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Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

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I apologize for the recent lack of activity on this site. I’ve been busy finishing up the course work for my master’s degree in theology and am about to begin writing my thesis. While I haven’t been active on my blog recently, some of my work has been published in other venues. The New Oxford Review ran one of my pieces (written as “On the Function of the Theologian,” but published as “Are Theologians Necessary?”) in the April 2011 issue. You can read a part of the article here (sorry, NOR requires a subscription to read the entire article online — however, as one of the few no nonsense, solidly Catholic publications remaining, you should consider supporting their work by taking out a subscription).

As a side note, thank you to everyone for your generous support of this blog.

God bless!

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Light of the World

I’m very saddened, but unfortunately not surprised, to see the liberal media bandwagon spinning and twisting the Pope’s comments on condoms.  The reality is the Church continues to rightfully teach that the use of artificial contraception in any form is dangerous due to the “de-humanizing” such practices have on human sexuality – and by extension the human person.  Despite the “spin” on the Pope’s comments by the liberal media and progressive liberal “Catholics,” nothing has changed in Church teaching.  Neither the Church, nor the Pope, approves the use of condoms or other artificial conception in any case.

First, one must understand, as many do not, that the Pope is allowed to express personal opinion on any matter he wishes – just as we all have that right.  Despite what some think, Catholicism does not hold that whatever the Pope says is automatically “official” teaching of the Church.  The Doctrine of Papal Infallibility only applies to teachings related to faith and morals, and even then, it must be specifically and clearly invoked.  Most people don’t know that the popes have very, very rarely exercised this authority, despite their voluminous writings from audiences, homilies, letters, etc.  To make an infallible statement on the teachings of Jesus Christ is a very serious process and never something done in mere casual conversation with a reporter.  In this situation, namely an extended interview with a reporter, the Pope’s comments are personal opinion, not “official” Church teaching.  Even so, again despite the “spin” put on his words, what the Pope said is consistent with Church teaching and actually shows tremendous charity on his part.

Second, most people, including many Catholics, completely fail to understand Church teaching on human sexuality.  Briefly, the Church teaches that since God is infinite love and created everything out of His infinite love, all His creation is good.   It is actually a very old heresy going back to the early days of Christianity to claim the body and sex are somehow “bad” or inherently evil.  We must also understand God created not because He had to create, but because He wanted to create out of His free will and His infinite love – which again reinforces the very goodness of His creation.

When it comes to humans, not only are we part of the goodness of God’s creation, we are even more special since we are created in His image.  How are we taught to treat gifts of great value, like a special family heirloom?  We’re taught to treat it with great care as a sign of respect to the giver of that gift – we honor the person by cherishing the gift he or she gave us.  Our humanity, which includes our sexuality, is the greatest gift we can ever receive, for it is only because of that gift that we exist.  Therefore if we truly desire to love, honor and serve the Lord, we must treat His gift, our humanity, with the absolute greatest respect.  Consequently, we must refrain from doing things which “dehumanizes” or goes against the nature of humanity – which includes things like promiscuous sex, unmarried sex, engaging in homosexual acts, abortion, artificial means to prevent the gift of human life and so forth.  All these things work to destroy our human nature – we need only look to today’s society for abundant proof of this fact.

Pope Benedict XVI, as anyone who reads his writings comes to know, is a very intelligent, scholarly and intellectual person.  While on one hand, this is very good as one can gain very deep insights by reading his work, on the other hand his is not writing which lends itself to the short sound-bites so many rely on as their sole source of information today.  As we see in this situation, one comment in a book-length interview, before the book is even released, is taken out of context and twisted to mean something else.  A society fed on nothing but sound-bites eats it up and never bothers to discover the truth for themselves.

All the headlines completely ignore this line from the Pope’s comments: “[The Church] does not regard it [use of condoms] as a real or moral solution.”  Saying it’s not “a real or moral” solution means it is not the right choice, not an “acceptable” choice and not a moral choice – in other words, it is bad and immoral.  If one bothers to read the Pope in context, he makes it clear up front that he does not approve of condom use by anyone.

