Monday, September 23, 2013

rebuttal to National Catholic Reporter

No wonder Fr. Zuhlsdorf calls it the National Catholic FISHWRAP

I consider myself in good company insofar as the NCR DISTORTED my comments just as it did Pope Francis.

First of all, it is not spin to clarify.  The Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas often said: Concede parum, nega frequenter, distingue semper (never affirm, seldom deny and always distinguish).

Secondly, I did not say we should use name calling as a tool of evangelization but Jesus Himself said whoever divorces and remarries commits adultery (Mt. 5:32)  "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander." (Mt. 15:19)  He did not mince words, nor did He use politically correct nomenclature. Adultery, fornication, sodomy, etc., are also sins St. Paul repudiates yet he also evangelized and spread the Gospel. Hence, using the proper terminology is more than being accurate, it is essential since sins like abortion are mortal and they kill the life of grace. Is the physician not committing malpractice if she calls a malignant tumor benign so as not to upset the patient? At the same time, I was not advocating using the terms 'fornicator' or 'adulterer' or 'abortionist' when reaching out to those are guilty of these immoral acts of evil. We call them as Pope Francis suggests our 'brothers and sisters' since none of us is without sin. However, the sin they commit is killing their soul. They need to know there is a spiritual cancer threatening their eternal life. Candy-coating the sin is prevaricating and is deceitful. Showing mercy and compassion to a sinner is Christian. Did Our Lord not tell the woman caught in adultery, 'go and sin no more?'  He did not call her an adulteress but He certainly condemned adultery on more than one occasion.

I did not propose a Calvinist theology of grace. What I meant by cheapening grace is that you risk INGRATITUDE. I never said that grace was remote or limited. Grace and mercy are infinite and abundant. That is the message of Divine Mercy. What I am saying is that we cheapen grace when we trivialize it and take it for granted. While abundant, it is a GIFT it is not something we merit, deserve or can demand (that would be Pelagianism). I also wanted to make the point that grace comes to us primarily via the sacraments which are not just mere customs and rituals, but they are vehicles of Divine Mercy. Sacred encounters where heaven and earth unite and where the divine punctuates the human. Grace is God's gift to us and it is His sharing His holiness with us. We risk cheapening it, however, when we act like grace is something you get in a vending machine, ATM or drive-in window. Accessible, yes, but nevertheless still very precious and in need of appreciation.  So, take my words in CONTEXT as you ought to the words of Pope Francis. Text out of context is a pretext. Sound bites may be what modern media feast on but in terms of revealed truths and the natural moral law, better we be accurate and sufficient in our content as well as our explanation.

2 comments:

Carl E. Olson said...

Thank you, Father! Well said.

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