Friday, August 30, 2013


Recently while I was on vacation our parochial vicar, Fr. Dawid Kwiatkowski wrote the bulletin letter concerning artificial contraception. It didn't mince any words and of course proved to be controversial for some.

But oddly enough I just met with a 20 something married woman in our parish who wants to start a support group for other married women who have chosen to swim against the tide of our culture's artificial contraception mentality. I have given her the go ahead to start this group in our parish. She is a convert herself and having attended Mercer University and during that time when she was studying gender issues, she became aware that she didn't want to stuff her body with hormone changing pills to regulate births. She said only the Catholic Church had a viable, sensible solution to her natural law concerns and going natural in this regard. It helped convince her to become Catholic.

But back to Fr. Dawid's bulletin letter, I have received a few emails commending Fr. Dawid for it. Here is but one sent to him and copied to me:

Dearest Father Dawid,

You are always in our thoughts and prayers. Our family thanks God for your priesthood, for your devotion to our Lord and His Divine Will and we are forever grateful for your presence in our lives!

I've been meaning to send you a note, but since procrastination has almost gotten the best of me lately, I'm resorting to this impersonal e-mail to thank you (THANK YOU!!!!) for the beautiful message you posted in the St. Joe's bulletin on August 4th. I thank John the Baptist for making me sit and type this up today. I'm praying that he intercede for you.

My mother was visiting her dear friend earlier this month and brought home the bulletin. I am so thankful that God brought her to St. Joseph's that weekend, or I may not have seen your note. You know that I am a woman of many words (pray for my husband!), but not even I have enough words to express my gratitude and joy over the wonderful proclamation of truth that you shared with your flock in the August 4th bulletin!!! I am almost certain that while meditating on the gift God created in your ability to express His Truth so boldly, I heard the Lord say of you, "well done, my good and faithful servant."

As you know, I am a convert and, as a Baptist, I took the pill for almost 15 years (prescribed by a Doctor when I was an early teen as "treatment" for a medical condition). Not surprisingly, one of my first hurdles to overcome upon introduction to Catholicism was contraception (thanks be to God that I had [my Catholic husband] to lead me in the right direction!) Ironically, my own mother (wouldn't mind me telling you that) she was on the pill for more than 10 years, before she "accidentally" conceived ME! So, I've always felt a great passion for spreading the truth about the dangers of contraception. I once was lost, but now I'm found. Thanks be to God!!!

We don't hear this message from priests enough, in my opinion, although Catholic couples are consumed with the temptations of this culture of death and we know that many contracept, unaware or blinded by the sin so that they don't see how harmful this is to their souls. What a shame it is that so many (clergy and lay people) feel unable to speak of the "elephant in the room" (contraception) when it is killing us from within!

I shared your Aug. 4th article with the families in our home school group that week and asked them all to pray for you, Father Dawid. I am certain they did. Be assured that I have offered countless prayers to St. Michael on your behalf, asking that he shield you from the enemy that I know wants to discourage you from ever posting another message like this again. I wish you could have heard the cheers, the awe and sheer JOY of the families that I shared your message with! Note that at least 3 of the Catholic couples in our group used contraception during their marriage, before understanding the Church's teaching and confessing that sin. Thank God they are all on the right path now; these couples, especially, were so very grateful for the courage you displayed in this message to the faithful. Those of us who have journeyed away from contraception all said, "If only we'd read such a message sooner..."

I can only imagine that your note MUST have stirred a change in at least one soul and I hope when you get to heaven, Mary will lead you to the soul that entered this world because YOU were not afraid. Then, won't any injury you've incurred as a result of the bulletin note be well worth it? (Rhetorical question-I know you agree!)

On a final note, I think the manner in which this message was composed is absolutely beautiful. It is not easy to relay such information, however, I feel that your approach was loving and generous, even in your closing.

Be assured of our continued prayers. You inspire us, truly; thank you. I am so grateful that our children know and love you, too. They've been praying for you, too, which is why I know St. Michael heard the prayers.


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“"Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. Therefore, we base our words on
the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when we are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process has already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, is to be absolutely
excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned,
as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization,
whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. Similarly
excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.
Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal
relations can justify sexual intercourse, which is deliberately contraceptive, and so
intrinsically wrong.”

Just a little over a week ago the Encyclical Humane Vitae (Human Life) celebrated its
forty-fifth Birthday; therefore, I decided to bring back its very powerful message filled with trust and faith in the goodness of God’s teachings. The teaching was largely rejected by the Western world and, as some theologians say, the rejection was a sign of their disobedience to the commandment of God to love your neighbor, resulting in a weakened
family life. Marriage, as a divinely instituted entity and chastity, is our way of respecting the image of God we carry from the moment of our conception. After the teaching of the
church was criticized, the Pope said:“It does not surprise the Church that she becomes,
like her divine Founder, a ‘sign of contradiction’; yet she does not, because of this, cease
to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both the natural law and the law
of the Gospel.” The teaching was reaffirmed by all Popes who succeeded Paul VI, including Pope John Paul II in Gaudium et Spes and Pope Benedict XVI who said:” The teaching expressed by Humanae Vitae is not easy, yet it conforms with the fundamental structure through which life has always been transmitted since the world's creation.''

Once again, I remind you that your membership in the Catholic Church is
a privilege, and the only price we pay for it is our Love for God, which is
expressed by trusting Him and being obedient to His Will. If you live in a
contraceptive marriage please stop receiving Communion. If you are
confused and would like advice, please contact one of our priests. If you
have been using contraception but would like to receive communion,
come to the Sacrament of Confession. Jesus did not die so we could be
“cafeteria Catholics” picking and choosing what we please, or what
pleases us. The Lord is full of mercy and love, but to those who are
willing to change.

May the Lord who said:” "He who seeks his life will lose it, he who loses
his life for my sake will find it" (Lk 9.24) help you to see His love for you.

Fr. Dawid


rcg said...

That is awesome. Scary brave, too. So no irate parishioners have keyed his Ferrari?

Carol H. said...

The LCWR can learn a few things from Fr. Dawid. This is where rebellion belongs- against the sinful culture, NOT against the Church.

Well done, Fr. Dawid!

Hammer of Fascists said...

The very fact that this was controversial among "Catholics" says much about the state of the Church.

It seems that the things that draw the most fire in the bulletins are the statements that are the most doctrinally correct and unambiguous. Again, that says a great deal about the crisis we're in.

Anonymous said...

The ONE week I am out of town is the week that appears in the bulletin...naturally.
Thank you so much for sharing this!

I do appreciate his direct guidance...stop receiving Communion...and go to Confession.
No confusion there.!


Anonymous said...

How does any priest know, without question, that a Catholic using the Pill is in a state of mortal sin? Only then is that person barred from receiving Holy Communion.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My own feeling about receiving Holy Communion, apart from those publicly excommunicated is that it is only the business of the sinner and the Lord Jesus. If a sinner wants to receive Holy Communion in a state of unrepentant mortal sin and after having been instructed on what mortal sin is and continues to defy the moral authority of God given to the Church to explain, then that person will have to answer to God and pray for Divine Mercy come judgement day. I don't think anyone, pope, bishop or priest, should be acting like private investigators to determine who is worthy for Communion and who isn't. When I was younger and when the norm was for fewer people to approach the altar railing for Holy Communion on any given Sunday, there were many times I did not feel worthy to receive Holy Communion and with scores of others, I did not approach the railing. But if someone told me I shouldn't approach as if they knew my heart, I'd tell them where to go.

Anonymous said...

In the real world, most of the time, it is easy to offer simplistic solutions to complex problems. "Beware the man with the simple answer."

rcg said...

In the EF Mass there is a passage that strikes fear in me every time it is prayed:

"Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord, Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but let it, through Thy mercy, become a safeguard and remedy, both for soul and body; Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen."

