Friday, April 4, 2014


MY COMMENTS FIRST: Since I wasn't at the talk or the meeting after the talk this past Wednesday, we can only rely upon news reports. It seems that the meeting on Wednesday was ugly, hateful and anything but Catholic--or maybe this reality is the new Catholicism of the modern era? At any rate, what a sad state of affairs when a Catholic sister teaches what the Church teaches and uses statistics that prove to upset some who were in attendance. It does go against the current philosophy of most educational institutions today, even Catholic, that children and adults must be praised no matter what, given awards even if they don't deserve them and be recognized even if their work is unworthy of recognition. Just go to any Catholic school's end of the year awards program and see who doesn't get something.

Where did this come from? And how will the narcissists we are producing function in the real world?

 On the Culture

What the Charlotte controversy reveals about the acceptance of Catholic teaching

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - send a comment) | April 03, 2014 2:01 PM
 News coverage is now available for the resolution of complaints about Sister Jane Dominic Laurel’s controversial presentation at a Catholic high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Nashville Dominican sister spoke at a school assembly about Church teaching on marriage, divorce, homosexuality and gay marriage, and on the impact the disregard of Catholic teaching and the natural has on children growing up in broken our unnatural home environments.

Complaints were numerous enough that a special meeting was called to discuss the matter, and diocesan officials decided to apologize for two things: First, that the school had not notified parents of the assembly and its sensitive contents; and second, that Sister Jane Dominic would have been better advised to leave out the data she used on the last portion of her talk, data which shows the deleterious effects on children of aberrant marital arrangements, because the value of that data is debated.

This resolution meets the minimum standard I proposed in my original discussion of this incident, “that any appropriate apology or correction will be accompanied by a clear reaffirmation of the reality of Divine Revelation and the certainty of Catholic teaching on these important subjects.” The apologies made do affirm Church teaching, in that it is specifically stated that the presentation did conform to Catholic doctrine. Problems are acknowledged only in the handling of certain data.

I have no objection to the statement that parents should have been forewarned (even though this may also have been met with a negative reaction). But the second apology is weak for two reasons. The first reason is the one I gave in my original discussion:
[I]t is imperative that nothing be allowed to detract from what ought to become an even more spectacular teaching moment. Therefore, it would be even better to avoid distracting side issues altogether. This means extending the benefit of any doubt to Sr. Jane Dominic, such that the correctness of her presentation of the Church’s infallible teaching is reaffirmed and defended without a single caveat.
The second reason is that the data on the impact of aberrant marital situations on children is overwhelming in showing that these children are far more likely to suffer emotional instability, uncontrolled anger, severe insecurity, and affective disorders throughout their lives. This or that piece of data may be debated, but the only people who contest the massive weight of the data as a whole are those who are championing an artificial vision of reality opposed to the natural law. Lending credibility to this sort of “debate”, which is absolutely unavoidable no matter what sociological studies prove, is one of those distractions which should not have been admitted. I fear that the second apology as phrased by the diocese’s vicar for education gives away too much in an effort to placate those who loudly objected to the talk, though the chaplain who arranged the assembly, Fr. Matthew Kauth, issued a better and more explanatory statement.

As far as I have been able to determine from the limited correspondence I received from some of those who objected to Sr. Jane Dominic’s presentation, the tactic chosen for the formal complaint was to insist that nobody was questioning Church teaching. Rather, the formal complaint was against the presentation of the alleged familial consequences of ignoring Church teaching. Such practical data was referred to in a variety of ways, such as “scare tactics” and “hateful”. Thus, for example, the presentation was deemed hurtful to single parents struggling to raise children under difficult circumstances; and also hurtful in that it indicated that gays could not, in actual practice, be fit parents. In this sense, the objection gave the Catholic officials a way out, and they took it.

A Much Deeper Problem

But it is just here that we recognize a more subtle but also much deeper problem. If you read the news report, you will see that tempers were very high over this problem of “data”, and that those who thought the whole presentation was just fine were shouted down. What this means is that there were many people professing to accept Church teaching (or at least choosing not to object to its presentation in a Catholic school) who nonetheless became extremely upset because the actual demonstrable practical consequences of living in opposition to Church teaching were enumerated.

We have slipped here into a pattern all too common in Catholic life today: The idea that the Church may teach something (yeah, yeah) but it really doesn’t matter. People can do what they deem best, and their way for them will be as good as anything. This attitude is false, and Sister Jane Dominic committed the cardinal sin of demonstrating its falsity. In point of fact, “their way for them” will not be as good as anything. It will not only be spiritually deadening, but also have disastrous concrete, practical consequences, including negative impacts on others which are statistically measurable.

The acceptance of Church teaching must go beyond theoretical assent to a lived commitment, and that lived commitment includes an awareness of the many deeply unfortunate consequences of living in denial of the realities which Church teachings (and the natural law) describe.

It is for this reason that parents who are raising children in the aftermath of divorce, spousal death, or abandonment face such a difficult challenge. Insofar as they bear responsibility for the broken family, this is seriously sinful. Insofar as they do not, it is a heavy cross. They need to know that it will take a life of prayer, heroic virtue and grace to prevent the consequences from injuring their children. They also need to know that with God all things are possible. But the last thing they need is to believe it is no big deal.

The same realities apply to children raised by gay “parents”. It is true that some gay “parents” can be better at some aspects of parenting—for example, ensuring physical safety or helping with math homework—than parents in families founded on true marriage. It is also true that not all gay “parents” will deliberately abuse their children, whereas some real parents will in fact do so. But all of this is beside the point. It is actually intrinsically abusive to place a child in a home to be raised by gay “parents”, or to permit gay “parents” to manufacture children for themselves under any circumstances. In addition to being a deliberate violation of a child’s natural right to be raised by a mother and a father, at the very least gay “parenting” is deeply abusive in terms of the normal affective development of the child.

We cannot “play house” without dire consequences. There is a natural order to things which, when we fail to perceive it in nature, is made clear to us through Revelation and Catholic doctrine. The consequences of evading and denying that order are both naturally and supernaturally grave. Refusing to admit the consequences is a cultural accommodation and a self-deception that actually rises to the level of practical dissent. An authentic recognition and response to reality is an important part of what it means to accept the teachings of the Church.


Gene said...

In the culture wars, if you are apologizing, you are losing.

rcg said...

Both apologies were disastrous.

Pater Ignotus said...

In the culture wars, if you are wrong, you apologize. Thus, everyone wins.

JBS said...

I would like to see statistics detailing just how many souls we expect to win for Christ by treating contraceptors, abortionists, divorcionists, homosexualists, fascists and communists with such gentle expressions of sorrow for our occasional attempts to lift our heads from the sand and promote Catholic morality.

Anonymous said...

In my desperate quest to find an American diocese worth moving to, Charlotte just fell off my list.

Anon friend said...