However, and here’s where the charity I mentioned comes into play, the Pope goes on to say that if someone infected with a STD uses a condom to prevent disease transmission that fact (again, while not the right choice or moral choice) might indicate the beginning of a proper understanding of human sexuality in that person.  He’s really saying the first step to fixing your problem is the recognition you have a problem in the first place.  If we never recognize we have a problem, especially a moral problem, we can never begin taking steps to resolve that problem.  Only if we begin taking personal responsibility for our actions can we begin moving into the light of understanding and Truth.

Unfortunately, in all the media “spin,” we completely fail to grasp the Pope’s real message, a message applicable to all of us.  For far from being an affirmation of condom use, the Pope’s message is actually an affirmation of hope.  The hope we should all share as Christians that even the greatest sinner will eventually recognize his sins, open his heart to God, beg forgiveness and redemption and thereby gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.  That is the Pope’s real message.  The headlines should actually proclaim:

“Pope says Hope of Redemption Possible for even the Greatest of Sinners”

Here are some links which further expound on the Pope’s true message:

http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2010/11/excerpt-pope-benedict-xvi-discusses-condoms-and-the-spread-of-hiv.html

http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2010/11/what-does-the-holy-father-really-say-about-condoms-in-the-new-book-janet-e-smith.html

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/11/the_pope_condoms_and_confusion.html

http://www.jimmyakin.org/2010/11/new-developments-on-the-pope-and-condoms.html

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Monsignor Charles Pope posted an excellent piece on the Archdiocese of Washington blog entitled “The Politician and the ‘Private’ Sin: Christine O’Donnell Runs Afoul of the ‘New Morality.’”  Msgr. Pope uses the “controversy” generated by recent airing of old video showing O’Donnell denouncing masturbation as a springboard for a discussion of the Catholic view of sexuality and masturbation.  Please follow the link above and read his full article.  Msgr. Pope’s teaching is spot-on and delivered with excellent pastoral care and wisdom.

I’m firmly convinced one of the greatest causes for a negative reaction against the Catholic Church today and for producing dissent from Church teaching by many “Catholics” is the very “closeness” of the Church herself.  Because the Church is so “familiar,” many people believe they’re complete experts on what the Church teaches based on nothing more than their own opinions and hearsay, particularly “Catholics” who vaguely recall Sister So-and-so (often a feminist dissenter – such as in my “Catholic” grade school) saying something about something in grade school Catechism class during the 1970s or 1980s.  Yet, what they think the Church teaches has little to no connection to her actual teaching.  Sexuality is a prime example.

Most people, and far too many “Catholics,” believe the Church teaches that anything connected with the body or with sex is “evil” and “dirty” – and that we should feel “guilty” for having any sort of “sinful” thought or feeling about sex.  This is pure rubbish!  Nothing could be further from the truth regarding actual Church teaching on human sexuality and the human body.

The Church has consistently taught that because Jesus was fully divine and fully human (two natures in one person), the human body is not inherently “dirty” or “evil.”  Any teaching to the contrary is heresy – and in fact the Church has fought many heresies founded upon the notion of the human body as “dirty” or “evil” since the days the early Church.  God would not have become fully human if He viewed our bodies and our sexuality as “dirty” and “evil.”  Instead, He gave us our bodies and everything associated with them, including our sexuality, as a gift of His free will.  Therefore, the Church has always held the body, and sexuality by connection, are wonderfully beautiful gifts from God.

The Church teaches that, as a gift from God, we should treat our sexuality with the utmost reverence and respect as we’d treat any other great gift given us by someone who cares deeply about us (and no one cares more about us than God).  As part of caring for and treasuring this gift, we should keep it oriented towards its divine purpose – the physical union of man and woman in marriage to produce children.  We don’t like to hear it today, but orienting our sexuality towards any other purpose goes against its nature and against God’s intention.

Instead of treating our sexuality with such respect, many of us discard it to the dung heap.  In a perverse twist of reality, our secular society claims this dung heap is “good” while Church teaching (which is the message of God and not man) is “bad.”  Secular society completely objectifies sexuality.  We are consistently taught, particularly through pornography, to treat people as nothing more than sexual objects for our self-centered sexual pleasure – including even our own bodies.  We’re taught to not worry about the true purpose of sexuality (little lone its beauty) by using contraceptives, and if those don’t work, “eliminating” the “accidental” “product” of a sexual encounter “gone wrong.”  After all, as Barack Obama believes, we wouldn’t want to “punish” anyone with a baby for a “mistake.”