That rings in my head when preparing for confession. Confession is my preparation to kneel at the rail.

Anonymous said...

The Priest is simply inviting people to examine their conscience. He is not saying they have committed a mortal sin but is asking them to make sure they don't. Why does that bother you so much ? Isn't this his job?

Gene said...

If a Catholic is using the pill, are they not already in a state of mortal sin?

Bill Meyer said...

A most excellent bit of teaching! Kudos to Fr. Dawid (who I was privileged to see a few years ago during his timat at the cathedral in Savannah), and may we have many more such strong and dedicated priests.

A fine job of afflicting the comfortable!

Supertradmum said...

Love the letter and am going to put the link on my blog--fantastic pastoring. God bless this good priest.

Anonymous said...

Based on what is, due to limited space, a very incomplete exposition of HV and the moral implications of this teaching, "If you live in a contraceptive marriage, please stop receiving communion." is not an invitation to examine one's conscience, but a pre-formed jugdment regarding the state of a person's soul.

Not everyone who uses the Pill is in a state of mortal sin and without knowing the consciences of those people, "please stop receiving communion" is not appropriate advice.

Communion is needed by the sinner, the person struggling to be Christ-like, the one who needs the grace offered thru the Body and Blood of Jesus.

Bill Meyer said...

Anon, Fr. Dawid asked those in mortal sin not to come forward to receive. He did not put himself in the role of inspector.

Anon friend said...

I don't know if all the "Anonymous" comments are the same person, but to the "beware simple answer" comment: NOTHING about this issue is simple, but there IS a straight path through a narrow gate that Fr. Dawid has beautifully made clear -- no excuses just because it is a difficult path. The real problem is whe people try to turn a black/white issue into gray...never works. How I wish more priests since 1968 had shown this courage.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same diocese as Fr. Dawid and Fr. Allan and I can tell you that if this appeared in my parish bulletin, a large number of people would be infuriated. In fact, there was a time when even our pastor would have been infuriated, but they moved him, praise be to God. This gives me hope that Savannah might just pan out as a Catholic diocese yet.

Bill Meyer said...

I live near Atlanta, and in my old parish, many would be screaming over such a letter. But then, many also objected to a beautiful crucifix going up over the altar to replace the relatively tiny risen Christ which had been behind.

Happily, it is my former parish.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know the number of children, if any, each member of Southern Whiners has. My wife and I had 6, then we started using the "rhythm method" and had two more....and if we had not started using sinful, artificial birth control, we could have hat 15 or so and all have been supported by the government. Now...everybody tell me about abstinence and self control. Then tell me what you REALLY did.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I'll put in a plug for abstinence!

Anonymous said...

I'll TRY to believe you.

Gene said...

Ah, Anonymous shows his true colors. I'm glad you did not have fifteen kids, Anonymous. The less of your progeny we have to deal with the better. LOL!

Anonymous said...

You didn't say how many children you have, preacher gene.

Gene said...

Liberals and progressives cannot control their own lives, so they try to control everyone else's. They long to live like psychopaths, and they believe that because they cannot control themselves no one else can control themselves, either. They have managed to create as permissive a society as they could, thus causing themselves less difficulty in indulging their aberrant and anti-social/anti-authority mentality. They feel no guilt or anxiety (sociopaths rarely do), only rage at anyone who questions their right to behave in any fashion they desire. They continue the same old tired, failed patterns of ideology and behavior, indicating that they do not learn from experience...another sociopathic trait.
They particularly hate the Catholic Church because it represents the authority (daddy) they so resented and hated when they were obnoxious, ill-bred little waifs.
For those who might question my use of psychopath and sociopath interchangeably, Harry Stack Sullivan and Freud both believed that sociopathy was merely a lesser degree of psychopathy, limited by the self-interest of appearing non-psychotic.

Carol H. said...

I have a hard time believing that a father of 8 children could ever say such a thing. This story rings false in my ears.

Cameron said...

Oh boy!

Unknown said...

Well, anonymous at 5:43, I have zero kids, zero romantic interests, and zero concern about having any of the above.

I'm not sure how I can tell you what I "really did", since that refers to something in the past, and their is no past to refer to; however, if you elucidate on that sentence, I'm sure I could provide you an answer.

Anonymous said...

What do I have to do to get a message posted....speak in Latin?

Anonymous said...

I have no children. This is partially due to my wife's being given birth control by doctors for "medical purposes" in her teens. Thankfully, when we converted to the True Faith, she stopped taking these. She was then able to discover a very serious health condition that was being masked by this "medicine." Now we cannot have children and we carry our cross...

George said...

One is in awe when one beholds the night sky and realizes there are billion and billions of
stars and other celestial bodies beyond what can be seen except through telecsopes.
The immensity of it all is beyond comprehension. All these give evidence of the majesty and power of the God who created all that exists. yet these are all just material objects. Just things.
These things being just material objects, what are they to God compared to one human life, a created being who can respond back to His Divine Love with love?

Anonymous said...

So preacher gene...after all of your "baffle them with BS", You still won't say how many children you have sired (I know...none of my business.)or whether you used condoms or the pill or....

Carol H...get your ears checked. I speak the truth.

Flavius...Bless your virginal, neuter heart.

Anonymous said...

Happy Labor Day weekend y'all. I'll be spending it with some of my Union sisters and brothers...then it's back under the couch for me. I'll be watching though.

Repentant Contracepter said...

When my wife and I married, we didn't want kids immediately. We did not use the so-called "rhythm" method, but the sympto-thermo method of Natural Family Planning. It worked well for a long time, until she got sick and the temperature readings varied (we didn't know she was sick yet) and we got our first child. As a new young expectant father, I was a wreck for quite a while. However, after the first one came, we wanted more, yet we also wanted to wait. So we reluctantly began using artificial contraception. I drove out of my way to buy the stuff at places where no one would know me and I felt like a complete hypocrite. I would not go to Communion unless I had confessed first (always hoping that maybe we wouldn't use it anymore after each confession). We finally stopped and continued with NFP. Then we quit waiting. We have four kids and I can't imagine telling one of them that they were a "mistake" or even thinking each had no right to live. The one who really WAS a surprise has been a great joy and has made us both very proud.

Can we look at ANY human being and seriously think that their very existence is a mistake?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The foundation of Natural Family Planning, which is the foundation of natural law, is that children are a gift from God to be embraced, not a disease to be eradicated.

Gene said...

Anonymous, if you had the initiative to click on my picture, you would have an answer to your question.

Now, the issue is not about what anyone "did" or did not do. The Church teaches, based upon the Ten Commandments and the Magisterium, that birth control and abortion are mortal sins. The fact that Catholics may stray or be hypocritical has nothing to do with it. The truth of the Church's teaching is not predicated upon, or determined by, human behavior. If every Catholic in the world were as apostate and hostile to the Magisterium as you are, it would not matter. The Church teaches based upon the truths of God revealed to her...that's it.

Now, you need desperately to get a theological education or something. You contribute nothing of substance and appear to be just a whiny, disaffected, ineffectual (can I say "punk" on the blog, Fr?) individual.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thank you for that thought, George. I believe you have it exactly right.

But what are the implications of your very beautiful and true thought beyond the issues of contraception and abortion? It is really easy to talk about the “hard teachings” concerning contraception and abortion. The “rules” seem so cut and dried, not much grey, etc (until one actually gets among the weeds of human brokenness, of course, and the actual conditions for mortal sin, something the hyper-legalistic mind tends to shy away from, even though those conditions are also part of the “rules” in fact).

