Jesus loves kidnappers, too…

“5 Now the end of the commandment is charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith. 6 From which things some going astray, are turned aside unto vain babbling: 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither the things they say, nor whereof they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully: 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for the just man, but for the unjust and disobedient, for the ungodly, and for sinners, for the wicked and defiled, for murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For fornicators, for them who defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and whatever other thing is contrary to sound doctrine”.

– I Timothy 1

Have a heart. We all make mistakes. Each person’s story is unique, and must be judged on a case-by-case basis in light of the full range of moral variety in our complex modern society. The world needs the caress of Holy Mother Church, not the decrees of a crabby Moralizing Master. The world is no longer so black-and-white, and mature theology must adapt to keep up with the fresh guidance of the Spirit in light of new pastoral needs. There is simply no place for harsh dogmatizing when tender souls–the wounded, lost sheep marginalized on the periphery of life–really just need better pastoral accompaniment.

Take kidnappers, for instance. The Church has always condemned kidnapping as intrinsically immoral, and as a complete barrier to partaking of the Eucharist. Being a mother of mercy, however, the Church also fully welcomes kidnappers–yes, even kidnappers!–back to the fold once they repent of their crimes, receive sacramental absolution, and make penance as the first step to amending their lives.

Perhaps, however, it is time for the Church to be more creative with the pastoral tenderness to which Christ calls true Christian disciples. Instead of pitting the complex, concrete realities of what drove a person to kidnapping against the boundless blessings of the Eucharistic–as if the Eucharist were a prize for the strong, instead of a medicine for the weak!–the Church must draw upon the plurality of theological currents in Catholic Tradition and grant more autonomy to the conscience of kidnappers. After all, the Church can have her own opinion, but she cannot interfere in the spiritual life of others.

I propose, therefore, that kidnappers be allowed to discuss their plight with a competent confessor, undergo a period of suitable penance, and then be officially and openly welcomed back to the Eucharistic feast, based on the mystery of their own inviolable consciences. From the outside, it’s callously easy to condemn a kidnapper for maintaining his immoral lifestyle, but I think we can all relate to how hard it is to extricate ourselves from sticky moral situations once we find ourselves therein. From the outside, it is easy to say that a kidnapper should release his captive and fully amend his life if he really wishes to honor the Church’s teaching and be able to partake of the Eucharist. But again–how can we judge the concrete realities of another person’s life? A watch, as they say, is easier to break apart than to put back together again.

Therefore, we must meet people where they are, fully accept their brokenness, and try to build on the life they actually have, not drone on about Pharisaical castles in the sky. Who are we to say that a kidnapper cannot live an exemplary Christian life by relying on his own conscience, with suitable pastoral accompaniment, as he approaches the Eucharist? As long as the kidnapper in question ceases to torture his captive, ceases to demand a ransom, and promises to live a virtuous Christian life, the tragic complexity of his life as a kidnapper need not present an obstacle to full communion in the sacramental life of the Church. Indeed, the Eucharist is probably the grace most needed for such a pitiful soul in such a complicated moral situation! Good for them! I would have no sense of judgment on them, and neither should you.

Keep in mind that none of this long overdue pastoral creativity entails that the Church officially alter or abrogate her own dogmas. Perish the thought! This is merely a question of discipline, not doctrine! Hence, although the Church cannot and will not officially compromise on infallible doctrine regarding the evil of kidnapping, the scandalous fact is that Christian charity behooves the Church to assume that kidnappers are treating their hostages kindly and humanely, and to leave their private choices vis-à-vis the Eucharist up to them. Far from being a legalistic barrier imposed by the Church, refraining from communion must be treated as the responsibility of the kidnapper choosing to receive or abstain. While we must not deny the fact that living as a kidnapper is, according to official and permanently binding Catholic teaching, a grave moral imperfection–as well as a heavy cross for any Christian to bear!–the time has come for the Church to develop innovative ecclesiastical disciplines which can better equip those persons trying to live out the unique mystery of their vocation as kidnappers.

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About Codgitator (Cadgertator)

Catholic convert, of a Zorbatic bent. Freelance interpreter/translator. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of two-going-on-three. Multilingual, would-be scholar and fairly consistent fitness monkey. Writing and academic interests: interface of religion and science, history and philosophy of science, ancient and medieval philosophy, cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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44 Responses to Jesus loves kidnappers, too…

  1. Jesus not only received a kiss from Judas in the same garden that King David had wept in, prior to that, Jesus gave Judas Holy Communion.

