A Cardinal on the ropes of logic

After a busy week, I am catching up on things.

There came to my attention a TV interview granted by His Eminence Joseph Card. Tobin, in the never-before-cardinalatial see of Newark, less than 17 miles and about a 45 minute drive from the digs of the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, across the river.

Card. Tobin did something remarkable in that TV interview.

When questioned by the woman from NBC’s Today Show, who implicitly attacked the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and manifestly got it wrong – she said the Church says that homosexuals are “intrinsically disordered”, which is not what the Church teaches – Card. Tobin did not correct her error.  Card. Tobin did not defend what the Church actually teaches in a way that even someone from NBC can understand… with the help of repetitions and words of few syllables.

NB: The Church says that the inclination is intrinsically disordered.

Instead, Card. Tobin said – and I’m not making this up….

TOBIN: “The Church, I think, is having its own conversation about what our faith has us do and say with people in relationships that are same-sex. What should be without debate is that we are called to welcome them.”

NBC: “But how can you welcome people that you call ‘intrinsically disordered?’”

TOBIN: “Well I don’t call them ‘intrinsically disordered.’”

NBC: “But isn’t that the Catechism of the Catholic Church?”

TOBIN: “That is, it’s very unfortunate language. Let’s hope that eventually that language is a little less hurtful.”

“… a little less hurtful”.

So, Tobin did not correct her mischaracterization.  He distanced himself from language used in the CCC, though she had gotten it wrong.

But what is the real problem with what he said?   Follow the logic.

He suggests that, through some sort of “conversation”, whatever that is, the language used to describe who homosexuals are and what they do will be “a little less hurtful”.

Think about that.

Less hurtful is still hurtful.

How much “hurtful” is an acceptable level of pain?  How much less hurtful is within acceptable parameters?

Once you accept the MSM and modernist and secularist and homosexualist and Jesuit position that the Church’s teaching (language = teaching) is “hurtful”, then you are on the ropes of logic.  You have no where to go but to acquiesce to their desire to force the Church to deny her teaching and to jettison natural law and divine revelation as a foundation for morals.

You wind up like Peter, warming himself at the fire in the MSM’s courtyard while the Truth incarnate is on trial.  When challenged about the Truth, he caved.

Charity is more important than being “less hurtful”.  Charity involves the truth for the sake of the true good of others.  That may require discomfort, even danger and self-sacrifice.  It may involve not simply accepting the position of the MSM and the Jesuit homosexualists and the Fishwrap and others who hate the Faith.  It may involve not being popular and safe and adored by the world.

I’ll turn on the moderation queue and try to keep the knucklehead stuff to a minimum.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    In some ways today it is far more simple to be the laity.
    This person has lost all credibility with discerning Catholics, who have observed his words, antics, tweets, and choice of companions. He is a perfect representative of the church as it is today.
    They will change the catechism to suit themselves. They have made it obvious, they are already approving homosexuality. It only needs to be formally approved in the catechism. They will do it.
    But that will be alright for the large majority of Catholics, who will say it’s long overdue.
    Sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Amen.

  2. SanSan says:

    A “Cardinal” of Holy Mother Church can’t proclaim the Truth, in season and out? We’re in big trouble folks. Lord have Mercy.

  3. OrdinaryCatholic says:

    How can I not wonder at what is going on with our supposedly so-called shepherds when they can NOT articulate the Truth of the Church?? There is no place else to go as Peter said to our Lord, the Church is it! How long do we have to put up with this nonsense? And the Pope and bishops wonder why we are upset??

  4. robert hightower says:

    I’d like to see a poll to see what phrase causes more orthodox Catholic eyes to roll. “Abroad a papal plan interview, HH Pope Francis said…”, “Cardinal Cupich (or Tobin) said…”, or “The German bishops conference voted to…”.

  5. Peter Stuart says:

    Man’s a Cardinal! Who am I to judge? This is why I bailed my struggling SSA self out to the SSPX a year ago: enough BS is enough.

  6. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Perhaps Tobin’s words should be “inadmissible”?

  7. The Egyptian says:

    ordinary catholic said
    How can I not wonder at what is going on with our supposedly so-called shepherds when they can NOT articulate the Truth of the Church

    This article says it clear. we have become luke warn drips,

    “Robust Christianity is not shrinking, not even among young adults. It is holding quite firm and even growing in many important ways. It is increasingly liberalized, orthodoxy-denying, and lukewarm faith that’s tanking as if it has a mill stone around its neck.”

  8. colospgs says:

    If someone feels hurt by the truth, then the problem lies with them. It’s not the obligation of the proclaimer of the truth to ease the pain. One can try, of course, but there’s no obligation.

  9. KateD says:

    Forgive me if this comes off as disrespectful or naive, but is it possible that the prelate simply was ignorant of the wording? Lack of Catechesis is rampant….Perhaps we have already slid into new Dark Ages.

  10. KateD says:

    Some thoughts from my children as we discussed m the “less hurtful” statement:

    It would be akin to a surgeon who would avoid doing what was necessary to save a life, out of fear for the temporary pain that the remedy would cause…


    It’s like a doctor telling someone with a life threatening malady “Aw, you’ll be fine”, because he was afraid of hurting the person’s feelings by telling them the truth re their condition. It’s not really kind.

    “Its just a flesh wound…”

  11. Gab says:

    Oftentimes it is very hard to tell the truth, especially when you want the likes of the leftist media to like you.
    Romans 1: 22-26.

    I don’t know the answer; all I know is we need to pray harder and more often for all our priests. And they are all our priests, even the likes of Cdl Tobin.

