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.