Friday, 18 July 2014

Imprecise Teaching in the Church ~The Fudging of Issues

While I sometimes feel Michael Voris could be more charitable and can sometimes make too generalised a statement, one of his latest videos is worth watching (as indeed I think all of them are). Michael says in one of his latest videos (here) about confusion in the Church:

“...the Vatican has to continually issue corrections and clarifications about what is reported that the Pope reportedly said.
American Bishops .. like Cardinal Timothy Dolan .. has his press office people issue statements saying he was quoted out of context.
We have just now the case of the new archbishop of Cologne Germany saying things in such a manner that sound like he is approving of same sex relationships in some fashion or another.
And then, on the heels of those statements, comes the clarification. But all these clarifications and follow-up statements often come too little too late. Once the secular media has gotten their hands on these original reports and spun them into sensational headlines – it’s all she wrote.
... This has gone on for SO long now, that when someone does occasionally say something very clearly – like contraception is sinful, he is shouted down as being uncharitable.
Imprecise language and lack of precision has been an issue for decades in the Church as numerous interpretations of the Vatican II documents themselves have produced.

Michael makes a good point about imprecision, but another good question is left unasked. That question is not “how does this imprecision and confusion exist in the Church?” (the texts of Vatican II now admitted to as having some ambiguity allows many to blame the Council itself); but “why does imprecision and confusion exist in the Church?”

In that anyone convinced of the truth of the Church’s teaching would, in order to avoid confusion and save souls by the Truth, be as precise as the Church has always been, the answer can only be that many of today’s official teachers lack in faith. Anyone convinced that truth leads to salvation would want to be as precise as possible in order not to adulterate the Truth and to safely instruct; they would not be happy to propagate a grey mist in which souls lose their way. Nor would they engage in sophistry and fudge issues in order to be ‘pastoral’ and compassionate. Indeed, those who constantly seek to adapt the Church’s teaching to the ways of the world are not being compassionate but cowardly; all they are doing is losing souls to the devil through the grey of subjectivism and relativism.

Sadly, we were told in seminary seeing the grey is the sign of those with a mature faith, and that only narrow, insecure people think there is such a thing as black and white. One must then assume then, that many holy Popes, all the saints -and the Lord Himself (who said the Truth sets us free and commanded us to observe all that He commanded) -were insecure and narrow-minded. I cannot make such an assumption. I believe we must have clarity and faithfulness in our teaching because one cannot lead where all is grey and foggy. When one is in grey, misty and fog one can only tentatively suggest directions. For this reason, grey is the devil’s favourite colour.

I wonder how many of our official teachers (bishops, priests, deacons, those teaching in our schools and colleges) have lost faith in the Church while retaining some vague conviction that God exists and community is a good thing; I wonder how many would answer ‘yes’ to the following.

Do you believe...

That there is only one true Church of Christ and that it is the Catholic Church?
That the Church (and Popes) are bound by the Church’s previous Magisterial teaching?
That members of Non-catholic and non-Christian communities are saved through the Catholic Church and not through these other communities?
That The Holy Eucharist, without diminishing the fact that it contains the resurrected Lord and the banquet of Heaven, is principally the making present of the Sacrifice of the Cross?
That the sacraments are the supernatural means needed to reach our supernatural end?
That the priesthood cannot be validly conferred on women?
That marriage is only marriage between a man and a woman?
That sex outside of marriage is gravely sinful?
That artificial Contraception is gravely sinful?
That abortion is gravely sinful?
That euthanasia is gravely sinful?
That homosexual acts are gravely sinful?
That grave sins preclude our reception of Holy Communion until Confessed and Absolved?

I can hear already the cries ‘but Father, life isn’t black and white...God loves us as we are...God is merciful...Who am I or you to judge?’

But truth is black and white; Truth is always Truth and error is always error. The Lord admits of no grey fog in His word: “The word of the Lord is a word without alloy, silver from the furnace, seven times refined” (Ps.12v6).

And God loves us as we are, but He calls us on from there; He loves us too much to leave us where we are. Metanoia is on on-going reality for us -or should be.

As for, “Who am I or you to judge? Well, we don’t judge people, but neither does a physician who judges that smoking needs to cease because his patient is developing COPD. If we will not judge what damages a person’s soul then we leave the person in a damaged state, which lacks all charity on our behalf.

I have often seen the tattoo slogan “God alone can judge me”. What that leaves out is that God has revealed the criteria by which He will judge: have you kept holy the Sabbath; respected the Divine Name and avoided fornication, killing (abortion / euthanasia) falsehood, theft and covetousness for the things of this world?  Have you clothed the naked, fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, visited the sick and imprisoned? Those who wear this tattoo really ought to have the whole truth, and we who teach ought to supply the Truth, not fudge it. The world may think well of us by fudging issues, but we will be those “with a travesty of the truth” on our lips (Acts 20v30-32).

