A great controversy in the history of moral theology was the concept that a doubtful law could not bind. The logic was simple: you can only be bound by a law which you know to be true and truly applied. If there is more than one reputable view of the question, we are entitled to choose which opinion to follow. This was, and is, called Probabilism. Its opposite was Probabiliorism. This held that one was obliged to choose the more probable opinion. A third view was Tutiorism, which held that we must always take the safest way however small the likelihood of it being binding.
While Tutiorism seems to have been a minor movement, great arguments took place between Probabilism and Probabiliorism. And each fell in and out of fashion. One of the more robust moments was the attack on Probabilism (as the Jesuit theologians interpreted the principle) in Pascal’s Lettres Provinciales – which remains one of the great books of religious controversy. He accused them of teaching that any opinion held by one of their theologians constituted sufficient doubt to negate the law. And went on to say that they encouraged diversity of opinion since you could always find at least one authority teaching what you wanted to hear.
Nowadays Probabilism is the only horse in the race, although the opinion one may follow needs to be “solidly probable”. The best case study known to me is Canon McReavy’s consideration of the moral law on contraception in the Clergy Review, September 1967. That was, you may recall, after the Birth Control Commission had finished but before Paul V1th had given his decision.
McReavy showed clearly the strength and the range of the opposition to the traditional position. One prominent example was the Dutch Catechism which urged couples to form their consciences in the light of the general values of marriage as laid out in Vatican II. However, he decided that Paul VI’s messages, urging that the traditional position should be observed until his final view could be given, removed the question from the table for the time being. So he concluded – not necessarily correctly in my view – that it didn’t pass the test.
Pascal’s book is well worth at least dipping into. Easiest to find a translation by looking up Lettres Provinciales in Wiki. One example which I liked was the idea that, if involved in a duel, one would do well to kill one’s opponent by stealth beforehand. In that way one would avoid risking one’s life and participating in one’s opponent’s sin committed by duelling. But that is just one of many, many examples.
One might apply Probabilism to the much contested opinion that one may use a condom to protect one’s married partner from HIV – on the grounds that the act is not one of contraception but protection. This is an issue involving strong theological doubt. The Vatican appears to have deliberately avoided answering the question. (The Pope’s recent remarks on condom use for protection are clearly not directed at married couples, and so do not touch the issue.) Do you think that the opinion that a condom may be rightly used in marriage for protective purposes is a solidly probable one? Or is it just a Jesuitical way of talking oneself out of a difficulty?
Writing of which, as I live in a Jesuit parish I like to mutter about the Lettres Provinciales just to annoy. And if that doesn’t make them blench, I throw in the question of owning and selling slaves in Maryland for two hundred years, and well into the 19th century.
(By the way, the excuse that one had to write a long letter because one did not have the time to write a short one comes from Lettres Provinciales. It did not originate with Bernard Shaw, as is often suggested.)
How about the legal maxim “Nemo judex in sua causa“- which I translate (doubtless unnecessarily, but as a courtesy to those who are discomfited by the assumption they know Latin) as ‘nobody to be the judge in his own case’. We are not to be judges in our own cases because our emotions are powerfully involved: our intelligences will readily find arguments to support what we deeply want to do. But in cases of conscience where will we find an independent judge? There are choices (even within the Church, often enough) and ‘forum-shopping’ is all too likely. All one can say is that one has to use one’s judgement, both to judge judges and to judge situations. I suggest that none of the three positions, Probabilism, Probabiliorism and Tutiorism, is always exclusively applicable. You need a – judicious – mix of all three.
It ‘probably could be that someone knows what is right, but not able to live by it, as the temptation is too high. And say ‘Forgive me Lord for I have sinned’ I will try to do better tomorrow. There is always the Sacrament of Confession. We are not perfect human beings and the Lord knows that.
Apart from the fact that a condom is not 100% safe,but if used in the infertile time , then it would not be contraceptive. There would still be a risk of transmitting HIV
One would have to weigh up the unitive relationship within a marriage, against abstaining for the rest of ones married life.
This is what using our conscience responsibly is all about.I don’t believe it is a case of justifying ones conscience, just accept the fact that we are weak.
It seems to me like the diffirence between driving a car under the influence of alcohol and having an accident where someone is killed .
This may not make too much sense, but all I can say at the moment.
st Joseph, you say that to use a condom during the infertile time would not be contraception. In one sense you are of course right. But the papal teaching is not based on whether or not conception could occur but on the argument that using a condom is against the structure of an act which, by it nature, is ordered to conception.
Thus a couple in their 90’s are not permitted to use a condom (for protection or anything else). If that sounds barmy to you, it sounds barmy to lots of other people.
Thank you Quentin.
Your comment ‘ A great controversy in the history of Moral Theology was the concept that a ‘doubtful’ law could not bind’. Correct if we are t0 live by our inner conscience And I believe that only God knows the inner heart of man. What is right and wrong for them in line with the moral ‘Law’ ‘and their’ conscience., within marriage.And not doing any harm to anyone else.
I have made the comment on other sites, that one would have to weigh up the unitive relationship in their marriage, what would be the greater ‘sin’ against each other in their marriage.
As I said ‘ a condom in not 100% safe-‘so a husband and wife would have to take the responsibility of their use, as to the safety of the other partner against HIV!
The point I was making ‘was using a condom during the infertile time there would be no risk of pregnancy whereby a baby would be born with Aids.(unless of course God intervened with another ovulation) and I think fertility awareness has brought us up to that knowledge now).He does want us to use our own intellect . Unlike in the ‘Babylonian religious poetry ‘world picture, human beings are mere puppets,dancing to a tune set by the gods.Some comments made are inclined to accuse traditionilsts of that!
I will defend the Churches teaching on contraception always-knowing what I know, teaching NFP for years.
I dont know anything about couples in their 90s and the Churches teaching, only I can see the sense in ‘not’ using a condom at that age, if it is a risk to ones health or any age for that matter. But then it is up to them, and their ‘conscience’
I think that this issue can be used to discredit the church and HV, by those who don.t use the God given gift of intellect, or who like to put it all into little compartments of traditionilist’s convervatives, or whatever else they would like to call it.
They are those who I would consider do not recognise the seed that unfolds under the guidance of the Holy Spirit across the ages- as the same way that the mustard seed would grow into a tree.
