Msgr. Pope’s List of 8 Modern Errors (Libs! PAY ATTENTION!)


My friend Msgr. Charles Pope has a good post at the National Catholic Register (that’s the Catholic one, not to be confused with the National Schismatic Reporter aka Fishwrap).  He provides some good pointers which you (read “libs”) should use as a kind of examination of conscience (translation for libs: reviewing your thoughts, actions, omissions to search out faults – traditional called “sins” for the sake of “confession” – which is a sacrament – and “amendment of life” – which means intentionally changing your life, the desire and effort to stop doing things that are wrong… wrong means “bad”, but not in the sense of not doing enough about global warming, or stealing GOP yard signs, etc., which implies a judgment… which is…. oh well… forget it.)

Here’s Msgr. Pope’s list, with a brief tease.  Read the rest there.

8 Modern Errors Every Catholic Should Know and Avoid

Consider this eightfold list of modern errors that are common even in the Church.

There are many errors in our time that masquerade as wisdom and balance, but they are no such thing. I have written before (HERE and HERE) on many errors of our time of a more philosophical nature. The following list that I compile is more phenomenological than philosophical.

To say that something is phenomenological is indicate that it is more descriptive of the thing as experienced, than of the exact philosophical or scientific manner of categorizing it. For example, [See?  He has to do it too!] to say the sun rises and sets is to describe the phenomenon, or what we see and experience. The sun does not actually rise and set. Rather, the earth turns in relation to the sun which remains fixed. But we use the phenomenon (what we experience) to communicate the reality, rather than the more scientific words like apogee, perigee, nadir and periapsis.

And thus in the list that follows I propose certain fundamental errors of our time that are common, but I use language that speaks less to philosophies and logical fallacies, and more the to the errors as experienced.

Further, though the errors are common in the world, I present them here as especially problematic because we all too often find them in the Church as well. They are sadly and commonly expressed by Catholics and represent a kind of infection that has set in which reflects worldly and secular thinking, not Godly and spiritual thinking.

These are only eight. I am just getting started. I hope you will add to the list and define carefully what you identify. But for now, consider this eightfold list of modern errors that are common even in the Church.

1. Mercy without reference to repentance – For too many today, “mercy” has come to mean, “God is fine with what I am doing.” […]

2. Staurophobia – The term staurophobia comes from Greek roots and refers to a fear of the Cross (stauros = cross + phobia = fear). Within the Church this error emerges from reticence by Catholics to frankly discuss the demands of discipleship. […]

3. Universalism – Universalism is the belief that most, if not all people are going to be saved in the end. This is directly contrary to our Lord’s own words wherein he sadly attests that “many” are on the road that leads to destruction and “few” are on the narrow and difficult road that leads to salvation (See Matthew 7:14, Luke 13:23-30). […]

4. Deformed Dialogue – The term “dialogue” has come to mean an almost endless conversation. As such it lacks a clear goal to convince the other. […]

5. Equating Love with Kindness – Kindness is an aspect of love. But so is rebuke; so is punishment; as is praise. Yet today many, even in the Church, think of love only as kindness, affirmation, approval, encouragement, and other positive attributes. But true love is, at times, willing to punish, to insist on change, and to rebuke error. […]

6. Misconstruing the nature of tolerance – Most people today equate tolerance with approval. Therefore, when many demand or ask for “tolerance” what they really demand is approval. […]

7. Anthropocentrism – This term refers to the modern tendency to have man at the center and not God. […]

8. Role reversal – Jesus said that the Holy Spirit whom he would send to us would convict the world (see John 16:8). And thus, the proper relationship of a Catholic to the world is to have the world on trial. […]


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Unwilling says:

    A good selection of eight for liberals of good will. The Latin word “error” suggested by Greek “hamartano” has the idea of missing the point, going astray, swerving off the straight road. There is a potentially good version of anthropocentrism missed at swerve #7. Granted that God is above all, the rest of the universe is centered on man, made for man. And the man Jesus is the fullness of divinity bodily. Errors can typically be backed up to Truth.

  2. Imrahil says:

    Well, as to no:

    3. Universalism is the belief that most, if not all people are going to be saved in the end.. No: it is the belief that all people are going to be saved at the end, because God cannot possibly have it end otherwise. A belief that most will be, such as Pope Benedict taught in Spe salvi 46, is quite Catholic. (“many” means “much too many”).

    [The belief sometimes heard that People could go to Hell but maybe, just maybe, noone will actually do so, is not either Universalism strictly so-called – though that does square up badly with what the Bible tells.]

    4. It is quite right that love can and should, occasionally, use rebuke and praise. However, kindness does have more of the General characteristics of love to itself, so to say that kindness is only as much an expression of love as rebuke is would be wrong.

    [It’s similar with that liking and loving C. S. Lewis wrote about. It is right that occasionally we have to love someone we do not like. It is not right, as he says, that this means that liking and loving Need not have to do anything with each other. The General, usual state of affairs is still that you like the one you love, or learn to like him through loving if only because that makes loving easier.]

    The others, especially 1, 4 and 6: spot on.

  3. Noel Ballard says:

    I read this article early this morning. Spot on!

  4. hilltop says:

    Were he admitted to a future conclave, there would be many supporters of Pope for Pope!

  5. Mike says:

    On the love/rebuke/kindness thing: it is contextual. If love demands I rebuke someone for a wrong, and I fail to do so, and they continue in a grave sin, then the results could be maximally opposed to love. Thus kindness can be weakness when it departs from the truth, and not anything like love.

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