  2. Thank you for enunciating the problem with exemplary obsequiousness. By your logic there is zero coherent basis for forbidding Communion to anyone. Congratulations. Who, again, is the crypto-Protestant?

    Catholicism is melting, it’s melllltiiiing! Oh, what a wuerl, what a wuerrrrl!

    I’m glad you’ve learned to enjoy the show.

  3. In any case, unfortunately, your attempt at exegesis says more about your willingness to compromise than about the truth of the Last Supper. Christ said that the hand that WILL betray Him is at the table with them. Prior to actually betraying Jesus, Judas still had a window of grace. But that nuance is not satisfactorily “pastoral” for you. If the winds from the Vatican spell indifferentism, you’ll croon that it’s all just a matter of discipline, but when challenged by the logic of the case, you have tried to justify the notion of open communion as biblical doctrine.

    Like I said, trolls come in many shapes and sizes.

  4. Dear BC. I thought that you’d be the last man to become infected with the Roar-Mewl response that is so characteristic of the recognise and resist STDs.

    Tis a pity for a man with a such a fine sense of humor.

    Well, I think it is time for me to collect my obsequious gear and immediately decamp and let y’all wallow in your woe.

    Pax tecum, friend

  5. There is no roar-mewl here, not from me, at least. Or perhaps you’d prefer I were in constant roar mode? Or perhaps only obsequious mewling is permitted? I’m at a steady grumble-smirk, as this post is meant to show. You of all people know the cross I’m bearing.

    In any case I really don’t see what’s humorous about scandalizing the faithful by juggling doctrine in order to appease rich adulterers. I certainly don’t think the Church will defect, but I find it as sad as it cowardly to try to put a happy face on schismatic agitating, in the name of “loyalty”. Given how you coddle the looming crisis, I see no basis for you objecting to the hypothetical scenario that Paul VI had issued an anti-Humanae Vitae. Had he gone along with the liberal commission it would entail that HV, as we have it, is false, simply because a pope backed the wrong horse on a “pastoral discipline.” But this is madness.

  6. Dear BC. Good point. How could Jesus have possibly known Judas had already betrayed Him by entering into a conspiracy with the Sanhedrin? I mean it was not like he was God or anything….

    Are you also preparing to abandon the Faith?

    If you are, I expect more or a reason than this; especially from one who prides himself (rightly) in his use of reason.

    Ok, this troll is out of here for good.

    Good bye and pax tecum to one I still consider a friend

  7. “21 ‘But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!’ 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.”

  8. This is exactly the problem. I welcome the sharpening of iron upon iron, and I welcome a slap in the face with Catholic truth. I think most of my readers are of the same mind. But what I cannot stand is the snarky condescension. You mistake civility for mewling, and then taunt irritation at your prodding for roaring. I also consider you a friend, but please stop with the casuistic needling.

  9. Dear BC. OK, I just saw this as I was decamping. You have gone way off the deep end in falsely accusing the Pope the way you do …juggling doctrine…schismatic agitating..; that is, you are accusing the Holy Father of acting with malign motives.

    You ought to take a break from all of this. You are locking your own self in a rhetorically schismatic cell with the sole key of escape being a heroic act of humility.

    Finally, I have acknowledged the cross you bear ( in fact, I was the one who introduced that as part of our conversations) and I have also been told by others about their woes but I have chosen to be a conscientious objector in the Woe War (but don’t kid your own self that I would suffer defeat in that war) for personal woes are no excuse to repudiate authority

    .OK, over and out, for good this time

    Pax tecum, friend

  10. Dale Price says:

    That would require engaging your arguments rather that ruling them out of bounds from the start. Hence the giddily inane attempt to paint you as Ricky Williamson Jr. (In his previous digital incarnation you would have been Wally Kasper II).

    By a providential contrast, a woman who read my post that was the fodder for his sense of superiority reached out to me yesterday. She disagreed with my assessment but offered prayers and said she’d have a Mass said for me. I was deeply moved by that, and said so. It helped a lot. Weird, huh?