I don’t know if it is worth thinking and responding to this topic as it appears to me to be so much hair-splitting, that it is likely to be quite dizzying to one’s mind. I am not ordinarily for simplification when matters are quite rightly complex and this type of discussion no doubt falls within the province of professional theologians, and maybe it should be left there. If this discussion is to make any sense for me, it can only occur within the context of our right to religious freedom and our equally important understanding of the inviolacy of our human consciences.
You ask the question, ‘do you think that the opinion that a condom may be rightly used in marriage for protective purposes is a solidly probable one?’ In other words, we are discussing this particular issue within Probabiliorism, which is the most likely applicable teaching applying to our situation. Personally, I don’t much patience for such propositions as they can easily and more plainly be resolved for most individuals using their own consciences.
It is most interesting that the principle of double effect can apply to this particular issue. I would like to use the example of palliative sedation to illustrate my point about the principle of double effect. According to church teaching within the CCC, the sole integrity of the use of palliative sedation resides with the intention of the doctor employing it, and also with the patient authorising such treatment in full knowledge of its consequences. If this patient has sought relief from pain through personally authorising palliative sedation, despite knowing fully that its employment can prematurely end their life as a side effect, such a request is legitimate. If such treatment is primarily for the alleviation of debilitating pain, but the indirect and unintended consequence of using palliative sedation is a shortening of the life of an individual, according to our church’s teaching, this medical therapy is absolutely legitimate despite the risk or eventuality of the life of the individual ending sooner rather than later, due to the medical employment of palliative sedation.
Similarly, the principle of double effect can and does apply to the provided example of condom use within a marriage relationship. If the intention is primarily to provide protection for either spouse from the aids virus and not contraception, it could be argued that this is indeed a legitimate use for a condom. If on the other hand, the primary intention is to use it for contraception, then it would be considered an illegitimate use for a condom. I personally believe that Pope Paul VI has erred for writing Humanae Vitae and for opposing his expert panel of theologians on the issue of artificial contraception. Hardly anybody within the church is interested or agrees with the encyclical.
In the preface of Hans Kung’s book called ‘Infallible?’ which is written by Herbert Haag, Haag made reference to the insight of a pastor and theologian called Rudolf Schermann. Schermann asked…
‘So why did Paul VI decide against the use of artificial means of contraception? Out of anxiety for women’s health? Certainly not. He was not just concerned about the pill, the medical risks of which both women and doctors soon recognized, with the result that the pill boom waned of its own accord, but with all artificial means. The pope was not making a medical statement but a moral statement. Why did Paul VI go against the advice of the experts whom he himself had invited? The answer is as banal as it is significant: he decided as he did in order to be able to maintain the prestige of the papacy, in order to be able to say: ‘As our predecessors of blessed memory have reportedly confirmed…’ For what would people all over the world have thought – at least that was the notion haunting the curial minds which, it is said, put the Pope under pressure – if Paul VI had suddenly given the green light for artificial contraception against the clear statements by his predecessors? It was indeed well known that Pius XII (who was Pope from 1939 to 1958) regarded artificial birth control as fundamentally evil.’ (Publik-forum, 22 July 1988).
This quote was contained within the Preface of ‘Infallible, An Unresolved Enquiry’, by Kung, H., SCM Press, London 1994.
John Candido, whether one is attacking or defending the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception it is important to be aiming at the centre of the target.
Humanae Vitae, and of course many other official documents, teach that to pervert the act of sexual intercourse by artificially depriving it of its essential nature is in itself wrong. Thus, irrespective of the intention to protect the marriage partner, one is undertaking an act which is sinful in itself. Therefore its use does not pass the first condition of double effect.
To attack this position it is necessary to demonstrate that the contraceptive act is not intrinsically evil. Or, if you prefer, to put the burden of proof that it is intrinsically evil on the Church.
“Nor can you simply bring it about that you intend this and not that by an inner act of directing your attention. Circumstances, and the immediate facts about the means you are choosing to your ends, dictate what descriptions of your intention you must admit.” (Elizabeth Anscombe, Action, intention and double effect’ 
John I believe that the Holy Father guided by the Holy Spirit, knew the consequences of contraception, it was beginning to show the effects in the early 60.s,
He urged all scientist and councillers etc to work for the knowledge of NFP, which by the way was already known by the teaching of the Billings Method, in the 60s, so the Holy Father was not as naive as people believe him to have been. And we can see now how true that is.
I cant go into anymore detail about the pallaitive care, as I am off to see Gloucester play Rugby (have to get my priorities right) But thought I would make my comment.
Just to add I am always wondering why so much comments about condoms, when so many catholics are using the Pill, and can be an early abortion.
As far as I am concerned it is up the person who uses condoms, and their conscience.
I think their is a greater worry with the pill and others.
Quentin de la Bedoyere, you state that…
‘Humanae Vitae, and of course many other official documents, teach that to pervert the act of sexual intercourse by artificially depriving it of its essential nature is in itself wrong. Thus, irrespective of the intention to protect the marriage partner, one is undertaking an act which is sinful in itself. Therefore its use does not pass the first condition of double effect.’
I can understand where you are coming from, but as I don’t see that using artificial contraception for married couples is ‘intrinsically evil’, for me, and many others throughout the world at least, it passes the hurdle of initial legitimacy, as far as the principle of double effect is concerned. In addition, for the church to use language such as ‘intrinsically evil’ for not only artificial contraception, but the lived and sexual expression of love between homosexuals and between lesbians as committed couples, as well as the personal and harmless act of masturbation, is an overreaction, manifestly wrong, and inconsistent with the church’s commitment to contemporary scientific truth.
The church makes quite a demonstration about its respect, love for, and appreciation of the sciences. But it completely goes to water when the science under discussion is our present-day understanding of sexuality, as derived from modern biology, genetics, psychology, medicine, and sexology. It also cannot tolerate a contemporary understanding of sexuality from the humanities, such as within anthropology and sociology.
Nearly everything on this blog of recent times seems to always come back to the legitimacy, or otherwise, of condom use.
It was a fellow columnist of Quentin who wrote something to the effect of : “Am I the only idiot in the village who cannot make any sense of what the Pope was talking about in his explantion of when condom use might be permissible.”
Well that columnist has at least one other person in the confused camp , and that is me. No amount of gesturing about it only referring to married couples, (Quentins favourite conribution,) who are not in their nineties etc. just leaves me shaking my head. (The same columnist also wrote that the thousands of words written since the Pope’s discussion with the journalist trying to explain what the Pope meant on this subject is proof positive that is it is nonsensical.)
I might also point out to John Candido that because something is natural in the sense of ‘scientific proof’ does not of itself make it sinless.