  12. JARay says:

    I fear that Cardinal Tobin is not the only one of his ilk who have reached the Cardinalate under this Papacy. I do indeed wonder just what sort of a bishop will be elevated to the Papacy next time. God’s ways can indeed be very strange at times. But we are assured that He is with us until the end of time.

  13. rosula says:

    The exorcists say there are demons behind the LGBT disorders. They know their names. They say that these disorders are on the rise because of “a contagious demonic factor”. Let’s hope the exorcists, the spiritual experts of the Church, are consulted on the re-writing of the CCC.

  14. Missouri Knight says:

    I loved that Federalist article! Informative, and encouraging. Thanks, Egyptian!

  15. Gaetano says:

    There are two sets of churchmen:
    1. The set of churchmen qualified to speak to the media.
    2. The set of churchmen the media is willing to have on their show.
    The two sets do not overlap.

    Furthermore, nothing good ever happens from a cardinal appearing on the Today show. Any media consultant that even suggests it should be immediately terminated for incompetence.

    Finally, the media complains that the Church only preaches about sexual morality, but refuses to talk about anything other than the Church’s teaching about sexual morality.

  16. Gregg the Obscure says:

    The language is unfortunate in that it is vague and susceptible to a modernist interpretation. The drafters would have done well to have quoted doctors of the Church St. Basil the Great and St. Peter Damian, Pope St. Pius V (who should be a doctor of the Church), and St. Bernardine of Siena.

    If something contemporary is necessary, please be more direct: people are not their sins. People who are challenged by a particular temptation do well to arrange their lives in such a way as to reduce occasions of sin.

    I would wholeheartedly endorse returning to the phrase “unspeakable crime against nature” as a huge part of the problem in the past several decades has been that depravity has been normalized in the eyes of many by its being constantly in the spotlight. Oscar Wilde should have bankrupted Queensbury for the latter’s grave libel.

  17. hilltop says:

    When Popes monkey with the Catechism’s content, altering its language to change what the Church has taught and to include what the Church hopes will change in the future (witness JPII’s and Francis’ personal preferences and opinions on capital punishment dressed up and trotted out in the Catechism), they make the Catechism negotiable. The result is a battleground. And fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

  18. teomatteo says:

    Reporter: “Why does the catholic church hate gays?”
    Cardinal: “Well, that is a good question, now historically certain words were used that may have been misunderstood and subsequently to the modern ear this potential disparity can unfortunately lead an individual to some thing akin to this, it is a problem with the church. Yes. we need to love and love will continue to dialogue with our brothers and sisters. Our two faiths, islam and christians will live in harmony for that is what we are called to do.

  19. HvonBlumenthal says:

    In the business world, a CEO who misled the public about his corporation, due to an incomplete knowledge of the regulations governing the market, would be fired, probably with a large undeserved payoff.

    This is a Cardinal who is misleading the public through ignorance of the catechism. What should now become of him?

  20. tmartin747 says:

    Just because you have 2 half brains close to each other it doesn’t make 1 full brain

  21. AA Cunningham says:

    NBC: “But isn’t that the Catechism of the Catholic Church?”

    Par for the course for what passes as a journalist in the contemporary DLEMM – Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media – in this case one Anne Thompson. A more astute individual would have corrected her on the spot by retrieving his copy of the Catechism and read the following verbatim. Then he should have posed a question to her by asking her to explain why she and so many of her colleagues choose to emote rather than report the truth. Another squandered teaching moment.

    ‘2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.’ 141 CDF, Persona humana 8.

    Persona Humana


    At the present time there are those who, basing themselves on observations in the psychological order, have begun to judge indulgently, and even to excuse completely, homosexual relations between certain people. This they do in opposition to the constant teaching of the Magisterium and to the moral sense of the Christian people.

    A distinction is drawn, and it seems with some reason, between homosexuals whose tendency comes from a false education, from a lack of normal sexual development, from habit, from bad example, or from other similar causes, and is transitory or at least not incurable; and homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable.

    In regard to this second category of subjects, some people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, in so far as such homosexuals feel incapable of enduring a solitary life.

    In the pastoral field, these homosexuals must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal difficulties and their inability to fit into society. Their culpability will be judged with prudence. But no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people. For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God.[18] This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of.

  22. Animadversor says:

    May I charitably wonder if that much of the difficulty that the Church finds Herself in comes from perhaps less than elevated intellectual standards used in the selection of prospective priests and a less than rigorous acquainting of them with the sources. And yes, I have heard of the Curé d’Ars.

  23. Cradle Catholic says:

    Around the time Amoris Laetitia (AL) was published, our then new auxillary bishop gave a talk on the AL. He mentioned Cardinal Kasper’s book quite often in his talk.

    He had been to “baby bishop school” in Rome, and he mused out loud, while same sex couples could definitely not get married in the Catholic Church, perhaps the Church could impart to them a blessing, in the name of being pastoral. I guess this is what Rome is teaching the new bishops in “baby bishop” school.

    I was horrified at the though that the Catholic Church would now be blessing sin. I bought and delivered to him Cardinal Burke’s book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” . I think he read it, as at a later function, I introduced myself, saying that it was I who had given him “Remaining in the Truth of Christ”. He thanked me, and said he had read it.

    Anyway, I cite this episode, to say that this was some years before Archbishop Vigano’s open letter to Pope Francis. At the time, I thought the episode was an outlier. I now truly believe that there is homosexual cabal at the highest levels of the Church, and they are teaching “baby bishops” – who don’t seem to know or understand Church’s teaching, and don’t seem to have any critical thinking skills.

  24. Cradle Catholic says:

    Correction: (even after I proof read it, a mistake slipped through)
    “I was horrified at the thought that the Catholic Church…”

  25. comedyeye says:

    ……said the man who admitted to housing a gay Italian actor in his rectory.

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