It is time all official teachers gave up trying to fit the Faith to the contemporary culture and returned to teaching the Truth clearly and assertively. The Truth alone will bring the world back to its senses; seeking to accommodate its errors will not.


  1. Hi Father Gary. Whilst I can, honestly, say 'yes' to your questions I can also say honestly that I have not always been strong enough to practise the meanings behind them. Some (without being specific) I can say that I have (I hope) practised almost totally. I have never denied those matters which are tenets of the Church. Where grey comes in (for me) is in the fact that I have failed in some areas but isn't that what we should be looking for? Of course life isn't black & white but our lives should be, the grey is when we fail! I'm sure that God in His mercy will know that we are not perfect, that we are grey but also knows when are are TRYING to put things into the black & white categories where they should be.

    1. Thank you, David.
      Yes, the grey is in the application -but there ought to be no such greyness since the application of truth to the performing of a human act will always make that act good.
      God Bless.

  2. Father,

    Voris likes straight talking. That is being charitable. Obtuseness is wrong and will be answerable.

    You refer to lack of faith by many of the church’s priests and bishops. That is so. For some time now I have increasingly accepted the thesis that the Church is going through a crisis from within. This was foreseen by St Pius X and other popes. It is a crisis of Relativism, in effect, a Relativist Reformation.

    The concept of Truth as expressed through Scripture, Revelation, Tradition and the Magisterium is being steadily diminished, diluted with the intention that it will eventually be dissolved.

    This started with Vatican II when ambiguity, vagueness and even contradiction were deliberately introduced into the documents by Modernist periti, operating according to some plan. The bulk of the bishops, in their naivety, were out-manoeuvred. It is only in the last ten years or so that this is being discussed.

    In the meantime the Church has unravelled. Benedict understood this but did not have the stamina to push through corrections.

    I personally think as with the Last Reformation, we are heading for a split.

    1. "Truth as expressed through Scripture, Revelation, Tradition and the Magisterium is being steadily diminished, diluted with the intention that it will eventually be dissolved."
      I venture to say their intention will never be fulfilled, for the Holy Ghost is in charge!
      God Bless

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you - for stating the obviously true, Fr. Speaking the truth is outlawed in the Church now. One must pretend not to see the heresy and apostasy and compromise with evil. One is required to disregard reason and logic and one's knowledge of the doctrine of the Faith. Diabolical disorientation. We need Cardinals and Bishops to speak out against the constant scandalising of the Faithful.

  4. Fr., I would say "yes" to all your questions with the proviso that the following:

    "That members of Non-catholic and non-Christian communities are saved through the Catholic Church and not through these other communities?"

    be altered to:

    "IF members of Non-catholic and non-Christian communities are saved, they are saved through the Catholic Church and not through these other communities?"

    It is worth remembering the warning in LG 16:

    "But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature",(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention."

  5. I agree fr. With all you say. It seems that the Holy Catholic Church has been hijacked by a bunch of 'this world' clerics. I have been reading the Douay Catechism of 1649 (eBook) It is a real antidote to the rubbish we hear from our 'pastors'

    1. Thank you, Paul.
      I have a Catechism from the Council of Trent, as well as the New Catechism. Both make for very interesting reading.
      God Bless.
      PS The answer to your privately asked question is 'yes'.

  6. I find the Catholic Church of today is not the same Holy Catholic Church of my youth. Many things are tolerated or introduced that would be unthinkable in the past. I can hardly recognise this new church and it is all the fault of the clergy. I think the biggest mistake was to banish the Holy Mass which is our patrimony and has been for hundreds and hundreds of years. And to replace it with a Protestantised communion service that puts man at the centre. The old Mass put God at the centre. Faith is being starved. Churches are emptying. Morality is never preached. Parishes are looking more and more Anglican like.

    1. Thank you, Paul.
      Many people do not recognise the Church of today as the Church of their youth. Officially though, the doctrine has not changed (it cannot) and the liturgy provides the graces it always provided.
      In regard to doctrine, terminology is new (and often imprecise and confusing); in regard to the sacraments, the packaging has changed (like using a plain brown paper instead of Christmas paper); while the gift inside remains the same, the beauty and value of the gift is not signified by its wrapping. Sadly, even the brown paper is often badly utilised...
      Many today seek a return to clear, precise language in our teaching, and ritual that expresses the power, beauty and value of the gift it bestows. Who can condemn anyone for seeking clarity of doctrine and ritual that expresses the value the gift it bestows?
      God Bless


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