One could argue for all kinds of ‘scientific proofs’ eg. man has evolved to be able to have, and indeed desire, multiple partners, so as to re-produce but this does not diminish ‘thou shall not commit adultery’ in which the Church includes sexual acts
outside of marriage, and that being one man and one woman, till death do them part. As Jesus taught.
John Candido, I, rather deliberately, did not give an opinion on whether the use of a condom was intrinsically evil or not. I merely said that was the Church’s teaching. If you hold that it is not then, in your terms, double effect is simply not applicable. But should an act be intrinsically wrong then no intention can make it right.
Claret, don’t be too hard on my mention of married couples. My concern here is that there are those who think that to use a condom when fornicating (or risking infection) makes their act worse than it would otherwise have been. It doesn’t.
My apologies to Quentin for assuming that he was offering his own opinion rather than the church’s teaching on sexuality. Despite my small oversight, it will not change the substance of my previous post in any way. I stand by what I wrote and I will not offer any retractions, revisions, or apologies for it whatsoever. I might also add to Claret’s most recent post that I do not in any way shape or form advocate adultery, or sleeping around. My point is that the church’s teaching on sexuality has not kept up with the modern scientific consensus on the issue of sexuality, and this is indirectly related to and explicable by the autocratic form of governance that the church has maintained, for about two thousand years.
Claret goes on to state that, ‘I might also point out to John Candido that because something is natural in the sense of ‘scientific proof’ does not of itself make it sinless.’ Science never makes a claim for proof on any position, because it deals with observable facts and the interpretation of evidence, as they present themselves within scientific experimentation. Scientists initially examine observable facts, generate a hypothesis or hypotheses, conducts scientific experiments according to well understood protocols, makes an assessment of the evidence, and offers the most likely interpretation of observable phenomena in the form of a tentative conclusion.
Conclusions that are derived from such a process are offered tentatively at first until similar experimentation can replicate the results of previous experimentation. When this has been done exhaustively by scientists working independently around the world, a scientific consensus will develop on a subject. When it deploys a reasonable amount of confidence in its conclusions and interpretations, it is the result of an exhaustive effort over many years, by many independent scientists working throughout the world.
There is very little in science that is absolute, indisputable, and not open to future review, re-examination, and potential refinement. Science never talks about absolutes unless it is within a context of a chain of mathematical reasoning. Professor Carl Wunschmit who is an American Physical Oceanographer has said that…
‘Science is very rarely about proof; science is about plausibility. There’s very little we can say, “This must be absolutely true”.
The explicative force of science is entirely conceptualised in terms of the probabilities and likelihoods of future events unfolding as we understand them to be. For example, the likelihood that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow is extremely high, or the probability that I will float in the air unaided after launching myself from a skyscraper is extremely low. It would be wrong to say that the sun will rise tomorrow in the east as an absolute scientific fact. To properly conceptualise this future in scientific terms it should be formulated as very likely do so.
It is an important protocol of science that dogmatism and absolutes are to be discounted, while tentativeness, interpretive thinking, probability and the likelihood of truth, are all central to scientific endeavours. A good contemporary book on this subject is ‘Merchants of Doubt’, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Bloomsbury Press, 2010. You can read a summary of this title here… http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/. There is also an interesting YouTube video that you can access at the top right hand corner of this same page. Be warned that it goes for around 58 minutes in length. This video can also be accessed here… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio.
An exhaustive collection of YouTube videos on the book and on the subject of the history of science as related within ‘Merchants of Doubt’, can be seen here… http://www.google.com.au/search?q=merchants+of+doubt&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-AU:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7PRFA_en&prmd=ivnsb&source=univ&tbs=vid:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=PVR9Te38BoqivQOF_ZHWBw&ved=0CFcQqwQ.
As a non-scientist, I am not an authority on the subject of homosexuality within the library of scientific literature that society has on this subject. What I do know has been gleaned from a plethora of secular press reports over the years, as well one high quality televised documentary on American psychological research, which sought to discount the idea of homosexuality as a mental illness. What I have learned is that society as a whole has historically had a view of homosexuality that was founded on misinformation, prejudice, and malfeasance, but that this has been gradually transformed as a result of scientific endeavour.
The contemporary view of homosexuality as a normal and healthy phenomenon is a result of the gradual accumulation of genetic, psychological, and medical research. Medical doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists used to think that homosexuality was a sign of mental illness. This has been completely subverted through rigorous scientific studies within several disciplines.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Copyright 2000, by Houghton Mifflin Company, and updated in 2009, a mental illness is ‘any of various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual’s normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioural functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or head trauma. Also called emotional illness, mental disease, (and) mental disorder.’
Homosexuality used to be listed as a defined entity of psychiatric illness within the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’, which is also come to be quite well known as the DSM. This has been expunged as a result of scientific studies. The DSM is currently in its fourth edition, with a fifth edition expected in the middle of 2013. You can read something about the DSM from here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders.
Of course this can be completely discounted if you come from a fundamentalist position on homosexuality. Anybody can say to themselves, ‘so what, my bible or my church still teaches me with authority that homosexuality is a sin and therefore it is immoral’. You cannot argue with anybody who has such views, and it would be completely futile to make any attempt to do so. As I eschew fundamentalism of all kinds, I cannot agree with such thinking because of the rational agency of many accumulated, peer reviewed, and published scientific reports, that clearly attest to the healthy normalcy of varied sexualities within humanity.
My own lay interpretation of these scientific reports is that as it is the consensus of scientific thinking that demonstrably concludes that homosexuality is not a mental illness, despite society’s wholesale belief that it was so in the past; intelligent, contemporary, and progressive Christians cannot rely on the bible or the magisterium of the church as an authoritative teacher on this question. I believe that it is no longer the case that the practise of homosexuality within committed relationships is sinful, and it must be reconceptualised as a human right, and equal in dignity to heterosexuality.
In the latest issue of an online Catholic magazine called ‘Eureka’, http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=25371#top, Fr Frank Brennen SJ wrote an article about the legal position of same sex partnerships in Australia. Although he thought the constitutional law limited the desire of homosexuals to marriage equality, he believed that same sex partnerships could be given the same legal recognition as de facto couples. This is quite an advance on the magisterium’s present teaching on homosexuality. He wrote…
‘Though homosexual acts committed by a heterosexual person might be judged immoral, one cannot credibly cast judgment on all such acts committed by a homosexual person without first taking into account the personal and relational context of the sexual act. There are homosexual persons who enter into loving, faithful, and committed relationships. These persons should be able to live in society free from discrimination, without state interference and with state support and approval. They should enjoy the same state protection as de facto couples enjoy under existing state and territory laws.’