We’ve truly become blind people wondering around in the dark eating from the trash heap while believing it’s a gourmet meal.  God offers us true light, true vision and a Heavenly banquet, yet we refuse His offer, believing we know better than Him the purpose of our humanity and sexuality.  The Church offers a guiding hand to help lead us blind souls into the light, yet we slap it away.  Why have we allowed Satan and his demons to blind us so?

It’s not a new problem.  It’s actually a very old and very simple problem.  From the time of Adam and Eve, humans have acted like unruly children by “playing God” and thinking they know better what’s best for them than the Father.  The solution is likewise abundantly simple.  We must submit our wills to the will of God.  We must trust that the Father does know what’s best for us.  Only in this decision do we find true freedom and authentic expression of our humanity and sexuality.

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The Godless Delusion

The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism.  By Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley.  Our Sunday Visitor, 2010.  Softcover.  $14.95.

Reviewed by Steven Schultz

There are only two options.  It is either one or the other.  There is no middle ground.  The issue at hand is the existence or non-existence of God.  God cannot partially exist – that position is utter nonsense which any rational person would reject.  Instead, we are left with only one choice or it’s opposite.  Either the theists are correct and God exists, or the atheists are correct and belief in God is a delusion.  In The Godless Delusion, Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley charge headlong into this debate to deliver a sounding blow to atheism by showing through rational argument the logic of the theist position over illogic of the atheist position.

The importance of this conflict cannot be overstated in light of today’s society.  Rejection of belief in a higher power and rejection of the notion man is held accountable for his actions on earth and will face final, individual, ultimate judgment based on those actions are at the heart of all of society’s ills.  The self-appointed intelligentsia tells us God doesn’t exist and that those who believe in such “delusions” are uneducated simpletons – and far, far too many of us accept this since the message comes from “science” and we all know “science” is irrefutable.  Mark my words, atheism will be the downfall of Western society.  As Madrid and Hensley point out, atheism inescapably leads to conclusions which result in the death of society – there is no escaping this reality.

To understand the true absurdity of the atheist position, we must first understand exactly what their position says.  Atheists base their argument for the non-existence of God on what they consider a rational application of the scientific method.  Yet, their argument hinges on a blatant misstep in logic.  Like a magician skillfully employing misdirection, they hope no one notices their leap of faith.  As Madrid and Hensley put it:

“They [atheists] begin with an undeniably true assertion: that the scientific method, if used correctly, has been demonstrated to be a precise and trustworthy method of gaining accurate information about the natural world – as evidenced by remarkable successes and innumerable stunning advances in the fields of medicine, engineering, manufacturing, and technology.  But where the ‘magic’ occurred is when they moved from this true assertion to one undeniably false: that science and naturalism are somehow essentially the same thing.  From this, they drew the preposterous conclusion that because science has been demonstrated as true, naturalism has also been demonstrated as true…In fact, the two are quite distinct.  Whereas science is a method for investigating the natural world, naturalism is a philosophy that says the natural world is all there is.”

In other words, for the atheist, the material word, naturalism, is all there is.  Nothing else exists.  Even our thought is simply a series of chemical and electrical reactions.  If it’s not physical, it’s not real says the atheist.  However, by doing so, he either argues for absurdity or traps himself in his own contradiction, as we shall see.

Some reviews have commented on the lack of specifically Catholic arguments for the existence of God in this work.  However, these reviewers neglect to understand Catholic theological arguments for the existence of God would fall on deaf ears with atheists.  You cannot argue from a theological standpoint with someone who does not accept theology as a basis of argument.  In order to enter into conversation with such a person, you must begin with arguments based on rational logic – which is exactly what Madrid and Hensley undertake in this book.