  11. I’ve seen several parodies that look like this going around. My thoughts:

    1) I agree with them. This whole thing would be an extremely disappointing and depressing development if it does occur.

    2) At the same time, and keeping in mind that I don’t support the “pastoral exception”, I do disagree with those who liken being married after divorce as the equivalent to regular garden-variety adultery. I think the situation really is a lot more complex than people give it credit for. My grandmother was remarried after a divorce. To this day nobody in my family knows what happened in that very brief first marriage, but I know that her remarriage is why she does not consider herself a Catholic.

    Do I consider what she did adultery, knowing who she is and what could have happened to bring her to a state where she’d want a divorce? I suppose if you want to get down to it in technical terms, but I find my mother’s remarriage to my loving and wonderful grandfather who raised his children Catholic something quite different than adultery.

  12. mgl says:

    Wow. I thought I has become accustomed to BAC/IANS’s disingenuous mode of rhetoric–Communion for unrepentant mortal sinners is a mere disciplinary matter with no broader implications! Apologize, for Bishop Morlino has erroneously refuted an argument you never made!–but this takes the cake.

    Righteous outrage! Elliott has declared the Pope of schismatic agitating!

    … except that he didn’t. He was obviously referring to the German (and British, and American, and…) bishops who are agitating for this mere disciplinary modification, and threatening schism if they don’t get their way. Plus, I’m not sure it’s even coherent to speak of the Pope as behaving in a schismatic fashion.

    Anyway, you keep saying goodbye, yet you never leave. What’s with that?

  13. Murray says:

    Gah. WordPress aliases. That last comment was from me.

  14. Tony Jokin says:

    I find this sort of reasoning dangerous.

    When you say “does X really constitute adultery?” the answer is not determined by SUBJECTIVE CULPABILITY. It is based on OBJECTIVE CULPABILITY which your grandmother for an example will satisfies.

    A person who has remarried (and naturally will engage in intercourse) has committed adultery. How guilty are they of the sin? We don’t know. Frankly, none of us can say whether they are guilty, to what extent, or not guilty at all for that is the judgement that God alone can give. What we can say and SHOULD say is that the person has committed the sin of adultery and do everything possible to correct it and discourage such activity by those around us.

    Giving communion in such a case is detrimental to the sinner because he/she might incur another sin and judgement (or perhaps even a temporal punishment) as a result of receiving communion unworthily. It is also detrimental to other Catholics since it sends the message that adultery as a sin does not objectively exists. So if I feel the need to have intercourse with a woman I met today, I can go ahead with it because even I am do not know how guilty I would be of such a sin. Perhaps if my urge is strong enough, God forgives me? That is the message sent if we try to base our pastoral approach on subjective culpability which no one really knows including ourselves.

  15. Murray says:

    Malcolm,

    You may find this passage from canon lawyer Ed Peters to be helpful:

    Now, no one (at least, no one being taken seriously) in this debate denies that marriage is an exclusive union lasting until death, and few formally deny that living in pseudo/second marriage is objectively wrong—though many are confusing commission of objective sin with the incurring of personal culpability for sin and, based on their confusion, are rejecting the objective evilness of pseudo/second marriage itself.

    Emphasis added. So you’re correct that it’s complex: your grandmother’s actions in leaving her first (presumably sacramental) marriage and entering another were objectively sinful, but only God is in a position to evaluate her personal culpability for that sin. Keep on praying for her.

  16. Tony Jokin says:

    Great article and I think you articulated what I wanted to say to Malolm much better.

  17. No, all I claim is that Francis is being bizarrely coy in his opposition to the Hun Anschluss. He may not be applauding the clown show, but he’s not exactly putting a kibosh on such juggling. If you think this makes me a sedevacantist-in-waiting, then I congratulate the German schismatics on their peerless loyalty. Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to buy a bridge I have for sale?

  18. I don’t think this “pastoral exception” is in any way a good idea, or really disagree with anything you said.

  19. That’s a good article indeed, so thank you.

  20. Steveo says:

    Did not Judas leave the last supper BEFORE Jesus changed the bread and wine?

  21. This article argues that he did so, but I am not sure. Either way, the use of future and conditional grammar in Luke 22 indicates that Judas still had the free will to abandon his deal with the Pharisees, either by returning the money or simply running away. Then again, the entry of Satan into him very likely indicates the judgment (cf. I Cor 11:28-29) brought down upon anyone who eats and drinks unworthily of the Body and Blood of the Lord (i.e. precisely by partaking of the Eucharist outside of the state of grace).

