Simply Loving

Everybody knows that same-sex marriage and homosexual acts are contrary to Catholic moral teaching. Yet that same teaching also says that gay and lesbian people must be treated with “respect, sensitivity and compassion.” As more states pass laws legalizing same-sex marriage, more gay and lesbian Catholics are entering into these unions. This leaves some Catholics feeling caught between two values: church teaching against same-sex marriage and church teaching in favor of compassion. In Seattle a few months back, for example, many high school students protested the ouster of the vice principal, who was removed for marrying another man.

Most people who oppose same-sex marriage say they do not hate gay people, only that the traditional understanding of marriage is important and perpetually valid. Other opponents of same-sex marriage invoke the oft-repeated mantra, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” If that is so, then why do so many gay people say they feel hatred from members of the church?

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Let me suggest a reason beyond the fact that many gays and lesbians disagree with church teaching on homosexual acts: only rarely do opponents of same-sex marriage say something positive about gays and lesbians without appending a warning against sin. The language surrounding gay and lesbian Catholics is framed primarily, sometimes exclusively, in terms of sin. For example, “We love our gay brothers and sisters—but they must not engage in sexual activity.” Is any other group of Catholics addressed in this fashion? Imagine someone beginning a parish talk on married life by saying, “We love married Catholics—but adultery is a mortal sin.” With no other group does the church so reflexively link the group’s identity to sin.

The language of “hate the sin, love the sinner” is difficult for many gay people to believe when the tepid expression of love is accompanied by strident condemnation. And the notion that love calls first for admonishing the loved person seems to be applied only in the case of gays and lesbians. To take another example, it would be like telling a child, “You’re a sinful child, but I love you anyway.” This can end up sounding more like, “Hate the sinner.”

Look how Jesus loved people who were hated in his day. Take the story of Zacchaeus, the diminutive man who climbs a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he passes through Jericho (Lk 19:1-10). As chief tax collector, and thus head of all the tax collectors in the region, Zacchaeus would have also been seen by the Jews as the chief sinner in the area. When Jesus spies him perched in the branches, he calls out, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus then promises to repay anyone he has defrauded. “Salvation has come to this house,” says Jesus.

Notice that Jesus shows love for Zacchaeus even before the man has promised to do anything. That is, Jesus loves him first, by offering to dine with him, a powerful sign of welcome in that time. Jesus does not say, “Zacchaeus, you’re a sinful person because you’re gouging people with taxes collected for the oppressive occupying power, but even though you’re a public sinner, I love you anyway.” He simply loves him—first.

The story of Zacchaeus illustrates an important difference between the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus. For John the Baptist, conversion came first, then communion. First you repent of your sins; then you are welcomed into the community. For Jesus, the opposite was more often the case; first, Jesus welcomed the person, and conversion followed. It’s not loving the sinner; it’s simply loving.

What might it mean for the church to love gays and lesbians more deeply? First, it would mean listening to their experiences—all their experiences, what their lives are like as a whole. Second, it would mean valuing their contributions to the church. Where would our church be without gays and lesbians—as music ministers, pastoral ministers, teachers, clergy and religious, hospital chaplains and directors of religious education? Infinitely poorer. Finally, it would mean publicly acknowledging their individual contributions: that is, saying that a particular gay Catholic has made a difference in our parish, our school, our diocese. This would help remind people that they are an important part of the body of Christ. Love means listening and respecting, but before that it means admitting that the person exists.

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Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
David - you respond as if I was implying the only people being called away from their sins were homosexuals, when my point is that everyone is called to chastity. We all have temptations that must be resisted. We all sin and are in need of forgiveness. Are you not looking for a special exception? You say you see the beauty of chastity. That is good. Maybe, you can describe what version of it you think LGBT brothers and sisters are being called to, or do they get a free pass? Or, to use your language, are they trying to be in a privileged caste? If it is to a lifelong monogamous relationship, are you willing to say that it is sinful not to be in a faithful lifelong monogamous relationship? How do bisexuals live a chaste life? Are homosexuals bound to not masturbate? Whatever, model you come up with, it should apply to us all. And it should conform to the Scripture. I look forward to your reply.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 5 months ago
I'll leave all that to You, Tim.
Egberto Bermudez
5 years 5 months ago
Comment Simply loving everyone but loving our children first. Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, wrote a letter in defense of the conjugal view of marriage when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. What is particularly remarkable about the letter is that it expresses in a succinct, clear, and easy to understand way the best arguments (all based on reason and not on faith) in defense of marriage between a man and a woman. These are the arguments: “We clearly hold that you cannot equate what is diverse; social coexistence requires the acceptance of differences. It is not merely a matter of terminology or formal conventions of a private relationship, but a natural anthropological link. The essence of being human tends to the union of man and woman as reciprocal realization, attention and care, and as the natural way of procreation. This confers on marriage a social transcendence and public character. Marriage predates the state, is the base of the family,the cell of society, and predates any legislation and even the Church itself.Hence the adoption of the bill in question would signify a real and grave anthropological setback. Marriage (composed of male and female) is not the same as the union of two persons of the same sex. To distinguish is not to discriminate but to respect; to differentiate, to discern, is to value with propriety, not to discriminate. At a time when we emphasize the richness of pluralism and cultural and social diversity, it turns out that a contradiction minimizes fundamental human differences. A father is not the same as a mother. We cannot teach future generations that it is the same thing to prepare yourself living a family project that assumes the commitment to a stable relationship between man and woman, or to live with a person of the same sex. Let us be careful that, in trying to assert and look out for a presumed right of adults, we do not leave aside the proprietary right of children (who should be the only privileged ones) to count on models of father and mother, to have a Dad and a Mom.” http://www.catholichawaii.org/... These words are a model of affirming the truth with love. These are not words against anybody but a defense of the basic human and civil rights of children.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 5 months ago
There are many, many orphans in the world who have neither father nor mother, and many lesbian and gay couples who would be happy to give them a loving home.
