On the one hand…

A friend of mine asked me the other day why I had published two successive posts – one, apparently in favour of contraception and one apparently against contraception.

The reason is bias blind spot, which I mentioned in my post Simply disgusting. This is the universal flaw which leads us to being blind to our own biasses – and very quick to spot the biasses of others. If you visit the Blog often you may find it relatively easy to spot the bias of some regular contributors, but how about your own?

I learnt about this from a valuable personal experience. Nearly fifty years ago my wife and I ran a youth club for adolescents, and with their help we set up many activities. Amongst these, we had debating. We thought that practising the skill of speaking persuasively in public could be valuable to all.

On this occasion the topic was the morality of capital punishment – the issue being much discussed at the time. It soon became clear that the participants knew very little about presenting their views persuasively. So I gave them a demonstration by way of a speech in favour of capital punishment. Then, for balance, I crossed the ‘house’ and gave a speech against capital punishment.

Looking back I realised that, when I was planning my first speech, good arguments for having capital punishment simply floated into my mind – it was very convincing. A few minutes later I was speaking against capital punishment and – lo and behold – the arguments against it appeared like magic, and the arguments for it dwindled and disappeared. I had apparently convinced myself for and against the same issue in a matter of minutes. And done so quite honestly.

That was when I realised that, if I really wanted to understand both sides of a question, I had to put myself deliberately into the place of likely opponents and to see the question from their point of view.

The thought came back to me when I read Cardinal Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict) on the subject of conscience. He wrote: “Gorres shows that the feeling of guilt, the capacity to recognize guilt, belongs essentially to the spiritual make-up of man. This feeling of guilt disturbs the false calm of conscience and could be called conscience’s complaint against my self- satisfied existence. It is as necessary for man as the physical pain which signifies disturbances of normal bodily functioning. Whoever is no longer capable of perceiving guilt is spiritually ill, a “living corpse, a dramatic character’s mask,”

I did a double take, for I had often thought that the Church devoted too much time to telling us about what we did wrong, and too little about how we might do right. But, if I understand the message aright, we are being warned to be aware how easily we can fool ourselves. If we face up to our fallen natures, we will recognise our profound tendency to “miss the mark” – which is the etymology of the word used for sin in both Greek and Hebrew parts of the Bible. It is only when we have opened ourselves – freed ourselves – to be really honest in our guilt, that we can start to talk about the rights of conscience.

A scientific note.
Our readiness to apply different standards to our own behaviour than we do to other’s behaviour, has been explained by the tendency to judge our own behaviour through the limbic (emotional) part of the brain, and other’s behaviour through the neocortex (thinking part of the brain). Thus, as I deliberately switched my point of view on capital punishment (above), so my brain fell dutifully into line by making an emotional commitment to my new point of view, and thus masking the contrary arguments which had been so obvious to me just before.

The extract above is taken from this address.

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Moral judgment, Philosophy, Quentin queries. Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to On the one hand…

  1. Vincent says:

    If guilt is as necessary to our spiritual health as physical pain is to physical health, then I don’t think we are necessarily supposed to go around feeling guilty. Ratzinger, I see, is trying to identify the flaw in. say, Eichman’s part in destroying the Jews. His conscience may have informed him that the Jews should be annihilated. But he had not informed his conscience by being deeply aware of his own tendencies to error and sin.
    Have I understood this correctly? I’d really like to know.

  2. St.Joseph says:

    I am not to sure about the meaning of the question, if I have fully understood it.

    As it is Friday and I had some ham in the fridge which I thought might be gone off tomorrow-so I thought well may be it wont be a sin to eat it as it would be a bigger sin to let it go to waste.
    Then I looked at it again and realised it would last until tomorrow.(the only meat I will eat)
    If I had eaten it my conscience would tell me that not only a sin of disobedience but a lack of respect for Church teaching.
    I think we can be too scrupulous in thinking about sin in minor things-but I would have had a guilt feeling if I had eaten it just for my own sake.
    I believe as mature Catholics we know what the Church teaches what is a serious right and wrong through the Spirit which ought to guide our consciences.
    As far as the role play for capital punishment-I would place myself in the position of the person being convicted-and hopefully I would be given the grace to repent -in time.