‘It is very difficult to characterise such a law giving this non-discriminatory protection to same-sex couples as ‘so harmful to the common good as to be gravely immoral’ as Benedict has previously done. It is at least contestable whether such a law would be harmful to the common good.’
I would argue that giving marriage equality to homosexual couples would not be harmful to the common good. In addition, full marriage equality for homosexual couples does not detrimentally affect anybody’s human rights, including everybody’s right to marriage. There is no scientific evidence demonstrating that the rearing of children by same-sex couples, who are genuinely loving parents, harms them in any way. Justice for sexual minorities will be a constant theological sore for the church throughout the 21st century.
I would rather follow the evidence of modern scientific enquiry on homosexuality than the first century writings of the New Testament, however inspired by the Holy Spirit. And I would also follow science in preference to an ossified magisterium ruled by a moribund and increasing corrupt hierarchy. In addition, Lord Acton’s dictums on power are relevant for the church of today, and I have found evidence for this. See my latest post within ‘Was St Peter the Right Choice?’ dated the 14th March 2011, at 8.54am, in reply to Claret’s article dated the 23rd February 2011, at 1.02am. If you are having trouble locating the above article, you can access it here… http://www.theage.com.au/national/pope-makes-secret-checks-on-clergy-20110313-1bsyh.html.
Claret has stated, ‘because something is natural…does not of itself make it sinless’. I would agree with this as a general proposition in the sense that I and everybody else have natural feelings, and just because we may feel this or that does not mean we have a licence to do as we please. For example, if I feel anger, great annoyance, and shock, it can be natural to feel so if someone has decided to physically assault me for no reason whatsoever. As I have by law and by the moral authority of my church’s teachings; it is entirely legitimate for me to defend myself in a proportionate manner.
However, it has become apparent that I don’t want to respond in a proportionate manner. I have become so enraged by this disgraceful and outrageous attack, that what I want to do is to exact revenge on this perpetrator. Who knows, I might even want to kill him as well, if he doesn’t quickly come to heel, apologise, and surrender to the appropriate authorities, for such is the extent of my quite heightened feelings. It might feel extremely natural for me to exact revenge and even kill the offender in this perilous circumstance, but this does not make it right, according to the law, my conscience, and the teachings of the church.
It would be unfair to extend this metaphor to the legitimacy of homosexual orientation expressed within a loving and committed relationship that is the essence of a same-sex marriage. Where is the crime or immorality in this situation? Where is the threat to everybody else’s set of values and morals? Where is the threat to heterosexual marriage? Where is the threat to society? There simply isn’t any credible threat to anybody at all, except within the fear and prejudice of closed minds.
On the whole I must agree with tim “Nemo judex in sua causa“, and with John Candido “this type of discussion no doubt falls within the province of professional theologians, and maybe it should be left there”.
However one comment seems appropriate;
HUMANAE VITAE 1968 Lawful Therapeutic Means
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.
This seems to me to conflict with the statement ” . . to pervert the act of sexual intercourse by artificially depriving it of its essential nature is in itself wrong”.
Furthermore if the statement had simply read ‘ necessary to prevent or cure bodily diseases’ – there would be no problem.
PS. The latin version contains the somewhat unusual word ‘curando’ – here translated as ‘to cure’ which I cannot find in a Latin dictionary.
‘ad morbos corporis curandos’ – in order to cure diseases of the body; ‘curandos’ is the gerundive of the 1st conjugation verb ‘curo’, in the accusative plural to agree with ‘morbos’. Ad+gerundive is a common way of expressing purpose. A dictionary, of course, only gives the principal parts of the verb.
Anyway, why would one want to be so silly as to use a condom all the time,when only 5 days in a month are fertile? Isn’t the way Our Lord made us, good enough?
Also with so much health and safety precautions around to-day, why would a husband want to risk his wifes health. When we know the effects .We can’t smoke indoors now in case ones lungs are filled with smoke (I don’t smoke) etc; etc; etc.;
The Commandment Our Lord gave to us,as loving our neighbour,doesn’t really fit the bill ,or should I say ‘pill’ , patches or condoms , which are not 100% safe for transmitting disease.
A little hypocritical doesn’t one think, when we are speaking about pallaitive care.
Or are we really such a caring society. It seems we can’t see the wood for the trees.
Not forgetting the spiritual effect it has on our souls.I mean by that’ our lack of true love for our neighbour
John Candido says’ If this duscussion has to make sense to me, it can only occur in the context of our right to religious freedom ‘,.
Well the only answer I can make to that is ‘ we are all free to do what we like ‘,that is why we have free will, but’ real’ freedom in the Spirit. is in St Pauls Cor 2 ch 3 -17.
Then it depends what one means by ‘religion’
By the way on a lighter note- Glos 45 Qwent Dragons 17.
In case anyone is interested!
I am indebted to John Candido for the great lengths he has gone into explanation of what he perceives as scientific proofs and the time he has spent on posting this deserves a more in depth reply of similar stature than what I can provide. I do though think that he ‘protesteth too much’ as I was merely responding to scientific proofs ( of which it would not seem there aren’t any !) being a catch-all answer to what is moral and what is not moral.
I think that on previous posts we have crossed swords , so to speak, on the subject of homosexuality and there seems little point in re-visiting it all again.
I personally think it leads to all sorts of problems wehen we put sexuality into little boxes and label them accordingly. There are many expressions of human sexuality , some are generally approved of , some are not.
I would though concede that the box of what is referred to as homosexuality is a human response to a certain type of sexuality. However its sexual expression is immoral, unnatural and medically dangerous.
You write “I would rather follow the evidence of modern scientific enquiry on homosexuality than the first century writings of the New Testament, however inspired by the Holy Spirit.” For all I know medical science might be able to explain why some people have abnormal sexual proclivities (towards persons of the same sex, or children, or animals) just as it might be able to explain why some people contract cancer while others don’t; but science is morally neutral, hence the perceived need for ethical constraints even in so-called secular societies. Nazi doctors were allowed to conduct their research using what we would regard as inhuman methods; they would have argued that the end justified the means.
