23 February, 2010

Cristina joins the conversation (what can we discuss?) from a position of faith

Cristian Alarcon, a remarkable person of faith and intellect, offers the following as her contribution to the ongoing debate about the appropriateness of what we discuss, as well as modeling how we can do so in charity and truth.

I offer my response below her text.

Thanks Cristina!!!

Fr. Tim

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Interesting thread! If you don’t mind, I would like to gently point out something to those who have been critical of your choice of posts on this blog.
I am referring here to your concluding words after posting “Church Teaching on Homosexuality: Wisdom or Bigotry?”

Here are your own words:

“These conclusions are hardly considered "correct" or proper in today's marriage debates. Is it possible that "common knowledge" on this question, just like the public consensus regarding of the safety of children with priests, has turned against the proponents of the gay rights movement?”

The remarks above can hardly be considered to be a threat, or to provoke hatred, or to be close-minded. In fact, quite the opposite. They unjudgmentally invite us to share our thoughts.

The sense I get is that some posters are terribly bothered by this approach.

I would like to suggest that perhaps the problem they face in these discussions is the blindness engendered by political correctness. Most of us are so afraid of saying something that could potentially be perceived as bigoted, that a paralysis sets in which readily hinders any further discussion that may bring new insights into a specific field.

At the risk of sounding preachy, may I point out that truth liberates, whereas falsehood enslaves. There is a common truth within every human being, what is referred in tradition as the “nature” of man. This truth needs to be apprehended and discovered, but it cannot be imposed.

If the ideas a poster is promoting correspond to the true nature of man, regardless of peer reviewed research and statistics, both of which can be readily manipulated, then the test will be that these ideas will have withstood and will continue to withstand the test of time and of culture. If on the other hand the ideas are detrimental to the good of man and of society, then eventually this will become palpably obvious, and the ideas will eventually die out of their own accord.
Love and truth must go hand in hand. The mere possibility that some ideas are needing to be “imposed” by force upon individuals or upon society as a whole, is a sure sign that those very ideas may not be strong enough in and of themselves to be convincing, nor true to the goodness they purport to contain.

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Cristina: Thank you. JPII repeated many times that it is the role of the church to "propose, never impose" its beliefs, morality or world vision.

In this I believe, everyone can agree.

Where we seem to run into conflict is when the Church publicly campaigns for this same vision as a model for how to order our society - protect life, creation and ensure that we are granted the absolute freedom of belief as we do. This carries with it the concomitant right to argue and vote our beliefs into law if we are able to convince the majority of our fellow citizens of the wisdom we propose.

I truly have come to believe that this is what in means to be created in the image and likeness of God. It is our essential freedom of will - the right to choose good or evil. This is the one gift that was not lost to sin. Genesis tells us that this was the gift that polluted by our desire to KNOW all that is good or evil - thereby negating our ability to choose (all things in nature being oriented to what is true, good and beautiful - to know absolute truth would deny us the choice to do otherwise. God's primordial gift, imprinted into our heart and soul must be respected lest God stand in opposition to his very nature.  We would then no longer be free, but marionettes controlled by God. Thus, if God grants us this absolute right, then we must offer it to all we meet.

As I previously wrote: we can choose to follow the teachings of Christ and his Church, and receive our reward in the life to come. Others are free to walk their own path. If we are right, and come our day of judgment we will receive our reward but God will not impose his will on everyone and bring them into the new creation. He will respect the choices of those, who with their lives, chose to walk away from him in life. He will not force them to live in His presence in the next.

Ergo, God sends no one to hell, but simply respects the free will of those who exercised their desire to remain separated from Him.

It's the old position of Blaise Pascal: If God exists, he had every thing to gain by following the prescripts of his Church. If God does not exist, he had nothing to lose. He chose to walk the path of hope.

I'm just trying to do the same.

Fr. Tim

6 comments:

  1. Father Tim:

    As I had questioned your engagement with some of the commenters who are particularly abrasive and caustic with their commentary, I felt it appropriate to repost this on Freedom Through Truth, with my own statements in support of your approach.

    http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/2010/02/convergence-of-rubber-and-road.html

    God Bless You

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  2. What's happened here is you've backed way off from where you were on both Gay Rights and Abortion and now you're embarrassed.

    You are also trying to regain some priestly decorum and authority that used to automatically transfer over from religious life into that of society at large and not finding it.

    You're just a lonely Canuck with a dog, a blog and an old jalopy, squatting on a riverbank in Ontario.

    It's a pretty good blog.

    Welcome, Tim.

    ReplyDelete
  3. In the spirit of discussing issues in a non partisan and academic manner, I'd like to bring up one Giovanni Bugatti, who was the Pope's executioner during the 19th century, at the Vatican.

    During his tenure he executed over 500 people under the direct supervision of papal authority. Most were by guillotine but some by smashing their heads against a stone pediment with a large wooden mallet and others were drawn and quartered.

    How do we relate the experiences of Mr Bugatti to the thesis that Catholic teachings are revealed and righteous and therefore eternal and unchanging?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gee Reddog... there must have been a couple of guys like you on my draft board when I tried to claim conscientious objector status. Kind of explains how I ended up in Canada...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't know about that Freyr-

    I believe that the practice of War, like religion, should be entirely voluntary, the idea being that nobody in their right mind would choose to participate but a few impotent and disgruntled old men.

    I'd have let you off and thanked you for your good judgment and admire your resolve to oppose the draft those many years ago. You are a true patriot, sacrificing all to conscience. Never let anyone tell you different.

    ReplyDelete

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