5 years 5 months ago
Great article. And, by the number of replies and their intensity, I would say a really "hot" topic. As I read Luke 19:1-10 Jesus calls Zacchaeus and makes a dinner date. It is others who say that Zacchaeus is a sinner. Zacchaeus, we're told, "stood his ground" and as much as admitted that they were right. And so he offers to make restitution. And Jesus in a nod to that fact then says, " Today salvation has come to this house..." So the event raises as many questions as it answers. We can, though, learn a lot from Jesus' approach. Engage first and then let the circumstances lead the sinner to become aware on his own.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Thank you Fr. Martin for another insightful and important article on what God calls us to do, namely, to love him with all our minds, hearts, souls and strengths, and our neighbor as ourselves. We love God by loving our neighbor. It is also true that most of the parables of Jesus was about the "spirit" of the law, not an exaggerated obedience to the letter of the law. I offer one tapestry with the intention of moving the conversation forward toward a better understanding of truth that is constantly emerging. Chastity-termperance is a virtue everyone is called to practice. However, prudence is the measurement of temperance. The mean of temperance is not found on one extreme or the other of this virtue. Aquinas taught us that there is no universal mean for this virtue. Prudence guides us to select the mean of this virtue within the boundaries of a reasoned center based on circumstances. Marriage is not the narrow definition of the virtue of chastity-temperance as many apologists want us to believe. There are other virtues that are necessary in assisting us in creating a virtuous character and helping us make the morally right choice of our actions. If gay people are to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity in the RCC, then when the magisterium tells them they have an "objectively disordered condition of a universal heterosexual orientation", that leads them to sin, is offensive and degrading to them. No prominent scientific organization has concluded that a same-sex orientation is an objective disorder. Also, telling them that they do not have the choice that heterosexuals do, namely, a "voluntary choice" between marriage or celibacy, but only a "mandatory imposed requirement" of a lifetime of sexual abstinence (save for the few who voluntarily choose to become celibate priests), is also unreasonable and impractical to them. The doors of the Church they are looking at are closed to them for all practical purposes, or narrowly opened to them provided they embrace the magisterium's requirement of "heroic virtue". Lastly, if biological procreation is a requirement of marriage, how does one justify the marriage of infertile couples, those who marry after menopause, and those who decide that they don't want any children for good reasons? The RCC does not say that sexual intercourse is morally justified provided that the marriage has children, nor do they specify how many children morally justifies a marriage. In fact, sexual intercourse in a marriage does not rely on fucundity. The magisterium argument that somehow sexual intercourse limited to infertile times for a long time or a lifetime, is open to procreation strains the boundaries of reasonableness, and constitutes a failure to recognize the non-procreative motives, ends, intentions and physical acts of the couple.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Michael - Maybe, you can address how your prudential mean addresses the desires of a pedophile or ephebophile? Is it an extreme view to say that they must refrain from acting out their sexual desires, their whole lives, and never act on their sexual urges, since their inclinations are objectively disordered? Can we say with certainty that, even though we know some cultures permitted this practice (ancient Greece, etc.), that we can know it is wrong for all times? Or, must this even remain uncertain - as you argue that our understanding of the truth is "constantly emerging."
Paul Ferris
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, in your mind one thing always leads to another....I don't think that is what prudence means at all. In fact Michael specifically says that prudence does not have a mean. It is an intellectual virtue of the practical intellect. This is precisely what you deny by making chastity the main virtue which trumps all others and leads to pedophilia, ephebophilia, divorce, adultery, contraception, pornography, etc...these are all vices against chastity because prudence would declare them to be. Final question, what do you think is worse (if stuff like this can be categorized) rape, incest, or bestiality ? And why do you think so ? Another question: presently the Magisterium teaches that Catholics who have remarried after divorce without annulment should not be allowed to go to communion. Is this a teaching of the Magisterium that could be subject to change ???? or is it part of your immaculate tapestry ???
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Paul - I meant temperance mean. It really does seem that my tapestry analogy has hit a nerve with you and Michael, which is good, I guess. But, whatever tapestry you invent, it will have to be tight enough to exclude pedophilia and ephebophilia orientations. That would be a gaping hole. Surely, they will be required to be celibate for life, as absurd as some people think that requirement might be. Your last question - of Catholics still married in the eyes of the Church to one woman but sleeping with another woman - is a difficult one but one that relates to discipline more than doctrine. While I do not think the Synod will address this in a way that will result in approval of divorce or sex outside a lawful marriage, I of course will listen to how what the Church teaches on this.
Paul Ferris
5 years 5 months ago
Your tapestry model has strengths and weakness as I said. I do admire your love for chastity I just think sometimes your consistent love leads you to conclusions that do not follow. To quote Emerson: "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Paul - Most people quote that phrase when they are caught in a logical contradiction. Emerson used that phrase in Self-Reliance when he was accused of not practicing what he preached in the past. Some might call it hypocritical. In Self-Reliance, he was arguing against the obligation to be charitable to his fellow man. Then, there is foolish inconsistency too.
Paul Ferris
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, I recently read and reviewed Charles Curran's latest book, The History of the Development of Moral Theology. Check it out. My review was complimentary. You can write the counter review...LOL...but please read it first. OK here is my review: The Development of Moral Theology (Moral Traditions series) (Kindle Edition) In the beginning Charles Curran says he is not a historian but his historical development of moral theology is packed with history and clarity. I will not go into the five strands of morality but I will say that "strands" may not be a strong enough word for the life time of learning that has gone into each section. I appreciate the bibliography as a guide to further study. I also appreciate that Curran gives in depth analysis to all sides of issues on the subjects he covers. Every subject he covers is backed up by references to sources. This is not an apologetic work of a revisionist theologian but an honest attempt to show all sides of controversial issues. Everyone from the most obscure moral theologians to the works of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI are discussed in a dispassionate and evenhanded way. Curran takes very seriously the idea that moral theology should be based on multiple relationships of the person: God, creation, the other person, society, and oneself. I hope this book gets much attention not only from academics but all interested in understanding the Catholic approach to moral theology." Tim, I would love to see Pope Francis correct the injustice committed against Charles Curran and Hans Kung done to them by the Magisterium in denying them the right to teach Catholic theology....no need to mention names. Also I would love to see Pope Francis lift the excommunication of Roy Bourgois and reinstate him in his rightful place in the priesthood. I guess I have a tapestry of my own to look at. And by the way, poll after poll show that people are more scandalized by not welcoming divorced Catholics who in conscience did not go through with an annulment (divorce Catholic style) than those who would be scandalized by allowing them to go to communion.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 5 months ago
BRAVO, Paul!