The Catholic position is clear; there is a universal moral law based on Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law (which is God’s law) and it is binding on everyone. It trumps human law and no pope or Council can set it aside. You say that adultery is immoral, and I would agree. It is generally held that John F Kennedy’s serial adultery resulted from a psycho-sexual disorder then referred to as satyriasis. This could not in itself be sinful, and for all I know might have been treatable by therapy. But instead of using his will to combat this proclivity, he freely indulged it and sinned gravely.
As with adultery, so with sodomy, which remained a criminal offence until fairly recently. In 1967 it was by no means certain that what Lord Arran described as the “Buggers’ Bill” would make it through the Lords, and few people at the time thought that what was being decriminalized was anything but immoral.
It would appear that in 1939, when Hitler was planning the euthanasia programme for the incurably insane, he commissioned, through an intermediary, the opinion of a leading Catholic theologian, Joseph Mayer, who was Professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of Paderborn. Mayer’s Opinion, which ran to approximately 100 pages and looked at the arguments for and against. Only in relatively modern times, Mayer argued, had a large number of moral theologians totally rejected the euthanasia of the mentally ill. Citing the Jesuit argument of ‘Probabilismus’ he concluded that since there were reasonable grounds and authorities both for and against it, the practice could be considered “defensible”. It should also be remembered that the science of eugenics was in vogue at the time, and not just in Germany. Are you paying attention, John Candido?
It was the “ossified magisterium” of the Holy Office that pronounced that ‘the extinction of unworthy life by public mandate [was] incompatible with natural and divine law’, and this was endorsed from the pulpit by Bishop Preysing of Berlin on 9 March 1941: ‘The law of God proclaims that no earthly power, including the State, has the right to take the life of the innocent. This divine law is irrevocable.’
[I am indebted for most of the above to Gitta Sereny’s 1974 book ‘Into That Darkness – From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder’. I don’t agree with all her conclusions, but the evidence she presents is pretty sound.]
I don’t know why you are making such a fuss John Nolan. How could Professor Joseph Mayer get it so wrong? And to think that he produced a paper on the question of justifying the mass euthanasia of the mentally ill, that not only concluded that it probably had merit, but that it also ran to 100 pages! This is truly mind-boggling! At least the ossified magisterium got it right this time.
It is truly bizarre that Hitler would seek a moral theologian’s opinion, albeit through an intermediary, on people that he personally found repulsive, and wanted to slaughter wholesale. Why do butchers such as Hitler bother with moral theologians at all? Did he need his guidance on a moral quandary? I suppose Hitler was quite a cunning and politically astute devil, who was probably trying to gauge what German Catholics would think of such an idea, if they became aware of such a dastardly plan. If Professor Mayer had even a modicum of perspicacity, he would have condemned such an idea immediately, without giving it the dignity of 100 pages.
The rights of homosexuals is not a passing trend John Nolan but equivalent to the civil rights movement in the United States, the struggle of women to be equals with men, the rights of the disabled, and the rights of the mentally ill. It is a movement of great dignity and purpose whose members seek the cooperation and support of the heterosexual community. And they have received this support in recent years in bucket-loads.
In your second last post you say that science is morally neutral. This is absolutely correct. Objectivity, impartiality, neutrality, and freedom from conflicts of interest, are absolutely essential to scientific integrity. In my most recent post, I produced a small discussion about how science had offered evidence that homosexuality was not a mental illness. However, I never claimed that science had found evidence that homosexuality was moral. Any moral claims are strictly outside the provenance of scientific experimentation. Any scientist, who claims that he or she has determined the morality of any particular behaviour through experimentation, would soon become the absolute laughing stock of the scientific world.
Science has accomplished its admirable work of clarifying the question of mental illness and homosexuality. Modern psychology, genetics, sexology, medicine, and psychiatry, which are properly based on rigour, are massively influential in modern society. The social and cultural impacts of such priceless efforts are hugely influential in educated and enlightened societies. Society and the church are influenced by these factors and it is they who make judgements and considerations of what is morally acceptable or not. Morality is strictly a philosophical, social, or theological question, not a scientific one.
The sensus fidelium, or sense of the faithful, is ever growing towards support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, and intersex people, as equal and much loved members of our church. Like everything catholic, it is a long haul. Thank you for your reply.
P.S. To anybody who is wondering, I am a heterosexual.
Here are some internet resources for anybody who is interested.
Call to Action: http://www.cta-usa.org/.
Dignity USA: http://www.dignityusa.org/.
Equally Blessed: http://www.equally-blessed.org/.
Fortunate Families: http://www.fortunatefamilies.org/.
Gay Christian Online: http://www.fortunatefamilies.org/.
New Ways Ministry: http://www.newwaysministry.org/.
Queering the Church: http://queeringthechurch.wordpress.com/.
Religious Tolerance: http://www.religioustolerance.org/.
I would like to add to that list. EnCourage.
A Spiritual Support Group for Catholic Homosexuals wishing to live according to the teachings of the Catholic Church
I thought the Mayer case might ring a faint warning bell to those like yourself who let themselves be guided by the opinions of scientists and theologians even when they are in conflict with divine law. And as you well know, the Church does not say that homosexual orientation is a mental illness; rather it is an objective disorder which is not sinful in itself but can be an occasion of sin.
You say in an earlier post: ‘I believe that it is no longer the case that the practise [sic] of homosexuality within committed relationships is sinful.’ It is somewhat presumptuous of you to assume that God has changed his mind in the last thirty years. You can, for example, say you don’t believe in transubstantiation or the Virgin Birth and remain a Christian, albeit a heretical one. But no-one, Christian or not, can derogate from the universal moral law. You are, of course, at liberty to ignore it; only be prepared to accept the consequences.
John Nolan, I allow myself to be guided by anybody whom I consider to be correct because I am a free man. Regardless of whether or not it is a secular or sacred source, if a notion seems right to me, then it is right for me. I am not a prisoner of the fear that you try to inculcate within me or others, and neither am I the least frightened by the charge of being a transgressor of the moral law, which you seem to be trying to do through one of your recent posts.
What I do revel in are all of my human rights. My right to freedom of religion and awareness that the primacy of my conscience is far higher than any office of the church is everything. I am not subject to anybody’s set of criteria to see if I am ‘inside’ and blessed, or ‘outside’ and cursed. Those who do the bidding of the hierarchy by setting up integrity traps or litmus tests are small-minded buffoons. They will never grasp the essential universality and plurality of the church. All that they pine for is a return to a past and imagined church as static theology, monolithic, and triumphal, simply because they cannot cope with change.
