Don’t Use Exclamation Points

A two-part quiz for you.  First, who said each of these?  And second, which of these is most strongly worded?

[1] Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.

[2] the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman . . . is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.

[3] In other words they [advocates of same-sex marriage] want to reeingineer western civ into a slow extinction. We need healthy families with a mother and a father for the sake of the children and humanity!!!!

(source: Threatened for Her Zeal for the Faith | Matthew J. Franck | First Things)

Now, if you say, “Pope, Pope, Teacher,” you’re right.  So, which popes?

That’s right:  (1) Francis and (2) Benedict XVI.

So who is the teacher who is elevated to such august company?  (Read Franck to find out.)

Which of these statements is the most strongly worded?  Personally, I have to go with the attribution of particular (Argentinian) legislation directly to Satan, but maybe that’s just me; the claim that the future of humanity is at stake is also fairly heavy-duty.

But then, our famous “Who am I to judge” pontiff is pretty well known for his use of strong language about evil; one might even just say he calls it like it is.  To wit:

“Pope Francis never stops talking about the Devil; it’s constant,” said one senior bishop in Vatican City who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely. “Had Pope Benedict done this, the media would have clobbered him.”

(source: A modern pope gets old school on the Devil – The Washington Post)

And both those among the episcopate and those among the media who tend to be harder on good teachers than on the devil, well–may they find themselves humbled and listen to good teachers. Heaven help them if, in their hour of mortification, they have already fired the good teachers!

Fortunately, in some important places, the shoe is on the other foot:

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, in his courageous efforts to protect Catholic students in the Bay Area from the pernicious influence of the gay agenda, has invoked the natural law in stressing the moral unacceptability of gay sex and gay marriage.

(source: Trying to “Queer” Natural Law – The Catholic Thing)

…but unfortunately, there are plenty of Catholic schools out there that do not take seriously the mission set out for them by the Church, do not conform to Ex Corde Ecclesiae (or conform only under logic-chopping, hair-splitting, even duplicitous conditions), and so end up being represented like this in the public square:

Professor Gutting offers two arguments for his belief that the natural law supports the gay agenda, the first of which exposes the weakness in both arguments. This argument has to do with what Gutting sees as the beneficial effects of “nonreproductive,” i.e. gay, sex. He puts the argument in the form of this question: “even if nonreproductive sex were somehow less “natural” than reproductive, couldn’t it still play a positive role in a humanly fulfilling life of love between two people of the same sex?”

(source: Trying to “Queer” Natural Law – The Catholic Thing)

Gutting, of course, has managed to misunderstand almost everything possible, just in this one question–and McInerny does a fine job of setting him straight. Let me just add that the use of “natural” that Gutting scare quotes, here, is not at all the meaning of “natural” in “natural law.”  This is a case of missing the point, writ large; it is like assuming that “ecumenical councils” were all about getting past “dogmas that divide.” At best, it is not the sort of thing that should be encouraged among Catholic teachers. …and we certainly ought not see Catholic teachers threatened for agreeing with their Holy Fathers.  

It is high time for some remedial lessons, across the board. Rally to those who do stand, and encourage them to do more, friends.  

It is vital that we learn to show real compassion, and that starts with learning to tell the truth and shame the devil.

11 thoughts on “Don’t Use Exclamation Points”

  1. pgepps

    One always wonders whether there’s more to it, but–as far as I can tell, there’s not. See and

    Unbelievable, really. Here’s the language that the person who launched the witch hunt used:

    “This nightmare dumpster human taught me in high school, and still teaches there. Keep it classy, Immaculata”

    If there is actually something bad happening here, something patently offensive, nobody has come forward with it–and if there really is, someone really should. The only hateful, accusatory, damaging speech I’ve seen in any of the reports, the tweets, and the petition comes from those obviously hostile to this teacher.

    “Every form of unjust discrimination is to be avoided.” That’s the rule we’re held to by our Church.

    What rules do these torch-and-pitchfork crowds observe?

    And what standards do our own ecclesiastical superiors stand for, when we stand for what they teach?

    I don’t like the term “gay agenda,” because I think it’s imprecise and clouds the issue. I don’t use it, and I don’t approve its use. But when we see stories like the following, what are we to call it?

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