Paul Ferris
5 years 5 months ago
Your response on Emerson made me smile. I had to read it in the AM because I could not get it last night. It obviously has been quoted to you before. I think you often confuse the part for the whole. Maybe you need to take a look at your own tapestry more carefully. Your view reminds me a bit of the ancient heresies of Palegianism and Donatism.,,everyone has to be perfect themselves and only those who have not fallen should be eligible for the Catholic and Eucharistic embrace. Hardly Jesus' attitude toward Zack. On the question of divorced married sans annulments, going to communion. It is more than just discipline at stake in my opinion. The Eucharist is the medicine of mercy. Mercy is the primary attribute of God according to Walter Kasper and Pope Francis. Kasper also pointed out that it was a contradiction for Benedict XVI to say that divorced Catholics can be united to Christ spiritually by going to the liturgy but refrain from taking communion. If a person is united to Christ then he should partake of the Body and Blood of Christ needed for salvation. I have often wondered why the Magisterium allows pedophile priests and murderers to receive communion while de facto excommunicating divorced Catholics married again without annulments . (PS I know excommunication is a canonical penalty so do not qualify what I am saying please with this information.)
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Paul - I had seen Emerson's excuse in print, but hadn't had it quoted to me before. You are the first! Well done. I am not very fond of Emerson's philosophy, with its radically libertarian streak. As to Donatism and Pelagianism, I reject both. and I certainly do not think my arguments about doctrine come down to a demand for perfection. My complaints are with attempts to deny imperfection (sin). Denial cuts one off from mercy. As to the availability of Eucharist, I am completely open to what the Church decides on this issue. I only point out that there are several factors to be considered. And you might be surprised that any pastoral changes the Synod comes up with will not involve a doctrinal change. I completely agree that the Eucharist has a medicinal quality, efficacious for everyone who is truly sorry for their sins. None of us is worthy in terms of being perfect, even after confession ("Lord, I am not worthy...). The repentant attitude is the key. Without a repentant attitude, I worry one would be calling down judgment on oneself (per St. Paul's admonition). And, I would not recommend withholding it from any repentant sinner, even pedophiles, lay or clergy, or abortionists - the greatest abusers of children.
Paul Ferris
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, I appreciate your insight and ideas even though I disagree with some of them. Thanks.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, Let me be clearer because you are missing the whole of argument. My point about virtue was that prudence is the measurement of the virtue of temperance. For example, to assert that marriage, as the magisterium argues, is the virtue of Chastity-temperance, narrowly defined as sexual abstinence as the only method of birth control, and that any other means are morally evil, is also asserting that the prudent mean of the virtue of temperance in marriage is to be found with certainty at one extreme end of the virtue of temperance. This is in contradiction to both the teachings of Aristotle and Aquinas. This single comment was an argument against "one orthodox perspective" of the virtue of Chastity-temperance as the so-called moral determinant of every sexual act between couples in a committed, faithful, loving and lifelong relationship. As for the morality of voluntary human actions (e.g., the entire human activity), Aquinas teaches us that it is based on the good ends, good intentions, good circumstances of the agent provided that the chosen act is appropriate, suitable and proportionate to the good in those ends…which also means that such chosen acts must be in accordance with virtue. I never said that some voluntary human actions are not unreasonable, objectively disordered or morally evil. That was not my point. The use of the words 'objective disorder' referred to a same-sex orientation. When you find a prominent scientific organization (e.g., the psychiatric and psychological associations, the National Institutes of Health) that have studied same-sex orientation, and concluded that it is an "objectively disordered condition of a universal heterosexual orientation", let me know. You may have a different opinion, but you are not a thought-leader organization with expertise in this area. If I offer good reasons that some sexual acts of same-sex couples in a committed, faithful, loving and lifelong relationship are not necessarily morally evil, and you want to imply that my reasoning is erroneous by asking me if this means that other acts (e.g., pedophilia and the like) are also not necessarily morally evil, is an absurd argument. If you want to disagree with my comments, address them directly, in particular my last point.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Addressed above.
Paul Ferris
5 years 5 months ago
Michael... brilliant !!!!
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Michael - you are leaning heavily on human authority (prominent scientific organization, below "thought-leaders), which is fine as it goes, although the very same organizations before 1973 (defined homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder) and only this year distinguished pedophile orientation and pedophilia activity, only the latter being a disorder (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/dsm-pedophilia-mental-disorder-paraphilia_n_4184878.html). As you weave your new tapestry, will it define pedophilia as an "objectively disordered condition" and will it contain a "mandatory imposed requirement" of a lifetime of sexual abstinence for pedophiles. If so, isn't that a call to "heroic virtue." You frequently bring up the false charge that the Church claims that biologic procreation is a requirement of marriage, but it does not. The Church has never had a fertility test for marriage. It does state that unchaste or unnatural sexual gratification is sinful. Natural sexual intercourse can only be between a man and a woman, but not all sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is natural. Back to Humanae Vitae again, that work of Blessed (later this year) Pope Paul VI. You may have read of the miracle, another endorsement by the Holy Spirit. The latter is the authority that I rank higher than human experts.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, We keep circling back to your world view that every teaching of the magisterium is the absolute moral truth "with certainty" where no teaching can be the subject of development. The sources of truth are not solely the magisterium. Scripture, Tradition, Human Experience and Reason have been considered the sources of truth for centuries. I do not rely solely on human experience or scientific evidence or the erroneous knowledge that influenced those in ancient times. I do consider, respect and reflect upon magisterium teachings and not your world view where the truth has already been revealed, taught, is universal and unchangeable. The truth is constantly emerging as our understanding about what it means to be human manifests itself in new scholarship in all disciplines, including Scripture. I leave issues such as a same-sex orientation to the experts. Your pointing to the reclassification of pedophilia activity by scientific organizations as some type of "trump card" you think is making my argument erroneous is laughable when you won't acknowledge that the magisterium itself has changed many teachings over the centuries that they had proclaimed as truth. We are talking about a same-sex orientation. That's it. I won't go down your sophomoric line of questioning which is off-point. Stick to the point, then we can have a legitimate debate. Honestly Tim, your last paragraph is not an intelligible argument because it does not address the points I raised. Who was arguing about a fertility test for marriage? Biological complementarity is the one of the magisterium's arguments against sexual acts between same-sex couples in a committed, faithful, loving and lifelong relationship. One of the reasons that magisterium condemns same sex acts is because they are not open to procreation. I demonstrated the contradiction and unreasonable argument that the magisterium makes that sexual acts limited to infertile times for a long time or lifetime (e.g., NFP) is open to procreation. NFP is anything other than being open to procreation and it contradicts HV 12. Thus, how can the magisterium argue that sexual acts of same sex couples in a committed relationship are immoral because they are not open to procreation? This is one of their argument! You won't address this point, but only raise an argument about unchaste or unnatural sexual gratification. What does this have to do with what I said? A heterosexual that chooses to perform homosexual acts are acts that go against their