for those divorced and re-married.

    Phil Lawler writes (with which I agree):

    On his canon law blog, Edward Peters remarks that this speculation can do some real damage to the spiritual welfare of Catholics who are caught up in the expectation of a major change. Some people are being led to believe that change is inevitable; a few apparently think that the change in teaching has already taken place. It’s not just the teaching authority of the Church that’s being damaged by all the loose talk; it’s also the welfare of souls.

    But the Church is not going to alter the Gospel, Pope Francis is not going to contradict Jesus, and those who suggest otherwise—perhaps in a misguided effort to increase the pressure for change—aren’t doing anyone any favors.

    • #42
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Pseudodionysius:

    Schism schmism.

    The word is apostasy, with the end goal being The Abolition of Catholic Man. Beware the Man of Sin.

    I wasn’t the one to use the word “schism” first in this discussion. ;-)

    I think Rachel is probably right. Likely the worst that will happen is the Church might muddy its understanding of “family.” I’d still be very surprised. That the bishops would cave on contraception or abortion is nearly unthinkable. They’re not all (or even mostly) American liberals. We might know more clearly exactly with whom we’re dealing depending on the output of the Synod. But, probably not.

    In any case, you and I have no power over it, and its high time we have this out. The eternal truth that God doesn’t want contraception, abortion, or SSM for us will have its Way in The End. Why should we worry? Thy will be done.

    • #43
  14. Jim_K Inactive
    Jim_K
    @PlatosRetweet

    Sorry, Peter, traditionalist Catholics have good reason to sweat the Synod.

    You see, it’s a Papal listening tour. The Bishops are doing market research, as in surveying the customer base, and here’s how the data’s going to come back:

    *Lose the contraception ban;
    *Lighten up on divorced Catholics for the sake of their children;
    *Who Am I to Judge? was a Papal web gem, the Holy See opening its eyes.

    Maybe they’ll let priests marry, too. The Latin American hierarchy tolerates babes on the side. (Straight priests, mirabile dictu!) 

    How did conservative conclavers let this guy slip past the goalie? BXVI had loaded up their number with his people, like some Reagan conservative (without term limits) restocking the Federal judiciary. Then he ups-and-quits, and who do they elect? The Jesuit who all the anti-Ratzinger crowd supported in the last go round.

    Not since David Souter has such a plot twist confounded the bureau of lifetime appointments. BXVI blew it. Relying on divinely inspired conclavers is worse than counting on John Sununu. Some succession plan! Remember the Pope who Jeremy Irons played on The Borgias?

    Oh, well. Personally, I welcome your new Protestant overlords!

    • #44
  15. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Time to start the Society of St. Pius XII.

    • #45
  16. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    1.) I’m a Protestant-ish (we can split hairs on whether Baptists are Protestants, Dissenters, or something else later).  The loss of the Catholics would be bad, but Christianity would survive.  God preserved the Bible for 2500 years, I think He can manage to preserve the definition of marriage -even if only in a cave somewhere.

    2.) On the practical point, divorce is like amputation -debilitating, but sometimes necessary.  Remarriage is like getting a prosthetic.  The reason not to allow remarriage if the original divorce was not necessary is because doing so encourages people to do self-harming and debilitating things to themselves because they can always get a prosthetic later.  Nonetheless, on the issue, we still have to make the determination of when the amputation is necessary.  I confess to squishyness on the issue.  Adultery and Abandonment (which probably becomes adultery in short order) seem obvious -and so when divorce is called for, I see no reason to prevent remarriage (I consider a subset of Christian freedom in the Lutheran sense).  Abuse is trickier in that I want to count it among the 3-A’s, but the direct connection to adultery is harder to make.

    • #46
  17. user_536506 Member
    user_536506
    @ScottWilmot

    Re Plato’s Retweet #44

    Sorry, Peter, traditionalist Catholics have good reason to sweat the Synod.

    You see, it’s a Papal listening tour. The Bishops are doing market research, as in surveying the customer base, and here’s how the data’s going to come back:

    *Lose the contraception ban; *Lighten up on divorced Catholics for the sake of their children; *Who Am I to Judge? was a Papal web gem, the Holy See opening its eyes.

    Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis have all clearly stated the teaching of the Church (CCC91-93) that the sensus fidelium is not to be confused with matters of popular opinion.

    The sensus fidelium cannot merely be a slice of Church opinion right here and right now, because the Church is not merely the Church of right here and right now. The Church extends throughout the world, across cultures, and throughout history. She looks always to the future coming of Christ, grounding her present choices in the wisdom passed on to us in Scripture and Tradition in fidelity to the Spirit who continually guides her.

    Protestant overlords? Be not afraid, the Church will remain Catholic.

    • #47
  18. Robert Lux Inactive
    Robert Lux
    @RobertLux

    To Plato’s Retweet at #44 — this is why I’ve been of the opinion that, with Pope Francis, it’s as if what we’re really seeing is the final closing of the West. If the Catholic Church goes, so ends Western Civ. And I’m not a Catholic. Francis’s statement “who am I to judge?” — i.e., his  intimation that “gayness” is intrinsic to one’s “identity” (two neologisms and projections of modern ideology) or that “homosexuality” (another neologism), in contradistinction to homo-erotic acts, is something that actually exists* — simply points to nihilism.  
     
    * The only real definition of “homosexual” is a man (it’s male behavior we’re concerned with because dominance/submission is intrinsic to coitus) singularly fixated on the stimulation of his genitals as there is no complementarity in male+male eroticism. Male homoeroticism is offensive because one man is being dominated by another man — he is essentially treating another man as a woman. For this reason, male homoeroticism is given to rampant promiscuity. With lesbianism you have two passive players and thus far less violation of nature. Ergo a man who sleeps with multiple, multiple women is effectively no different than a “homosexual.”

    • #48
  19. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Salamandyr:

    Every major Protestant religion has managed to come to terms with acceptance of birth control within a framework of protecting life (opposing abortion). It won’t be the end of the world if the Catholic Church aligns with the Baptists.

    And with the Orthodox, who accepted that the science on which the fathers’ beliefs regarding contraception was inaccurate (it is not the case, as Galen thought, that we are our father’s seed implanted in the soil of our mother, so it is not murder if the seed is not implanted). This is the sole doctrine on which the Church has formally repudiated the fathers. I’d be pretty happy if the Synod were to produce that result, and I’d be happy if the Synod produces deaconesses, as some have suggested it might.
    Or maybe some other good outcome will arise. Councils are often surprising.

    Nonetheless, although the Synod may be a good thing, it’d be nuts to claim that we shouldn’t worry about it. The election of Reagan turned out to be great, and seemed likely to be, but if you were certain that things would be good, you’d be overconfident in your predictions.

    • #49
  20. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Robert Lux:

    Male homoeroticism is offensive because one man is being dominated by another man — he is essentially treating another man as a woman. For this reason, male homoeroticism is given to rampant promiscuity. With lesbianism you have two passive players and thus far less violation of nature. Ergo a man who sleeps with multiple, multiple women is effectively no different than a “homosexual.”

    Is this just a sexual doctrine?
    If I am highly deferential to my boss and my boss wants me to be this way, is she treating me as a woman?
    Why is it more of a violation of nature for an active partner to take a passive role than for a passive partner to take an active role?
    If homosexual male sex does not involve anal penetration, is it still worse than lesbian sex?

    In which authoritative text can I find this doctrine?

    • #50
  21. user_407430 Contributor
    user_407430
    @RachelLu

    Western Chauvinist:

    Pseudodionysius:

    Schism schmism.

    The word is apostasy, with the end goal being The Abolition of Catholic Man. Beware the Man of Sin.

    In any case, you and I have no power over it, and its high time we have this out. The eternal truth that God doesn’t want contraception, abortion, or SSM for us will have its Way in The End. Why should we worry? Thy will be done.

     I mean, sure, in a sense we should never worry about anything at all for that reason. Unfortunately, on the way from here to Eternity, things can get pretty ugly, or so historical precedent would suggest.