Anon 9:42,
Do not let Charlotte fall off your list. Look up St. Anne's website and you will see absolute orthodoxy! Our daughter and her family love that parish. Fr. Reid there was the forts to come to Sr. Jane Dominic's defense and the Bishop was right there with him. St. Anne's has an EF Latin Mass every Wed. evening and 12:30. I would give a lot to live there, but we are too old for the move.

Henry said...

Pater Ignotus said...
"In the culture wars, if you are wrong, you apologize. Thus, everyone wins."

Perhaps one who is wrong in any situation should apologize. Nothing new about this.

The difference in contemporary culture wars is that you are expected to apologize even (and especially) if you are right.

Thus, in this case, an an apology was demanded, even though there Sister was correct in her statements of Catholic belief and practice (notwithstanding any disagreement about statistics, etc).

Anonymous said...

Such a sad state of affairs when the Charlotte Diocese has now made a great speaker of Our faith for truth and transparency take a "sabbatical"

Really? Thanks a lot!!


Our Church is under extreme attach but us Catholics seem to just let the Devil win!! When is the madness going to stop!

Pater Ignotus said...

Henry - I don't think anyone expects anyone else to apologize for being right. The problem with this case is we don't know what Sister Jane said, Nor do we know what the parents objected to.

If she said that masturbation makes a little boy gay, or if she said that single parents can't raise children well (my mother was a single parent to me from the time I was four), then the parents had every right to disagree.

Those are not doctrinal statements and should not have been part of a presentation on Catholic teaching.

Len Fischer said...

If we Catholics allow our gutless local Churches to continue to function like this, we will be apologizing.

On Judgment Day we will be apologizing to Sodom and Gomorrah.

rcg said...

PI, you really should never again blast Gene for being provocative. How on earth could imply that the nun supporting Catholic doctrine was a mistake? On this topic we miss a lot of obvious problem indicators: what sort of well person wants to be identified by his favourite sexual practice? While the problem falls far short of needing oppression, it cannot be called a simple alternative without ignoring the sickness that supports the choice.

Anon friend said...

Oh, Pater, how poorly you thought/wrought that 4:45 post! Total conjecture on your part. And yet some poor souls might see it as truth and hate that Sister for those things you fabricated coming from her mouth. Shame! How do you hope to have ANY credibility on this or any blog with a post like that one?
But I do thank you for sharing about your family explains a lot... Yes, I have known a few single mothers (interestingly, particularly the Catholic ones) to do an admirable job raising their kids. Very, very hard job and the kids are always affected by the lack of strong father figures, sometimes in hidden ways.

George said...

"If she said that masturbation makes a little boy gay"

Pater, I can't believe that you can conceive in your mind and take seriously that sister would say something like this. We are talking here of a consecrated orthodox Catholic religious, not a member of Westboro Baptist.

George said...

A good commentary to read:

Anonymous 2 said...

I also do not know exactly what Sister said but would certainly like to know. In the absence of such knowledge it is impossible to reach a fair judgment about the situation.

When statistics and data are adduced, great care must be taken not to present a one sided account. Doing so does no one any favors in the long run because the position supported by such one sided data loses credibility. I am not suggesting necessarily that Sister did that, of course. As I said, I do not know. But it seems to me that the author of this piece is insufficiently alert to this risk. The fact that a significant number of parents found the data acceptable (or unacceptable) changes nothing. Even recognizing that it is perhaps impossible to overcome bias completely, I have to believe that truth (or as close to truth as we can approximate) is not determined by majority vote.

In this era of media tribalism and “spin,” it is all the more important that the Catholic Church stand above all this and that we stand up for truth in all its forms, including empirical truth insofar as it is ascertainable.

Pater Ignotus said...

What statistics did Sister use to support her assertions?

George said...

What statistics did sister use?

Maybe we could invite her to speak at St Joseph' or Mt DeSales. Then we would know.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Friend and George:

You seem to be assuming that Pater made this up himself. He did not. I have read some news media accounts of what Sister is alleged to have said. I have also read some of the comments of those signing the petition by the complainant and some of the comments of those signing the counter petition supporting Sister Jane. There was an allegation that she said those things. Of course, that does not mean she did. Thus, there was a counter allegation that her words were misquoted and distorted.

We can certainly give Sister the benefit of the doubt as to the meaning she intended by the words she spoke. But sometimes the meaning understood by someone in the audience is different. And again, context is all important. So we would need to know more. Being able to see a recording of her talk would help but I doubt that one was made.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon friend - If the absence of a strong father figure in a home leads to a child being gay or lesbian, how do you explain gay or lesbian children in a home where there IS a strong father figure?

rcg, Anon friend, George - I did not originate, let alone "fabricate," the masturbation or single parent ideas. They come from published reports of the presentation. Read a little more widely.

Unfortunately, it does happen that, in their efforts to defend Catholic doctrine, people go too far.

Some, who truly love the liturgy, have argued here that Quo Primum precludes ANY changes in the liturgy. It does not.

Some, who believe God created everything, have argued that Huamni Generis forbids belief in Darwinian evolution and/or polygenism. It does not.

Some, who believe the Church's teaching on the Real Presence, have argued here that a Catholic must believe that, as a part of our belief, angels carry the sacrifice of the altar to God in heaven.

Even good theologians err from time to time, especially when, in their enthusiasm, they overstep what the Church actually teaches and believes and present material that simply isn't part of our doctrine.

Good Father - Have you come up with those statistics you say Sr. Jane used in her presentation?

Anon friend said...

Pater, I did not say HOW children lacking a strong father figure are affected, just that they are affected for a lifetime in many ways. You put words in MY mouth this time. You need to stop doing that.
Since you asked: On the flip side of the coin, in the 80s one of our closest family friends announced while he was in his Neurosurgery residency, that he was divorcing his wife to live as a gay. He had a VERY strong father figure as a child--a military dad who was a strong presence in the home, but emotionally distant; Mom was very close emotionally. In this case, "strong" was the culprit. Our friend died of AIDS six years after finishing his residency. Such a waste...

Anon friend said...

Anonynous 2,
I HAVE "read the news media accounts". But, unlike you and Pater, we have a daughter in Charlotte, whose friend's child attended the now-famous lecture in question. He says Pater's allegations are false. You need to authenticate your "facts".

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon friend - So, your information is via your daughter's-friend's-child. Maybe you find that authoritative - I do not.

No, you did not say HOW a strong father figure influences a child, but since the entire discussion here is about Sr. Jane's comments on homosexuality, it was entirely reasonable for me to read your comment in that way.

If that wasn't your intent, why mention the old "absence of a strong father figure" theory at all in the course of this particular discussion?

Anon friend said...

The "child" (perhaps wrong term--teenager)) was there and you were not, Pater. Daughter is serious MBA wife of a surgeon and not given to story-telling. She only told me because I knew she has friends who use Charlotte Catholic High School.
None of us were there, and none of us should be commenting--mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. It is Lent & I have bigger fish to fry, figuratively and literally. I give up...