  22. Alex says:

    so sad an understanding of God’s love. So a murderer or one who had an abortion can repent and go to communion even though they can’t undo what they did. But a person who gets divorced and remarries and repents later that that was a mistake and it can’t be undone for various reasons can’t be forgiven or receive Holy Communion again? wow.

  23. Dale Price says:

    Last time I checked, murder and abortion aren’t sacraments.

    Marriage is. And the spouses themselves are the ones who confect the sacrament, so certain safeguards are utterly necessary. Annulment is still a possibility, depending upon the mistake.

    The question is, there are people who just want a divorce, the sacrament be damned. What then? “Wow” cuts all sorts of ways.

  24. Tony Jokin says:

    The person who had an abortion repents and does not then go and have another abortion. They amend their ways and as penance, will probably do much to make sure they combat abortion.

    The divorce and then remarried on the other hand (as we are discussing here), repent and then proceed to go home and have sexual intercourse with each other. That shows either an insincere repentance or a refusal to amend their ways.

    So just as a murderer, abortionist cannot receive communion of simply being sorry about their past and continuing to murder and abort, same applies for a divorce and remarried.

  25. Tony Jokin says:

    Though I am posting in reply to Murray, I am also hoping maybe Elliot can also address this question.

    As the article above indicates, it is an error to go by subjective culpability and disregard objective culpability. But is there not a precedence of doing just this with respect to ecumenical work?

    For an example, Protestants openly hold to heresy, reject Catholic teachings and the authority of the Pope. But they are not considered to be in any gravely disordered state. Frankly, I don’t see the Church too troubled about their situation. In fact, the Church is quick to insist that they are not even heretics. There seems to be a presumption of them being innocent in the eyes of God due to subjective culpability and actions that follow it.

    Yes, one does not give them communion still but that seems to be based on more on the fact that they do not hold the doctrine of the real presence. But I get the sense that if they held that doctrine of real presence and still held on to other heresies (which seems objectively a sin), it would not be an impediment for receiving the sacrament.

    So….. can this happen with the divorced and remarried?

  26. “But I get the sense that if they held that doctrine of real presence and still held on to other heresies (which seems objectively a sin), it would not be an impediment for receiving the sacrament.”

    That may be the feeling on the ground, but it holds no water. To be in communion with the See of Rome is to be in communion with the Church, and to be in communion with the Church is to be in communion with the Eucharist as celebrated in union with Rome. By seeking to partake of the Eucharist, the hypothetical non-Catholic believer in the Real Presence is assuming to be in union with Rome, but that is a schismatic act, since he bifurcates Eucharistic communion from ecclesial communion, and thus fragments truth and reality per se. To partake of the Eucharist in a Catholic church is to declare that one not only agrees with and submits to Rome on points of faith and morals, but also respects the authority of the Church’s priestly delegates to bar or open communion. To sidestep or flout the authority of priests at Mass is to sidestep their union with and submission to Rome, and thus to spurn Rome itself.

    As a matter of fact, I know a woman who believes almost every Catholic doctrine (including the Real Presence), attends Mass on a regular basis, and who has even written rebuttals of Reformed critiques of Catholicism, yet who has for decades refused to join the Church. She gets it (though I admit I do not get her). Communion is not a cognitive, but a sacramental, act, and thus an ontological issue which is not ours to shape, but to accept. Just as mere belief in the Real Presence would not negate the schismatic nature of illicit communion, so a mere denial that one’s remarriage is immoral would not negate the heretical nature of such illicit communion.

  27. Tony Jokin says:

    Ok thanks this was very helpful Elliot.

    I used to hold the idea that communion must mean communion with the Pope and therefore all he teaches but looking in to responses by Apologists regarding the denial of communion to Protestants, I couldn’t help notice the stress that “we don’t give you communion because you don’t believe that it is the real presence” being the sole emphasis point. Time to get back to it because as you implied, it is the sole way of making sense of the Churches traditional emphasis on objective culpability and leaving subjective culpability up to God.

