7 March 2017

Alternative Moralities (1)

Human Nature, apparently, craves a morality. The Church has insistently offered and prescribed a moral system to the People of God.

It is not always noticed that when HWHY delivered a code of morality, Ten Words, to Moses for the People of Israel, He did so in the singular: "Thou shall ...  Thou shalt not."

This 'singular' aspect of Morality is essential. I will not say that it is the whole of the story. Most of the Torah is in the plural, addressed to the People. Perhaps some readers will not share my approval of certain aspects and expressions in Liberation Theology, but I am quite sure that Sin is embodied in immoral corporate structures. And in those corporate structures Sin is indeed to be resisted. The doctrine of Original Sin expresses the truth that our Sin is a Corporate, species-wide, Sin; inherent in what it is to be a Son of Adam or a Daughter of Eve.

But any morality which excludes individual obligation is phony. Which is why we must resist the modern tendency to down-play individual Sin and to elevate the corporate aspects of Sin so high as to obscure individual responsibilities.

Quite possibly, in a culture which emphasised, as 'Victorian Morality' perhaps did, the lapses (particularly sexual) of individuals, Christian witness obliged us principally to condemn corporate structures of Sin. But such a situation, if it existed, is now reversed.

So, among other things, I am talking critically about a culture which ignores the precepts of the Decalogue, addressed to each individual, and lays great emphasis on corporate Sin. In our own day, Thou shalt not kill is ignored when it is matter of the life of one inconvenient child in the womb of one inconvenienced mother, but a genocide happening thousands of miles away, or two or three generations ago, is a matter of great moment and of self-righteous moral posturing.

Thou shalt not commit adultery is reduced to very small proportions by a prescribed obligation to demonstrate against Global Warming. And what is left of it is demolished by emphasis on the newly-minted 'Sin' of failing in Inclusivity and Diversity and Non-judgementalism.

It is only if my feet are firmly planted on my obligation not to kill or to commit adultery, that I have any locus standi to say to my fellows "We must do, or must not do, such-and-such".

To be concluded.


Unknown said...

Thank you for mentioning the unborn Father H , and though your tract has yet to run its complete course , may I just say regarding this particular post: "Bull's-eye!"

Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church :

Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
- by protecting evil-doers.

Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. "Structures of sin" are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a "social sin."

God bless you Farther H.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"So, among other things, I am talking critically about a culture which ignores the precepts of the Decalogue, addressed to each individual, and lays great emphasis on corporate Sin."

Such a culture IS a corporate sin.

Patrick Sheridan said...

"Which commandments? he asked. Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness," Matthew 19:18.

I'm not splitting hairs here but "to kill" and "to commit murder" can be very different. "Kill" is a very general word and subject to any number of interpretations. "Murder," however, really only warrants one interpretation, and is clearly the will of God in the matter.

Mario Josipovic said...

Well-put, Father.

Secular ideologies (usually Left but occasionally Right) only understand morality from a collective perspective that is applied a priori to each individual case. So if you are a White person and treat people of all races with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings, your behaviour doesn't matter because you have "White Privilege". If you are a male who treats all women with the dignity and respect they deserve, your behaviour doesn't matter because you are part of the "Patriarchy".

When collective guilt is rammed down people's throats, they either (a) cower and give in, (b) snap and go the other way, or (c) fall back on their identity and (hopefully, in the case of Catholic Christians) ignore the guilt trip. Anecdotally, I mostly see (a), even among many Catholics.

For this reason, I usually cringe when I see this or that Catholic group taking up the latest social cause, as if this will help our Witness or just make us more socially acceptable. Our secular enemies hate our Faith, and we should always maintain some distance from them even when we agree to some degree with their goals.

Anonymous said...

Have I git it wrong, but most of God's commandments are future conditional? If you love me you will keep my commandments. Thou shalt not As Fr points out they are astoundingly personal. All made in the second person singular. Well we do know that we shall be judged by the implacable judge face to face. What will happen when He asked I made the forgiveness of sins readily available to you. What will your answer be?

Ivanmijeime said...