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon friend - You and I both know the dangers of relying on second- or third- or fourth- hand information.

I have no doubt that your daughter AND her friend AND her child are not given to story-telling. But that's not the point.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - And I never said that I was presenting "facts" regarding Sr. Jane's presentation. See that little word "If" at the beginning of the second sentence of my 4:45 post?

Maybe YOU need to stop putting words in MY mouth....

George said...

Pater Ignotus:

I did not originate, let alone "fabricate," the masturbation or single parent ideas. They come from published reports of the presentation. Read a little more widely.

If they come form published reports as you say, then you should have cited those and I would have gone and read them
and in addition, there would be no implication that you fabricated it.

In all my years I have never heard any bishop, priest, deacon or nun (or even any practicing orthodox Catholic) make such a statement as fact. Have you? I have heard the statement made and then refuted. I just find it incredulous that the sister would make such a statement. This is certainly NOT the kind of statement I would attribute to the sister without hearing the audio of the speech.

Until I know otherwise, I'm going to come down on the side of Sister Jane.

George said...

Pater Ignotus:

If someone told me that you had made such a statement as that being attributed to Sister Jane, unless the person was present, I would not believe them at face value. Until I
had corroboration, I certainly would not repeat it. I would have to see the text and the context and even
after that I wouldn't see any immediate need to repeat it.

Anonymous said...

I think these children should be given lectures on purity instead. This seems like a lecture for adults and it shouls have been optional.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Friend:

You said regarding my post “You need to authenticate your ‘facts’”.

The only “facts” I asserted were these: “There was an allegation that she said those things. Of course, that does not mean she did. Thus, there was a counter allegation that her words were misquoted and distorted.”

Those “facts” are in various media reports. Of course, I suppose one could always question whether there was in fact an allegation or a counter allegation. But corroboration on that point is furnished by reading the comments of the respective parents signing the two petitions.

Anyway, those were not the “facts” you were challenging. You seem to be suggesting that I claimed Sister actually said those things. I did not. Nor did Pater Ignotus.

Sheeesh! No wonder Pope Francis is so often misunderstood. I repeat what I have said before. The reader – you, me, everyone – has a responsibility to read carefully. It seems to be a dying art.

Gene said...

Leave it to Bishops and Church officials to apologize for their beliefs. Ain't it great?

Gene said...

We could suggest an addition to the Creed…"I am sorry I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth…etc." This should catch on quickly and be very popular with the likes of Ignotus and others of his phylum.

Anonymous said...

And once again, Pater, you obfuscate and twist the discussion. Is it because you can't stand Gene or because you dissent from the Church's doctrinal teachings? By your own statements, it can't be because what Sister was said was wrong. Read and learn:

At 4:45 you wrote "The problem with this case is we don't know what Sister Jane said, Nor do we know what the parents objected to."

Yet prior to that, at 7:48, in response to Gene's fairly neutral and nonpartisan statement,"if you are apologizing, you are losing," with "If you are wrong, you apologize."

You obviously think that an apology is in order, but why the heck would you think that if you don't know what was said (other than the fact that we all know that Sister said something unfavorable about homosexuality)? And since you don't know whether Sister's "inflammatory" comments fall within the confines of Catholic orthodoxy or go beyond them, then your original statement strongly implies that she should apologize even if she did nothing but parrot CCC statements on homosexuality. Thus you must dissent from those paragraphs.

If you're explaining, or offering an apology by way of explanation (e.g., that you're disavowing a position, as was apparently the case here), then you're losing. That's true in many contexts regardless of the comment, whether it's one hated by people on the left or people on the right.

And yet you _had_ to snark. It looks very much like whatever Gene says, you simply _have_ to snark. he can never be right, even on a fairly neutral point, and he can never have the last word. Never.

And that's the most favorable interpretation I can give your comments. The least favorable is that, to repeat, even though you ADMITTEDLY don't know what this nun said, it offended your sensibilities, even if it was an absolutely correct statement of Church doctrine.

Don't try to twist this again. The most honest thing you can do is walk back your statement to the effect that you don't know what she said. In light of your subsequent criticisms about the social science Sister reportedly relied on, that would be a defensible and honorable position for you to take. Yet My guess is that you'll nor try to attack my own comments here in order to try to get everyone's eyes off the logic behind my argument, as you have so often done to people here over the years.

If you want to engage in a genuine discussion, then quit taking these cheap shots based on your thinly-disguised heterodox beliefs passed off as Catholicism (I bet you ignore the rest of my comments and try to make your answer a response to that accusation--I just bet you). Instead, take your own advice and apologize for a misstatement.

Gene said...

Ignotus, you just got "lawyered."

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 7:08 - Pin/Gene thinks that, even if in the "culture wars" you are wrong, you should not apologize because that is a sign of weakness. I think apologizing when you are wrong is a sign of 1) strength and 2) maturity.

Pin/Gene and I have dissimilar views on many things. As long as we are both posting here, there will be disagreement. Get used to it.

We don't know what Sr. Jane said. And we do not know that Sister said something unfavorable about homosexuality. That is why I have frequently said "IF" she said this or "IF" she said that and she was wrong, then an apology is in order.

If Sister presented the Church's doctrine, then there is nothing to apologize for. If, as seems to be the case, based on the various reports of what she said including from her superiors and others who were present at the talk, she strayed into non-doctrinal areas, then those who disagree with her in these areas are entirely free to express their disagreement or disapproval.

No, again, I don't know what Sr. Jane said. Therefore my "sensibilities" are not offended. You are wrong in this regard.

I challenge you to quote ONE thing I have said here that is heterodox. Just ONE. It must be a quotation and you must reference the date and time I posted it.

Anonymous 2 said...

“In the culture wars, if you apologize, you are losing.” (Gene)

“If you are wrong, you apologize.” (Pater Ignotus).

So, doesn’t it all depend on what you apologize for? If you apologize for defending what you believe to be moral truth, then, yes, I agree you may be losing. If you are apologizing for a misstatement of fact adduced in support of that moral truth (or, say, for a gratuitously inflammatory insult), then I do not agree you are losing. Instead you may need to apologize to avoid losing. As I said in an earlier comment on this thread:

When statistics and data are adduced, great care must be taken not to present a one sided account. Doing so does no one any favors in the long run because the position supported by such one sided data loses credibility. I am not suggesting necessarily that Sister did that, of course. As I said, I do not know. . . .

In this era of media tribalism and “spin,” it is all the more important that the Catholic Church stand above all this and that we stand up for truth in all its forms, including empirical truth insofar as it is ascertainable.

Gene said...

Can you say "anal retentive?"

Anonymous said...

You apologize not for the content of the speech, but you apologize instead for the delivery. Any person who has taken speech before knows that it needs to be delivered to the intended audience to be effective. Sister Jane's talk would have been better for a more intimate group of parents and teens. Father Kauth even admitted as much. Just because something is true and can be said, doesn't mean it is appropriate to say it.