    That is one thing I like about your blog. It gives me a kick at the right time to remind me that I shouldn’t hastily abandon what I was traditionally taught for the modern apologist :)

  28. drprice2 says:

    Also, I think our primary concern should be with those who were abused in their marriages or were abandoned by their spouses. Those are the parties with zero (or close enough) culpability.

  29. Mary Griffin says:

    Even though you give no link to it, you are obliquely and yet obviously answering my blog post about Cardinal Dolan. For anyone interested, it is here:

    http://catholicinbrooklyn.blogspot.com/2014/03/bravo-to-cardinal-dolan.html

    On my blog post I wrote:

    “It is always easy to sit on the sidelines and see everything in black and white. It is easy to say one thing is wrong and the other is right, and to judge every situation alike. The problem is all people are different, all situations are different. Thank God that He judges each one of us individually. He looks at our particular situation and the extenuating circumstances.”

    Your answer at my blog was “Bravo, neo-con hackery. Bravo.” Your post here seems to be your more “fleshed-out” response.

    I will do a more complete clarification of my thoughts on my blog, but for right now I think the main problem you are having is you do not seem to understand the concept of Divine Mercy and its role in the contemporary Church.

    From St. Faustina’s Diary:

    “You will prepare the world for My final coming. (Diary 429)

    Speak to the world about My mercy … It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. (Diary 848)

    Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (Diary 965).

    I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. (Diary 1160)

    Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary 1588)

    He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146).”

    Pope Francis (and Cardinal Dolan) both speak of sin, but when it comes to the individual sinner, they do not judge. You obviously think that is wrong. But as I pointed out in my blog post, Our Lord never judged individual sinners either. As Christ revealed to St. Faustina, now is not the time of judgment, now is the time of God’s great mercy, and that is what He is calling the world to. For those who don’t respond, thy will have to face the time of judgment, and as revealed in St. Faustina’s diary, “woe to them”. One of the main reasons people don’t understand the post-conciliar Church is because Vatican II, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is all about mercy. If you only look through the eyes of judgment – as Traditionalists most especially do – then nothing makes sense and you think the Church has gone off track.

    As I pointed out in my blog, most Traditionalists today would condemn Jesus Christ if He was walking the earth today and refusing to condemn sinners as shown in the Gospel.

    I am sure you will completely dismiss my comment here as modernism, liberalism, “neo con hackery”, whatever. But I do hope that maybe somehow you will give it some thought.

    Read St. Faustina’s diary. The answers are all there.

  30. You are wrong. I did not even have an inkling of your post when I wrote mine. I have posts in draft form before I post them. Just because I think your post is odious does not mean I will attack it. And if I did choose to engage your blog, I would include a link. Your arrogance is breathtaking.

  31. In any case, there is a world of difference between Jesus, for example, consoling the adulterous woman CAUGHT IN SIN, and Dolan PUBLICLY APPLAUDING the sin of sodomy.

  32. Even more disgusting is your claim that the pre-Conciliar Church was not all about mercy. If it took the Second Vatican Council to get the Church on track, I know some lovely Lutherans who are waiting for you with open arms.

    I chose long ago not to engage you or your blog, and commenting at your Dolan post was a lapse in judgment, brought on by sheer stupefaction. Be assured it won’t happen again, and please be so kind as not to drop your smoke bombs at my blog.

    All the best,

  33. Mary Griffin says:

    Why is mercy odious? Why are you attacking the message of Jesus Christ through St. Faustina? For it is not me you are castigating. I do not take this personally at all because you don’t know anything about me. You are responding in great anger and self righteousness at the message of mercy. Why?

    And “all the best” after your castigation? I think a more honest send off would be you wishing me out in the cornfield.

  34. Murray says:

    Alex, with all charity, this is a great example of how emotionalism can mislead us into coming to erroneous conclusions.

    The Scriptural case could hardly be more explicit: the Second Person of the Holy Trinity Himself declared that marriage is indissoluble and remarriage adultery, and He also repeatedly reaffirmed the Mosaic Law forbidding adultery. We are simply not free to gainsay Him, no matter what the world or other churches and ecclesial communities do.

    In her compassion and pastoral wisdom, the Church has wielded her power to bind and loose in these matters by defining grounds by which some marriages may be annulled. Those who obtain annulments are free to marry. Those whose annulments are refused are bound to chastity. If they have remarried and are not able to separate, they are free to receive the sacraments as long as they make a sincere effort to live as brother and sister. If they fall (as all of us do in our own ways), the Sacrament of Penance is available to them, after which they can return to full communion.