But take your thought and try to tease out its implications for other areas of Catholic teaching – war, poverty, creation care, relationships with non-Catholics or non-Christians, especially, horror of horrors, Muslims, and one might very well be accused, by certain voices, of being a “liberal” or “progressive” or “wishy-washy” or “naïve” or an “enemy of the Church” (or even “apostate”) or whatever (I know because it happens to me and some others all the time here) and efforts will be made to show that the Catholic teaching on these matters, which are resonant with your thought, are somehow not quite legitimate even though they are in the Catechism.

Now, I accept the teaching of the Church on contraception and abortion. I also have some understanding of how difficult it can be to live up to them in practice (as does the Church, of course, in her pastoral mode). But I also accept the other teachings of the Church as set out in the Catechism because I believe that is what it means to be Catholic.

These discussions of contraception and abortion would be much more convincing to me if people like Gene would say, for example with regard to the Church’s teaching on violence and war, what Gene says on contraception and abortion in the second paragraph of his 7:10 a.m. comment.: I’m waiting.

Anonymous said...

The phrase "contraceptive marriage" is simplistic, not simple. It does not fairly reflect the totality of any marriage .

A couple with four children is not living in a "contraceptive marriage." The eldest child suffers moderate retardation resulting from errors made by the medical delivery team. That child is loved and cared for in the home.

The second two children are enrolled in Catholic school and are supported financially by their parents and generous anonymous donors. The fourth child will, in all likelihood, attend Catholic school as well.

The family is highly involved in the life of their parish and are recognized as fine examples of Catholic life.

Although they want more children, this couple has chosen to have no more children at this time. They are young enough to wait a decade of that is their choice. And this is not a decision that has been made without great prayer and conscientious struggle.

To say that they are, by using artificial birth control, living a "contraceptive marriage" is simply not accurate. Their marriage, on many levels, is life-giving and life-supporting. They should not be expected to refrain from communion.

Simple answers to complex problems and simplistic "labels" thrown about with little concern for the full lives of people do more harm than good.

Gene said...

Wrong again, Anonymous.

Anon 2, Well, keep waiting. There is a huge qualitative difference between the ideology of contraception and abortion and that on war and violence.
Now, when you talk about "teasing out" implications, this is where your subtle dissent shows through. You speak almost grudgingly of how you "accept the teaching of the Church on contraception and abortion...." Wow, how magnanimous of you. Guess what..there are some absolutes. I know that breaks your lawyer heart. LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...


And you accuse Pater Ignotus and others of prevarication? How rich!

Do you actually read what people write or do you just pull out the “talking points” insult du jour that seems to fit the particular shade of your apparently generally foul mood most closely from your labelous and libelous collection (How about a number 46 “subtle dissent,” and let’s throw in a number 52 “how magnanimous” and 31 “lawyer’s heart” for good measure)? Oh sorry, I forgot – It’s all_my_fault for not being clear enough.

I won’t even bother to deny your baseless allegations. That they are baseless should be clear to any reader. When you are yourself actually prepared to read instead of just venting your spleen, and when you are ready to stop prevaricating on the teaching of the Church and the CCC, let’s talk again.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anonymous at 3:36: It IS simple. Any nuance (suggested by your phrase simplistic) can be easily explained and understood by this simplicity.

It's obvious from the context of the bulletin letter that a "contraceptive marriage" in one in which the couple willfully have chosen at some point to separate the link between sex and fertility in an illicit manner with the intention of avoiding pregnancy.

Anon at 5:43: You fall (or more likely in this case leap) into the same trap of erroneous thinking as most justifiers of contraception. "But what if it's dangerous for us to keep having children? What if we can't afford more children?" In reality, that isn't the question that's really being asked. The REAL question people mean is "But what if we can't afford more children but we aren't willing to give up having sex?" is the unspoken part.

The answer to the question as actually phrased is "Quit having sex," but that isn't an aceptable answer to those (such as yourself) who have been compromised by a contraceptive mentality.

At any rate, 5:43, you have openly conceded that you reject the authority of the Catholic Church, so we need not trouble ourselves with your opinions any longer. I'll be happy to discuss the nature of Catholic authority with you if you're interested in exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic, but otherwise please don't bother us with your ill-informed and erroneous opinions.

Anon. at 2:15: The couple you describe are in fact living nearly the epitome of a contraceptive marriage. The fact that they have reached their decision prayerfully matters not one whit, because the decision they have reached is not one that the Catholic Church recognizes as acceptable. This is not my view: it is the teaching of the Magisterium. If you can't handle that particular truth, your problem is not with me but with the Church.

Hammer of Fascists said...


Regarding your 12:05, while I agree with you in principle, I do think you need to take into account some practical differences between the birth control/abortion issues and the war issue.

War is a communal social activity. As such, few of us are in a position to curtail it except insofar as we can/do "think globally/act locally," e.g. trying to vote for candidates whose position on war will most likely reflect or conform to Catholic teaching. Furthermore, since some wars are justifiable (if not good) under Catholic doctrine, there can be a lot of grey area there.

Contraception and abortion, in contrast, allow for/impose a much greater personal degree of control over outcome. I can't by myself stop an attack on Syria, but I can use a condom (or not). And with abortion, in particular, we're dealing with something that's intrinsically evil, which makes the analysis a lot easier. Yes, there are grey areas here, they aren't very grey: double effect, properly understood, will answer most of the abortion issues that are likely to surface, for instance, as well as issues about the Pill, even though that principle may not spare parents emotional turmoil. (One can be upset about a right decision and quite comfortable with a wrong one).

Thus, contraception/abortion are excellent litmus tests to determine one's orthodoxy, to see how much skin in the game one has. (The fact that it is also an excellent _political_ right/left test is unfortunate, but it simply must be taken in stride.) The teaching on contraception is clear. The teaching on abortion is clear. If someone can't accept those teachings, then he shouldn't be going to Communion, and he should probably just go to a Protestant Church in order to quit confusing people. It's less than useless to try to claim a Catholic identity in the face of such defiance of authority by praying about it or keeping your kids in Catholic school or being active in the parish; in fact, it's scandalous. At best it's an attempt to fool one's self; at worst, it's a fundamentally dishonest attempt to subvert from within.

Anonymous said...

How is it that some people are given a pass when it comes to the VERY clear teaching of the Church regarding going to mass EVERY Sunday and Holy Day, but in the area of the Church's teaching on contraception, there is no such leeway given?

People here have defended the self-serving choice some posters have made to skip mass, even lauding them as outstanding Catholics, making all kinds of excuses for their patently un-Catholic behavior. But the couples, seeking to find what is best not only for themselves but for their families, are raked over the coals.

There is a double standard, it seems to me.

Anon friend said...

A5, you definitely have put into words what the Church teaches with the practical lay interpretation of a faithful Catholic. It is NOT EASY!! But there really is not much gray area for the faithful. I have my own trashy story about living in the "gray" in my youth. There really is no salvific grace there, only darkness. Then, when prayer led me to live Church teaching, four kids later with serious financial problems, the suffering at times was real. I really DO understand how hard the path is--believe me, I have lived it. But the grace is sometimes overwhelming!

Gene said...

Anon 2, Exactly where am I prevaricating? Also, you have not addressed the questions I posed regarding the existence of the church vis a vis her enemies.
You say you "accept" the Church's teachings...but do you believe you agree with them?

Anonymous 2 said...

Okay, Gene, still you refuse to read, but I will in fact respond to you, despite what I said in my last post, in a further attempt to help you understand what I said there.

I said that you prevaricate on the teaching of the Church and the CCC – and you do. Thus, in your 3:21 p.m. post you sidestep questions or issues about the Church’s teaching on war and violence, for example, by asserting “a huge qualitative difference” between that teaching and the teaching on contraception and abortion and said that I would have to “keep waiting” for you to say, with regard to these other teachings, what you say in the second paragraph of your 7:10 a.m. post. Similarly, in your comments on CCC section 2267 on capital punishment from last week, you chose to ignore most of the section and instead zeroed in on one little phrase in that section.

