Abstaining from any further comment, but remaining confident that I was right to sign this 2015 letter and hopeful that any corrections needed to this new (scary) move will be carried out with still deeper humility and with due regard for truth and will conduce to charity, I simply say that I do not see how any Christian formed in Catholic doctrine could affirm any of these statements, and I hope none who may have stumbled near them will persist in them:
Some likely errors of our times (from the translation of the Latin core of the recent document linked above):
‘A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin.’
‘Christians who have obtained a civil divorce from the spouse to whom they are validly married and have contracted a civil marriage with some other person during the lifetime of their spouse, who live more uxorio with their civil partner, and who choose to remain in this state with full knowledge of the nature of their act and full consent of the will to that act, are not necessarily in a state of mortal sin, and can receive sanctifying grace and grow in charity.’
‘A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.’
‘A person is able, while he obeys a divine prohibition, to sin against God by that very act of obedience.’
‘Conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each other, although one or both of them is sacramentally married to another person, can sometimes be morally right or requested or even commanded by God.’
‘Moral principles and moral truths contained in divine revelation and in the natural law do not include negative prohibitions that absolutely forbid particular kinds of action, inasmuch as these are always gravely unlawful on account of their object.’
‘Our Lord Jesus Christ wills that the Church abandon her perennial discipline of refusing the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried and of refusing absolution to the divorced and remarried who do not express contrition for their state of life and a firm purpose of amendment with regard to it.’
Jesus comes to reveal to man his true dignity. He sets man free with the truth of the Gospel, free to become by grace what God calls humanity to be: adopted daughters and sons in the joy of his love.
This is why John Paul placed such stress on truth, especially the truth about man and his vocation, a vocation to lasting happiness in friendship with God. In the Gospel, Jesus gives us a new commandment, the new law of love. This new law does not abolish the Mosaic Law and the Old Testament commandments. It does not override the natural law written on every person’s heart. Rather, it fulfills them and helps us live them in a more perfect way. Jesus teaches us the truth about right and wrong, and this truth does not diminish our liberty: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).
As a result, John Paul II called for a deep renewal of Catholic moral theology, and also of the ways in which Christian moral teachings are presented to the faithful and to the world. He wanted the Church to recover her zeal in affirming that no richer life exists than one lived in the fullness of truth.
It’s precisely here—how the Church presents her moral guidance—that we still face serious challenges. Ironically, legalism is very much alive in the Church, even though it no longer looks like the rigorist, “conservative” legalism of the past. Legalist minimalism is just as deadly to the life of faith as legalist maximalism.
Many of today’s confusions about Catholic moral teaching stem from a one-dimensional morality of obligation.
OK, so I spent a significant part of the weekend revamping my merchandise site. I made several signature pieces and got rid of a bunch of early experiments, and let the “design ALL the goods!” robot do its thing on a few products I wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. Check out the possibilities–and if you do a whole “Dogma Lives Loudly” party, I want pictures!
Courtesy of the well-spoken, intelligent, long-lived, and utterly reprehensible Senatorial bigot Dianne Feinstein, we have a new and beautiful motto for Christians in these United States–a gift just in time for my birthday, which I was delighted to discover when I became Catholic was also the feast of the Birth of Mary, the God-Bearer, author of the Magnificat, whose unborn Dogma caused John the Baptist to leap in Elizabeth’s womb. May it truly be said of all of us, “the dogma lives loudly in you”!
Here, buy a shirt that says it and make my day by Tweeting a pic with it!