My son attended this talk. He has said, first-hand information, that the over-the-top accusations (living in a single parent home makes you gay) are just that. It was what overly-sensitive, teenage children of single parents interpreted scientific data to be. Also, there were embedded elements of PFLAG at the school. How do you think the dirty laundry of a Catholic High School got aired so quickly across the country? It was a hatchet job. I was at the parent meeting. The cognitive dissonance of the side opposing sister's talk was off the charts. As they screamed about "love' "inclusiveness" and "tolerance", they screamed at a Priest of God and told him they had no confidence in him around their children. It was horrible.

Anonymous 2 said...

So, can we all agree that it is appropriate for a Catholic to apologize for the following and that doing so does not mean one is “losing” in the “culture wars”?

(1) A misstatement or misrepresentation of fact;

(2) A misstatement or misrepresentation of doctrine;

(3) A gratuitously offensive insult.

Anonymous said...

What happens if everyone becomes gay?

Humanity pays the Price.

The gays can attack everyone with their LGBT army and everyone cowers down and grovels at their feet. The bible says what it says,until the lgbt sues God to change it. It's not hate speech, unless it's disagreeing with them. I could have been gay,but I didn't CHOOSE that path even with the tendencies. I'm married and loyal to my wife and have many kids and I am not in mortal sin. It's pretty nice.

Anonymous said...

Pater: Since you will probably deny that in my previous post I produced that "Just one" heterodox thing you said, I'll give you another. I refer you to the exchange between you and Marc in the following thread:

I particularly call you attention to the posts at December 9, 2011 at 8:43 AM; December 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM; December 9, 2011 at 1:57 PM; and, finally, your reply at December 9, 2011 at 3:41 PM in which you act as though The Commission's Question II and reply in the 11:23 post don't exist.


Unless you want to claim that I didn't fulfill the terms of your "just one" challenge since I didn't produce one, but two.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 11:44 - I'll need a little more specificity regarding that first post -

What did I say that you think is heretical?

Anonymous said...

I had made another post prior to my 11:44 that didn't go through. That's the post I referenced in my 11:44. But rather than repost, I'll just let the 11:44 be the "just one."

Even if we accept Anonymous 2's 10:17, it's irrelevant to my point. The clear inference to be drawn from Pater's initial statement is either that nothing Gene says can ever be right or go unanswered or derailed, or that whatever Sister said was wrong, even if it was a simple statement of Church doctrine (I.e., something not in Anonymous 2s list). Snark or heterodox, but not honest debater. In light of my 11:44, both snark and heterodox.

Anonymous said...

Pater, thus is an old tactic of yours. When you're caught, you keep asking for clarification or further examples. Read the bloody thread and figure it out..

To the rest of you: in the referenced thread, pater repeatedly asserted that the Genesis creation accounts are myth, as apposed to historical. In response, marc quoted documents from the a) Pontifical Biblical Commission clearly stating that one may not deny the historicity of the creation accounts and b) from the pope clearly stating that the Commission was speaking doctrinally. Pater then simply ignored the fact that the Commission had made such a statement, instead digressing onto a question of literary forms.

Gene said...

I'm not nearly as concerned about Ignotus' denial of the historicity of the Creation accounts as I am his staunch refusal to answer a blogger's question as to whether he believed in the Real Presence and the bodily Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. He said that the question was a "trap" and that it was beneath him to answer it. Fancy that. How can such a question be a trap for a Priest or any Christian. A simple yes or no answer is all it takes. Beneath him…LOL! No form of prevarication, dishonesty, or double talk has ever been beneath him…how can that be? LOL!

Anonymous said...

Gene, pater will simply say that there is a presumption in favor of his orthodoxy since his bishop keeps I'm in his parish. I'm not aware of any such presumption in canon law, though there might be one. Nevertheless, such presumption is rebuttable, and since he refuses to answer such basic questions straight up--another sign of his dishonest approach to debate here--we have to nail him on his inconsistencies, as I've done here, to ferret out what he really thinks. But he expressly went over the line in the historicity thread.

George said...

I would like to make one more comment on the statement " that masturbation makes a little boy gay" that Sister Jane may or may not have said. Whether or not she said it (which I myself find difficult to believe), I find such a statement ludicrous, given today'd moral climate.
Pretty much every poll or study that I am familiar with comes out with the percentage of gays in the general population as being between 3-5%. Given that there is not the stigma today once asssociated with that lifestyle, I find the percentage arrived at credible. So to take the statement Sister Jane may or may not have said at face value, we it seems are living in an age which puts the sexual propriety of the Victorians to shame.
I would have no problem at all with Sister Jane or anyone else if they teach that such behaviour is seriously sinful and separates one from God although given the age we live in, it would seem that (unfortunately) many so-called Catholics today would not agree.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 7:39 - Alas, I cannot read your mind, so I can't "figure it out."

It seems - correct me if I am wrong - that you believe that Catholics must believe and teach that the Creation Accounts are literal history. You seem to say that if anyone teaches that the creation accounts are not literal history, that that person is guilty of heresy.

The Creation Accounts are not literal history and the Church acknowledges this. In the CCC we read:

"390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents."

Note: "figurative language"

Further, the Church also teaches that we must be aware of and understand the various literary forms used by the authors of Sacred Scripture. "CCC 110 In order to discover the sacred authors' intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current. "For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression."

Note: "literary genres"

Mythology is a "literary genre" that uses "figurative language" to express the Truth that God wanted to be revealed to us. The definition I use is "A myth is an imaginative story that uses symbols to speak about reality, but a reality that is beyond human comprehension."

You are entirely free to believe, if you choose, that the Creation Accounts are literal history. I think that that belief is wrong, but you are free nonetheless.

I am entirely free, also, to believe that the Creation accounts "use figurative language" to express Truth. In doing so, I am not heretical, nor am I denying any Truth revealed by God through the Sacred Scriptures and the Church.

If the Creation Accounts were meant to be literal history - and they are not - we would have great difficulty as Catholics reconciling them with the Church's teaching regarding the various "senses" of Scripture. There are the literal and the spiritual senses. The latter is subdivided into the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical.

Now, if the Creation Accounts are simply literal history, it would be impossible to understand them is any sense save the literal.
But the Church teaches otherwise.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - A bit more...

CCC 337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine "work", concluded by the "rest" of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to "recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God."

Note: "Scripture presents the work of the creator symbolically..."

I don't know how you can argue that Catholics must understand the Creation Accounts as literal history when the Church, very magisterially, says otherwise.

George said...

Pater Ignotus:

"If the Creation Accounts were meant to be literal history - and they are not - we would have great difficulty as Catholics reconciling them with the Church's teaching regarding the various "senses" of Scripture. There are the literal and the spiritual senses. The latter is subdivided into the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical."

Why would we have that difficulty reconciling them? I believe that the Crucifixition actually happened-that it is literal history.Why should I have difficulty reconciling that literal event with the other various ''senses" of scripture?