  3. Claret says:

    Perhaps there is something of the ( pardon the expression,) ‘Devil’s Advocate’ in all of us where we just want to put an opposing view forward no matter what the topic!
    I noticed on Question Time last night that the predictable question put to the panel on Women Bishops in the in the C of E was universally answered by all the panellists and all the audience who contributed to the topic as though some major crime has been committed by the rejection of the proposal as opposed to it being an excellent example of democracy in action. The Shadow Home Secretary ( Yvette Cooper,) made no secret of the fact that the Government will inevitably intervene to force the C of E to accept Women Bishops!
    Personally it is an issue on which I am of the opinion that there should be women Priests and Bishops in the C of E and the Catholic Church, but I found myself mentally arguing against Women Bishops simply because of the overwhelming condemnation expressed by those on Question Time of those who had voted against Women Bishops in the Synod.
    I sense that the same sort of thing happens on this blog where we argue an opposing view just for the devilment ( pardon the expression,) of doing so. In my case I do the same on here because I get fed up with Quentin continually harping on about evolution !

  4. St.Joseph says:

    As far as the Anglican Church is concerned we ought to take no interest in what they choose to do as far as priest, bishops, or archbishops etc..

    We as RC have our own ‘belief’on Priesthood as male.- and that is it!

    • Mike Horsnall says:

      Oh come on St Joseph-next thing you’ll be telling me how many slices of cake I should eat on sunday! Of course we should have a view-a keen interest in fact-the relationship of Church and State should be of very keen interest to anyone living within the long reach of that State.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Mike Horsnall..
        No I wont be telling you how to use your own conscience on how much cake you should eat on a Sunday.
        What a ridiculous answer.
        What we believe as far as the Anglicans decide has really nothing to do with conscience, only a complete waste of our time-when the time ought to be of interest in the RC Church.
        What difference is it to Catholics what they do, whether it is males or females?
        They have not the same Ordination as the Catholic Church, or maybe you believe they have.
        .

  5. Peter D. Wilson says:

    I think we should also take a sympathetic interest in the difficulties facing our Anglican friends. I take no position on it myself (to put it bluntly, the reformed church can appoint whoever it likes to a ministry that it devised for itself after repudiating the essence of the Catholic priesthood), although there does seem to be an inconsistency in admitting women to one level and not another.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Peter Wilson.
      My late husband (who was not received into the RC Church at the time) and I attended a meeting in Bristol many years ago held in the Crypt meeting room of the Clifton Cathedral. of the CWO Catholic Women’s Ordination group.Advertised in our local Parish St Joseph’s Church at that time..My husband was for years trying to understand the R C Church.With no pressure from me. He was questioning all the time from the time we met in 1958.
      The meeting was chaired by a female prison Chaplain and Dr Mervyn Davis.I still have the taped cassette of the meeting.
      My husband asked Dr Mervyn Davis the question at a appropriate time ‘dId he believe in the validity of Anglican Orders-the answer was ‘Yes’. Then my husband asked him if he believed that Anglican orders were able to Transubstantiate the host into the Real Presence. the answer was ‘yes’ . My husband then asked them all if they really believed that to be true ‘Why were they not becoming Anglicans’ . No answer came forward..
      Peter you are right what you say ,there will always be inconsistency where there is a democratic church.

  6. John Nolan says:

    Interestingly the CofE talks about the ‘consecration’ of bishops, implying that priests receive episcopal orders on ordination to the presbyterate, which are ‘unlocked’ when they become bishops. This was certainly the thinking of the pre-Conciliar Catholic Church, although nowadays we talk about episcopal ‘ordination’ which has muddied the waters somewhat. The current CofE position seems inconsistent, but there are parallels in other parts of Christendom. The Eastern Church ordains married men but bishops must be monastic and therefore celibate. The Roman Church ordains married men in certain circumstances but the understanding is that they are barred from the episcopate.