You are correct in saying that the church does not say that homosexuality is a mental illness. They, like the rest of society, would have been monumentally misinformed about homosexuality and mental illness in the past. However, it is quite insulting to homosexuals today that they are referred to as an ‘objective disorder’, or ‘intrinsically disordered’, or that the expression of their sexuality is ‘intrinsically evil’.
You keep using the word ‘heretic’ every now and then John Nolan. I get the impression that you seem to revel in it. Are you influenced by Emperor Constantine’s imperial intrusions and interventions inside the Catholic Church during the 4th century C.E.? Perhaps you would like to transport yourself back in time to a context that you would be more comfortable with, rather than living in the modern era? Throwing the word ‘heretic’ around as if you are the arbiter of who is inside or outside the church is ludicrously judgemental. But of course this is what Constantine wanted for our church, by making the church in the image of emperors and the Roman state. Don’t you understand this John Nolan?
The first paragraph of the preface of Gaudium et Spes is a quite beautiful passage of Christian teaching. This document is translated as the ‘Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern Word’. It is a pity that the hierarchy and those who slavishly follow them, have decided to turn their backs on Vatican II and the modern world, by ignoring its implications and failing to develop the church’s theology to follow its lead. The central message of this document is the church’s mission of understanding, empathy, and compassion for all people of the world. I have quoted it below for everybody’s edification.
‘The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men, of men who, united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, press onwards towards the kingdom of the Father and are bearers of a message of salvation intended for all men. That is why Christians cherish a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history.’ (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Promulgated on the 7th December, 1965).
The consulting editor of ‘Eureka Street’, Mr. Andrew Hamilton, has written about the relationship between faith and science. In it he interestingly describes the changing and evolving boundaries between science and religion as a result of new research within science and theology. Advances in science impact on our relationship to God and how we perceive God’s relationship to the world in which we live. For example, great changes in cosmology impact on our perception of humanity, in our perception of God, and in God’s relationship to humanity.
In his final sentence he states,
‘Similarly discoveries of the human genome and of inheritance, too, will shape our understanding of human freedom in relation to God’s freedom. It does not destroy the Christian understanding of humanity, but it will raise new questions to which there will be new responses.’
I think this article is a very good summary of how the boundaries between science and religion change over time, and how they lead to different questions about human nature, human freedom, our perception of God, and God’s relationship with creation and humanity. This is especially important to note within the controversies over homosexuality and other forms of human sexuality that we find in the church today. The article below can be accessed online here… http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=25493.
‘When Christianity and science come together, the meeting place is often like a battlefield. From the Christian point of view that is a pity, because the central Christian belief, that in Jesus Christ God’s reason entered the world, demands that science be given an independent and honoured place.’
‘It implies that both God’s ways and the world are reasonable and that we can explore them. The scientific interpretation of the empirical world and the Christian interpretation of God’s relationship to the world are compatible.’
‘The two kinds of exploration, of course, work at different levels. Questions of faith have to do with why anything exists at all and with the purpose of human life. Scientific questions ask how the world has the shape that we find it to have. Each way of questioning offers an interpretation of the world at a distinctive level.’
‘Most fights between science and religion have been boundary disputes. They have turned on who has the competence and authority to interpret the world at its different levels.’
‘The emblematic struggles, which have taken on a mythical status, were associated with Galileo and Darwin. In each case churches claimed pre-emptive rights to exclude scientific interpretations of the movement of the earth and of the origins of life on the strength of a wrong interpretation of scripture. They wrongly moved out of the larger question of why the world exists to pronounce on the question of how the distinctive features of natural phenomena are to be explained.’
‘I think that scientists like Hawking and Dawkins may have the excuse of historical provocation, but make the same mistake in reverse, of arguing that discoveries of how human beings develop prove that there is not a God. Boundaries are not safely crossed. To put it bluntly no discoveries in the natural world can prove that there is a God or define human value and destiny. Nor can they disprove it. Nor can interpretations of faith disqualify scientific conclusions.’
‘But that delineation of boundaries between scientific and religious questions ignores the more interesting question of the overlap between religious and scientific questions. They cannot be kept hermetically sealed, because questions are always asked by people, and most human beings from time to time do ask both questions about how the world we see works, and also about why it exists and what purpose there may be to human life.’
‘And some people are motivated to scientific questioning by religious wonder, while others are motivated to ask questions about God by wonder at the world that they discover through science. David Attenborough’s programs can both draw people to explore a deeper reality of the world beyond possible scientific exploration or dissuade people from it.’
‘Science does impact seriously, too, on the way in which we relate faith to the world in which we live, and so in the way in which we imagine God’s relationship to our world. It makes a difference whether we imagine God in relationship to a world that is the centre of a relatively small universe, or in relationship to an earth that is a tiny part of one among many possible universes, with distances in time and space that are beyond imagining. It also makes us see humanity in different ways. Our view of God is enlarged somewhat, and God’s relationship to each human being needs to be revisioned.’
‘The image we have of the universe, too, will shape our understanding of the way in which God relates to it. If we imagine the universe as a clock with fixed and clearly defined relationships and laws, the image of God as creator will be different than if we see the world as evolving and with a principled uncertainty built into it. Again our understanding of God needs to be revisioned.’
‘Similarly discoveries of the human genome and of inheritance, too, will shape our understanding of human freedom in relation to God’s freedom. It does not destroy the Christian understanding of humanity, but it will raise new questions to which there will be new responses.’
Perhaps one day we will be able to understand with ‘science ‘the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima in 1917,seen by 70 thousand
people.’ when it fell from the sky towards them
Which photographs are available to see.
When Our Blessed Mother appeared to the 3 children..
With faith we do not need proof, unless of course we have no faith.
Why dont we discard the Bible all together, and say ‘since Jesus died and suffered, we are our own god. What the serpent told Adam and Eve. We would become like Him.Then we could have freedom of religion (as John Candido says)
We can say ‘Jesus didn’t come to forgive us our ,sins but to free us fom sin’.
Adam and Eve our first parents and the Garden of Eden being Paradise,disobeyed God,and was cast out and made to roam the earth and die!
We needed a Saviour to become true images of God, again (in our soul )and with Grace to renew our friendship with Him.Then to enter Paradise for all Eternity
A simple story really.Not without rules and laws!
We have a new Creation with saving Grace.
Now, as I see it and no one needs much of a brain to understand it.
He made male and female in His image ,we have everything, for our happiness here,
God said go and multiply, fill the earth.
So therefore if the Church did change its law on homosexuality,then what. We still wouldn’t be content, we would want that little bit more of a bite of the apple.