I can however see where the Creation Accounts would be difficult for anyone whose Creation dogma is Evolution to the exclusion of anything else.
The effects of Original sin on the world are real and to me must have originated in a real event.

Anonymous said...

Let me help. I'm in Charlotte and attended the parent discussion. Everyone ( including Sister Jane's) supporters said that she went way off script and should have been stopped. Her facts and figures were old and appeared to intentionally demean students and parents. I assume this wasn't her intent but was interpreted as that. Without guidance on the information, kids 13-18 just couldn't process her words differently. They are kids, remember. It was hurtful for them. Why? Kids who are gay are much more likely to harm themselves for being perceived as wrong. Sister Jane bullied these kids and their fellow students stood up for them. While she didn't intend to bully, this is exactly what it sounded like. Our Pope would never condone that behavior and I'm proud our kids showed love to those who needed it.
Don't think these discussions have been one sided. The supporters of Sister Jane have been as negative, name calling and finger pointing as the other side. I'm surprised at who the nasty comments from supporters have come from. That reminds me, Fr Reid is at St. Ann ( not Anne).
It's been a good opportunity for kids to stand up for those who needed their support. I pray for Sister Jane who needs our support, too.

Pater Ignotus said...

George - Literalism is literalism. It does not admit of senses.

If the only allowed understanding is the literal understanding, then there can be no allegorical sense, no spiritual sense.

Understanding the Creation Accounts as mythology does not preclude an original sin. The fact of that original sin is simply described in a symbolic way.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. at 7:47: No, that wasn’t on my list. It did not need to be. I take it as given that a Catholic need not apologize for a statement and defense of Catholic doctrine delivered in a manner appropriate to the context and audience (for example, what you say to little children, and how you say it, is different from .what you say, and how you say it when talking with older children or adults).

And I am not sure that my list was irrelevant to the point if Pater had in mind one of those three things when challenging Gene’s assertion. I felt like challenging that sweeping assertion myself because it seemed unwise.

Anonymous 2 said...

On the literal versus the figurative, I am glad to see the passages from the CCC quoted by Pater. I certainly hope we Catholics are not required to believe that everything in the Bible is literally true. As I understand the matter, such interpretation is a modern phenomenon, a fundamentalist over-reaction that developed in reaction to perceived threats from modernity, secularism, etc.

Of course, as a believing Catholic I do accept some things as literally true – the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, for example. Science cannot explain the Resurrection but this just demonstrates the limits of science. But I do not accept that God created the entire universe in six literal days and nights. Science can explain how our universe began, or better put, science can offer a persuasive theory supported by cogent evidence, regarding the origins and evolution of the universe (and humans). This is no way contradicts the “truth” in the Bible stated in the form of a myth. We should have learned from the Galileo episode the importance of understanding the difference between these two sorts of beliefs, and the difference between recognizing the limits of science (wise) and challenging the clear findings of science (stupid).

Also, to insist on literal interpretation of everything, apart from painting ourselves into an impossible corner when scientific evidence shows otherwise, also puts God in a little box. As I have said before, God is way, way bigger than that. So, 14.2 billion years is to Him nothing. It is a human measure and experience, nothing else.

Anonymous 2 said...


“The effects of Original sin on the world are real and to me must have originated in a real event.”

Agreed. The question concerns the exact nature of the “real event.”

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thanks to "I am in Charlotte" for your eyewitness account. In my post on this I mused that perhaps Sister needed to be careful with this topic in a high school setting. No matter how true the statistics how does this help victims of the statistics when they can hardly be blamed for their parent's mistakes and sins. My mom might be divorced and seeing all kinds of men, but she's still my mom. Why make teenagers feel more negative in a bad situation?

Pater Ignotus said...

I Am in Charlotte - yes, thank you.

Gene said...

Historicity does not imply literalism. The world, the universe, was created in time…indeed, time and space were created together. Science interprets these things symbolically as a "big bang."
Thus, we may say that there was, in time, a time when man lived in harmony with God and that our progenitors, regarding whom even scientists and anthropologists are in conflict, lived and sinned as the Bible relates. Regarding the historicity of Satan as the snake, I like Karl Barth's response when asked if he believed the snake spoke to Eve…"It is not important that the snake spoke to Eve, what is important is what the snake said."
So called "symbolism" is over done with regard to Scripture…Holy Scripture is rich with signs, however. There is a very great and significant difference.
Symbolism is used by neo-prot and modernist theologians as a tool for de-constructing Scripture and re-interpreting it through existential/anthropological understandings. I can refer you to such volumes as Paul Ricoeur's, "The Symbolism of Evil," the works of Rudolph Bultmann or, more interestingly, Rudolph Otto's "The Idea of the Holy" (which is irrationalism and has nothing to do with the Biblical Sacred). Paul Tillich was, for a long time and still may be, the most popular voice for the existential interpretation of Holy Scripture as a guide for the individual's existential journey to self-renewal through an encounter with the self as reflected in the life and death (not resurrection) of Jesus of Nazareth. It seems that, for these and other modernists, Jesus' only real claim to fame is that he lived completely "authentically," whatever that means.
So, be careful of those who come to you talking "symbolism." To quote Flannery O'Connor when she was asked about the "symbolism" in her stories, "My dear, if it is only symbolism it isn't worth a damn." There is no symbolism in Flannery O'Connor's stories…if you so not understand this, you cannot understand her works. If you view Holy Scripture as filled with "symbolism," you do not understand it, either.

George said...

Pater Ignotus:

"George - Literalism is literalism. It does not admit of senses.

If the only allowed understanding is the literal understanding, then there can be no allegorical sense, no spiritual sense."

There are some things in scripture that are literal-the Crucifixion and Resurrection just to give two examples.. I don't take everything in scripture as being literal of course. I believe there are some parts that refer to a literal event
and yet also have allegorical, moral and anagogical components.
On that point we'll have to disagree.


I think that Evolution presents a dilemma for some when it comes to the Creation story.
Many who accept the Creation account conclude that the Biblical day is not an "Earth-length day" of course (as I do). How do you accept Evolution and the story of Adam and Eve though? I can although I know it presents an insurmountable difficulty for some. While God is always involved in His creation is it not possible that at some point He intervened in it in a special way?

I read scripture according to the Truth it was written to convey, and so I don't concern myself with factual difficulties and seeming inconsistencies that concern others. The Holy Spirit will resolve those.

George said...

Good points Gene. When it come to Scripture one should be careful about treading on that ground.
Even outside of Scripture, signs and symbols had great significance for the American Indian for example.

George said...

"The first signification whereby words signify things belongs to the historical or literal sense. The signification whereby things signified by words also have their own signification is the spiritual sense which is based on the literal and presupposes it." (St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae l,1,10)

Anonymous said...

Pater: You didn't need to read my mind. All you needed to do was read. I will thank you to quit snarking.