  7. Horace says:

    I presume that the studies mentioned by Quentin – “A scientific note.” – were carried out using fMRI (i.e. subjects were questioned first about their own behaviour and the active brain regions noted and then about the behaviour of others and the differences noted.) fMRI was only being developed at the time I retired, so I am by no means an expert.

    The suggested conclusion is that we don’t bother to judge our own behaviour logically in the way that we judge other people’s. Reasonable enough!

    Therefore we ought deliberately to cultivate examining our own behaviour properly and logically – rather than just saying “Oh, my conscience (i.e. an emotionally based assessment) tells me . .”.

    It would be interesting to repeat the study while the subjects were consciously analysing their own behaviour logically.

    • St.Joseph says:

      I am a little confused here, why would we have a conscience about someone else’opinions?
      I believe that we ought to have the courage of our convictions ‘ before one enters into a discussion! If we have that we wont be swerved by any one else.
      That sounds as though I know it all-not so says I- I just don’t follow the crowd!.
      There is a difference in not ‘understanding’ something that is why I ask the below- as I have no opinion on that.!

      I cant quite make out what Quentin is trying to prove- scientifically.Is it similar to a lie detector? Or programming our brain to think differently.?

      .

    • Quentin says:

      Yes, in fact I borrowed this from an earlier post. See ‘Multimind’ in Search. As you assume most of this work is done with fMRI scans. Of course the phenomenon has been known from yonks back; it’s just that now we can see the direct evidence.

      (For those unfamiliar with brain scanning: various types of scan have been developed. The electroencephalograph was around about 1925. Other methods were developed from 1970 onwards. fMRI is highly valued because we can watch the parts of the brain reacting to given stimuli. More details from good article in Wikipedia)

      • St.Joseph says:

        Singalong.
        I appreciate your comment.But I was making a reference to the situation of serious sins and being over scrupulous. when it is applied to conscience and common sense..
        Quentin.
        Did the Church teach that we were not allowed to carry out Christian duties to other Denominations when necessary.? I don’t remember any such obligation to our.
        conscience.Did the Holy Father make it a priority to our faith?
        There are some peculiar ideas in relation to Catholic teaching even now.!
        We do have to be mature Catholics as I said before in a earlier post
        Our faith is not all black and white.The grey areas we do need to work out for ourselves, and I mean ‘ourselves’
        I had a crushed vertebra in my back for this last 6 months ,and I received Holy Communion at home by an E M female, to whom I was most grateful.
        After receiving Our Lord I was told that it was an insult to God to receive on the tongue,and why did I do it? I was most upset but was not going to be annoyed at such a precious moment.
        I don’t decide other people’s conscience for them- I have enough to cope with my own.
        It is not only the earlier Church that had problems- we have plenty in our time now, with bigotry from those people who may not have a conscience and misunderstand the teachings of the Church,and putting their own interpretation on it.

      • Quentin says:

        “Did the Church teach that we were not allowed to carry out Christian duties to other Denominations when necessary?”

        Certainly we were obliged to carry out our duty towards others , but we were to do this by making it plain that we would have no truck with heretical religions. The instruction here, from a most authoritative book on moral theology, was merely putting this important principle into practice.

        Some people feel that Communion on the tongue is irreverent, others feel that Communion in the hand is irreverent. In fact, Communion on the tongue is the regular way. Communion in the hand is by episcopal permission. Irreverence finds itself in the heart not in the anatomy.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Quentin.Yes so be it- my belief,it is in the heart not the anatomy. Judge and you will not be judged, pity there are so many who don’t take that on board.
        Just to say in case of any misunderstanding. We judge ourselves in this life, God allows us to do that,with of course the guidance of Holy Mother Church.
        I would be the same whether I was a Catholic or not with my conscience -I hope at my age it is now informed.
        I did not teach NFP -for contraceptive reasons-or because I was a Catholic, I do not believe that abortion is wrong because |I am a Catholic-the Church did not teach me that-my spiritual life is not ruled but guided by the Church-which has informed and guided my conscience. as a Catholic.
        A retired Anglican Vicar when I was three taught me the Carol |Away in a Manger-so that I could sing it at a party when the War ended-to which I got sixpence for..My mother never told me to not speak to him- as he was a heretic!They were next door neighbours.
        I probably didn’t live in the same environment as you- so perhaps i have a different perspective going to small private non-catholic schools until age 10..
        There was never a them and us!!Otherwise I would not have married a Methodist.
        I don’t think I have anything else to say on the matter unless others wish to bring forth their thoughts.!