The authors systematically dissect the atheist position, showing how it leads to utter non-sense and reveals atheists living in a contradiction.  For example, the atheist denies the existence of natural law or absolute right and wrong, instead claiming “right” and “wrong” are merely relative, individual concepts brought about by chemical and electrical reactions in the human brain.  Yet, the same atheist complains of not being treated “fairly” when wronged.  If absolute “right” and “wrong” don’t exist, there can’t be legitimate appeal to being treated “unfairly.”  To claim “unfair” treatment implies the existence of some sort of universal sense of “right” and “wrong” – which also implies existence of something beyond the natural world or beyond mere matter since a universal truth cannot possibly exist as a physical object.  On the other hand, the theist position rationally accounts for the universal human concept of a fundamental and absolute right and wrong as part of natural law created by God.

In a similar vein, atheists are forced to either take an absurd position or to contradict themselves when commenting on the actions of people such as Hitler.  Again according to the logical conclusions of the atheist position, since “right” and “wrong” are merely relative, individual human concepts, there exists no basis on which to criticize the genocide committed by Hitler or people like him.  Hitler’s writings and speeches make it abundantly clear he believed he was perfectly justified in murdering millions of Jews – in fact, he believed he was operating for the “good” of his society.  In order to honestly hold to his position, an atheist must accept Hitler’s arguments and admit Hitler was perfectly justified since he operated within his individual concept of “right” and “wrong.”  Would any rational person hold such a belief?  Instead, most atheists admit Hitler’s mass murder of Jews was wrong.  However, to admit Hitler (or Stalin or Mao who murdered millions of their own countrymen in the name of atheism) was wrong is to admit to the existence of a universal notion of right and wrong (and its subsequent notion of the existence of more than mere physical things), which again reveals the contradiction in which an atheist must live in order to cling to his belief system.

The theist has no such problem of being forced to take an absurd position or to contradict himself.  Instead, the theist believes in existence of things beyond the material world, therefore he is able to unequivocally state actions of people such as Hitler are evil and unacceptable since they violate natural law — God’s law.  Once again, the theist position comes through as the logical, rational position which actually jives with the human experience.  Additionally, the theist position is the only position which consistently describes the human experience without having to resort to modification or compromise of its propositions.

It’s all fine and good to shout from the comfort of one’s living room or classroom, “God is dead!”  Where does it lead when this becomes more than an anti-establishment slogan, but a lived belief system?  As Jewish psychologist and Nazi concentration camp survivor, Viktor Frankl puts it:

“If we present man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him.  When we present him as an automation of reflexes, as a mind machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drive and reactions, as a mere project of heredity and environment, we see the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.  I became acquainted with the last stage of corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz.  The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment – or, as the Nazis like to say, ‘of blood and soil.’  I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”

To understand the true absurdity of atheism, and frankly, the true horror to which it leads, we must fully and honestly face its full implications.  One of the only atheists to ever fully and honestly embrace the totality and reality of atheism was Frederick Nietchie – and we’d do well to remember he died a broken and insane man.  When viewed with intellectual honesty there is no escaping the full evil and horror to which the religion of atheism ultimately leads.

In order for our society to survive, we must abandon the absurd notion that man is his own master.  Hitler, Stalin, Castro – our history is filled with the results of man believing in the absurdity of atheism.  The sooner we accept the fact we have a divine Master, who calls us in love to freely surrender our will to His, the sooner we can begin to right the ship of society.  Madrid and Hensley arm us with the rational arguments to show the absurdity of atheists clinging to a godless delusion.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Godless Delusion.  Also be sure to check out their great selection of Mary statues.

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Anything but God

by Steven Schultz

The “enlightened” atheist camp recently made the headlines again with Stephen Hawking’s claim in his latest book, The Grand Design, that the universe was not created by an outside force, but instead created itself.  This is an interesting hypothesis considering we have yet to find a single material thing which created itself out of nothingness.  Instead, every material object ever encountered in known human history has something else as the author of its existence.  In fact, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, the changing nature of the created world itself demands an unchanging cause outside of time and the material world for its existence – the “uncaused cause.”  However, according to intellectual atheists, such as Hawking, we’re to buy their nonsense based solely on their word as “academics,” since they can offer us not a single shred of evidence as proof of their claims that the universe somehow created itself from nothing.