Homosexuals are wanting children-so off they go and buy a donar egg or donar sperm. and instead of being co-creators with God, do it themselves-not even knowing who the natural father or mother is.
Where will that slippery slope take us.
Am I crazy or not?
Don’t worry, st.joseph, and remember the motto of the Carthusians – ‘stat Crux dum volvitur orbis’.
Were it not so serious it might be thought of as amusing the way the list of ‘boxes’ that I wrote of earlier grows almost daily. We started out with G (gay) and L (lesbian) to which was added T (transgender,) and then B( bi sexual.) A more recent alphabetical category is Q for (queer.) I have also seen Q for Questioning so I hope there can be no confusion. There is also a case for G ( for Grey area, ) and U ( for Unsure) . It would seem we are only being limited by the actual numbers of letters that there are in the alphabet.
I hope I live to see the day when we see V for virgin and F for faithful and C for Chaste and HM for hetrosexual marrieds as recognised groupings who deserve special recognition and protection.
“I allow myself to be guided by anyone whom I consider to be correct … ” In other words, I won’t listen to anyone who disagrees with me. So you can quote selectively from Gaudium et Spes when you think it reinforces your prejudices, but repudiate the same Dogmatic Constitution when it defines the nature of authority within the Church.
Please don’t throw Constantine at me. We have already ascertained that I am an historian and you are not. I have suggested some not-too-challenging reading for you on ecclesiastical history that might temper your wilder generalizations, but I must sadly conclude that you have no higher respect for objective truth than you have for objective moral law.
I wrote within the topic of ‘Take the Tube’, on the 1st February 2011, the following piece of writing quoted below. In John Nolan’s reply to it he said that ‘Quibbles aside, I did enjoy your contribution; the issues you raise are well worth discussing.’ John Nolan two months later says in his most recent reply within ‘I am Probably Right’, ‘ I must sadly conclude that you have no higher respect for objective truth than you have for objective moral law.’ Do I sense an inconsistency here? Please explain John Nolan?
‘Orthodox teaching is a much needed aspect of the magisterium of the church, and can be of benefit to the laity in terms of its help towards an ordinary guidance for their daily lives. Clear examples of which are the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and the teaching and guidance of ecumenical councils, papal encyclicals, and various statements emanating from national conferences of bishops. However, in accepting the magisterium of the church, we should not confuse the meaning of magisterium, with words such as authority, guidance, and teaching, on the one hand, with other words such as command, order, absolutism, and compulsion, on the other. Both classes of words are distinctly different in meaning, substance, sentiment, and emphasis. We must be clear about these differences if we are to live mature and intelligent Christian lives.’
‘Most people would surmise; look to and obey whatever the magisterium says on any one issue, and you would be on very safe grounds as an obedient and good Christian. Therefore the default position would naturally be the ascription to obedience and orthodoxy. Who can argue against proscriptions such as thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, covet another person’s wife, lie, etc., etc.? And there is nothing ordinarily wrong with this until the complexity of life experiences seem at loggerheads with the ordinary teachings of the church.’
‘The metaphor of a much loved child within a loving family is quite apt for this discussion. A loving parent makes a reasonable request of the child and a much loved child immediately obeys his or her parent’s request unquestionably. Whenever the same child in the same loving family is between the ages of let us say 14 and above, the parent, if he or she is to parent both lovingly and intelligently, needs to take into consideration a growing independence, selfhood, and maturity, within their child. In other words, the child is no longer strictly a child, and a semblance of tolerance needs to be shown by the parents for their child’s growing independence and self-actualisation.’
‘In a similar fashion, the church must acknowledge a growing maturity, learning, and sophistication amongst the laity of today, and I say this without meaning any offence to our multitude of forebears, who have lived their Christian lives anonymously, obediently, and with integrity. The church has catered for the modern world with its teaching on the primacy of the human conscience as found within the Second Vatican Council’s Dignitatis Humanae, or as it is known in English, the Declaration of Religious Liberty, which was promulgated on the 7th December 1965, and its presentation of the human conscience within the CCC within paragraphs 1776 to 1802 of Part Three: Life in Christ, Article Six: Moral Conscience.’
‘The church has also taught principles within the subject of moral theology known as objective and subjective morality. The objective teaching or moral norm on the one hand, and the circumstances or subjective morality at play within the circumstances of individuals and groups, are absolutely important distinctions to make. The teaching of subjective morality caters for individuals that are confronted with difficult situations, or perplexing quandaries. I believe that subjective morality is a sign of God’s compassion and understanding towards all individuals that are faced with complex and difficult choices.’
‘It should be quite apparent to all after the previous points of discussion, that orthodoxy and unorthodoxy are not mutually exclusive propositions, but can be an intelligent way of responding to the particular circumstances that one can find oneself in. In other words, it is not sinful or heretical to make choices that are unorthodox and located within the primacy of the human conscience, which could have its basis within theological analysis and/or the principles of subjective morality.’
‘I believe that there are three distinct magisteriums or orthodoxies at work within the church at any one time. Firstly, there is the magisterium of the pope, the various Vatican congregations, together with the bishops that are found throughout the world. Secondly, there is the magisterium of the doctors or academics of the church, also known as its theologians, exegetes or scriptural scholars, philosophers, and ecclesiastical historians. Lastly, there is the magisterium of the laity, as found within our mathematicians, scientists, academics within the humanities and social sciences.’
‘The hierarchy rule the church in its day to day issues and have the authority to teach the gospel to the laity and to whoever else might be interested. Their presentation of teaching or the exercise of their ordinary magisterium can be construed as the church’s orthodoxy. The research of the church’s doctors, as represented by theologians, exegetes, and the like, adds another dimension to the orthodoxy of the church’s teachings by contemporising, and deepening them. This is an inexhaustible process by this magisterium.’
‘Their research can elucidate misunderstandings, controversies, or break new theological, exegetical, or philosophical grounds. This is metaphorically similar to the new knowledge that is garnered by the research of scientists and mathematicians. Theological research can comprise of a certain newness of doctrinal expression, together with the questioning of current theological understandings.’
‘Because of this, the doctors of the church can find themselves in conflict with the ordinary magisterium of the church, as has been the case throughout the church’s history, with quite sad, horrific, and unjust outcomes for the questioners. People like Professor Hans Kung would have been burnt at the stake in the not so distant past. While such an outcome would be absolutely unthinkable today with the separation of religion and the state, the balance and separation of powers, the end of arbitrary rule of despotic monarchs, the establishment of the rule of law, and our system of law courts.’