      • St.Joseph says:

        Quentin my comment above was for you not and no bearing on Singalongs comment above, it just went up there I don’t know why

      • St.Joseph says:

        Quentin.
        The question I asked you yesterday on conscience and common sense-you have not told me what you thoughts are on those subjects, so I will tell mine and how I came to makes the decisions I did.
        First. On the youth club-It was not my place or my conscience to encourage the young to attend the church on the night of the club, nor was it the older people’s business either.
        It was my common sense that told me that we can not as a laity interfere with how many times they should go to church God does not count heads.
        Conscience told me to ask the priest to join the young people-we need that to-day and not for them to stand on a pedestal, he joined and wore his ‘collar’.
        Second the Pre Marriage Care Meeting.
        My conscience told me to let them have the NFP leaflets.
        Common sense told me to give to the priest-his duty not mine also his duty to teach the value and importance of the Sacraments. I dont believe he attended the meeting
        My duty and my common sense to inform the Hierarchy to make provisions for Marriage Care Programmes and facilities for laity to study and teach..
        We are a long way from home yet I believe.

        I have just answered the door to a couple of Jehovah’s Witness who were convinced I was in need of ‘conversion ‘and that makes my comment above clearer to my understanding as to how we preach the Gospel!!

      • St.Joseph says:

        P.S.
        To clear up any misunderstanding to my comment about our not taking an interest in the Anglican Church whether they ordain women bishops or not.
        Jesus said ‘leave them alone -those who are for us are not against us’ and He went on His way!!

      • Horace says:

        St.Joseph
        I think that the passage you have in mind may be – Luke 9:49-50
        And John, answering, said: Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in thy name: and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.
        And Jesus said to him: Forbid him not: for he that is not against you is for you.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Horace.
        I heard a very good homily from a very learned priest years ago a
        very good explanation on that .
        There are various references and footnotes on what Jesus was saying.
        I believe the name ‘Jesus’ is the most pertinent ‘Where every knee shall bend, every head shall bow for Jesus Christ is Lord.
        There is a another reference regarding the casting out demons, magic spells etc, where on hearing about Jesus-burnt them all and followed Him If I remember rightly St Paul’s Acts. All very pertinent to the Word of God. and Who we Worship through Jesus ‘Our Saviour.’!

      • Quentin says:

        I think you have some excellent answers here. And what you illustrate is that the attitudes and virtues we have developed over the years help us to see the situation and need more clearly.

  8. Nektarios says:

    Dear Fellow Bloggers,
    Sorry about the attachment, there seems to have been a hiccup – it is the wrong one,
    however if you have not watched it and the following links, it is still worth a look.
    Fr. Lazarus ElAthony had to work through all sorts of problems one of which was conscience.

    If we have produced division in the brain regarding conscience it speaks of duality. It speaks of the damage we are doing to our brains.
    It is silly to think by observational means, one can observe conscience.

    If Conscience is God’s monitor of the soul, warning us when we are in moral danger, then I am afraid, that sophisicated though fMRI scans are, what is actually going on is and remains a mystery and it is presumption for neuroscientists to assume they know.

    But it is true to say, that conscience is divided into double standards, and such a person is unstable in all their ways, so the evidence presented would be unreliable.
    Also it demonstates a conscience only partially operating as God intended, and other parts running contrary. It demonstates a conscience that is governed by its lower nature, or even a seared conscience, where it is so fragmented, such live in illuson and delusion, ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the Truth.
    They have to have their conscience manipulated by others religious, political, moral, educational, business and even fashion, all guiding their conscience as to what is good and upright and acceptable, little do they see, or understand, they are actually being manipulated by others for others gain. One becomes a mere pawn in their madness, illusion delusion and philosophy.