Hawking claims the laws of gravity are responsible for the creation of the universe.  As with most atheist theories which claim “anything but God” for the creation of the universe, he fails to tell us what caused the laws of gravity.  We’re to believe they just happened and then poof (or bang), the universe came to be.  Stephen, no matter how you slice it, my friend, you eventually reach a point where you are forced to admit, if you’re intellectually honest, that an immaterial cause caused material existence to come into being.  Even if we go with Richard Dawkins’ explanation that “intelligent alien design” (i.e. extraterrestrials – little green men) are responsible for creating life on earth, a “theory” which he describes to Ben Stein in the documentary Expelled, Dawkins must still eventually account for the existence of the space aliens.  To do anything other than this leaves us with a “poof, there it is” explanation for the creation of the universe.  We’ll come back to this point shortly.

Yet another chink in the armor of the atheist’s “it all just happened by random chance” theory is the fact the universe obeys certain natural laws (including the laws of gravity which Hawking cites).  Not only does the universe obey certain natural laws, man is able to use his reason to discover and explain these laws.  If it’s all random chance, why is there such natural order?  If it’s all random chance, why did man just happen to receive the reasoning ability to discover, understand and explain these natural laws?  Are we honestly to believe the universe not only randomly formed, but randomly formed with ordered laws and human beings who just happen to posses the right kind of minds to discover these laws instead of believing a Creator caused the existence of an ordered universe and created man in His image with the capacity to discover these natural laws and thereby come to know something more about his Creator?  As we consider these facts, we come to see just who is actually making an incredible leap of faith to hold onto his belief system.

The Catholic Church has never held that Genesis is a factual account of creation.  Instead, the Church has always taught that Genesis is an allegorical story and its main point is not to explain the how of creation, but to explain the why of creation: an infinite, all-powerful, all-loving God who created as an act of His own free will; not out of necessity, but because He chose to do so.  Belief in the “Big Bang” theory is not at all inconsistent with Catholic theology.  It becomes inconsistent though when one claims the Big Bang created itself.

Atheists reject creationism (here meaning a fundamentalist interpretation of Genesis as a “blow-by-blow” account of creation – again, this is not the position on Genesis held by the Catholic Church) as nonsense, but then cling to their own version of creationism.  There’s no difference in believing God made everything “magically” appear in the form it’s in now and believing the universe “magically” created itself out of nothing.  Both “theories,” for anyone who takes the time to look at the facts, are nonsense.  The theist position is the only one which accounts for all the facts of the universe’s existence in a consistent manner.

Seeing that the atheist position is such nonsense, we must ask why so many believe in anything but God.  For the vast majority of non-academic, secularized people (including those who nominally claim to be religious, but live their lives as agnostics or practical atheists), I believe they like the idea of there being no God (or at least not one which has any real impact on reality) since it frees them to rationalize every sort of deviant, self-destructive behavior in which they chose to participate.  If there’s no God, there’s no ultimate Truth – and certainly no ultimate judgment; everything’s relative, so let’s party!

What about the academic and intellectual atheists?  For most of these people, I believe it comes down to simply vanity.  They believe they are the most educated, most important people on the face of the planet.  They see themselves as gods on earth – the power holders, the deal makers.  To admit God exists it to admit the existence of a power higher (and more intelligent) than themselves.  Such a notion is anathema to these people.  Such a notion would mean they are not the ultimate judges of right and wrong, life and death.  I honestly believe most of these people are so full of themselves, they simply cannot fathom such an “outlandish” and “quaint” notion as God.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter since the preponderance of evidence, which can be arrived at by the use of natural reason alone (as so superbly demonstrated by St. Thomas Aquinas), overwhelmingly points to the existence of a Creator who stands outside of time as a non-material being and the uncaused cause.  But take heart, atheists, as Antony Flew demonstrated, God continues to offer Himself to you; all you need to do is accept His invitation.

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Photo: FreeFoto.com

In response to my re-posting of Archbishop Carlson’s article, “Before the Cross: Good Catholics cannot be Pro-Choice,” which, quite correctly, states that one cannot hold positions in opposition to fundamental Catholic teaching and still remain Catholic, I received the following comment from Dave, who seems to be exactly the type of  “Catholic” the Archbishop addressed:

“Most Catholics disagree with you on this. Just because the priests are with you doesn’t mean anything. Look who they are.”