Interesting quotations from the CCC. But I note that you omitted all reference to the papal and PBC documents with which you have been confronted. Further, you attempt, as is your wont, to twist the issue, as noted by Gene, by introducing the term literalism and then trying to make my assertions into something they aren't. The phrase "figurative language" on which you instead place so much emphasis doesn't preclude historicity. The sun rose this morning. That is a figurative statement. It is also a description of a historical event that took place at dawn this morning.

So quit trying to evade and address the documents that have been cited.

If you want an honest debate, debate honestly. If you talk like a charlatan, you will be treated as one.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 10:16 - The quotes from the CCC are not merely "interesting." They are authoritative and magisterial. They support the understanding of the Creation Accounts that I have stated. And they constitute my response to the documents you and Marc have referred to from the PBC.

If you find that these passages from the CCC are not in harmony with, or are contrary to, or are not in theological continuity with previous statements from the PBC, that is something you will have to deal with. I don't find that to be the case.

Since you won't specify your concerns, I have no choice but to bring in terms such as "literalism" to make my responses. You can, if you wish, clarify what your assertions are. That would certainly help the conversation.

Yes, "figurative language" doesn't preclude historicity, but it does preclude literalism. And it certainly doesn't preclude understanding that the Creation Accounts are mythological.

"The sun rose this morning" describes an historical event, but we both know that the sun didn't rise. Rather, we both know that the earth rotated on its axis, making it appear to those of us on earth that the sun rose.

The description "the sun rose" is based on an ancient and outdated cosmology in which the earth was thought to be stationary, resting on the back of four elephants who, in turn, were standing on the back of a great turtle. Or if you prefer another outdated cosmology, the earth is stationary, resting on four pillars.

I am perfectly comfortable saying "the sun rose" while knowing that, in fact, it did not rise. I am perfectly comfortable saying, "He [the serpent] said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” while knowing that, in fact, a snake and a naked lady never had a conversation about fruit in a garden.

Gene said...

Now, wait a minute, Ignotus…I saw a naked lady with a snake on stage one time and she was talking to the serpent…I mean, that can happen...

Anonymous said...

Later; your so-called response is no response. The documents I have cited are likewise magisterial and doctrinal and affirm the historicity of the creation accounts., while n the original thread, you claimed those accounts to be mythical. Your digression into a discussion of the red herring of literalism vs. Figurative language is not the issue and is, rather, an mask the fact that you dissent from doctrine. The ccc passages you quote May be magisterial, but they are irrelevant to my charge against you.

When you're ready to admit the historicity (not literalism) of the creation accounts, do so. Until then, I have no interest in discussing the very different issue of literalism versus figurative language.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what, Pater. Let me put this as simply as possible since--if you aren't obfuscating--you apparently have trouble with the skills or reading and reasoning. I have a very busy week and I can't be bothered to bandy words further. So here it is, simply:

1) In the thread in question, you asserted elements of the creation accounts to be "mythological." That is the word you repeatedly used.

2) In the same thread, Marc posted a statement made by the PBC on June 30, 1909, expressly denouncing as erroneous the idea that you have expressed both in that thread and this one, viz., that the creation accounts are "mythologies" rather than "stories of events which really happened, that is, which correspond with objective reality and historical truth." You will note that _nowhere_ in the PBC statement do the terms "literal" or "figurative" appear as that wasn't what the PBC was discussing (nor is it what I am discussing). Those terms, and related CCC passages, were introduced by you as red herrings/digressions.

3) In the same thread is quoted a passage from Praestantia Scripturae in which Pius X declared that "all are bound in conscience to submit to the decisions of the Biblical Commission relating to doctrine, which have been given in the past and which shall be given in the future," etc.

So, to make it even more simple:

1) You stated that the creation accounts are myth.
2) PBC stated they aren't myth but historical truth. PBC said nothing about literalism or figurativism because that wasn't what PBC was talking about.
3) The Pope said that the PBC statement is doctrinal.

Therefore, you dissent from Catholic doctrine.

To show that you aren't a dissenter, you must show
1) That you believe the creation accounts to be historical, regardless of whether they use literal or figurative language. That is, you must deny that they are myth. OR
2) You must demonstrate that the PBC didn't say that the creation accounts are historical. OR
3) You must demonstrate that Praestantia Scripturae doesn't make belief in the historicity of the Greation accounts obligatory for Catholics.

And unless and until you can and do manage to do one of those three things, I will thank you to shut the freak up about the CCC and literalism and figurativism, which have nothing to do with my claims against you.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon - No, the CCC sections I cite are directly related to your absurd assertion that I am a heretic because I do not take the Creation Accounts to be literal.

As the CCC states, these accounts "affirm a primeval event" but do so using figurative/symbolic language. (That figurative/symbolic language is known as myth.)

Only if you ignore the relevant section of the CCC can you think that I dissent from doctrine.

Along with mythology, some of the other literary forms found in Scripture are legend, debate, apocalyptic, historical narrative, letters, Gospel, etc etc etc.

Gene said...

Ignotus, You did not answer any of the conditions for proof of your orthodoxy that Anonymous listed. Can you read?

Anonymous said...

I will also thank you, sir, to quit putting words in my mouth. Contrary to _your_ claim, never in this thread have I asserted anything about things literal. I challenge you to produce any such statement. YOU, sir, are the one who is trying to make this a debate about literality to divert attention from the fact that you dissent from doctrinal teaching about historicity.

And, incidentally, I will submit that of many possible definitions of myth (a word that your cited CCC sections don't use), _your_ definition cannot be one that the CCC would employ in this context, since the magisterial documents I have cited have expressly condemned your understanding of the word myth in this context--a fact that, while expressly reproduced here, you continue to ignore.

You want to keep beating the literalism more? Be my guest. I will trust that the readers of this blog will decide for themselves that I have shown you to be a dissenter.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I can read just fine. My 11:17 response was sent before Anon's 11:02 post appeared on the blog.

Anon - I will respond as I see fit. I make no attempt to steer your comments toward me and I would expect the same from you.

Anonymous said...

Pater: when you claim I have said something that have not, you can expect me to call you on it. Every time you denounce literalism, you denounce an argument that I have never made.
You've said the creation accounts are mythological. The Church has doctrinally declared such statements to be erroneous. I've shown you where it has done so. Nothing in the CCC changes that declaration. You want to talk more about literalism? Knock yourself out.

Anonymous 2 said...

Regarding the debate over the Pontifical Commission etc., my legal training inclines me, wherever possible, to start with the relevant texts. So, here they are. They repay careful and close reading:

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon – As you have followed my posts on this blog for some time, you know that the definition I have always used for myth is: “A myth is an imaginative story which uses symbols to speak about reality, but a reality which is beyond human comprehension.”

To parse that definition a bit:
Imaginative story – The human authors “made full use of their faculties and powers” (CCC 106). What they wrote is inspired by God. To understand the Scriptures readers have to take into account, “…the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current.” (CCC 110) One of the common genres then current was mythology. It can be found in, I suspect, the writings of every culture of the ancient near east.