No, I will not answer your questions until you affirm that you accept the teaching of the Church as set out in the CCC in its entirety. If and when you do that, and specifically if and when you say that you accept CCC section 2267 in its entirety – if and when, in other words, you prove that you are not a cafeteria Catholic – I will answer your questions but not before. And don’t you DARE say that this proves I am a dissenter or an apostate or whatever.

I am at the end of my patience with you and simply refuse to play your juvenile game any longer. Sorry if this is harsh but I think everyone on this Blog knows how patient and forbearing I have tried to be.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon 5:

By contrast, how pleasant it is to have a conversation with you, even though we may disagree on some matters! But then, you also have a “lawyer heart,” so you actually do read what people write and make a good faith attempt to understand their meaning. Thank you.

And I agree that contraception and abortion are good tests of orthodoxy. But so is acceptance of the CCC in its entirety, and that is my point, as I know you understand. It is about accepting what the Church teaches on_all_matters and reflecting that fidelity in what one says and does. One has control to this extent at least, even if one might not have the same sort of personal control over actual outcome. And yes, I know that is hard to do. Just as it is hard for some to accept the Church’s teaching on contraception or same-sex marriage, so also it is hard for others to accept the Church’s teaching on war and capital punishment. But there it is. We don’t get to pick and choose the bits we like and reject the bits we don’t.

Gene said...

Now, Anon 2, with regard to CCC 2267..."the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor."
Now, pay attention here..."If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means...."

Presumably, "non-lethal means" refers to life in prison or long-term incarceration. Perhaps it means some kind of rehab (laughable).
What the CCC is indicating does not exist. It is every day news that some paroled felon or some deviate who was given a meaningless prison term has killed someone or molested a child or whatever. Liberal parole boards, trial lawyers, and liberal judges have made punishment meaningless and ineffective.
So, the death penalty is, in our culture, the only possible way of defending human lives against unjust aggressors. So, law professor, graduate a generation of lawyers who respect the law and believe it should be applied properly and I will change my thinking.

"The Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty..."

Hammer of Fascists said...

A2: Thanks for the compliment. You may have misunderstood me: I didn't mean to blow off the rest of the CCC in focusing on birth control/abortion. To be Catholic, one must accept the Catholic faith--all of it. But asking, as a litmus test, whether one accepts the CCC is sufficiently broad-brushed that it a) invites mental reservation and b) includes doctrines that have grey areas. Furter, most modernists, I imagine, tend to the political left and would thus have no problem accepting the (badly-misnamed) "social justice" parts of the CCC.

A statement on acceptance of the Church's teachings on birth control and abortion is a) specific, b) black-and-white, and c) counter to the political liberalism of today's culture, as well as modernism. If someone accepts these teachings, he _likely_ (note the qualification) accepts Catholic authority in toto.

Of course, this raises the question of why laity should go around demanding litmus tests of other self-professed Catholics. In one sense that practice is certainly officious. But in an age in which heterodoxy is running rampant within the Church, in a forum like this that's devoted to informed discussion of the liturgy and other theological matters, a mutual regard for the truth and its discovery requires that we all be honest about "where we're coming from." In my experience modernists are often very willing to dissemble about this in order to give a false impression that they are orthodox in an attempt to legitimize their position. Litmust tests, therefore, are sometimes a necessary means of ensuring an open and honest discussion (or at least to put people on notice that there might not be complete honesty in the discussion).

Gene: The debatable question is whether "non-lethal means" we have are in fact "sufficient." Does that go to the nature of the prison, or the administration of the criminal justice/parole system, or the substantive law, or the abuse of the system, or all of the above? It's doubtful that anyone is ever going to escape from a supermax prison. In other words, is it in line with the CCC to say that because some criminals can be paroled under a given criminal justice system that we must execute all criminals accused of a capital crime? It just isn't as cut-and-dried as the contraception/abortion issue.

Gene said...

Anon 5, The evidence from crime statistics, news media, and the state of our cities overwhelmingly indicates that whatever system is in place is not "sufficient." Prisoners do not need to escape when liberal parole boards pardon them or when they are never sent to a "superman" prison because liberal judges believe they are a "political prisoner" or that they can be rehabilitated. The system is broken; law abiding citizens and innocents are not safe. Can you possibly dispute this?

Gene said...

Once again, I concur with Anon 5 regarding the dissembling of the Leftists and the "litmus test."

But, let's look further. There is a big difference in saying "I believe in the Church's teachings and agree with them" and in saying "I accept the Church's teachings." If a kid wants to go play with matches and his father says no, the kid has to accept his father's decree even though he may be angry about it and not agree with it.
So, the angriest, most apostate Catholic who remains hypocritically in the Church in hopes of changing her will often say, "Yes, I accept the Church's teachings." But, acceptance can be very grudging and disingenuous. When I was confirmed, I confessed, "I believe and confess all the Church teaches..." not "I accept the Church's teachings."
I accept that the law says we cannot go into known gang and thug areas heavily armed and wipe them out 1880's vigilante style. I do not agree with it and I think it is stupid, but I accept it because I do not want to go to prison.
Likewise, progressives "accept" the Church's teachings because they do not want to be excommunicated or marginalized so they can work their subversive deceit from within.
So, saying "I accept the Church's teachings" means very little in the way of devotion and in, "Yeah, yeah I accept that the Church teaches against abortion, so what."
So, I do not trust ambiguous statements or sophistic ramblings. I cannot stand sitting on the hurts the family jewels.

Pater Ignotus said...

Promoting "Social Justice" is an essential element of the mission of the Church.

CCC 2419 "Christian revelation . . . promotes deeper understanding of the laws of social living." The Church receives from the Gospel the full revelation of the truth about man. When she fulfills her mission of proclaiming the Gospel, she bears witness to man, in the name of Christ, to his dignity and his vocation to the communion of persons. She teaches him the demands of justice and peace in conformity with divine wisdom.

2420 The Church makes a moral judgment about economic and social matters, "when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls requires it." In the moral order she bears a mission distinct from that of political authorities: the Church is concerned with the temporal aspects of the common good because they are ordered to the sovereign Good, our ultimate end. She strives to inspire right attitudes with respect to earthly goods and in socio-economic relationships."

The Church is rightly concerned with Social Justice because of the injustice that does harm to individual, families, and communities.

Pater Ignotus said...

To argue that "There are people in the system who prevent its working properly, therefore the system itself is flawed" is a bogus argument.

The Church does not propose that a system of criminal justice which operates without flaws is required to obviate the use of the death penalty. Perfection is not attainable in this life, and insisting on perfection often results in no improvement of any kind.

Marc said...

The teaching on the death penalty in the Catechism isn't doctrinal... No catholic is bound to believe it as it is only the opinion of one pope. So, that isn't a very good argument, A2.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Gene: I don't dispute your statements, but I think it is possible to dispute that they don't speak to what the CCC is speaking about. If we have "sufficient means" but simply refuse as a society to use them, I'm not sure that's license under the CCC to execute people.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Gene: re your statement "Likewise, progressives "accept" the Church's teachings because they do not want to be excommunicated or marginalized so they can work their subversive deceit from within."

Are you kidding me? Name one modernist who fears excommunication in this day and age, and accepts doctrines because of his fear of it.

Pater: What you describe and quote is Catholic social teaching. We shall never achieve social justice this side of heaven; continuing to use that term can insidiously make people think otherwise and thus distorts Catholic understanding of the fallen nature of the world.

Gene said...