While the comment is sadly uninformed and misguided, it unfortunately represents the view of many “Catholics” today who’ve been indoctrinated by a small, but vocal, group of dissenting theologians, Bishops and priests who worked (and unfortunately, a few still work) to undermine the true Church by claiming a false “Spirit of Vatican II” for the authority of their “teaching,” which wrongly claims Vatican II called for a complete break with established Tradition.  As a result, many “Catholics” today have been lead to the false belief that Catholicism is merely one religious sect among many, no better and no worse than any other, and that man determines the “doctrine of the day” by nothing more than a majority opinion poll on a certain topic at a certain time – further they believe that doctrine can (and must) change whenever the whims of man decide so.

Such false positions of relativism are very dangerous as they put one’s soul on the path to eternal damnation.  Consequently it becomes very important to counter these dissenting beliefs and, God willing, do something to help get these people back on the “small and narrow” path which leads to eternal salvation.  Instead of having my response buried in the comments, I decided to highlight this comment and my response in a post of its own.

It’s critically important for Catholics to understand Church authorities do not just “make up” doctrine as they go along.  Church doctrine, Church teachings and the authority of the Magisterium do not come from man.  Instead, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Catechism and centuries worth of ecumenical councils and papal encyclicals all very clearly state that what the Church teaches infallibly (which includes teachings on faith and morals) comes from the divine revelation of God, not from man, and is therefore Truth not subject to the changing whims of man.  Individuals might not like the Truth, yet it remains the Truth to which we are called and to which we are held accountable, whether we like it or not.  Therefore, when “Catholics” dissent from fundamental Church teaching, they no longer freely and obediently submit their will to the will of God – they are no longer in unity or communion with the Trinity through Jesus Christ and thereby no longer members of His Church, which means they are no longer Catholics no matter how loudly they might proclaim otherwise.  To claim you’re a member of a certain group and to then reject the fundamental teachings of that group is an absurdity.

May God have mercy on your soul for believing in and propagating such rubbish!  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  If you reject the Magisterium of the Church because you don’t like what the Catholic Church teaches and you find yourself incapable of surrendering your will to the will of God since you believe you know better what’s best for your soul than does God (which is what it means when you refuse to freely submit yourself to Church teaching), you are completely free to leave the Church and “worship” whatever you chose.  Donum Veritatis (On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian), issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on May 24, 1990, states the Church has always held “nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will.”  You do in fact, thanks to the infinite love of the Father, have the complete free will to absolutely reject His gift of salvation and instead chose the path of eternal damnation.

The Church has been quite clear from the time of Jesus to the present day that rejecting the defense of life is to choose death.  Just like the prodigal son, the Father gives you complete freedom to walk away from everything He lovingly offers you.  As Jesus tells us in His parable, the Father stands ready to joyfully welcome you back into the fold, but He will not go looking for you.  It’s up to you to return to Him of your own free will or to remain on the path of destruction.  “Catholics” who reject the Magisterium reject the Lord and thereby choose their own path and their own judgment.

Finally, your comment implies condemnation of the entire priesthood based on the heinous actions of a few (who, by the way, would not have been ordained to the priesthood had orthodox Catholic teaching been followed regarding the unsuitability of actively homosexual men to the priesthood – Ordination is a privilege, not a “right” – however that’s another blog post – funny how following the Magisterium can keep us on the right path and out of trouble).  While even one case of sexual abuse is unacceptable, in reality of the tens of thousands of active priests from the 1950s to today, only 1% have been accused of sexual abuse (in fact, children are one hundred times more likely to be abused at the hands of a public school employee than a Catholic priest).  In addition, in many cases, accusations are only coming out years after the accused died, which makes it rather difficult for the accused to present his side of the story.  Along with that, the vast majority of abuse cases in the United States are being filed by one attorney, who has a record of going on “fishing expeditions” in order to find “victims.”  While there are certainly legitimate cases which need to be severally dealt with (and the post-Vatican II Church is far from innocent in not taking the issue seriously – however, I suspect many complaining about Rome today would have accused it of acting “harshly” has it done what it should, when it had should), the fact remains that the vast majority of priests and Bishops stand accused of nothing and more importantly most of them are good, honorable and holy men.