    I trust that the Synod will not out and out reject the depository of faith (of which this is  a part) but I don’t think we can be assured of very much else.

    • #51
  22. user_407430 Contributor
    user_407430
    @RachelLu

    Actually I should say: we should never worry about anything except the state of individual souls, and our own personal efforts to follow God’s will.

    • #52
  23. Robert Lux Inactive
    Robert Lux
    @RobertLux

    Robert Lux:

    To Plato’s Retweet at #44 —  [….]  Francis’s statement “who am I to judge?” — i.e., his intimation that “gayness” is intrinsic to one’s “identity” (two neologisms and projections of modern ideology) or that “homosexuality” (another neologism), in contradistinction to homo-erotic acts, is something that actually exists* — simply points to nihilism. 

    Small correction- “homosexuality” is precisely a modern psychological trope or ideological construct, not neologism.

    • #53
  24. Robert Lux Inactive
    Robert Lux
    @RobertLux

    James Of England:  Is this just a sexual doctrine? If I am highly deferential to my boss and my boss wants me to be this way, is she treating me as a woman? Why is it more of a violation of nature for an active partner to take a passive role than for a passive partner to take an active role? If homosexual male sex does not involve anal penetration, is it still worse than lesbian sex?

    No this is precisely not doctrine but has to do with primordial phenomenon (e.g., the whole reason ancient Greeks were open to pederasty — the reason homoeroticism there takes the form of pederasty — is because no man is going to allow himself to be buggered by another man) but it’s also part of natural right as opposed to doctrinal natural law.

    All of this hinges on sex (male/female distinction) being intrinsic to one’s nature as opposed to sexuality which is accidental.  

    For the vast majority of people two men kissing is more offensive than two women kissing precisely because of these issues of dominance/submission — such eroticism invariably intimates culmination in the sex act.

    • #54
  25. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    In any case, you and I have no power over it

    Perhaps you’d like to tell that to the Saints who started the Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart and Holy Face devotions for Catholics to perform acts of reparation for the sins of others. I’ll be going to the First Friday (Sacred Heart) devotion tomorrow night.

    • #55
  26. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Why should we worry? Thy will be done

    Those who don’t worry about what Robert Bellarmine said about the End Times will find a very disturbing particular judgement when they die.

    • #56
  27. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Robert Lux:

    No this is precisely not doctrine but has to do with primordial phenomenon (e.g., the whole reason ancient Greeks were open to pederasty — the reason homoeroticism there takes the form of pederasty — is because no man is going to allow himself to be buggered by another man) but it’s also part of natural right as opposed to doctrinal natural law.

    All of this hinges on sex (male/female distinction) being intrinsic to one’s nature as opposed to sexuality which is accidental.

    For the vast majority of people two men kissing is more offensive than two women kissing precisely because of these issues of dominance/submission — such eroticism invariably intimates culmination in the sex act.

    I’m pretty confident that there are men who will “allow” themselves to be buggered by another man, but I get your point there.I don’t get your point with the kissing. If two men kiss, in what sense is one dominating the other? If you knew that the two men were not going to have sex, would you still find it offensive and/ or unequal?

    • #57
  28. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Rachel Lu:

    Actually I should say: we should never worry about anything except the state of individual souls, and our own personal efforts to follow God’s will.

     We should be vigilant for the end times, like wise virgins, no? I’d have thought that worrying was helpful for this.

    • #58
  29. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    But I reckon that as the Synod draws nearer, we’ll hear more nonsense about the Church changing her teaching on the reception of communion for those divorced and re-married.

    Just like the Church would never condone communion in the hand.

    An Indult Born Out of Disobedience

    The practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand first began to spread in Catholic circles during the early 1960s, primarily in Holland. Shortly after Vatican II, due to the escalating abuses in certain non-English speaking countries (Holland, Belgium, France and Germany), Pope Paul VI took a survey of the world’s bishops to ascertain their opinions on the subject.

    • #59
  30. Jude Inactive
    Jude
    @Jude
    • #60
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