It becomes a practical matter. All the theory in the world, a theoretically perfect system, means nothing if it is broken.
The very fact that the system can be prevented from functioning for years by "people in the system" is, in itself, a flaw in the system.
I would argue that viable implementation is a part of the definition of "sufficient means." We now have sufficient means to terraform what.

Anonymous 2 said...

Pater and Anon. 5: Thanks for weighing in on the capital punishment issue. I have little to add except to respond to Marc’s point.

Marc: If understand you correctly, you are suggesting that somehow urging respect for CCC section 2267 isn’t a “good argument” because “no Catholic is bound to believe it” and “it is only the opinion of one pope.” As I understand the matter, the Catholic teaching on capital punishment as set out in CCC 2267 is not an infallible teaching and thus does not “bind” in the way that the infallible teaching on abortion does, for example. However, that certainly does not mean it is not a “good argument.” The parallel in the law, of course, is the distinction between binding precedent and persuasive, or indeed highly persuasive, authority. And that brings me back to Gene (saving the best for last =)).

Gene: All I am seeking from you is a statement that you “accept” (yes, that is all I ask) the teaching of the Catholic Church as set out in the CCC, including especially section 2267. You still have not made such a statement but have instead argued about the_application_of section 2267 (is that implied acceptance?). Let me help you with this. Here is the USSCB document answering questions about the CCC, including its authoritative status for Catholics. Questions 16-19 are particularly relevant here:

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - The idea that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not "doctrinal" is, forgive me, absurd and patently false.

In the Apostolic Constitution "Fidei Depositum" on the Publication of the Catechism of the catholic Church, Pope John Paul wrote:

"3. THE DOCTRINAL VALUE OF THE TEXT - The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom."

It is " a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine..."

To suggest otherwise is foolish and dangerous.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 5 - Catholic Social Teaching is based on and leads us to Social Justice. You can't have one without the other, so the distinction is rather pointless.

Using the term "Social Justice" urges us on toward greater social justice. No one expects we will achieve perfect social justice in this life. I think your concern that people will be misled is entirely idiosyncratic.

We pray and work for peace in this world all the time. Pope Francis has called us to do so this Saturday. Does that mislead people into thinking that we will achieve perfect peace in this life? Hardly.

Marc said...

A2, yes, you have indeed completely understood me. I am, after all, an attorney who represents people in capital habeas cases. I don't think it's a good argument because you are comparing doctrinal apples to non-doctrinal oranges. Of course I am against the death penalty, partly for religious reasons. But this is not doctrinal like abortion or contraception are.

PI, any section in the CCC is only as authoritative as its underlying doctrinal basis. In this case, there is no doctrinal teaching against the death penalty.

Marc said...

Here is an examination of the Catholic teaching on capital punishment:

Gene said...

Anon 2, Of course I BELIEVE that when sufficient means are in place to protect the innocent then capital punishment will no longer be necessary in most cases. I do believe that it should be maintained for particularly heinous crimes.

Gene said...

Social justice is a garbage designation for Leftist/collectivist social engineering schemes and ant-capitalist, anti-free enterprise ideology. The Church should be ashamed of herself for being sucked into such nonsense. The term is so heavily politically loaded that we should cease using it.

Anonymous from INQUIRY class said...

So Gene, is it only fear of prison and the law of the land that stops you from shooting up neighborhoods you identify as gang havens.
Talk about cafeteria Catholic. You are either pro-life or not and openly voicing a desire to shoot up a group of human beings albeit seemingly dangerous ones, seems to me quite offensive to God's demand that we leave the judgement to Him.
Your aggressive, berating, and ugly comments leaves me seek another church. RCIA at St Joe is a farce with you as one of its lead instructors.

Marc said...

Anonymous from Inquiry, you haven't done a very good job reading Gene's comments, I'm afraid.

I hope you'll listen to the sermon I posted above that examines how capital punishment is consistent with being pro-life so you can more fully understand the issue from a Catholic perspective. Gene's comments regarding defense of others, which is what he's always promoting, are not only clearly in line with the Church, but are precisely Christ's teaching.

Don't be fooled by the Internet. I think this blog's comments are not for the inquirer since we are here assuming an understanding of Catholic teaching that you may lack.

That said, I find this thread to be disturbing for many reasons. None of them involve Gene.

Don't take your cues from the sissies and apostates, even if they are wearing a Roman collar...

Hammer of Fascists said...

Pater: For what it's worth, I've heard the phrase "social justice" invoked many, many times during the intercessions at Mass (1000 plus probably isn't an overestimate). To my knowledge, never once have I heard it expressed in the relative terms you describe, viz., the achieving of more or greater social justice. It's always been couched in absolutes: the achievement of social justice, without any qualification.

You can fence with me regarding a) the intent and b) the effect of such prayers, but I assume the people composing them mean what they say and say what they mean. I further assume that when a pattern is that clear, consistent, and long-running, it isn't coincidental. And if political correctness has taught us anything, it is that words affect thinking. Thus, I see the phrase "social justice" use in a Catholic concept to be influential, dangerous, and theologically erroneous--all the more so since, like "Left," "Right,' "liberal,", "conservative," and "progressive," it has strong secular elements that have no proper place in Catholicism. It's a collectivist/utopian idea, born of modernism, Marxism, and the Social Gospel. As such it perverts Catholic social teaching.

Anonymous from INQUIRY class said...

maybe Fr should post a disclaimer to his readers. Non-Catholics should not read this blog. So are you trying to hide CAtholics acting badly toward one another. One does not need to be Catholic to read the sarcasim and name calling. So it is ok to call ordained priests sissies and apostates?
I am confused. I should listen to you, not the CCC, not the Holy Father, and not some priests who are deemed too liberal by your defintion.
I am not some local yocal who needs the faith dumbed down until i get permission to react.
The cat is out of the bag, and it will be difficult for me to take anything Gene says in class seriously.
I love the orthodoxy of St Joe, but if this is what it does to people i will settle for a more moderate RCIA and pray for you all.

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc and Anon from Inquiry Class:

Thank you for posting the link to Audio Sancto, Marc. I have now listened to it. I hope you have too, Anon.

As I said in my post at 4:24 p.m. the teaching of the Church on capital punishment as set out in the CCC, which also reflects the position of Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, is not infallible and is not binding. However, I believe it is wrong to say, as the particular priest does in this homily, that it is not a “teaching of the Church.” If you go on the link to the USCCB document answering questions about the CCC that I provided, you will see that the CCC is very clearly described as containing the “teaching of the Church.”

Now, it is true that different “teachings” carry different weight but that does not mean they are not all “teachings.” Moreover, it is clear that non-infallible teachings cannot be “disregarded or ignored.” They must be taken seriously, even if Catholics are ultimately permitted to disagree with them (ultimately, after considered and prayerful reflection, I would say). So, yes, you or Gene may ultimately disagree with the “teaching” on capital punishment in section 2267. But, as Catholics, we must, I believe, “accept” the “teachings” as set out in the CCC and accord them their proper weight and treat them with the proper degree of deference.

Unless I am mistaken, the priest in this audio homily is a very traditionalist priest, who wants to maintain the traditional teaching of the Church on matters like capital punishment. The scorn in his voice at the “updating” of the 1992 Catechism on the matter of capital punishment to reflect Pope John Paul’s views in Evangelium Vitae is palpable. According to this priest, the “teaching” of the Church does not “evolve.” This is, I believe, a dissenting minority position. The “infallible” teachings of the Church do not change. But, of course, the teaching of the Church on capital punishment is not “infallible” and this priest does not claim that it is. After all, if it had been an infallible teaching, Pope John Paul II could hardly have modified or elaborated it as he did. Therefore, the priest really has little basis for claiming that such teaching cannot change beyond an appeal to tradition. I suspect he is an FSSP priest (in communion with Rome) or an SSPX priest (not in communion with Rome) – probably the former. I expect he doesn’t like Vatican II either.