    Conscience only operates as a whole in Love, for there is no division in Love!!

    • Horace says:

      Nektarios ; The point that I was trying to make was that for many, if not most, people what they consider to be a decision following their conscience is essentially emotionally based and this can be shown by the fact that the parts of the brain which are most involved are those concerned with emotion (i.e. the limbic regions).

      The Catechism [1778] tells us “Conscience is a judgment of reason”.
      Therefore the thinking parts of the brain (i.e. the neocortex) ought to be involved when making judgements of conscience.
      But nevertheless ” . . [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, “.
      This is, I think, what you mean when you say ” sophisticated though fMRI scans are, what is actually going on is and remains a mystery “.

      • Quentin says:

        I may be wrong but I think that I have spotted here an unfortunate dichotomy between body and soul not only in this topic but in others we have recently discussed. Let me explain. A difficult decision of conscience might be like this one: you have three children, the youngest of whom has been born with some mental disabilities. You want to give the youngest specialist and expensive education, but you can only do this at the expense of the fine education the two eldest children are receiving.

        Here of course your great desire is to do the right thing by all the children, and you may safely suppose that this motivation of love comes from the Holy Spirit. And you will certainly pray to the Spirit for your clarity of mind. There are many aspects to think about – but the process of thinking must operate through the biological brain – there is no other way. In doing so, it may occur to you that a strong factor in your decision will be your emotions, primarily operating in your limbic system. Emotions are vital of course in all human affairs, and you will not disregard them. But, knowing that emotions are not always a reliable source of truth, you will certainly do some double checks – to make sure that they are not damaging the rational work done in the neocortex by your cognitive processes.

        We are not so much body and soul as body-infused-by-spirit: and it is this complete person who is redeemed and will rise again.

        Our care in making decisions, and the knowledge we have use of the spiritual and biological elements in those decisions, come under the virtue of Prudence – one of the cardinal virtues, and often called ‘the charioteer of the virtues’.

  9. St.Joseph says:

    Quentin .
    How would what you say above be a matter of conscience.It would seem to me to be a matter of common sense.
    The comment I made above about the eating ham on Friday-common sense comes into that.if I had thrown it in the bin,but as it was all right to eat the next day, it would go against my conscience and I would feel a little guilt.
    I don’t think I would go to Hell!
    If we take care of of the pennies the pounds will take care of themselves- to coin a phrase.

    • Quentin says:

      Conscience is in a way a matter of common sense — except that common sense is uncommonly used.
      Conscience is simply using the best means available to find out what is the right thing
      to do. Sometimes it’s very easy — when the issue is clear cut. Sometimes it’s very difficult when the circumstances don’t offer an obviously clear choice. Now you might be able to decide in two ticks what the parent in that situation should decide, but I would find it very difficult.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Quentin thank you.
        If I was in a situation as you say, to me yes I would decide in 2 ticks.
        If two children were capable of a normal learning ability and the other was not- it would be only right to give the attention to the child with the learning disability a chance to develop his or her skills-whilst the other two would have to co-operate and study that much harder.
        That to me is what family life and love is all about.I would expect that of my children too.
        Now the conscience and common sense as you say are ‘in a way the same’ well I would say that- there is quite a difference between the two.
        Our conscience is governed by the teachings of the church ( as I said no need for being too scrupulous) however we do have common sense on abortion and a conscience-others would have one or not have either!
        I am saying all this to try and understand what you are saying-not exactly disagreeing with you! Just want to know!

      • Singalong says:

        I don`t think there is a right or a wrong answer in the situation you describe. We have had decisions to make in this sort of area, choosing priorities, and one does not know what the immediate results will be, let alone long term repercussions., until they happen.

  10. St.Joseph says:

    Singalong.
    Is that meant for Quentin or me.
    What situation are you speaking about.?

  11. Singalong says:

    St. Joseph, I clicked Reply under Quentin`s 6.36 pm Comment, so it was really for him, but for anyone else interested also!