Symbols – The Creation Accounts contain symbolic language. “The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (CCC 362) “The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice". (CCC 375)

Reality – The Creation Accounts speak about reality. These are the fundamental historical realities spoken of in the Creation Accounts: God created everything from nothing. Everything God created was good. Through human choice, sin/moral evil entered creation. Humans are, of themselves, unable to undo or repair the harm done by sin.

Reality beyond human comprehension – The ancients did not comprehend the processes that God used to form the world, or the processes present in the world. Their cosmologies were mythological. Some thought the earth rested on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stood on the carapace of a great turtle. They believed that there was a great “vault” called the sky above which water was placed by God. (see Genesis 1:6-7) They believed that rain occurred when gates in that vault were opened, allowing the water to fall onto the earth.

Nothing in the definition of “myth” that I have always used contradicts the doctrine of the Church. Understanding the Creation Accounts as the literary genre known as myth does not “exclude the literal (You will note that THAT WORD does appear in the PBC response) historical sense of the first three chapters of Genesis.” (PBC June 30, 1909, (AAS 1[1909] 567ff) The Pontifical Biblical Commission stated that Catholics must believe that the aforesaid three chapters of Genesis “correspond to objective reality and historical truth.” Nothing I have ever posted denies that God created, that creation was perfect, that sin originated with humans, or that humans cannot undo the effects of sin.

In Genesis 3:15 we encounter the Protoevangelium which foreshadows the manner in which we will receive The One who can undo the effects of sin.

What's next?

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 2 - I found and used the same source for the PBC text!

Anonymous said...


I'm just sorry that I have had to beat you over the head with the PBC statement for two days to get you to finally start addressing its actual text and my actual claim (historicity, not literality). Finally--FINALLY--after the whole original thread and this whole thread, you drop the qualifier "literal" when referring to history and profess that there are some "fundamental historical realities spoken of in the Creation Accounts." This was all you needed to say to defeat my charges that you're a dissenter on this point. Nowhere in the threads in issue, until now, have you ever conceded this or spoken about historicity in anything other than a dismissive way--usually by insisting on altering the phrase from "history" to "literal history" and then poo-pooing it.

I'd like to think that my arguments here are responsible for this concession--that what I have said has made you actually consider your position, change your mind, and at last concede my point, thereby expressly agreeing at last with the PBC. Of course, you may well respond that you have always believed/professed this and just never wrote it down. That may be as well; we'll never know, in light of the fact that you've been so hell-bent on _not_ saying it until now.

Not that I don't still see some problems. Your definition of "myth" isn't ratified anywhere I can find by the CCC. Just because the CCC speaks of figurative language and genres in use at the time doesn't mean that the CCC contemplates the Ralph definition of "myth," so please don't try to elevate your definition to doctrinal status. Your argument goes something like "The CCC allows _some_ kinds of figurative language: Ralph's mythology is a type of figurative language; therefore the CCC must allow language meeting Ralph's definition." Non sequitur.

Now, what do you mean by your phrase "THAT WORD"? Your statement is vague. If you mean "literal," then no, it _doesn't_ appear anywhere in Question II, which it the source I've explicitly been referencing here throughout (see my post on April 5, 2014 at 11:44 PM).

However, it _does_ appear in Questions I and III, so let's now turn to those (or rather, let's turn to Question III). This question and response read, in part, "Whether in particular the literal and historical sense can be called into question, where it is a matter of facts related in the same chapters, which pertain to the foundation of the Christian religion; for example, among others, . . . the transgression of the divine command through the devil's persuasion under the guise of a serpent . . .?--Reply: In the negative. So here (though not in Question II), the PBC asks if one may question the literal nature of the serpent, no? It answers that it cannot be, but many of your statements on the two threads seem to dismiss the literality of the serpent (and contrary to your claim about it being a snake, the Hebrew root seems to refer to something more like a dragon).

But I suppose I'm quibbling at this point. Now that you've conceded historicity, I don't know how much steam I have left for this thread.

Pater Ignotus said...

No, Anon, I have not conceded anything, nor have I changed what I believe. That the Creation Accounts are mythology is what I have said and what I continue to say. So you can lay aside the grass crown and think again about taking a victory lap. What has happened is that we have discovered that, in fact, we agree, you and I, on much of the the meaning of the Creation Accounts. This may trouble you, but I think it is a laudable discovery.

“A myth is an imaginative story that uses symbols to speak about reality, but a reality which is beyond human comprehension.” Note the word “reality” in that definition. Inasmuch as this discussion has been about the origins of creation, something that happened in the past, a plain reading of that definition indicates that we are talking about historical reality. The Creation Accounts are a mythological description of an historical reality. Your “charges” were based on your own misconstrual of that definition, not on anything that I had said or done.

The CCC is not in the business of “ratifying” the definition of myth I have used, so it is in no way surprising that you are not able to find it there. If you’re looking for it, you would do well to change course. The Church recognizes that figurative/symbolic language is used in Scripture. Mythology is a literary genre that employs figurative/symbolic language. Therefore, there is no reason to argue that, from the get-go, mythology cannot be found in Scripture.

What matters is the interpretation of the myth, and in this we defer to the magisterium of the Church. “The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice". (CCC 375) No matter what literary genre we encounter in the Scriptures – myth, legend, debate, metaphor, analogy, didactic fiction, narrative, letter, apocalyptic – it is the Church that teaches us how to understand the meaning – the Truth – that is being revealed.

As to the “literal nature of the serpent,” when you describe that in detail – genus and species, if you please, we can presume it is a reptile – we can discuss that mythological creature at length. Now, if it is a dragon . . .

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon: While I admire your zeal and obvious devotion to our shared Faith (as I do of others on this Blog), may I suggest to you (and some others, especially Gene) letting up a bit on the sport of trying to convict Pater of heterodoxy/dissidence/heresy or whatever. It comes across awfully like a witch hunt.

And remember, orthodoxy allows more than one position on some matters. The CCC is a good guide.

Anonymous 2 said...

Pater: Yes, I figured you had the relevant documents before you.

Gene said...

Hey, if there are witches they need to be hunted.

Anon 2 just wants everybody to be sweet and nice.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene. Keep hunting! So far your capture rate is zero.

Anon 2 - I don't mind the banter here. It sharpens my own thinking and, I hope, helps others to sharpen theirs. Our discussions, heated though they may be, can help others see the weaknesses of traditionalism. They may also introduce people to just how expansive Catholic theology really is. It's not all Catechism Cut-Outs in the real world!

And no one here - unless there's a bishop lurking behind the tapestries - has the competence to declare another poster a "heretic." I'm snug as a bug in a rug.

Gene said...

Yes, Ignotus, your intelligence could use some sharpening…LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...


You are more than capable of holding your own in the banter, and then some, and you certainly do not need me to defend you.

That said, I worry about the impression it makes on visitors to the Blog to see lay people attacking our priests in this way.