Also beware that the priest does not give you all the facts. For example, he refers to the views of Pope Benedict XVI as Cardinal Ratzinger that Catholics can disagree with the Pope on the death penalty, which as we have just discussed is true, but omits to explain that Pope Benedict subsequently called upon all countries to eliminate the death penalty (in 2011). Here are some links:

So, my advice would be to get all the facts, reflect prayerfully about them, and then form your opinion on the matter. Of course, if Father McDonald, Pater Ignotus, or another priest has a different view or considers that anything I have said needs correction, I trust they will say so.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon From Inquiry:

I was troubled to read your post, and especially by your statement that you may seek another church because of Gene’s comments on the Blog

I have been a member of St. Josephs for as long as I have lived in Macon (33 years, almost as long as I have been a Catholic). It is a beautiful church and I am deeply indebted to the parish and its fine priests for helping me to grow on my own spiritual journey. I feel very loyal to the parish although I do attend other Catholic churches in Macon sometimes, particularly Holy Spirit, which is where my parents liked to go during their visits when they were alive. That, too, is a lovely church, although physically and liturgically very different from St. Josephs, and Father Kavanaugh is also a fine priest and wonderful homilist.

I do not do any other blogging whatsoever, and only comment here because I care so much about St. Josephs and the Blog is run by my pastor at St. Josephs. I fear that I may have played my own part in provoking some of Gene’s comments that have disturbed you, and for that I am sorry. I do not know how long you have been following the Blog but there is a history to the friction you detect.

Now, I have never met Gene, although I would like to do so. I do not care for his methods and style at all. I find them uncivil and objectionable, and have said so. I also believe he is too extreme and too suspicious and too disrespectful sometimes of our priests, Pater Ignotus in particular. I have tried many different approaches in an attempt to get through to him, but none appears to work. So, in this thread, I finally lost my patience (I am, God knows, no saint). But, like Marc, I believe that his intentions are good and I hope that you will bear that in mind. Moreover, I suspect that he is an excellent teacher in RCIA. Above all, I hope that God leads you to the Catholic Church. It is where He led me and where He wants me to remain. The Church offers a spirituality of a breadth and depth that I do not believe you can find anywhere else, which, given what we believe about it, is not surprising.

I wish you well and will pray for you.

Anonymous 2 said...

No Gene, we are still not there yet. Your post at 7:43 p.m. is ambiguous. You could just still be talking about application of the language of CCC Section 2267.

Let me make this real easy for you. Here is a statement “I accept the CCC, including section 2267 on capital punishment, as representing the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church.” It is even easier because acceptance of the CCC does not mean you have to agree ultimately with non-infallible teachings in the CCC, provided you only reject such teachings after considered and prayerful reflection.

All you have to do is say “Yes” or “No.” Now, which is it?

And to help even more, I will now quote the relevant sections from the USCCB document on the CCC:

16. What is the doctrinal or teaching authority of the Catechism?

The Catechism is part of the Church's official teaching in the sense that it was suggested by a Synod of Bishops, requested by the Holy Father, prepared and revised by bishops and promulgated by the Holy Father as part of his ordinary Magisterium. Pope John Paul II ordered the publication of the Catechism by the Apostolic Constitution, Fidei Depositum, on October 11, 1992. An apostolic constitution is a most solemn form by which popes promulgate official Church documents. The new Code of Canon Law, for example, was promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges. In Fidei Depositum, Pope John Paul II said, "The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion." John Paul II also stated that the Catechism "is given as a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine."

17. Is the doctrinal authority of the Catechism equal to that of the dogmatic definitions of a pope or ecumenical council?

By its very nature, a catechism presents the fundamental truths of the faith which have already been communicated and defined. Because the Catechism presents Catholic doctrine in a complete yet summary way, it naturally contains the infallible doctrinal definitions of the popes and ecumenical councils in the history of the Church. It also presents teaching which has not been communicated and defined in these most solemn forms. This does not mean that such teaching can be disregarded or ignored. Quite to the contrary, the Catechism presents Catholic doctrine as an organic whole and as it is related to Christ who is the center. A major catechism, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, presents a compendium of Church teachings and has the advantage of demonstrating the harmony that exists among those teachings.


Anonymous 2 said...

18. Is the doctrinal authority of the Catechism equal to the documents of the Second Vatican Council?

Just as the Catechism contains the most solemnly defined dogmas of the Church, it also contains the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. The worldwide consultation of the bishops that preceded the promulgation of the Catechism gives it a collegial character. It is, as Pope John Paul II said, "the result of a collaboration of the whole episcopate." It would seem, however, that the Catechism did not have the benefit of the complete exercise of effective collegiality that accompanies the writing, disputation, revision, consensus, agreement and eventual promulgation of documents of an ecumenical council. But it must be noted that the form of a catechism is distinct from the form of conciliar documents. They are complimentary, but they are not identical.

19. Does this mean that the Catechism can be disregarded?

No. The Catechism is part of the Church's ordinary teaching authority. Pope John Paul II placed his apostolic authority behind it. Its doctrinal authority is proper to the papal Magisterium. In Fidei Depositum John Paul II termed the Catechism a "sure norm for teaching the faith" and "a sure and authentic reference text." He asked "the Church's pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life."

Gene said...

Anonymous from Inquiry, B'Bye.

Gene said...

Anon 2, I agree with everything you just posted about the Church's teaching on capital punishment. You did not read my post very carefully. The qualifier still remains..."if sufficient means," etc., etc."

Gene said...

For the rest of you on the blog, I do not allow my political beliefs or opinions to enter into my teaching in RCIA, neither do I make political comments. There is no place for that in teaching theology and doctrine to new Catholics. In fact, believing that theology and God's Word transcend human politics and the vagaries of current events, I have never subscribed to politically flavored theology (social justice theology, liberation theology, etc). This does not mean that I do not have strong opinions regarding social issues or that I will not express them on a blog designed for that purpose.
If someone chooses to quit Inquiry because of something I said on a blog, good riddance...they don't get what it is all about and would only become a whining pain in the tail to any pastor anywhere. Perhaps they would be happier in some Unitarian Universalist group somewhere where everybody is sweet and never raises their voice.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anonymous from Inquiry: I echo A2's 12:12 as well as Gene's 6:40. You will find him totally different in RCIA.

I will add some additional background here. Gene is an exceptionally well-trained former Presbyterian minister who encountered modernism in seminary. Modernism is an exceptionally dangerous heresy that for the past couple of centuries has been engaged in undercutting the core beliefs of Christianity, usually while passing itself off as Christianity. A few years back, convinced that mainstream Protestantism had largely fallen to modernism and compromised the core teachings of Christianity to the degree that the mainstream denominations can barely be called Christian anymore, Gene chucked his heritage and his vocation and became Catholic, believing that the Catholic Church is the last and only bastion against modernism and that the Holy Spirit will not allow error to prevail against the Church. So far, so good.

Now Gene finds that the modernists are hugely active within the Catholic Church as well. (On June 29, 1972, Pope Paul VI himself declared that "from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God." Part of this smoke is modernism; one of its effects, tragically, is to cause major fighting among people who are or claim to be Catholic, which understandably turns off non-Catholics.)

Having sacrificed more than most of us here to become Catholic, and having fought these guys for decades, Gene's patience with them has simply run out. He has found through long experience that few of the modernists are interested in open and honest discussion, since the modernist agenda has often operated by dissemblance and subterfuge while passing itself off as orthodoxy. In the modern world of blogs, this often takes the form of trolling. (I must say that he's convinced me of the truth of this, based on my own experiences with them.) So he's turned to scorn and derision, since they won't allow him to debate them fairly, and he does in fact go a lot farther with this than most of us here are comfortable with. But this blog is the only place I see him do that. And keep in mind that if the premises of orthodoxy are correct, and what you believe (as well as how you act) has real consequence for your immortal soul, then you can perhaps understand the impetus behind it. (It's indifferentism, a heresy linked with modernism, that declares that belief doesn't matter; orthodoxy has never accepted that.)