Additionally, Ordination does not create saints.  It creates an instrument, the priest’s hands, through which God works by way of the Holy Spirit to being you the sanctifying grace of the Sacraments.  It’s our job to take care of our priests.  If you know a priest who needs help, it’s your job as a faithful Catholic to help that man.  You will be held accountable by God for doing nothing and will be judged even more harshly for loudly complaining and libeling the entire priesthood.  My friend, I must warn you, as a Christian concerned about the salvation of your soul, your comments give me great concern regarding the path you’re on.

Any Catholic who takes such issue with the entire priesthood needs to enter into serious prayerful reflection instead of condemning the entire priesthood in the “court of public opinion!”  Only God knows what’s in the hearts of these men and it’s up to Him to judge their souls.  St. Peter denied Jesus, his very savior, three times, yet Jesus forgave him – and not only forgave St. Peter, but built His entire Church upon the “rock” of St. Peter, telling us that even the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.  Instead of looking for ways to dissent from the Truth, I suggest you instead prayerfully seek God’s grace to help you freely surrender your will to His will and seek to live a life of Christian perfection through Jesus Christ in unity with His Church.

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[The following article from Archbishop Carlson is very clear — you cannot support abortion and still claim to be a Catholic.]

Before the Cross | Good Catholics cannot be pro-choice; The Fifth Commandment demands respect for life as God’s most precious gift

By Archbishop Robert J. Carlson
Mugshot

God’s law in the Old Testament is clear and unambiguous: You shall not kill. Jesus is even more demanding: Every one who is angry is liable to judgment.

Sins against the Fifth Commandment are easy to commit. Any time we think, speak or act out of anger or hatred or jealousy or revenge, we abuse God’s commandment that we respect His most precious gift, the gift of life — especially human life.

Human life is sacred because, from its beginning until its natural end, it involves the creative action of God. The Fifth Commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. God alone is the Lord of life. No one has the right to end arbitrarily what God has begun, and sustained, through the gift of His love.

In the account of Abel’s murder by Cain (Genesis 4:8-12), Scripture reveals the presence of anger and envy in humankind, consequences of original sin, from the beginning of recorded history. God declares this as wicked, and He asks the question to be answered over the ages: “What have you done?” Today this question is asked not only of those who kill someone, but also of those responsible for violence, anger, hatred and vengeance in any form.

It is a shame that there are so many violent words expressed between members of the same family day in and day out. Anger and intolerance are also pervasive in our Church and in society. Such attitudes are destructive and sinful. They are of the Evil One and not of God.

The Fifth Commandment does not stop someone from self defense, because someone who defends his or her own life is not guilty of murder. Legitimate defense can be not only a right but also a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or the security of a nation. We risk our lives to protect ourselves and others because we value human life and freedom so dearly. They are gifts from God that we are bound to cherish and defend.

Since the first century, the Church has addressed the moral evil of abortion and the killing of a defenseless baby in the womb. People who are casual about the sin of abortion and who choose to view it as a political issue rather than the serious moral issue that it is are guilty of violating the Fifth Commandment. You cannot be “pro-choice” (pro-abortion) and remain a Catholic in good standing. That’s why the Church asks those who maintain this position not to receive holy Communion. We are not being mean or judgmental, we are simply acknowledging the fact that such a stance is objectively and seriously sinful and is radically inconsistent with the Christian way of life.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said, “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and human life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes” (“Gaudium et Spes,” No. 51.3). That’s why formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life (see canons 1398,1314, and 1323-1324).

The Fifth Commandment also directs us to work for justice and peace — avoiding war whenever possible — and to limit the use of capital punishment to the most extreme (and rare) circumstances required to protect human life. Only God has the right to take the life of another human being. When we take that action into our own hands — in self-defense or in defense of others — we had better be sure that all other options have been exhausted!

In addition, euthanasia or deliberately taking of the life of someone who is sick, dying, disabled or mentally ill is morally unacceptable. The Church calls for the ordinary care owed to a sick person, but medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous or extraordinary are not necessary. If you are unsure about the moral implications of health care procedures that are being proposed for someone you love, contact your pastor or the archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate. They will be happy to help you consider approaches that are in accordance with our Church’s teaching about care for those who are sick or dying.

Taking proper care of our health, respecting others and showing respect for the dead are all matters covered by the Fifth Commandment’s demand that we reverence God’s most precious gift — human life.

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