nature. They are unnatural and immoral. However, you cannot claim the same thing for homosexuals who choose homosexual acts in a committed, faithful, loving and lifelong relationship because these acts do not go against their nature, namely, the sexual orientation they were born with. In ancient times, everyone was assumed to be heterosexual. During those times, do you not acknowledge that it was reasonable for the people to argue that homosexual acts performed by people believed to be heterosexuals were considered an abomination and immoral? People during those times, people had not idea about a same-sex orientation. In the end, you are doing nothing more than circling back to your argument from authority once again. You can believe anything you want, but every teaching of the magisterium is not the absolute moral truth with certainty where no teaching can be subject to development. I do not claim my argument to be the absolute moral truth with certainty, but legitimate reasons that certain teachings should be the subject of a rethinking by the magisterium. I predict that many teachings will be developed during the Synod on the Family, in particular a change in the application of moral norms in concrete circumstances. It seems clear, I hope, that the divorced and remarried will have access to the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharistic reception. I suspect other teachings will be developed as well. Tim, we are done here unless you have something new to offer.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 5 months ago
Thanks, Michael. Well said. I share your point of view.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
David, I sincerely appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
deleted
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, Here we go again. You are not addressing any of my specific points in argument but conflating irrelevant issues. If I have misunderstood your world view, then correct me, and deny what I have said about your viewpoint. I am not criticizing your worldview, but only explaining that your argument circles back to its root which is your position that every magisterium teaching is the absolute moral truth with certainty and no development is possible. Hence, what I have said (that you ignored) is the fact that this is one of the reasons that our discourses go around in circles. I never, ever said, that your viewpoint was irresponsible, foolish, wrong or anything similar. I respect your point of view, but not your style of argument. This is something you fail to see. I never said that scientific evidence is a "trump card". I brought it up for good reasons because human experience is one source of the truth, but not the sole determinant of the truth. Human experience is a factor in determining moral questions, but not the only factor. You need to educate yourself more fully about moral theology. When a magisterium teaching is claimed to be the absolute moral truth with certainty (and not subject to a development), and it is in profound tension with human experience, then this is an important consideration in determining the morality of voluntary human actions. You ignore these facts because you don't understand them. For example, you totally missed my point about your brining up the reclassification of pedophilia…go back and reread what I wrote…please! Your example of a homosexual person married to someone of the opposite sex before they found their "true calling" is and absurd argument, because it fails to recognize such an exception….meaning that before homosexual persons could publicly proclaim their true calling, any admittance to this orientation years ago was tantamount to be castrated from society as some type of freak, someone who was profoundly discriminated against in just about every aspect of life. To assert that a same-sex orientation is not their true calling but their true calling is a heterosexual orientation, is a statement without any legitimate substantiation. No prominent scientific organization had studied same-sex orientation and remotely concluded this so-called assertion of yours. I disagree and challenge the magisterium teaching about homosexuality. So do many, if not most, prominent theologians and most informed Catholics. You erroneous claim that I did not offer any legitimate alternatives in argument. Tim, all you see is what you want to see. This is often a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of my arguments and that is being kind. As to the divorced and remarried, I have given lengthly and reasoned debate on other blog articles where you were party to them. So, don't accuse me of not offering a deeply-thought-through argument. Your comments are disingenuous primarily because you choose to be blind or deliberately deflective to anyone's persuasive argument that disagrees with a magisterium teaching. Witness your condemnation of so many people on this blog because their comments are not in agreement with your viewpoint. You have the gall to compare them to the problem with Protestant Churches. Shame on you, Mr. O'Leary. I will pray for you. Lastly, read my ending comments more closely. I said, I am done here UNLESS you have something new to offer. When you do, I respond. That is not being inconsistent as you claim. I will let others who follow our arguments to decide for themselves the issue we have been discussing. Frankly, I am sick of your negative style of argument.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Michael – you ask “if I have misunderstood your world view.” But, you always do. You never seem to get it, no matter how many times you disparage my POV. My view, again, is that the Church Magisterium is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching doctrinal error. I didn’t invent this POV. It doesn’t rest on my credibility or my moral education. It is the long-established teaching of the Church. That does not mean that doctrine cannot develop. It just means that it cannot contradict previous definitive teaching. It doesn’t mean every nook and cranny of a teaching. But, to avoid your contraction to a minimalist sense, I mean the Catechism we have today is essentially free from doctrinal error. Not that secondary components might be adapted to different times (as, for example, the prudential statements regarding capital punishment). I disagree with your emerging truth idea, when it permits complete reversals as you would have with artificial contraception, or homosexual sex. There will never be a time when the Trinity becomes four, or the Eucharist just a symbol, etc. We do have one thing in common. I don't like your mode of arguing. I find it to be very counter-productive, frequently insulting (see above) and highly judgmental, particularly of Church leaders. The majority of your oft repeated posts are lists of perceived inconsistencies you see in the Church, only to come up with some novel idea that doesn’t really address the whole situation (such as your refusal to address all the letters in LGBT). You do not seem to understand that sexual activity in practice is more fluid that your hetero-homo dichotomy – completely contrary to the lived experience of so many people You only deny this because your new theory cannot deal with bisexuality, or transitions in individual preference. Experience is an important part of education. As is listening. Have a look at the work of Dr. Robert Spitzer of Columbia, presented at the 2012 American Psychiatric Association. He reported on 143 men and 57 women who say they changed their orientation from gay to straight, and concluded that 66 percent of the men and 44 percent of women reached what he called good heterosexual functioning. Of course, he was attacked and lampooned for bringing this information to a scientific meeting of “open-minded” scientists. I’m sure you will disqualify him. But, his subjects are real people too. And he was considered an eminent scientist before the meeting. You can also read about the personal lives of Anne Heche, Maria Bello, Cynthia Nixon, or Carren Strock (who in her book reports that 59 of 100 women polled who eventually came out later in life admitted that at the time of their marriage, they had no clue they were gay). Or, this from Slate: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/06/26/most_gay_couples_aren_t_monogamous_will_straight_couples_go_monogamish.html ) And, I am not even talking about bisexuals. None of your theories can withstand such scrutiny. While it is not terrible for a blogger to have half-baked theories, the Church cannot teach that way. The Holy Spirit cannot lead that way. My comparison with the Protestant Churches is that they too took a piecemeal approach to dealing with various moral issues, and just drifted from one non-solution to the next, under pressure from "forward-thinking" laypeople and trendy clergy - from 1930 Lambeth on contraception for hardship married cases to handing out condoms at school, from abortion for life-threatening situations to a blessed choice, from very hard-to-get divorce to no-fault divorce, from civil unions to gay marriage. It strains credulity to say your personal moral doctrinal journey was so different.
