View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Apb. Sheen: An error of broadmindedness

Broadmindedness, which sacrifices principles to whims, dissolves entities into environment, and reduces truth to opinion, is an unmistakable sign of the decay of the logical faculty. - Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Moods and Truths

A recent discussion of homosexual marriage in the local newspaper and in blogs (including this one) was marred by accusations of hatred.

The charges were invariably leveled by the pro-marriage side. It didn't matter how mild the statement in opposition to homosexual marriage was, it didn't matter if the opponent said nothing against homosexuals themselves, or even expressed love and respect for them. No, if you dared to oppose changing the law to allow homosexual marriage, you were labeled as "hate-filled" or a "hate-filled Catholic" or a "hate-filled bigot." Foes were also called "ignorant," "blind," "unthinking," and "uncaring."

Oh, and sometimes the comments were accompanied by gratuitous criticisms and insults aimed at religion and the Church in general, or references to pedophile priests.

There were a few attempts to engage in an actual discussion, but for the most part the pro-marriage side quickly resorted to insult, stereotyping, and parroting specious arguments.

One common charge is that the foes of homosexual marriage are "closed-minded," the implication being that those who support it are "open-minded" or, in other words, "broadminded."

But all too often the broadmindedness they espouse seems prompted by whims and opinion and to be influenced by a permissive amoral environment and not by actual independent thought and logic.

Perhaps such folks need to keep in mind that the people of faith they describe as "intolerant" are, as Archbishop Sheen observed, indeed "intolerant"- of error. But at the same time these people of faith are tolerant of the erring individuals.

In other words, even as they oppose the error of homosexual acts, and the sanctioning of homosexual marriage, these people of faith can care deeply about the people suffering from homosexual inclinations.

The homosexual marriage proponents need to keep in mind that one can be motivated by love for the person when addressing the error.

But making such a differentiation requires independent thought and a functional logical faculty.

I for one pray that they will discover how to use these gifts when discussing moral issues - just as I pray for those who are afflicted with the desire to engage in intrinsically disordered acts that are contrary to the natural law (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357).

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Blogger Dr. K said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:12 PM  
Blogger RailRider said...

How much independent thought and logic go into:
1. These are the rules of the Church
2. Pious Catholics follow the rules?
That's living by faith not logic.

There's nothing wrong with living by your deeply held beliefs. However, it is illogical to expect the entire world, or even the country, or your state, to believe as you do. To choose the path you follow, you should expect to walk outside of the ways of the world; not conform the world to your ways. Going in with word processors blazing, placards flying and voices at high pitch won't change hearts and minds. Quite witness will. Sometimes the whispered word is the one that is the most effectively heard.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

In terms of independent thought, I spent many years considering and studying the Church - and other churches - and even minored in philosphy. In the end, the Church made sense. In my case anyway, the Church is an intellectual choice.

As for "signs" vs. quiet witness, both work. One reaches some individuals, the other can reach other individuals.

Just look at the Civil Rights movement. It included protests, signs and confrontation - and quiet witness.

From a Christian point of view, you had the quiet witness of the martyrs, you also had the public preaching of St. Paul.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prefer a public ass-kicking.

6:16 PM  

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