    To put it in blunt terms, it seems the hill people have chosen to die on is the absolute right of remarried couples to engage in sexual intercourse. Only in a profoundly morally deformed culture does this even begin to make sense.

    Whenever we’re tempted to place our own judgment above God’s, or presume that, since He is love itself, we know how he should act when faced with a particular situation, remember Is 55:8-9:

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
    “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  35. IT’S NOT ODIOUS! What is odious is the claim that the Church was not sufficiently “into” mercy until Faustina, or V2, or Jp2, or whatever arbitrary benchmark.

  36. Mary Griffin says:

    From Pope John XXIII’s opening statement of the Vatican II Council:

    “At the outset of the Second Vatican Council, it is evident, as always, that the truth of the Lord will remain forever. We see, in fact, as one age succeeds another, that the opinions of men follow one another and exclude each other. And often errors vanish as quickly as they arise, like fog before the sun. The Church has always opposed these errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. “

  37. Murray says:

    It’s also worth pointing out that no Christian is bound by any private revelation, approved or not. It’s usually traditionalists going off the deep end with Fatima or Akita or the many fearsome visions of damnation by our saints, but here we have a modern Catholic hanging her novel theory of mercy on just such a revelation.

  38. And now you would read my heart? I do wish you all the best, part of which includes not bothering with a curmudgeon like myself. I also happen to know that part of my best requires not engaging poor reasoners like yourself. Is that a subjective claim? Sure it is, but the fact that your response to my post was precipitated on petty blog etiquette, and that you then tried to tar me as an enemy of Christ’s mercy, doesn’t help your status. Of course, it’s just par for the course, since months ago you all but called me a minion of Satan at your blog.

    I don’t know much about you, it’s true, but that cuts both ways. You don’t know me. I entered the Church on the wings of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, fully enamored of JPII, and totally hip to V2. I didn’t even know what calling someone a “traditionalist Catholic” meant until a few months ago. (Meanwhile, though, it’s pretty obvious you’ve got some heavy traditionalist baggage that you’re trying to unload on others these days.) I did not seek my current aporia; I bear it. It is painful enough without condescending needling like yours.

    So, yeah. Please just stay in your corner of the sandbox, and I’ll stay in mine.

    All. The. Best. According to God’s holy will.

  39. Yes, I forgot. Every single syllable uttered by a pope is Gospel. Silly me. (If you want to indulge in more such naivete, read the adorably naive lines immediately following those you cited from John XXIII.)

    Hey, if you want to give fodder to the discontinuity theory between V2 and all prior Tradition, you have a whole blog all to yourself. The Church has always been about mercy, or the Church has never been Christ’s. With a penchant for false dichotomies and emotivist pigeonholing like yours, no wonder you fawn over the current pontiff.

    Please stop commenting. You’ve provided enough entertainment for one day.

  40. Mary Griffin says:

    I will go away. But not before I say that you are completely mischaracterizing my words. I never called you a “minion of Satan.” You are putting words in my mouth, I disagreed with your harsh criticism of Pope Francis. And I still disagree with it. I am glad to see that you are trying to stay away from that at least for now. And I am not now “tarring you as an enemy of mercy.” I am saying you don’t understand it, because if you did, your post here would be much different. I truly am not trying to be condescending. I understand where you are coming from because until only recently, I too was at a loss to understand what is going on in the contemporary Church. But understanding the message of Divine Mercy makes it all very clear, and that is what I am trying to share with you.

    I’m sorry if I misinterpreted “all the best”, but it did seem a bit incongruous after your scathing comments and use of such words as “odious” and “arrogance.”

    I give one more quote from Blessed John XXIII’s opening statement at Vatican II:

    “She [Holy Mother Church] considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations.
    . . .

