Linguistic machinations of the Left

By sure to check out my good friend Fr. Gerry Murray’s piece today at The Catholic Thing.

Fr. Murray tackles the “attempt by liberal clerics and laity to compel the Catholic Church to get rid of what they deem unacceptable doctrines on sexual morality”.

Their tactic is to “change the language used by the Church in setting out those doctrines”.

Thus, Murray…

One strategy employed uses a self-contradictory form of attack: a teaching is dismissed as being unintelligible to modern people because of the use of obscure philosophical language. At the same time the teaching is condemned as cruel and hurtful because those same modern people, it turns out, are perfectly capable of understanding the language and meaning of the teaching. They just don’t like it.

They don’t like it because, often, they want to justify their own sinning.

Certain bishops and priests are the prime movers in a relentless campaign to have the Church abandon the doctrine that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. In line with both the Old and New Testaments and the long history of Catholic moral reasoning, the Church instructs us that such acts are intrinsically evil and can never be morally good, under any circumstance.


Furthermore, if the Church says my choice to engage in homosexual activity is wrong, it is the Church that is in fact wrong. Such a person, who wants to commit sin with a peaceful conscience, may already have had this line of reasoning endorsed by a “sympathetic and caring priest” – of whom there are a number these days, some even media celebrities – who is himself a “hero.” Our culture tends to cast such priests as bravely speaking truth to power and risking the wrath of superiors to give comfort to those hurt by unkind words from clueless, backward Catholic bullies who take the Bible literally.

Please go read the whole thing over there.

Force the Church to change language in, say, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

NB: The same machinations are used by other libs/progressivists/etc. in other realms, not just sexual morality.   For example, this is being done regarding capital punishment.   Introduced into the discussion are vague terms such as “inadmissible”. For example, this is being done regarding the ordination of women.  Make claims about inequality with a smattering of unsubstantiated claims about ancient times, marinated in misleading statements about the sacrament of Holy Orders.  For example, this being is done in regard to Holy Communion for manifest adulterers.  Bring in a words like “accompaniment”.

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  1. CanukFrank says:

    Excellent article and a link to a terrifically rigorous article by Pentin in the NCR.

  2. erick says:

    One thing that bothers me about disunity among the bishops on these teachings is that I know it will be thrown in my face one day. They will say, “see, your bishop doesn’t think so. You’re just a hateful person.”

  3. Gaetano says:

    Another word is “dialogue”, by which they mean talking endlessly while people continue to do what they want. Ultimately ending with the Church surrendering to the desired change.

  4. Lurker 59 says:

    Part of the problem is that nearly everyone in the West engages in Hegelian dialectic, due to Western pedagogy, when dealing with situations involving parties with divergent positions and desired outcomes. If you are always looking for that Hegelian synthesis (aka common ground) the system is necessarily always going to shift towards the extremes, especially over time. If a party is aware of the meta, they can control which way things shift by taking increasingly extreme positions at the very edge of what is acceptable/reasonable, knowing that things will always shift towards the more extreme of the multiple positions and outcomes. (shifting the overton window).

    The only way out of this situation is to stop engaging in Hegelian synthesis and, where necessary, only agree to synthesises/compromises that shift the overton window in the correct direction.

    If the game is rigged against you, it is insanity to keep playing it.

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  6. Gaetano says:

    Reformers no longer preach “sola scriptura”.

    Now it is “sola cultura” — an unconditional surrender to the spirit of the present age.

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  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Lurker59: Good point that less Hegel, not more, would be helpful these days.

    Some background about the man. Hegel thought highly of Napoleon as “a man of action and reason.” In 1806 he exuberantly wrote: “It is indeed a wonderful sensation to see such an individual, concentrated here at a single point, astride a horse, reach out over the world and master it.” When Napoleon was exiled to Elba in 1814 Hegel sorrowfully wrote: “The entire mass of mediocrity…has succeeded in bringing down the highest to the same level as itself.”

    Hegel was fascinated by state power and the Strong Man. Hegel was also a typical Leftist academic fascinated by violence who wanted “soldiers harnessed to the chariot of his ideas” and, no surprise, he was also “insufferably condescending” to women.

    Hegel wrote in 1816: “I adhere to the view that the world-spirit has given the age marching orders. These orders are being obeyed. The world-spirit, this essential power, proceeds irresistibly like a closely-drawn armored phalanx…[those opposed to the world-spirit are] powerless vermin.”

    The theoretical fulminations of Hegel (and Saint-Simon) were essential to the diabolical Karl Marx.

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Murray wrote:

    “Another strategy simply ridicules [Catholic] teaching as being nonsensical, absurd, and embarrassing in the world we live in. If the reigning consensus of informed, intelligent people about what is right and wrong finds a Catholic doctrine to be incompatible with their outlook, then the Church must jettison that doctrine. Why? Because the “evolving” moral and ethical consensus of so-called advanced Western societies must now be considered the only acceptable rule as to how any behavior should be judged.”

    Good observation. And there is another component: the “consensus” of the so-called “international experts” who are foisting the “integral ecology” of Laudato Si and the “walking together” of the Pachamama Synod onto the Faithful as a “new rule.”

    Gaetano’s second comment above is on to something, there are Leftist globalists demanding that the Church “surrender to the spirit of the present age.” That demand is often intensified with dire rhetoric, such as the Vatican’s recent Earth Day video communique that “It is time to act!”

    That is a familiar song-and-dance. In the 1970s alarms blared over a New Ice Age. In the 1980s it was Rising Sea Levels Will Submerge Entire Nations by 2000. Then there were the periodic threats that the Arctic would be Ice-Free in 2005, then 2010, then 2018 etc.

    Being skeptical of the language of the church-closing and church-burning Left is just plain ‘ol common sense. Sure, let’s take some common sense measures and be good stewards of the environment, but it is curious that eco-zealots rarely, if ever, criticize China’s pollution.

    A few thousand years ago there was a consensus at the base of Mt. Sinai. Common sense, and a bit of faith, would have indicated that building a Golden Calf was not a good idea.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Thomas Sowell:

    “The whole?political vision of the left, including socialism and communism, has failed by virtually every empirical test, in countries all around the world. But this has only led leftist intellectuals to evade and denigrate empirical evidence.”

    Theory has its use, but the Left’s unhealthy obsession with theory often results in their ignoring or excusing Leftist utopian projects which did not improve the human condition but instead produced the Gulag, concentration camps and the Cultural Revolution.

    “That people on?the political left?have a certain set of opinions, just as people do in other parts of the ideological spectrum, is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is how often the opinions of those on the left are accompanied by hostility and even hatred.”

    Leftists often dwell in a dream palace of utopian schemes and tyrannical fantasies, which tends to divorce them from reality. Their plots are repulsive to the majority of the human race, who can often discern that most Leftists despise humanity. Thus, Leftists must advance their ambitions using violence, terror, and brainwashing.

    “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”

    “What is called an educated person is often someone who has had a dangerously superficial exposure to a wide spectrum of subjects.”

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