    • St.Joseph says:

      Singalong thank you.
      One can not compare eating ham against abortion.
      Some will believe that having a 4th baby would make life difficult – even one -but common sense would tell them that it would be wiser to have an abortion, therefore common sense in their mind would over rule their conscience.
      Quentin was correct in saying whoever is incapable of guilt is spiritually dead in one sense, but I believe that someones idea of common sense can stop any guilt. and will convince themselves that they are doing what is right and God will forgive them for their weakness-and if catholic’s ( that applies also to abortifacants) will assume the same.
      We may say that a young girl of under age ought to be able to have an abortion and some parents will be placed in that situation. I have had experience of looking after young girls who did not want an abortion whose parents had thrown them out (their words)
      This is a very complicated issue we are speaking about here and a serious one.
      I may toast to my conscience first before the Pope- but my common sense not my conscience warns me to be very careful -as it may be Satan who I am toasting to and that may be a very hot toast. We have been warned! So in the end is makes good sense to listen to the Pope first.
      I am not judging anyone else I judge myself first and only myself-that is my conscience
      I expect Quentin will rip that apart- I wait for it!!

      • Quentin says:

        St. Joseph, it depends on how you think of common sense. The point I was trying to make is that our moral decisions, whatever part the Spirit plays behind the scenes, have to be thought out with our human faculties.

        The Church can give us moral values but, in most instances, we have to apply them to the circumstances in hand. So there’s usually plenty of work to do.

        Fortunately the Church’s teaching develops as her understanding develops. So, had you been a hospital nurse in past times, it would have disapproved of you sending for an Anglican clergyman to attend to a dying Anglican, despite his request. And under no circumstances would you have been allowed to join in the Our Father at the bedside. (‘Moral and Pastoral Theology, Henry Davis SJ, 1958). Similarly you might have been instructed by Church authorities to slay heretics, or forbidden to have Jewish friends. Thanks Heavens we have a Church which can learn from its mistakes!

      • Singalong says:

        St. Joseph, the situation I was referring to was certainly not a decision about abortion, it was about priorities in a family with a disabled child, which Quentin put forward, and you had previously commented on.

  12. St.Joseph says:

    Quentin.
    I do have something to ask you what your thoughts would be on two situations I came across along with many more in my lifetime.
    First like you and your wife my husband and I started a youth club in our then parish which did not have a hall until money was raised to build one.
    We hired the Scouts Hut across the road and had various activities and plenty of young people .
    My husband an I were disappointed with the attitude of some elderly people who happened to be displeased with the absence of the young people at the Thursday evening Mass on the same evening,as if my husband and I were doing something wrong in not encouraging the to go.
    I think it may have been Stations of the Cross,a long time ago now.
    Anyway I suggested that the priest afterwards joined us and got socially acquainted with the young people which he did.

    Second.situation.
    About three years ago a Marriage Care held a pre marriage meeting in a Church Hall locally. Holy Mass was celebrated at the same time. I asked the PP if he would place some details of NFP in the Hall and as they were speaking about the Sacrament of Matrimony it was a wonderful opportunity to attend Holy Mass first and maybe receive the Graces obtained from the Eucharist.Although I did not mention the Mass!!)
    The PP just took the leaflets and grinned and just went into the presbytery as much as to imply that was a waste of time.
    Black and White with many grey areas how would you think this could be applied to common sense and conscience?

  13. Singalong says:

    I wonder if general matters of opinion which do not always require immediate action are rather different from more personal decisions when choosing a course of action is imperative.

    I find I can sit on the fence, and be ambivalent about many general discussions, others I want to pursue, help in person, contribute financially, lobby our MP etc.

    I approach more immediate, personal decisions rather differently, and would not always be able to distinguish between the different parts of the brain I am using to come to a conclusion. I think emotion often has a large part to play, and can be based on rational thought processes, perhaps subconsciously, or from cumulative experiences.

    Split second decisions which have to be made in emergencies, when there is no time for reflection would have to come into that category, with instinct and intuition taking over, but the response would be based on the thoughts and attitudes developped through my life, for which I am largely responsible.