Vince Killoran
5 years 5 months ago
"[T]he Church Magisterium is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching doctrinal error": Except that has been in error (e.g., slavery, Galileo). As for Dr. Spizer, the APA meeting was in 2001, not 2012. In 2012 he apologized for his "gay cure" study (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/19/health/dr-robert-l-spitzer-noted-psychiatrist-apologizes-for-study-on-gay-cure.html?pagewanted=all).
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Hi Vince - thanks for the correction in the year. The NYT article is revealing - An eminent scientist in the field of homosexual studies, does what he believes to be honest research, comes up with data that goes against the politically powerful orthodoxy. He dares to present his heterodox findings. His career takes a nosedive. Years later, suffering form Parkinson's and his legacy forever marked by his challenge to orthodoxy - he offers an apology. Kind of like the Galileo story. As to your first point, I know of no Magisterial teaching promulgated regarding the Galileo case.
Vince Killoran
5 years 5 months ago
Did you actually read the NYT article? Spizer was retired and quite comfortable financially in 2012--his career didn't take a "nosedive." The NYT article is clear that Spizer admitted his work was deeply flawed but that he convinced an editor friend to have a journal publish it without peer review. If you have evidence that he was coerced in some way please present it. Re. Galileo: some dodgy websites churn out gaudy mumbo-jumbo to evade the bare facts, i.e., in 1616 Galileo's scientific views were condemned by a special commission of theologians at Rome, presided over by Cardinal Bellarmine (representing the Papal magisterium). He was forbidden to "hold, teach or defend his opinion in any way, either verbally or in writing." In 1633 he was again summoned to an ecclesiastical court. He was found guilty as "suspected of heresy." He was made to kneel down and abjure his opinion. Until his death in 1642 he was kept under house arrest.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Vince, Great points. See my comments to Tom Jones above about slavery.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Vince - I know all about Galileo, and it is very frequently brought up on this blog. Rather than go into this again, here is a link http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0005.html. But, none of your description above suggests a doctrinal teaching from the Magisterium. Popes make mistakes, but the Holy Spirit protects the Church from falling into doctrinal error, not from sinning or bad governance. On Spitzer, a former hero of the gay lobby for his work to change the DSM, I see that the last academic award he received was in 2000 (the Thomas William Salmon Medal). Here is a link to one of his subjects in the initial work. http://www.peoplecanchange.com/stories/jason.php. Also, from Wiki re a 2005 interview, Spitzer stated that "[m]any colleagues were outraged" following the publication of the study. Spitzer added that "[w]ithin the gay community, there was initially tremendous anger and feeling that I had betrayed them." When asked whether he would consider a follow-up study, Spitzer said no, and added that he felt "a little battle fatigue." I doubt anyone who cares for their academic career will attempt to repeat the study. The "Science is settled", and all that.
Tom Jones
5 years 5 months ago
@Vince: I have always understood that doctrine develops but does not contradict. Question... I often hear this doctrinal vs Galileo statement, exactly what doctrinal contradiction occurred here? I have read heavily on that specific topic, so this vague statement peaked my interest.... As for Church on slavery, a vastly more complex topic than Galileo, I am less read. My understanding is this that slavery had many connotations throughout history and varied from culture to culture. Question: At what point did doctrine change/contradict on slavery?
Vince Killoran
5 years 5 months ago
The short answer to this Tom is, the late nineteenth century. There was a thread on AMERICA a year or two ago about this that provides more detailed information.
Brett Swearingen
5 years 5 months ago
On the magisterium and slavery: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Brett, The Church was far from consistent on the teaching about slavery. Hence, slavery was never consistently prohibited and the few popes that spoke against it were referring to unjust slavery. I refer you to two outstanding books on the subject of slavery and the Catholic Church: 1. "Slavery and the Catholic Church" by John Francis Maxwell, and 2. Chapter Five "Reflections on Slavery" in Change in Official Catholic Moral Teachings, Edited by Charles Curran. For the record: 362 AD: The local Council at Gangra excommunicates anyone encouraging a slave to despise his master or withdraws from his service. This became part of Church La from the 13th century. 354-440 AD: St. Augustine teaches that the institution of slavery derives from God and is beneficial to slaves and masters. This was quoted by many later popes as proof of "Tradition". 650 AD: Pope Martin I condemns people who teach slaves about freedom or encourage them to escape. 1179 AD: TheThird Lateran Council imposed slavery on those helping the Saracens. 1226 AD: The legitimacy of slavery is incorporated in the Corpus Iuris Canonici, promulgated by Pope Gregory IX which remained official law of the Church until 1913. Canon lawyers worked out four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery from a crime, persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling a child, children of a mother who is a slave. 1435 AD: Pope Eugenius IV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of natives in the Canary Islands, but does not condemn slavery per se. 1493 AD: Pope Alexander VI authorizes the King of Spain to enslave non-Christians of the Americas who are at war with Christian powers. 1537 AD: Pope Paul III condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America. 1548 AD: This same Pope Paul III confirms the right of clergy and laity to own slaves. 1741 AD: Pope Benedict XIV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians of natives in Brazil, but does not denounce slavery as such, nor the importation of slaves from Africa. 1866 AD: The Holy Office in an instruction signed by Pope Pius IX declares: Slavery itself, considered as such in it essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be severe just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons. It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given.
