The other day on my post "A Catholic Priest & A Catholic In Name Only Priest Face Off About Notre Dame"
I got the following comment from Simplex Vir
: "So according to Father McBrien there really in no difference between evil and intrinsically evil
." Later, as I reflected on the comment, it sent me off on 1 of those stream of consciousness flows that led to me reflecting on what McBrien was getting at. Basically, McBrien is saying that there is no such thing as intrinsically evil
1st of what is ment by intrinsically? That means that the act is evil in & of itself, no matter what. The Catholic Church teaches that some acts are intrinically evil, like abortion or homosexual acts. They are always wrong. Then there are acts that can be evil under certain circumstances. For instance killing someone, cold blooded murder is evil, killing someone in self-defense isn't.
So what is McBrien saying? He is saying that since there is no such thing as intrinsic evil, there are circumstances that can justify abortion or homosexual acts. Basically, what we are seeing in his comments is a prime example of relativism. It all depends, there is no such thing as an absolute right or wrong.
Then I got thinking how these same people who use relativism to justify homosexual marriage, abortion etc are anything but relativistic when it comes to things like war, the death penalty. & saying anything about sin being sin, especially homosexual acts is always wrong. In other words, while saying there are no absolutes, the show how flawed their claims really are. They do have absolutes about what is or isn't wrong. It is just that when they want to justify wrong/sin then they fudge things & blur the lines.
Their hypocrisy is blatent. But when they are confronted they reply that people who support the death penalty or war are just as absolutist as they are. & while there may be a few people who are, almost all of them are anything but.
I don't know of a single person who supports the death penalty who also doesn't want to see it applied fairly, in accordance to Catholic teaching. The question isn't is the death penalty wrong? The Church says that under certain circumstances the state has the right to execute a criminal. As the Pope has pointed out, there is room for debate on what meets that standard, but there isn't for abortion.
The same is true about war. I don't know a single Catholic who ever wants a war. But, again the Church does give criteria for a just war. Again, their is room for debate on whether a specific war meets that criteria. (As an aside, neither Pope John Paul or Papa Benedetto ever condemned the Afghan or Iraqi wars. They just asked that every peaceful means be exhausted 1st.)
This then led me to think of all those anti-war nuns I have dealt with over the years. They are a prime example of relativistic hypocrisy.
Back in 1976, when I was still a registered democrat, I was a delegate to the DBQ Co convention. At that convention, Joe Hart, a fellow Loras student, & I went arround with a petetion to add a pro-life plank. 1 of the people I approached was a DBQ Franciscan who shall remain nameless, not to protect the guilty but to keep from her getting the egoistic attention she would love by naming her. She refused saying: "I'm personally opposed to abortion. But, I can't oppose my morallity on others." & over the years I have ran into many another Catholic; priest, religious & lay (& esp Catholic politicians) who say the same thing. Yet these same people's actions belie the claim. Those same nuns hold signs saying all war is immoral & should be stopped. They say the same about the death penalty. The politicians pass laws saying it is immoral to call homosexual acts sins, to stop gays from marrying etc.
In other words, when they really don't think something is immoral they hide behind the I don't want to impose ploy. But that is the very thing they are doing by trying to stop the death penalty, all war or make people accept gay marriage.
This leads me to my next point, pacifists who try to say that the early Church was pacifist because Catholics/Christians refused to serve in the Roman army during the 1st to 4th Centuries AD. Or they quit when they became Christians because they opposed war. That is an oput & out lie. While a few may have the overwhelming majority of them quit or left for a totally different reason. A Roman soldier was required to offer incense & say a prayer to the emperor. In other words, worship him as a god. As Christians they knew that they couldn't worship a false god & still be true to the Catholic faith. So they quit. & a huge majority of them were martyrs as a result. They weren't martyrs for pacificm, they were killed for refusing to worship idols & false gods.
A few years ago I came across a Catholic pacifict group who was lifting up an early martyr as idealizing what they stood for. I looked into the saint & found out that his quiting the Roman army & subsequent martyrdom had nothing to do with pacifism. He refused to worship the emporer. But these groups never let the facts stand in the way of imposing their viewpoint.
In the end, I prefer to stick with what the Catholic Church actually teaches. Jesus promised us that through the apostles & their successors, the Holy Spirit would lead the Church to know the whole truth. That truth is found in the teachings of the Church. & by staying with them I know I am following the mind of Christ. I refuse to call evil, like abortion or gay marriage, good. & I refuse to call good, like calling sin sin, upholding chastity etc, evil.
There are absolute rights & wrongs. Sin is sin. & I refuse to be called hateful for upholding those teachings that some people oppose. Homosexual acts are sinful abortion is sinful. I am not being hateful by saying so. In fact, my saying so is quite loving. Not speaking up is hateful. If I am to truly love my neighbor then that love means that I want him or her to spend eternity in Heaven rather than suffer eternally in hell.
Nor am I being a self-righteous pharisee. I am a sinner & know how much I need God's forgiveness. The fact that I accept God's mercy & forgiveness means that I also want others to have that same forgiveness.
Actually, it is the relativists who are the modern pharisees with their self-righteous condemnation of those who uphold the Church teaches.
This brings me to another point. A few years ago I was at a discussion about homosexaul marriage. 1 of the arguments presented in support was that God partied with sinners, thus showing he didn't oppose their sins. What they failed to mention is the reason Jesus gave for eating with sinners. He said He didn't come to call the righteous, but the sinners, He came for the sick (spiritually, not the healthy. & that ment He had to go where they were. he never condoned sin. In fact, from day 1 He called people to repentance.
Yes, it is true that He didn't condemn the woman caught in adultery. Why? He knew she had repented. Instead He told her to sin no more. & He used that phrase more than once. Remember that He warned 1 man He healed to sin nor more lest something worse befall him. Jesus only condemned those who refused to repent, those who called evil good & good evil.
People like Fr. McBrien will have to answer to God for their failure to uphold God's laws. He will have to answer for those souls who ended up in hell as a result of his actions & inaction. I can't be silent. I have to obey God's call to proclaim the Gospel. I have to do my best to be faithful to my baptismal promises. & when I fail, I need to repent. & tell others that they can be forgiven as well. That they don't have to continue on the path to hell, even if it feels good all the way there. It is not demeaning or hateful to say their actions are sinful, it is loving. It is bringing the true God to them. Not a false God like McBrien, Weakland & others proclaim.
For the record, my view on the death penalty is this. I do not see any need for it here in the USA. We have plenty of other adequate ways of protecting society. But, I recognize the fact that many do see the need to defend society with the death penalty. & in some cases they may be right. & in some countries, there still is no viable alternative. All I ask is what the Church asks, that everythiung is done to assure the guilt of the person who will be executed. In other words, I stand by what the Church teaches about it.