Today at The Catholic Thing (btw… did you know that was the title of a book by Rosemary Haughton?) there is a perspicacious offering called
Pascal and the Jesuits [which could be the name of a discordant band]
It seems to me (I’m hardly alone) that many clerical leaders (priests and bishops) are relatively “soft” on matters related to sexual sin – fornication, unmarried cohabitation, abortion, and homosexuality. It’s not that they approve of these things; they just don’t go out of their way to condemn them.
Qui tacet consentire videtur?
He goes on to distinguish three types of Christians, “serious… ordinary…bad”. The second, because they are rather tepid, are dangerous for the faith and the Church in the present milieu.
And so, to make sure these folks, the great majority of Catholics, don’t leave the Church, thereby not only damaging the religion but endangering their own salvation, the Church loosens the reins on these people. If they don’t believe everything the Church believes, oh well, let’s not make a fuss about it. And if they have incorrigible habits of sin, well, let’s not make them feel uncomfortable by publicly condemning the sins they’re prone to; and let’s tell them that God is forgiving and tolerant; and let’s remind them that all sins can be instantaneously wiped away in the confessional or on a good deathbed. Above all, let’s tell them that, practically speaking, the goal of this life (except for a rare few) is not Heaven but Purgatory; in other words, you don’t have to get an A-plus in sanctity, a C-minus will do just fine. [A horrid thing to tell people!]
In his Provincial Letters, Blaise Pascal (a Class 1 Catholic if ever there was one) finds fault with the Jesuits of his day for bending Catholicism so that it will accommodate the un-Christian code of honor that was then typical of upper-class gentlemen. In one of the more hilarious letters, Pascal tells of a Jesuit casuist (some things never change) who figured out a way for a gentleman to participate in a duel while not, technically speaking, violating the Catholic rule that dueling is a mortal sin.
And then there are the James Martins of the world, whose influence is at least enervating if not downright pernicious….
When the Jesuits tolerated, say, the morality of 17th century French gentlemen – a morality that included dueling and “gallantry” (as upper-class adultery was euphemistically called) – they were not tolerating a non- or anti-Catholic religion. They were tolerating – however much we may laugh about it – an un-Catholic code of manners and morals, quite a different thing.
But when today’s Jesuits (and other Catholic clerics) are “soft” on sex-related sins, including homosexuality, they are doing much more than making a calculated accommodation to an un-Christian code of manners. They are tolerating a sexual ethic that is part and parcel of an increasingly militant anti-Catholic religion.
What religion is that? Secular humanism, a comprehensive worldview that is tantamount to a (God-less) religion. Dueling in 17th century upper-class Paris was bad, but it was not an affirmation of an anti-Catholic religion. By contrast, abortion and homosexuality in 21st century America truly are affirmations of a growing and decidedly anti-Catholic quasi-religion.
Catholic leaders from the pope on down need to wake up to the nature of that new mortal threat.
I often remark to myself that some clerics today “belong to another religion”. They sure don’t seem to be Catholic in a lot of important ways.
Be sure to read the whole piece over at The Catholic Thing. There’s quite a bit more and it’s good.