Vince Killoran
5 years 5 months ago
Save your energy Michael. I know that you are correct about this but you will get no traction with Tim et al. For them it is paramount that the Church teachings are unchanging. For them, it's tautological. All the scholarship and facts in the world, not to mention solid development of argument, will never trump this stance since it is fundamental to their understanding of the Church.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
You're right, Vince - Michael should put his energy to better use, God Bless him (and you, too). And he always leaves out the counter-examples, like Gregory of Nyssa (the 1st abolitionist" d. 394 AD) and Bartolomé de las Casas (d. 1566). It is not that Church teachings are unchanging, in terms of development of doctrine. It is that the Holy Spirit protects the Magisterium from doctrinal error, even as the Church faces ever new challenges to the Gospel. But, what is the alternative to a belief in a Church that teaches the truth. Has Christ left us orphans without any protection from drifting into error, or caving to whatever fashion of philosophy or the culture would have it? The Protestant denominations thought they could do away with the Magisterial teaching. Ironically, this became their Achilles' heel. Their alternatives were to bind themselves to the written word, or to decide truth on scholarship, or on clerical consensus or majority vote. But the book hasn't stopped them diverging. And majority vote or a sensus fidelium (as understood as a vox populi) hasn't stopped their many many divisions and denominations. And their scholars have come up with risible theories that embarrass their congregations. The one sure thing is that the loss of the Magisterial protection loses the connection to the fullness of the Truth. Nothing else can even in theory work. And, you and Michael and others have never come up with a counter method of protecting the Truth. But, I suppose that is not your current preoccupation, is it?
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, What you fail to recognize is that Jesus never said that the magisterium was protected from all error. He was referring to his Church, and no matter how many people argue with you that the Church is the pope, clergy, theologians and laity, as a group, you will never admit it. As to your assertion that the Holly Spirit protects the magisterium from all moral error is a weak and highly controversial argument. No one truly knows with certainty how "precisely" the Holy Spirit works in the life of the Church. According to your philosophy, the magisterium has never erred, never has changed any teachings, and that every teaching is the absolute moral truth with certainty. Most Catholics disagree. The Holy Spirit leads us to the truth in agreement and disagreement, when all voices are respectfully and intellectually dialoguing and debating. A teaching that is not received is a teaching that does not possess any power to change behavior. A teaching that is not received is a dead letter. The Church exists because people receive teachings. Make no mistake about what I am saying. I am only arguing about "certain" moral teachings not the fundamental tenants of our faith or every moral teaching. When the overwhelming majority of all Catholics do not receive a teaching then either the teaching must be developed or reformed or the Church must find a convincing moral theory in support of its teachings. Until this happens we will be living in a divided Church and in a crisis in truth forever. The recent worldwide survey of Catholics by Univision demonstrates the profound disagreement of the laity over certain moral teachings. Many surveys of priests also demonstrate such significant disagreement over certain moral teachings. To argue that the Church can only profess the truth and that everyone that disagrees with certain teachings are invincibly ignorant, or misguided by a secular evil culture that prevents them from recognizing, understanding and living the truth, is a failure to listen to the majority who represent the Church and to deny that the Holy Spirit might be telling us something. Make no mistake about what I am saying, once again. I am not saying that survey polls should be the determining factor in doctrine formation or reform. I am saying that human experience, reason and new contributory scholarship are sources of truth, but not the only sources. However, the truth is not the magisterium with moral certainty when it refuses to keep an open mind because of an exaggerated fear of change, especially when confronted with inconsistency, contradiction and strong moral arguments that justify a rethinking of certain teachings. The world is not black and white Tim. Catholics can be faithful and disagree for good reasons. The Church is protected from error, but not a particular individual or selected group when they do not allow all the voices that make up Church to be heard and have relevance. Your preoccupation is a self-appointed extreme apologist. You can hold forever to your point of view, but you cannot claim your point of view is the absolute moral truth with certainty. On the other hand, I do not claim to stand on the morally higher ground as you do. I admit to not seeing the fullness of truth, but only a partial view of it. The magisterium does not see the fullness of truth with respect to every moral teaching. I am open to further education and new scholarship while I strive to love God and neighbor. You see the Church and Catholics as black and white, faithful or unfaithful, enlightened or misguided. I do not. Perhaps this is necessary.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Back to determining Truth by majority vote, vox populi etc. I disagree for good reasons.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Michael - we may have different ideas of what constitutes the promise of Jesus re error, but at least we agree that the Church is protected.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Vince, Thanks for your comments. Tim wants us to follow his philosophy which is by analogy: when the magisterium says jump, we must all ask which way on the way up. My wife thinks I am crazy for debating with Tim. However, I am called to move the conversation forward toward a better understanding of truth, even if such debates are like spending some time in purgatory. Perhaps this is a good thing. LOL.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Your wife is right - you are crazy, in a kind of way. But, I guess you are following your frequent desire to advance in disagreement.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Vince, I think the most compelling fact on the issue of slavery is the 1866 proclamation of Pius IX and his Holy Office that declared slavery was not in contradiction to the natural or divine law. What else can be more definitive?
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tom, Another blog had lengthly commentaries on the teachings and arguments about slavery. Many popes permitted it. Other popes condemned "unjust slavery", not slavery per se. In fact, as early as 1866, Pope Pius IX and the Holy Office issued a proclamation that slavery was not in contradiction with the natural or divine law. It was only, starting with Leo XIII, in 1890-1891, that all forms of slavery were declared immoral. Some argue that slavery was not declared immoral in all its forms until the 20th century. In any case, there is a long history about slavery that was taught for centuries as truth. The change in such teachings were not a "development' because for centuries it was taught that slavery was morally permitted, then only certain forms of slavery were permitted (just slavery), then all forms of slavery were immoral, then slavery was finally declared to be "intrinsically evil". A "development" is something that cannot contradict a previous teaching. In this case, the change in the teaching about slavery was a "reform" of the teaching, not a development.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Again, the Church teaching on slavery has not been a doctrinal reversal like the one being prorosed for homosexual sex. But, even with slavery the history is different than is being supposed. For an excellent quick read from a non-Christian historian, Rodney Stark’s 2003 article in the Protestant Christianity Today is excellent, and replete with the multiple calls for emancipation and excommunication for the recalcitrant before 1866 (including Popes Eugene IV (1435), Paul III (1537), The Inquisition (1686), Gregory XVI (1839). Stark leads with “Some Catholic writers claim that it was not until 1890 that the Roman Catholic Church repudiated slavery. A British priest has charged that this did not occur until 1965. Nonsense!” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/julyweb-only/7-14-53.0.html. Stark discusses St. Thomas Aquinas’s teaching against slavery and that of many popes. The problem was that Catholic laity did not adhere to the teaching and that an historical bias in Protestant (now secular) circles continues into this century. According to Stark: “The problem wasn't that the leadership was silent. It was that almost nobody listened.” Plus ça change...