Also collective sins require collective penalties

"In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." (Hebrews 12,4)

"God's punishment does not only affect individuals but also collectives - states, nations, cities, villages ..."
From the biography of St. Bernardine (written by St. John of Capistrano) we can see, not only the influence of Christian teachers on the nations, but also their major impact on the most important secular rulers of the time. St. Bernardin has demanded of the rulers to root out heresy; to root out immorality, pederasty, injustice, scandal ... He asked them not to enter into any alliance with the "servants of sin".
Countries in which it is permitted to make public wickedness and unpunished, deserve many and heavy fines.
This can be seen throughout Scripture, from the first book, Genesis (universal flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah ...) until the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, that mentions many penalties will hit humanity in later times.

Sv. Bernardin has often preached about collective punishment. He counted 12 sins for which God punishes nations and the whole countries. At that time, as now, there were a lot of indifferent people who thought that this does not concern them.
That closing our eyes to the evil deeds will be justified. But ignoring public sins and offenses, only contributes to their spread. And worst of all is tolerance of evil. Such tolerance is a scandal, because it confuses young, so that they no longer knows what is good and what is evil.

(st. Bernardin, De evangelio aeterno, serm. 18.):
"Tria vero sunt principalia peccata Dei et proximi charitatem extinguentia quibus totus mundus infectus est; scilicet, superbia qua offenditur Deus per animam, luxuria qua offenditur Deus per corpus et avaritia qua Deus offenditur per substantiam temporalem. Unde I. Joan. 2, 16: 'Omne quod est in mundo concupiscentia carnis est, vel concupiscentia oculorum, aut superbia vitae', et sic proposito verbo Apostolus ait: 'Vindex est Dominus de omnibus his' (I. Thess. 4, 6), nam secundum haec tria peccata, tria sunt generalia judicia Dei.
Primum est quod jam exercuit contra superbiam, superbientes angelos ejiciendo de coelis. Unde Apoc. 12, 7: 'Factum est proelium magnum in coelo.' Et sequitur: 'Et projectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui dicitur diabolus et sathanas, qui seducit universum orbem et projectus est in terram et angeli ejus cum illo missi sunt.'...
Secundum judicium quod etiam factum est fuit contra luxuriam, unde Gen. 6, 6: 'Videns Dominus quod multa malitia hominum esset in terra et cuncta cogitatio cordis intenta esset ad malum omni tempore: poenituit eum quod hominem fecisset in terra.' Et sequitur 'quia induxit diluvium ad delendam omnem carnem.'
Tertium judicium quod futurum est contra avaritiam fiet, unde Psalmus 96.: 'Ignis ante ipsum praecedet et inflammabit in circuitu inimicos ejus' et merito correspondent judicia culpis.
Nam superbientes angeli sunt humiliati, luxuriosi homines aquis diluvii sunt submersi et avari, qui insatiabili igne avaritiae incensi sunt, ipsi et eorum substantiae igne irremediabili comburentur. Haec sunt tria generalia judicia Dei.
Sed alia habet, quae licet sint minora, tamen sunt crebriora.
Primum est bellorum ad comprimendum et conterendum et ad humiliandum elatas animas superborum. Secundum est pestilentiarum ad puniendam luxuriam lascivorum. Tertium est consumptionis substantiarum per rapinas, sive per incendia civitatis, aut per praedationes, aut per grandines, aut per sterilitates et sic de aliis ad confundendum animas avarorum."

The message is clear: If we do not stand up against these evils, we will be punished along with villains who make this evil. In this life and in the next one!

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"The message is clear: If we do not stand up against these evils, we will be punished along with villains who make this evil. In this life and in the next one!"

That is exactly the reason I keep saying that homosexuals are free to marry and should avail themselves of that freedom.

Just to leave no room for misunderstanding : I mean that Milo could marry Miley, if she were to convert.

I do not mean Milo could "marry" another man or Miley could "marry" another woman.

Ivanmijeime said...

Hans I understand your message.
But we should really stop with using the language of our enemies.
There are no 'homo-sex-usual'. That's wicked language of the wicked ones.
Correct word for grave sin that cries out to heaven is sodomites, pederasty