12 May 2016

To a Nazi? To a paedophile?

All the moral systems which have emerged since the disorders of the 1960s fall under the condemnation of the teaching of Veritatis Splendor. Quite simply, S John Paul II taught that there are some things which are inherently and always wrong. (Para 80; intrinsece malum). The Church has always taught that there are are subjective circumstances in which the subjective guilt of an individual may be attenuated; but the act itself remains always wrong.

People talk about gradualism ... step by step ... or about making the best of a bad situation ... or discerning elements of good in a flawed context ... but I always feel like applying the tests Would you say that to a perpetrator of genocide? Would you say that to a paedophile?

Of course, I very rarely say it, because so few people have the remotest understanding of logic. I would get totally irrelevant but extremely angry replies such as Are you saying that remarried divorcees are as bad as Nazis? Are you saying that homosexuals are all paedophiles?

One isn't. One is simply saying: if you don't agree that adultery, or genital homosexual actions, are always, in themselves, wrong, OK, I won't try to prevent you from having your own views; but who are you then to say that there is any other act which is in itself always wrong?

How does a person  distinguish between acts which are generally wrong but might be OK [usually for oneself!] in special circumstances; and acts [usually which other people do!] which really are always wrong?

If I am not entitled to tell you that sex between "remarried" divorcees is, in itself, intrinsically wrong, why are you entitled to tell a paedophile that what he does is, in itself, intrinsically wrong?

If one were able to get this point over to the sort of thick people to whom I refer, they might very well reply [you often hear something along these lines] "Ah, but what they do harms others; what I do doesn't" (another 'consequentialist' approach laudably condemned in Veritatis splendor).

This at least opens up the possibility of suggesting that, for example, the serial habitual adultery ["remarriage after divorce"] of modern societies does harm others; and of arguing that there are, for example, recorded societies, such as aristocratic societies in some Greek cities, where institutionalised paederasty was not perceived to harm its 'victims'.


mark wauck said...

The sad proof of the thesis here is that the movement to legalize and "normalize" paedophilia has in the last few years gone increasingly public and mainstream. The fact is, the mainstreaming of homosexual "marriage" was never just about homosexuality. It was always about the Liberal (in the philosophical sense) attack on the very idea of human nature. Which is what makes the animus toward natural law thinking among prominent Churchmen so deeply disturbing.

Andreas said...

In the final analysis, there is no solution or 'explanation' to this problem, because, 'iniquitas' is a mystery that will not be fully unmasked until the day of judgment. The devil does not lack the ability to think 'logically' yet he does not find a solution to his own error. In human terms, the 'bottom line' as they say, is the difference between faith, and the refusal to believe. And only faith provides a way out through hope to love. That's why the Gospel is "the aroma of Christ for those who are being saved and an odor of death among those who are perishing". Meanwhile, the story of Cain and Abel is being repeated throughout history.

Colin Spinks said...

Dear Father,

I am generally a great admirer of your blog, especially your liturgical insights.

However, despite having a "remote understanding" of logic, I am at a loss to understand your argument today: "If you don't agree that adultery, or genital homosexual actions, are always, in themselves, wrong, OK, I won't try to prevent you from having your own views; but who are you then to say that there is any other act which is itself always wrong".

Let us suppose that someone more conservative than you believes that it is always wrong to own a pet, or for a man to go without a beard (both arguable from scripture), what if he used a similar argument to yours above, substituting "owning a pet, or going without a beard" for "adultery, or genital homosexual actions".

Surely a failure to recognise X as an intrinsically wrong act does not preclude me from saying "Y is an intrinsically wrong act".

Michael Leahy said...

Paedophiles will win at the intersection point between the acceptance of pre-teen sexual activity, already being pioneered by the attempts to introduce common bathroom facilities in primary/junior schools, and the lowering of the age of consent.

When our human nature is suppressed, what kind of nature will replace it?

Simple Simon said...

Veritatis Splendor written to take out moral relativism and Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth written to take out historical criticism. Both are splendid in themselves and can be read time and time again with tremendous profit. And both are many orders of magnitude better than anything written by Pope Francis or when he wrote as Bergoglio. Mark, unfortunately for us it is not only prominent churchmen such as Pope Francis and his team who present themselves as moral relativists and biblical babblers. Many priests of my acquaintance locally are also thus inclined. Taking the Church as a whole, it would be a serious underestimate to simply guess that they are legion, for there are so so many of them. And there’s you trouble. Not only are they numerous, they are unashamedly vociferously rejoicing that the Catholic Church now allows divorce. To believe otherwise is go into denial of the reality. Where is the loud and vociferous defence of the faith of our fathers? Nowhere. We have the bleating of many lambs, but the shepherds have been struck dumb. Where is Cardinal Pell? Where is Cardinal Sara? Where are the Polish Bishops? Where are the priestly 400+ signatories? Faded away like the morning due?

Paolo said...

The 1 of May an Italian lay "theologian" (the scary quotes are my personal reaction to his kind of "theology") named Andrea Grillo wrote a scathing comment on Spaemann's scathing comment on AL. Here is the (Italian) text: http://tinyurl.com/h8jy33g

According to Grillo, who seems to be quite active on the Italian ecclesial scene, Spaemann's "shallow philosophy" is shown in the following passage of the interview:
Q: The Holy Father emphasizes in his exhortation that
nobody may be allowed to be condemned forever.
A: I find it difficult to understand, what he means there.
That the Church is not allowed to condemn anyone personally –
of course not forever, what she cannot do, thank God – is clear.
When it concerns sexual relationships which objectively contradict
the Christian way of life, I would like to know from the Pope,
after what time and under which circumstances is objectively
sinful conduct changed into conduct pleasing to God."

What is shameful, according to Grillo? That Spaemann is still bound to the old and bad ontology based on the old and bad principle of noncontradiction. "Objective contradiction" under the old and bad understanding is something static, while now is high time for us to be enlightened by modern philosophy: OBJECTIVITY IS A PROCESS IN TIME, so in reality we are always simul iustus et peccator, in a process which the Church has just to accompany.
The binary opposition where a thing is bad or wrong is, according to Grillo, a "ontologic sophism" [!!! personal note: what about looking in the mirror?] unworthy of a real philosopher; this kind of objectivity is not "realistic", and furthermore "reduce to nothing" "every discernment, every accompaniment, every integration". This passage is the "logical" core "argument" of the article; of course it is really rhetorical crap: no cogency is there when you remove the gratuitous quantifiers.
But this guy is a valued professor in our Catholic schools, writing in an influential Catholic magazine. And he has no shame changing logic in order to win the argument: talk about sophism!