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, We have debated this issue to death and I have given you many references and statements/encyclicals from various popes who permitted slavery. I agree that some apologist disagree with the majority on this issue, but the facts are clear for those with an open mind and who read both sides of this argument. Below are some of these facts: The following information is from Thomas Bokenkotter's A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: + "As recently as June 20, 1866, the Holy Office had upheld the slave trade as moral. The justification was based both on philosophy (natural law) and on revelation (divine law). Various quotations from Scripture were cited in support of this position...The Fathers of the Church and local church councils, laws, Popes, and theologians were cited in the attempt to show that the approval of slavery was part of an unbroken, universal tradition" (pp. 487-488). + "The statement signed by Pope Pius IX declared that 'it is not contrary to the natural or divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged, or given, provided in the sale, purchase, exchange or gift, the due conditions are strictly observed which the approved authors describe and explain'" (f.n. 22, p. 488). From Noonan, we learn the following: + Nicholas V granted the king of Portugal in 1452 the right, inter alia, "to make war on Saracens, pagans, and infidels; to occupy their dominions; and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery." In 1455, Nicholas V "issued the bull 'Romanus pontifex' confirming the first bull..." (p. 62). + Popes Calixtus III (1456), Sixtus IV (1481), Leo X (1514), and Alexander VI (1493) issued bulls in the same vein as noted above (p. 65). The bulls issued from 1452 to 1514 "show that slaving was an enterprise requiring no special scrutiny. Nicholas V and his successors approved the enslavement of whole peoples...without setting conditions on the right to enslave" (pp. 66-67). + In 1434, Prince Henry the Navigator and his men pillaged two Canary islands populated by Christians, who complained to Pope Eugene IV. In his 'Creator omnium', Eugene IV "forbade the enslavement of Christian natives...but in the bull 'Romanus pontifex' of 1436 [he] granted to Portugal the exclusive right of conquest over such of the Canaries as were populated by infidels..." (p. 243). + Pius V received "558 [Muslim] slaves after the naval victory of Lepanto" in 1571. "Galley slaves [were] obtained from the knights of Malta by Urban VIII in 1629 and by Innocent X in 1645" (p. 78). + "In 'Sublimis Deus', Paul III denounced the enslavement of Indians. He did not denounce enslavement at home [i.e., "the papal states"]. In 1548,...he declared that, 'from a multitude of slaves, inheritances are augmented, agriculture better cultivated, and cities increased.'...[T]he pope decreed that slaves fleeing to the Capitol and there, according to custom claiming freedom, were not freed and were 'to be returned to their masters in slavery and, if it is seen appropriate, punished as fugitives.' The decree, the pope added, included those slaves who had become Christians after their enslavement and slaves born to Christian slaves" (p. 79). + "The catechism based on the decrees of the Council of Trent dealt with slaves under the commandment against theft [as well as] the commandment against coveting a neighbor's goods" (p. 79). + "By mid-eighteenth century, the moral issues arising from slavery aroused even less attention among those [casuists] working in the main tradition" (p. 85). + "In 1814, two Irish Dominicans [informed Archbishop Carroll of Baltimore] that the [Jesuit and Sulpician] clerical slaveholders of Maryland were 'stumbling blocks in the way of their Quaker brethren [and others who had started to limit slavery].' The Dominicans carried their complaint to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, then in charge of affairs in the United States. The congregation did nothing" (p. 92). + "Slavery continued to exist in the Papal States into the early nineteenth century. From 1600 to 1800 a total of two-thousand slaves, almost all Moslem, manned the galleys of the pope's navy. As late as 1800-1807 in the troubled papacy of...Pius VII, four privately owned slaves and eleven slaves of the state were registered in Rome at the Casa dei Catecumi" (p. 102). + "As early as 1814,...the British...had pressed...the pope's secretary of state, to obtain a papal prohibition of the international slave trade. Pius VII responded by writing personally to the monarchs of France, Portugal, and Spain deploring the trade, but published nothing...In 1822, [the British again asked Rome to prohibit slave trading]. The report back [from the Vatican] was not favorable. True, there was suffering caused by the trade, but abolition was a notion of the antireligious philosophers of the eighteenth century. The most competent theologians and canonists held slavery to be not contrary to natural law and to be approved in principle by the Old Testament. A papal prohibition would please the British, who oppressed Catholics, and it would compromise the colonial interests of France, Portugal, and Spain. Pius VII did nothing" (pp. 103-104). + In December 1839, Gregory XVI issued his 'In supremo Apostolatus fastigio', "opening words calling attention to the pope's authority rather than to the subject [slavery] under scrutiny. Published in Rome as a pamphlet, the document was given a title that tried gamely to find a Latin equivalent of the standard European term for the international traffic out of Africa, 'the trade'...The pope wrote to unspecified addressees to dissuade the faithful 'from the inhuman trade in Blacks or any other kind of men.'...The pope mentioned measures of [previous popes]...Gregory XVI strictly prohibited it and ordered the prohibition to be posted in Rome...['In supremo'] referred to papal actions without acknowledging their limited scope. The prohibition, when it was announced, was not anchored in natural law or in the Gospel. A theologically literate reader would see that with these remarkable omissions there are what a modern observer accurately notes as 'ambiguities and silences'. The pope stigmatized the trade as 'inhuman' without developing an argument" (p. 107). + Bishop John England of Charleston, SC "indignantly noted that the pope had in view only the international trade; he quoted Gregory XVI himself as telling him in person in Rome that the Southern states 'have not engaged in the negro traffic.' Bishop England [asserted] that the Catholic Church had always accepted domestic slavery; it was 'not incompatible with the natural law'; and, when title to a slave was justly acquired, it was lawful 'in the eye of Heaven'" (p. 108). + "In 1843, in his treatise on moral theology, Francis P. Kenrick defended the institution of slavery in the United States, going so far as to argue that any defect in title to slaves in this country was cured by prescription: the passage of time made it too late to challenge the owner's assertion of ownership...His 'Theologia moralis', written in Latin and evidently designed to educate seminarians, was the first textbook on Catholic moral theology produced in the United States; he was bishop of Philadelphia when it appeared...[He became archbishop of Baltimore in 1851], and he presided as apostolic delegate at the First Plenary Council of the bishops of the United States in 1852. His views were those of his colleagues and of the Roman authorities. The trade out of Africa was one thing; slavery as an institution was quite another" (pp. 108-109). + "Gregory XVI's letter had no obvious impact on the two nominally Catholic countries engaged in the slave trade, Portugal and Brazil, nor on seminary teaching in France." "It was [eventually] British resolution and sea power that brought a stop to the business [of slave trading]" (p. 109). + "As early as 1878 [the archbishop of Algiers] had addressed to Rome a memoranda on [the slave trade], calling for 'a great crusade of faith and humanity, which would reclaim honor for the Church' and 'crown the immortal papacy of Pius IX.' Rome made no response" (pp. 111-112). See also my comment to Brett Swearingen. Tim....shall I go on?