    That being so, the Catholic Church, raising the torch of religious truth by means of this Ecumenical Council, desires to show herself to be the loving mother of all, benign, patient, full of mercy and goodness toward the brethren who are separated from her. To mankind, oppressed by so many difficulties, the Church says, as Peter said to the poor who begged alms from him: “I have neither gold nor silver, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise and walk” (Acts 3:6). In other words, the Church does not offer to the men of today riches that pass, nor does she promise them merely earthly happiness. But she distributes to them the goods of divine grace which, raising men to the dignity of sons of God, are the most efficacious safeguards and aids toward a more human life. She opens the fountain of her life-giving doctrine which allows men, enlightened by the light of Christ, to understand well what they really are, what their lofty dignity and their purpose are, and, finally, through her children, she spreads everywhere the fullness of Christian charity, than which nothing is more effective in eradicating the seeds of discord, nothing more efficacious in promoting concord, just peace, and the brotherly unity of all.”

  41. Thank you for your thoroughness and charity. I know I come across as snide at times. I try not to. But some things REALLY set me off. One being the claim that I try to critique people without linking to them. The other being that the Church needed to “find Jesus” at V2. Another being a coda like the following, as it wraps up a lengthy post openly directed at me and my “confused”, “hubris[tic]“, “extreme”, and fundamentally un-Christian critiques of Pope Francis:

    “When you decide you need to ‘groan out loud,’ first remember who the accuser of the brethren is. Make sure you’re not aligning yourself with him.”

    The logic is clear, even if you choose not to spell it out:

    1) To groan out loud is to ally oneself with Satan.
    2) Elliot has groaned and is groaning out loud.
    3) Ergo, etc.

    If you can’t hear how you sound to others, or if you can’t fathom the received meaning of what you think are neutral words, then maybe you yourself should be more circumspect in blogging. I have openly admitted that I sinned against charity and prudence in my early reactions to this pope. Even at the time, I know how I sounded, and I know I sounded off like I did because I was bewildered, angry, and deeply wounded. I’ve come to really, really dislike talking about this papacy. Unfortunately, given how his personage has all but eclipsed and engulfed the Church, I have also almost come to dislike talking about the current affairs of the Church. It’s hard enough putting up with Catholics who want to give a pass to communion for bigamists.

  42. Mary Griffin says:

    The world, to use a worn out cliche, is a ball of confusion. Satan is very active and trying to deceive all of us. I have been wrong so many times in my life, and each time I thought I was absolutely right. I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer rely on my own reasoning at all. So now I listen to the one whom Christ said is the head of His Mystical Body. When his words, or the words of other prelates like Cardinal Dolan, don’t make sense to me, I bring them to the Lord and ask Him to make it clear. I usually find my answers by looking at the Life of Christ in the gospels.

    This is not to say that everything that comes out of the Holy Father’s mouth is 100% right and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Maybe he is wrong at times, but Our Lord promised us that we can never be misled by His Church. So even when it doesn’t make any sense to me, I keep holding on and wait for it to become clear. And if I never understand, it really doesn’t matter. I know this is Christ’s Church, and this is the only ark of salvation. So I’m safe here no matter what.

    We are in a battle for our souls, and we are no match by ourselves against the one who wants to destroy us.

    “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Prov. 3:5-6

    I promise I am truly done.

  43. Proph says:

    It is certainly not a work of mercy to encourage others in their sin, and there is simply no way to read “bravo” and “good for him” as anything but that — not mere silent, not mere abstention from judgment, but encouragement in sin.

  44. Tony Jokin says:

    Not to be picky, but you cannot conclude that one “can no longer rely on my own reasoning at all”. After all, you have to use reason to first know which is the True Church and understand that one must assent to the Church.

    On the promise of Christ, I think you have taken it a bit incorrectly to mean that anyone who is a clergy or perhaps high up in the ranks of the Church are protected when they give advise at all times. This is obviously not the case. Your parish priest can give you advise contrary to Church teaching. The Bishops and Cardinals can give you advise contrary to the Catholic teaching. The Pope himself when he is speaking in a context outside of binding his words on the faithful can give advise contrary to the Catholic faith.

    So you are right in following the Church by surrendering to her. But that means you must follow her teachings and commands. You shouldn’t obviously be following or defending the advise when it seems to outright contradict Church teaching or is outright imprudent.

    The danger in trying to simply defend or throw away reason so that you can fit the bad advise of prelates is that you end up deceiving yourself. You will start to read the life of Christ in a very “revisionist” manner. You might even fall in to a confirmation bias where you neglect evidence to the contrary (those who speak of Christ as being all soft and not upsetting of people fall in to this category).

Be kind, be (relatively) brief, be clear...

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