You will find that every Catholic is working through something; every Catholic has shortcomings. This blog is a rough place, because people who argue here believe that they are arguing about things that have life and death consequences. (I myself give no quarter in the logic department, although it is always my intention to show respect to individuals even when I find their arguments to be obfuscatory or simple garbage. Sometimes I perhaps fail to do this, particularly when i come to believe that someone here is acting in bad faith, but that is always my goal). In RCIA you will find requirements that you must accept certain things if you wish to profess the Catholic faith, but these requirements are couched in a civil manner.

I hope that these considerations are of some help to you.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon from INQUIRY - You have committed the sin that, in Gene's eyes, is unforgiveable. You questioned and challenged him. You have expressed opinions that do not line up with his peculiar notions regarding the teaching of the Catholic Church. And you have suggested that his behavior is dis-edifying.

You have made yourself what he would call an "enemy of the Church."

By the way - welcome to the club. And don't believe him.

As a result you have seen what Gene does in these situations - being dismissive of those who disagree with him and acting like a bully toward them in the hopes that, because of his bullying, they will just "go away."

Like Anon 2 I hope that you will not give in to this tirade and that you will continue to learn and to appreciate what the Church teaches, including the parts of that teaching that Gene rejects as "social justice theology." If that works for you at St. Joseph Church, well and good. If not, there are other options in Macon.

While some here get all flustered at the mention of Social Justice, here is what the Church - officially - says about it: "The Church's social magisterium constantly calls for the most classical forms of justice to be respected: commutative, distributive, and legal justice. (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 241) Ever greater importance has been given to social justice (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 1928-1942, 2445-2449) which represents a real development in general justice, the justice that regulates social relationships according to the criterion of observance of the law. Social justice, a requirement related to the social question which today is worldwide in scope, concerns the social, political, and economic aspects and, above all, the structural dimension of problems and their respective solutions. (see Pope John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, 2)

Hang in there and keep trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

Gene said...

Anon from Inquiry and others, When Ignotus (Fr. Kavanaugh) was asked directly by another blogger if he believed in the bodily resurection of Jesus Christ and the Real Presence, he refused to answer. 'Nuff said. He made all kinds of excuses, wiggled, rationalized, became self-righteous, and...never answered.
I consider him to be a pretender, a charlatan, and a liar whom God in His inscrutable wisdom chooses to use in persona Christi as a medium of his grace. Go figure.

Gene said...

Oh, and Ignotus loves the word "bully." He was probably the kid in grammar school who ran to the teacher every time somebody talked while she was out of class or threw a spit ball. This probably caused him to get his butt whipped by the big boys a time or two. He still doesn't know how to play with them, so he stands across the street and hollers, "nanananabooboo.

Marc said...

A2, I don't want to be involved in this mess anymore, but the priest in the homily I posted is in regular canonical standing with his bishop.

Anonymous from Inquiry, I was suggested basically that no one should read or participate in these comments.

Marc said...

By the way, A2, thank you for taking the time to listen to that homily. I hope to spend more time with your post this evening after I travel back home.

Obviously, I consider this to be an important topic given my career field is "social justice." :-)

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: I did read your post on capital punishment, but thank you for clarifying. However, you still have not answered “Yes” or “No” to the statement “I accept the CCC, including section 2267 on capital punishment, as representing the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church.”

I am asking whether you accept the authority of the whole of the CCC, including the section and capital punishment and other sections on other matters such as social justice. Remember, the issue is “acceptance” of its authority, which is different from whether you ultimately agree with or believe non-infallible statements in it.

I could be wrong but I am getting the sense that you are avoiding the question, much as you accuse Pater Ignotus of avoiding certain questions. Please prove me wrong.

Gene said...

No, I am not avoiding the question and I do accept the CCC. However, in the introduction, JPII says it is "normative." I take the entire context, including the preceding articles on self-defense and the protection of citizens by States, for what it says. You want to interpret it in one direction and I in another. There is room for both understandings. One day, we'll know which of us is right.

Gene said...

I was thinking about this thread while running this morning. I swear, any grown man who would cry "bully" would probably squat to pee.

Anonymous 2 said...


I do understand your reluctance to be involved in this mess any longer. I don’t really want to be involved in it either. It is unpleasant and dis-edifying and makes me feel spiritually dirty. However, I hope that you and other bloggers here understand that I cannot and will not allow Gene to push me around (“bully” if you like) any longer. I am tired of the constant suspicion and innuendo (and sometimes direct allegation) that I am a “dissenter,” subtle or otherwise, or a “liberal” or an “appeaser” or whatever other label takes Gene’s fancy. And I am tired of his incivility. His heart may be in the right place, his intentions may be good, but that is not, in my view, a justification or excuse.

I will never intentionally advocate or represent a position that is not in line with the magisterium as articulated in the CCC or other official documents of the Church. Gene has never been able to show that I have. I subjected myself to his “litmus test” when I first came on the Blog as an “Anonymous.” And I hope he did not mistake that act of humility for weakness. I can be pushed so far and no further, and I can see others pushed so far and no further, before I will push back. And you know, from your own experience of Law School, that I am fully trained to do it.

And now I want to see if Gene will respond to his own medicine and give a commitment that he too accepts the authority of the CCC in its entirety. If he is entitled to demand a litmus test of orthodoxy, then so am I.

Gene said...

Anon 2, I answered your question. Now, the fact that many of your posts have been so filled with qualifiers and hypotheticals leads me to think you are ambivalent about certain issues when you may not, in fact, be so. However, I did not pull my impression of you from a hat. Think about it.
"Bully" again. So, do you also squat to pee?

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for answering my question. I am gratified that we now have an agreed common foundation and reference point for future exchanges.

And now I will answer your questions. First, because I accept the CCC, I accept the teachings of the Church. I agree with and believe all of the infallible teachings. As for the non-infallible ones, I may even end up agreeing with more of them than you do.

Second, yes, of course the Church should defend against its enemies, just as then United States should defend against_its_enemies. We do not disagree on the end. Where we likely differ concerns some of the means.

As for where you get the impression about ambivalence, yes, I often have qualifiers and hypotheticals in my posts. Remember I have a legal training and am a legal educator myself. We are trained to recognize qualifications and develop hypotheticals to test the limits and application of reasoning. But, I submit, this is a very Catholic thing to do (not very Protestant perhaps but very Catholic). The Roman Catholic tradition is known for its emphasis on reason and is very intellectual. That is one main reason Catholic education is of such high quality. In other words it is in many ways very law-like (moral reasoning and legal reasoning have strong affinities). Section 2267 is itself a case in point.

Of course, the Roman Catholic tradition also has a very well developed mystical strand as well, something that sadly in these modern “rationalistic” times is often overlooked and forgotten. For example, whether or not a Catholic is drawn to exploring the mystical strand of our tradition, I believe that one of the greatest and most important counter-cultural things_all_Catholics can do is to proclaim loudly from the rooftops as we point to the Holy Eucharist: “This is God, really, truly present. Credo quia absurdum est” (perhaps pace Pope Benedict).

Regarding “bully,” I was echoing language used by others. Come on, Gene, you’re a big boy; you can take being called a bully now and then. Or do you squat to pee? =)

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. Re enemies: We probably also disagree regarding exactly who the enemies are. We see some of the same ones. But you see some I don’t and I see some you don’t.

Anonymous from INQUIRY class said...

