Sunday, June 10, 2007

Is heresy even a crime¹ any more?

What would the homosex-advocacy group Dignity have to do to have itself declared anathema, its members excommunicated and its status ended in every Catholic diocese that acknowledges it?

It looks as if Dignity is trying to be declared officially heretical, a la the Masons, the Episcopal Church or the Communist Party. The forthright statements that Church teaching on morals is wrong, plus the annual Rainbow Sash ritual -- they apparently will not be enough, so why not try to outdo oneself? Push the envelope as it were.

And so the New York chapter of this particular Sin Lobby will have its Gay Pride² "Mass" in a couple of weeks presided over by a "Priestess" (HTs: Curt Jester and Dom).
Dignity/NY, the LGBT Catholic group, will have a woman preside over its Gay Pride Mass for the first time on June 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square South. She is the Reverend Victoria Rue, a Roman Catholic womanpriest who was ordained by three Roman Catholic womenbishops in 2005.
I guess if they're gonna have pretend-Catholics attending a pretend-Mass, you may as well have a pretend-priestess. There is simply nothing to discuss here, on a teaching that has been constant for its whole history and reiterated as not even open to debate, all appearances and insistence to the contrary, just last decade by the Roman Pontiff himself (i.e., just last week, historically speaking). Women cannot be ordained, it's simply impossible. There's no discussion to be had, and if you think there is, your conscience has been ill-formed. It's backed up by this piece of intellectual lint:
"If we believe as Jesus did that all peoples are coequally created in the image of God, then let's stop the nonsense and get on with living this truth with justice for all."
"Coequal" doesn't mean identical. And where did the Lord in fact, *say* that? I don't think the word "coequal" or anything that can plausibly be translated thus even occurs in the New Testament? This is in some ways a good thing. Dignity is crossing yet another line, and maybe this will marginalize them further.

I also love the part from the Dignity USA FAQ on conscience that Jeff quotes:
Neither Scripture nor Tradition nor natural law theory nor human science nor personal experience convincingly supports official Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts. Accordingly, and after much soul-searching, many gay and lesbian Catholics have formed consciences that differ from official Church teaching and have entered into homosexual relationships. In this respect they are exactly like the many married Catholic couples who cannot accept the official teaching on contraception.
Of course they like to quote from Church documents that rightly teach about how those with same-sex attraction are to be treated. So if a Catholic went against Church teaching and decided his conscience allowed him to treat homosexuals as an "object of violent malice in speech or in action." I doubt they would consider this a valid following of conscience that "differ from official Church teaching." The following of a conscience formed outside of the Church if it proves anything, proves too much.
Exactly. In my experience, the very people who insist that the Church doesn't teach X definitively when X doesn't suit their loins become fire-breathing fundamentalists that the Church teaches Y definitively when Y suits them. Remember when I joked about the Feast of St. Russell Henderson or the prayers for the canonization of Venerable Aaron McKinney? That was awesome. These deeply devout men were validly following their conscience, despite its differing from official Church teaching. I bless it probalistically so in the name of the Parent, the Sibling and the Holy Sex. Amen.³

Moreover, when I read this ...
Neither Scripture nor Tradition nor natural law theory nor human science nor personal experience convincingly supports official Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts.
... I wonder what exactly, in principle, could ever constitute "convincing support." But the first three overwhelmingly do support Church teaching.

There's something desperate about the bland way that Scriptural passages are unconvincingly minimized or squirmed around; it reads like a bad lawyer's brief valiantly trying to support the pre-determined conclusion. I really do recommend the sections trying to argue away Tradition and Natural Law, which have enormous entertainment value. The first cites the tendentiously selective Boswell as an authority while neither citing nor addressing a single Magisterial document, referring only the secular-law practices. The latter gives you the expectation that it'll address Natural Law reasoning, but then simply says it's "inconclusive" as if any philosophy ever has been to people who don't accept it.

Nevertheless, I would agree that "human science" doesn't, but that's simply because morals and philosophical anthropology are not that field's competence (a thermometer would hardly support a teaching on the color of the sky, and that's about as relevant). And it should hardly be surprising if "personal experience" in the current social environment of ill-formation, secularization, poor-catechization, dissent-worship, faithlessness, authority-phobia and self-worshipping individualism should not support Church teaching. In fact, Dignity's very existence makes the poorly-formed conscience a self-fulfilling prophecy, by surrounding dissenters with others like themselves, thus affirming each other in their "personal experience." As always, heresy eventually becomes its own justification.
¹ By this, I of course mean a crime under Church law. That it has to be a canon-law crime seems as axiomatic to me as it not being a secular crime.
² What can you say about a lifestyle that is defined by one of the 7 Deadly Sins (Lust) and still finds the moral space to take one of the others (Pride) as its quasi-official slogan?
³ Moral personalism and the denial of the objective nature of morality should never be taken seriously. Nobody believes it except in the breach against some specific moral teaching he himself doesn't hold.

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