‘Not much is said about the largest part of the magisterium of the laity. That part of the laity that is not secular university academics forms the overwhelming majority of the laity and the church itself. Currently, throughout the Middle East and Africa, there are mass protests from the majority of the populations of Tunisia and Egypt, which seek a greater share in the wealth of their country as well as democratic reforms. The same sorts of mass movements were at work in the French and American revolutions. Mass protest has played a part in the ending of the West’s involvement in the Vietnam War.’
‘These mass movements are a metaphor for the rights of the laity today. In the light of the paedophile crisis, there have been street protests by the laity throughout the United States of America. This has led to the removal of some American prelates, the jailing of sexual predators, the promise by American bishops of changes to church policy regarding priestly management, compensation for victims, and to litigation against offending archdioceses for the morally bankrupt movement of suspected paedophiles from parish to parish. Through their use of the mass media, the laity seeks the punishment of offenders regardless of their priestly, religious, or episcopal rank, through the use of courts of law.’
‘The rise of the dignity and power of the laity in today’s church has been the surprising and joyous employment, under difficult circumstances, of the magisterium of the laity. It would be a mistake to say that the exercise of magisterium of the laity is only to be found within the modern age. It has certainly been exercised in the past where heresy has been dealt with by the laity.’
‘Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman’s ‘Arians of the Fourth Century’, is about the orthodoxy of the body of the faithful during the Supremacy of Arianism throughout Christendom, which contrasted with the efforts of most prelates. Although we decry the breakup of the Christian church by the Reformation, it was an exercise of the magisterium of the laity, who voted with their feet as to what branch of Christianity they would align themselves with. This was principally a protest, for better or worse, against the corruption of Rome as they interpreted it during the Middle Ages. My apologies for the length of this piece, and if you got the end of it, thank you for your patience.’
John Candido, I like this contribution. Wish I’d written it myself.
Is it too fanciful to write of a magisterium of holiness? This of course applies to all the three categories but, for me, it is most importantly manifested in the laity. That is, I learn more about Christ from observing the goodness of people than I do from intellectual argument. That may be of course because my temperament leans to the latter rather than the former.
Related to another topic on which you have written — I have friends here, known as the two boyos, who are, and have been for many years, a devoted homosexual couple. They are now elderly. Their great charity is guide dogs for the blind, and all their neighbours know them as a byword for instant help when needed. I say nothing of the right or wrong of their sexual orientation, I merely mark that they have taught me more about love of neighbour than many another.
Thank you Quentin for your kind words. If I may be permitted to make generalised comparisons between men and women, and women and homosexuals that are strictly my own personal observations? I hope that I don’t muck this comment up by offending anybody who might be reading. My apologies if I do offend somebody inadvertently through any inaccuracies or oversights of mine.
On the risk of being thought of having views that are sexist in reverse and potentially compatible with misandry, I think that most people will agree with me when I say that women on the whole tend to be a little more generous and attentive to the needs of others than men, and I think that they tend to be a little more humble and loving as well. This is not to say that there are some wonderful men out there that put us all to shame.
I also believe that as a general and personal perception, there seems to be a connection or at least a parallel between the open generosity of women on the one hand, and the open generosity of homosexuals on the other. This is not to suggest that all homosexuals wholly embody a feminine aspect of their personality, or wholly embody a masculine attribute. I have observed individuals of both sexes that seem to possess a very beautiful balance between their masculine and feminine sides. However, the majority of these people, in my estimation, tend to be women or homosexuals.
It is quite extraordinary that the most balanced and inwardly beautiful people whom I have come to personally note and observe in my life, have traditionally been amongst the most marginalised, libelled, and abused in history, namely women and homosexuals. What you have written Quentin, confirms yet again my own personal observations about the connection or parallel between women and homosexuals.
What I am attempting to provide here are some personal observations of my own. I do concede that they are debatable propositions. Others may disagree with them for reasons of their own choosing. Thank you for reading.
JC, If I agree with you, I will say so. If I thought that the issues you raise weren’t worth discussion, I would hold my peace. However, at the risk of repeating myself, I can only go on what you write. Of course I enjoy your contributions; one would have to be totally lacking a sense of humour not to. To agree with some things and disagree with others is hardly a mark of inconsistency.
Quentin. Something has often come into my mind, and your comment makes me think more about it.Obviously we can take what we want from the Bible, that is why we have the teachings of the Church.
It is a saying of Jesus in Matthew (Chp 5 -43; 48
Of course we must love our neighbour-but we must love God first! As He said to the rich young man. ‘Give all that you have to the poor,then come follow me’!
John Candido,you say in your opinion,and of course you are entitled to that.
You say’ Your generalised comparisons between men and women, and women and homosexuals,also your general perception there seems to be a connection or at least a parellel between the open generosity of women on the one hand and the open generosity of homosexuals on the other.
You say also it is quite extradionary you observe in your life that the most balanced and inwardly beautiful people have traditionally been amongst the most marginalised=labelled. and abused in history,namely women and homosexuals.
Unfortunately I would like to say the same, but can,t Yes a few individually a few friends I know (homosexuals) are nice people.
On the whole my experience of the ‘homosexual movement’in the Church.are not in the least bit charitable to their fellow christians, and dont respect our religious beliefs.
I feel that if they loved the Church they would not show so much vehem towards the Body of Christ. As I said in my previous comment-to love God first!
I believe that pulling a Cardinal from his Pulpit during Mass in New York, and climbing up there themselves, covered in rainbow ribbons is a great insult to Our Lord.
Just one example. I could fill the page with others.
Mother Church is not against homosexuals-only the act. They dont get any respect while their behaviour is down to bullying, or activities such as the gay pride marches.
It is no good covering it all up with ‘pink frilly paper’ so to speak.
JC, I entirely agree with you that sexuality in human beings is a more complex matter than in, say plants or animals. I would however suggest that we may have a natural aversion to homosexuality or incest for biological reasons. I would also respectfully suggest that women, who comprise half the human race and without whom the human race could not propagate itself, might not be best pleased to be put in the same box as homosexuals whose sexual congress is de facto sterile.
If you believe homosexuality to be so compatable with the ladies, why do you think they are unable to ‘fall in love’ with one and have offspring? Which is after all a ‘natural instinct! Dont you think?
Also John Candido. What do you have to say about lesbians and their compatability to men and their natural instinct to have babies?
Does that mean that neither are natural.?
You have not answered my questions yet,or are you still looking for the right web site?