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
Then, how could a historian like Rodney Stark get it so wrong? Maybe, there is some bias in your list? You really like to use volume, right after saying you have "debated this to death." Notice how many of these quotes are interpretations of events rather than teachings. But, you and your sources are being very selective, and context is everything in such a complex subject as slavery, in all its types (chattel, criminal, indenture, serfdom, etc.). For example, to take a later one ""Gregory XVI's letter had no obvious impact on the two nominally Catholic countries engaged in the slave trade, Portugal and Brazil, nor on seminary teaching in France." "It was [eventually] British resolution and sea power that brought a stop to the business [of slave trading]" (p. 109)." Sounds like an opinion on the failure to convince an obstinate laity rather than anything about a teaching. Several quotes above are like that. I know your mind is closed on this subject, but for those who would like to hear what the popes did and said, here is a link http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83832. It recounts the anti-slavery promulgations of popes like Eugene IV (Sicut Dudum, 1435), Paul III (Sublimis Deus, 1537) & Gregory XVI (In Supremo, 1839) and Pius IX. Even the Inquisition demanded the slaverholders release their slaves in 1686!. Where was your sensus fidelium then? Not listening to the pope, obviously. Here is Cardinal Dulles on the difference between development and reversal regarding the slavery issue. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal. Another form of slavery we should be aware of is being enslaved to one's sexual passions. The Truth will set you free. And Love too - as Jesus said John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, If there is anyone whose mind is closed to this issue, it is your mind. You criticize my long comments of facts and ignore the overwhelming evidence about the teachings on slavery. Even if some popes spoke out against slavery, many issued papal bulls morally permitted it. I have read apologist arguments. What I find is that they don't address the many popes that morally permitted slavery. All they argue about is that some spoke out against it. The history of this teaching is blatantly clear for anyone with an open mind. The magisterium has changed its teachings on slavery but you will not concede this point, or the fact that the magisterium has changed other teachings on the issues of usury, the freedom of religion, the torture of heretics, etc. If you truly think you are right, then explain to us all how the many popes that issued proclamations, papal bulls, and in the case of Pius IX's Holy Office issued a definitive statement that slavery was not against the natural or divine law, was not teachings that supported slavery. See my comment to Brett Swearingen for a short list. Slavery was once morally permitted, then only certain forms of slavery were morally permitted (e.g., just slavery), then some popes said slavery was forbidden, then others issued bulls and teachings that morally permitted slavery, then Leo XIII condemned all forms of slavery, then JP II finally said the slavery was "intrinsically evil". I already provided two excellent books for reference that support my arguments. Are we going to list all books and articles, pro and con?
Tim O'Leary
5 years 5 months ago
I guess the fact that there are books arguing in both directions means that the issue is disputed. It probably comes down to definitions of slavery. I suppose you would be fine if Pope Pius meant his statement for servitude rather than slavery and if he added a call for abolition of slavery. As to papal teaching, it would also be pertinent to know if this statement was in an encyclical or ever made it into a catechism. Neither of us would agree that every statement by a pope was Magisterial teaching. The interviews of Pope Francis, for example, would probably not qualify. And Pope Benedict XVI even excluded his Jesus trilogy from Magisterial teaching. I think we could agree that what is in the Catechism (CCC) is official teaching from the present-day Magisterium.
Michael Barberi
5 years 5 months ago
Tim, I have read articles and chapters in books defending the Church's position on slavery. I have also read books and article that disagree with the Church's assertion that it has never changed its teachings on slavery, teachings taught as truth. The facts as I discern them are that slavey was once morally permitted in ancient times and some popes supported it. Then some popes morally permitted certain forms of slavery (called just slavery). One pope even said that it was morally permitted to subject certain people to slavey in "perpetuity". Then in 1866, Pius IX and the Holy See said that slavery was not contrary to the natural and divine law. Did it really matter if Pius XII was talking about all forms of slavery or a certain form of it in Africa (which is disputed)? Then starting in 1890-1891, Pope Leo XII condemned all forms of slavery (even though some argue about this). Then JP II declared slavery to be intrinsically evil. This means that no circumstances, ends or intentions can justify slavery in any form….it is morally evil. Now, we can argue about just and unjust slavery, but the Church/magisterium has changed this teaching, a teaching that was taught as truth. If popes (Leo XII and JP II) have condemned all forms of slavery, and some pervious popes or councils morally permitted some forms of slavery (e.g., just slavery), then the change in the teaching is not a development but a reform of the teaching. A development of a teaching is something that does not contradict previous teachings, taught as truth. You cannot now claim that all forms of slavery are forbidden and immoral, while in the past some forms of slavery were morally permitted and say that the change was either a development or no change at all. Such a conclusion defies both fact and reason. Additionally, to argue about or nuance the definition of slavery in an attempt to demonstrate that the teachings on slavery "never' changed is not compelling, not convincing, and far from reasonable. It does not square with the facts. What is most disheartening is that some articles and books on slavery slant the truth, perhaps unintentionally. Many of these writings don't give a honest, comprehensive and unbiased explanation of the facts. This may be true of both the pro and con books. Therefore, one is left with judging what is written. I realize you disagree that the Church never changed it teachings on slavery, usury, the freedom of religion and the torture of heretics, et al. However, this does not mean that my judgment is wrong (or anyone's else's) who believes that the Church/magisterium has changed many of its teachings, taught as truth. We do agree that the CCC is a reflection of the Church's official teachings. However, this has nothing to do with the fact that many Catholics disagree with certain teachings for good reasons. I disagree after much education, prayer, sacrament and spiritual advice which is on-going. Nor do I claim my judgments or arguments are infallible. I try to be open to new ideas and the spirit of God who guides us all.

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