Perhaps I am too old fashioned or conservative or something but I really do believe that, while everyone deserves respect, our priests deserve a special respect. In my view the kinds of public attacks on you, Pope Francis, and sometimes even Father McDonald that are common fare on this Blog are unseemly and inappropriate.

Gene calls this being “sweet and nice.” I call it appropriate civility.

But if others are not concerned, then I suppose I should not be. If this is the case, however, it may be less confusing for people if Father McDonald removes the admonitory language above the posting box. Just on this thread alone you have been called dishonest, heterodox, dissident, a charlatan, a snark, a prevaricator, and a double talker. Did I miss anything? Anyway, these ad hominem attacks hardly seem consistent with either the letter or the spirit of the admonition.

Gene said...

Did you stop to ask yourself WHY many of us have this reaction to Ignotus? Perhaps his behavior and comments over several years on the blog have formed our opinion of him. I can appreciate that God, in his inscrutable will, uses Ignotus as a vehicle of grace when he is in persona Christi, and I do understand that Donatus was wrong, but God once spoke through the mouth of an ass, as well. Truly, as proven by Ignotus, God can use ANYTHING as a channel of His grace.
If visitors to the blog do not like the tone, they can run over to Play Tail or somewhere. They have free will.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - There are a number of reasons people here "have this reaction" to me.

You, for example, have difficulty dealing with anyone who stands up to you and then doesn't go away when you resort to bullying them. When they don't go away, your attacks become almost entirely ad hominem. You "LOL" with abandon because you can't get your way.

You are, thank goodness, a rarity here.

Some have a limited and idiosyncratic understanding (or flat-out misunderstanding)of Catholic doctrine and feel threatened when a broader, deeper (or correct) understanding is presented. These have read a handful of documents regarding liturgy or theology and mistakenly conclude that their limited knowledge/understanding is comprehensive and/or universal.

People like this often want to hear familiar or comfortable formulations of Catholic doctrine and can be surprised when they encounter a different way of thinking or talking about the Catholic faith.

When someone like me, with 22 years of Catholic school education, including seminary formation, comes along and shows that their limited and idiosyncratic understanding is far from complete, they "react" negatively.

And no, I am not claiming that my knowledge/understanding is comprehensive and universal. But given the years I spent in Catholic schools, in seminary, and in continuing my education, my understanding is significantly better than that of the average Catholic.

And before you pooh-pooh my education, remember that you have often touted your own Protestant seminary education as the source of your understanding of Catholic doctrine. An interesting claim, that . . .

Some, like John Nolan and I, simply disagree on a variety of things. Mostly he and I can disagree agreeably, though we get a little carried away from time to time. We both are passionate about our relative positions, so flying sparks should come as no surprise.

And, of course, people react to me because I am not a traditionalist who posts on a blog with more traditionalists than you can shake a maniple at. That, alone, explains why folks here may "have this reaction" toward me.

I think traditionalism is a dead end, a pipe dream, a fantasy. I am not now nor have I ever been a traditionalist because it simply doesn't make sense to me, nor do I see it as offering much that could benefit the Church now or in the future.

Anonymous 2 said...


And yet, other than perhaps seeing him celebrate Mass at St. Josephs a couple of times (and I bet you never heard him preach then), I believe you have never even met the man and indeed refuse to do so. Come to that, you have never even met me and indeed also refuse to do so, because I voted for Obama after prudent weighing of all relevant considerations in compliance with the guidelines in the USCCB document on “Faithful Citizenship.” I do not have the same attitude towards you and would be delighted to meet you at any time.

Despite this lack of personal encounter, you and some others on the Blog believe you know enough to reach sound judgments about people’s character. Would you have done that when you were in the ministry? Somehow I doubt it.

The free will of visitors’ to the blog is beside the point. Or then again, perhaps it isn’t – they can exercise their free will to form a rather dim view of Catholics, especially those who identify as “traditionalists.” Is that really what you want? If not, I suggest that you continue to disagree with Pater (by all means, have at it), but that you be more civil and respectful about it, even if Pater himself does not care about being treated with incivility and lack of respect.

Anyway, we have been down this road before, and I have little hope or expectation that anything will change.

Gene said...

I do not need to meet Ignotus in order to draw conclusions from his posts and behavior on the blog. I have seen him on a number of occasions, unfortunately I did not have an ink well handy to throw at him…

Why would I want to meet or converse with anyone who voted for Obama? Not only does that indicate a pitiful lack of judgement, but I consider educated people who knowingly voted for him to be enemies of the Church and the country…that means they are my enemies, as well. We are at war here. Too many people do not understand that...

Anonymous 2 said...


As I said, I have little hope or expectation that anything will change. But that is not the same as no hope or expectation.

Even accepting your rhetoric of “war” and “enemies” (we have been down that road before, too), there are smarter and less smart ways to fight wars. This is something that Pope Francis, for example, understands with regard to those you call “enemies of the church.” It is also something that Obama understands with regard to those you might call “enemies of the country.” It is, sadly, something that Obama’s rival and his supporters did not understand and indeed still seem not to understand. Had they come to power, the war would almost certainly be lost. Now you can disagree with me about this and say that my way is not a smart way. What you cannot do is to say it is a bad reason for voting for Obama – a mistaken reason perhaps but not a bad one.

One day you may finally come to understand that we disagree not about ends but about means.

Anonymous 2 said...

To be clear, in my comments on Obama, I very much have in mind foreign policy.

Gene said...

Foreign policy? Obama? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Did you notice Putin kicking his butt all over the world stage?

Gene said...

PS My comments were not rhetoric and the words war and enemies should not be placed in parentheses. Understand me, when any Obama voter is removed from the gene pool, either by accident or natural causes, I consider that a small victory for freedom and Western culture. Get it?

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: When you are willing to have an adult conversation that is actually responsive to what I wrote instead of engaging in juvenile name calling do please check back with me.

Gene said...

There was no name calling in my response to you.

Anonymous 2 said...

Read in the context of your previous comment, Gene, you continued to call me an enemy of the Church and an enemy of the country (not to mention an enemy of freedom and Western culture), and you implied rather strongly that it would be better if I were dead. Perhaps part of the problem is that you just do not realize the meaning and effect of your own words.

Gene said...

That is not really name calling. Name calling would be like, "Anon2 is a monkey or Anon 2 is moron. Perhaps it could be called labeling, but I thought it was a straightforward statement of the obvious. Sorry.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: If your “sorry” at the end is intended as an apology, I accept it.

Perhaps the following Wikipedia entry will help in understanding the nature and practice of name calling:

It reinforces the point I have made several times before, that name calling, labeling, or whatever you want to call it, is a short cut for serious thought and serious discussion, and indeed its very purpose and effect is usually to avoid those things.

Gene said...

No, Anon 2, the "sorry" was sarcasm. Sorry. We have had a number of serious discussions on this blog. I will no longer waste time with them with you.