    There are so many aspects involved in what I initially considered a rather straightforward subject, how much risk is acceptable in an individual situation, how much pressure to put on others to reach agreement if am convinced that my view should prevail, I am sure there are manymore.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Singalong.
      I like your comment

      We cant help but to think about possibilities, I have thought that if I came across a serious accident-what would I do first. Decision time, so would I call an ambulance with no phone on hand and not waste time in trying to help, not being able to help the person not having a great deal of knowledge in the event of a serious injury.
      These are all maybe’s, but brings to mind how we would benefit from ‘First Aid Knowledge’because we never know when it is needed.
      Perhaps we all at some time would need to think about it-I did many years ago, but didn’t take the trouble.or the opportunity when it arose..
      Do I have to wait until I am in a situation before I do anything about it.
      Maybe something I ought to do.

  14. Singalong says:

    We have just had confirmation that a previously very devout Catholic whom we knew, joined the Mormon Church some years ago. This highlights for us the personal nature of many decisions, and the impossibility of knowing everything that influences an individual in making such choices. Only Almighty God knows the whole picture, as we also say about one particularly shattering choice made recently by one of our children, for which perhaps we have in some way a share in the responsibility.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Singalong.
      When we hear that some have left the Catholic Church for reasons of their own-it will always make us feel sad, but we always have to respect their free-will to do so for what ever reason only known to them and their conscience.
      We are not able to give others their faith, people see something in other religions that they don’t find in the RC Church.
      I believe, and I will always with Gods grace, that the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament the Pearl of great Price in the Eucharist-as spoken of in the Parable to be the corner stones of foundation in the Catholic Church ,and I would sell everything to keep, but obviously not bury it in a field like the Parable says ,also the Parable of the buried Talents.
      I only quote these because. it was what Jesus spoke first before us.and these ought not to be buried either.’The Word’ -‘then made Flesh’.which is why they walked because they did not believe it-But He is found also in other Denominations in the spoken Word.
      So we do have peace of mind that salvation is found there also.
      We can be sure of that-because God is Love.
      I am sure you will know and believe that already. It does console us at times.

  15. Geordie says:

    St Joseph
    I assume you mean “Judge not….”
    “Judge and you will not be judged, pity there are so many who don’t take that on board.”
    Is your statement not a judgement?

  16. Geordie says:

    Quentin
    My post on 29th Nov for St Joseph has jumped into 24th Nov slot. What’s happening?

    • Quentin says:

      If, perhaps without you realising, your contribution was recognised as a reply it will have been automatically whipped up to its parent. In effect each ‘new’ post presents a possibility for opening a discussion particularly related to that post. You achieve that by clicking ‘reply’. Otherwise, the contribution tags on to the end of the list. Computers are pretty dumb, and they rarely realise that we didn’t mean that!

  17. Geordie says:

    Geordie says:

    November 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    St Joseph
    I assume you mean “Judge not….”
    “Judge and you will not be judged, pity there are so many who don’t take that on board.”
    Is your statement not a judgement?

    Reply

    Geordie says:

    November 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Quentin
    My post on 29th Nov for St Joseph has jumped into 24th Nov slot. What’s happening?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Geordie.
      Thank you.
      Of course that is ‘not’.
      Maybe I ought to have been more blunt-and said ‘mind their own business.’
      Which I often felt like saying to people but that would be rude.
      If we judge, we are judging someone’s else’s conscience, and only God knows that.
      That should not prevent us from bringing the Good News to others-that is not judging.
      Otherwise we would be all living on an island and not spreading the Gospel-which is our duty as a Christian.-not something to be buried as I made that point above.
      Being involved in another denomination and how they perform their business is really no concern to us as Catholics when our beliefs are different.In fact we are moving outside of our own faith.and they would be quite within their right to tell us so.
      I know we discuss our own Church here and I sometimes believe we could be overstepping the mark- but we do have to right to discuss it to get a deeper understanding.
      Does that make sense.

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