I have been following Fr's blog because it presents an orthodox perspective, even when he says he is not that orthodox. I appreciated Fr Dawid's bulletin letter and was pleased to see that this church is not afriad to call its members to the hard facts and the challenging practice of the faith. So I would not be a "whining pain in the tail", but a faithful member of the church trusting in the guidance and teaching of our ordained clergy.
Anon 5 wants me to trust that Gene will be different in RCIA class. Anon 5 you make him sound like a victim of some horrible abuse. He has given up more than most?! How do you know what I or anyone else has given up? What makes his conversion so special that he has license to be disrespectful, hurl hateful comments, and show such disdain for authority. Your response sounded like a "poor Gene" letter. Some one should have said we must treat him with kid gloves. I would not have been so challenging.
If he has found in this church the same modernism he was escaping from then maybe he should be the one to go bye bye and continue his quest for the perfect church.

Pater Ignotus said...

Gene wants to convict me based on what I have NOT said.

Here are some examples of what Gene HAS said. You can draw your own conclusions.

(NOTE: Gene previously posted under the name pinanv525)

In response to another poster: "Anon who says Fr. words describe his writing. You are, undoubtedly, a proctologist's dream of Paradise..."
June 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Regarding African-Americans: "The women altar servers come juking and jiving down the aisle dressed in African looking clothes (made in China and bought down at Wal Mart)and they probably couldn't find Africa on a map. But, this is ok because they are black and nobody wants to be called a racist for saying anything about it."
January 18, 2012 at 7:34 AM

Regarding the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Ality, You mean the USCCB... United States Communist Cabal of Bishops...LOL! God help us...I cringe every time I hear they are meeting."
February 26, 2011 at 7:04 AM

Regarding the ACLU: "The ACL(F)U is the single most…"
December 23, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Regarding our culture: "WSquared, Yes, the "man cave" is one of the more unfortunate developments resulting from our feminist dominated, fag infested culture. *sigh*"
March 25, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Again, regarding Catholic bishops: "Bishops are remarkably naive. Unless they are speaking "in persona Christi" or ex cathedra they should be ignored."
January 27, 2012 9:23 AM

Referring to African-Americans as a "feral minority: "Oh, God. Don't tell me Ignotus is anti-gun. LOL!! It figures. That is so pitiful...I guess he really believes all those feral minorities he loves so much are gonna' give up their guns jus' 'cause we ax 'em nice. LOL!"
April 30, 2012, 4:38 p.m.

Gene said...

Anonymous from Inquiry, You are still whining. You don't have to treat me with kid gloves, son. You know where to find me every Sunday. We can talk face to face anytime you please.
Now, I have no disdain for "authority," Church or otherwise. Where do you get that?
As for disrespect, I have gone over this before, but since you are the new kid on the it not disrespectful for people to come on this blog under various "anonymi" and post carping comments or whining criticisms of the blog and those on it. Many have done so.
Is it not disrespectful for an angry, apostate Priest to come on the blog posting quotes and tripe from various apostate sources while taunting Fr. MacDonald with snide addresses and disdainful comments?
Is it not disrespectful for some newbie to whine about "mean people" or "disrespectful people" to Fr. in an effort to manipulate his and others behavior toward one with whom you have problem? Disrespect cuts a lot of ways.
As for challenging...your comments don't even make it into that ball park. I'm not fragile, on the blog or in person. So, let the good times roll....

Anonymous said...

Gene - Your disdain, no, your outright contempt, for Church authority comes from statements such as "Bishops are remarkably naive. Unless they are speaking "in persona Christi" or ex cathedra they should be ignored."
January 27, 2012 9:23 AM

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anon from Inquiry: If you have read my post as a "poor Gene letter," or suspect me of affording Gene license to say what he does, please re-read my post. I have no idea what you may give up or have given up. I do know that not a lot of people are called, like Gene, to give up a vocation as a direct consequence of becoming Catholic. I don't approve of Gene's tone, but I was trying to show him more charity than you are apparently willing to show me. While it's of uncertain provenance, I try to follow the adage "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

You have expressed concern about Gene's approach here and have suggested that it may spill over into his RCIA approach. I was attempting to answer your concerns with accurate information. I know as a matter of fact and from extensive experience that Gene is, in person, not like he is here. He's a good and a knowledgeable teacher. If you care not to accept my evaluation, or for any other reason you don't want to give St. Joseph RCIA a try, that is entirely your prerogative. I regret that you felt the need to attack me just because I expressed concern for your statements and attempted to try to get people here to understand each other better.

To all: My attempts at peacemaker have apparently failed. There are entirely too many people on this thread and on the blog in general who are acting in stupid and childish fashion. Given the level of education and intelligence that the regulars here have, that is both tragic and disheartening. Our failure to agree on even some of the most basic elements of Christianity doe suggest to me that while everyone (or nearly everyone) here claims to be Catholic, in actuality we are not all in communion with each other in any meaningful sense. That being the case, anyone who denies the Church to be in crisis is either deluding himself or is attempting to delude others.

This kind of exchange is doing nobody any good and it is no credit at all to Catholicism, however each of you may choose to define that term.

The well has been most thoroughly poisoned. I take my leave.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. 5 and all:

I agree that the impression we create on this Blog through our exchanges sometimes (often?) is not a good one, to say the least. There is, in my view, only one way to make peace here. I have given up trying to do it through the Blog itself, although I certainly support any and all continued efforts by others to do so.

Instead, I have suggested that everyone involved in the regular contentious discussions on this Blog – Anon. 5, Marc, Pater Ignotus, Gene, and myself – meet in person face to face as a group to study magisterial documents and the issues involved in their proper interpretation. I also suggested meeting individually, perhaps over lunch (or coffee). I know no-one else in the group, except for Pater Ignotus, although people apparently know who I am.

Moreover, a long time ago I invited Gene to approach me after 5:00 p.m. Sunday Mass, which he also apparently attends sometimes. I am usually there (when I am not attending Holy Spirit at 6:00 on Saturdays, which I do occasionally, or when I am out of town, which is rare).

So far, no-one has responded positively to my suggestions (except that, as I indicated above, I have come to know Pater Ignotus). I cannot understand why. I continue to wait and pray about this. Perhaps I am hopelessly naïve or quixotic, even at my age, but I cannot help thinking that if we who are supposed to be in mystical communion in the Body of Christ cannot do a simple thing like this, what chance does Syria have?

Gene said...

Iggnotus, I stand by everyone of those statements.
Anonymous, Disdain for the errors and misjudgements of Bishopsis not the same thing as disdain for Church authority.
Anon 2, So, you want a group therapy, feel good session. Nope, been there, done that.

Anonymous 2 said...


I was not suggesting a “group therapy, feel good session.” Those are your words, not mine.

But I am not surprised that you rebuff my suggestion. However, I also suggested individual face to face “encounters” (to use Pope Francis’s words) – just talking to one another in person, perhaps, but not necessarily, over lunch or coffee. It need not even be about Blog or Church-related matters at all. Do you rebuff this suggestion too?

Gene said...

No, Anon 2, I do not rebuff your suggestion. You and I would probably enjoy discussing history, literature, philosophy, etc. and I am sure I would benefit from your education and experience as I hope you might from mine. Issues on blogs tend to get narrowly defined and harshly argued in many cases. In person, we might simply avoid difficult issues or known disagreements.
Marc and Anon 5 I already associate with and always enjoy and learn from their company. I draw the line at Ignotus because, by his very nature, he would be as disingenuous in person as he is on the blog.

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for your response. I look forward to meeting you, as I do to meeting Marc and Anon. 5.

If you and Pater Ignotus were to meet in person, I suspect that you might very well form a different opinion of one another. As you suggest, blogs are not the best places to interact.