To Sandra Currie,
Greetings many of the conclusions you made against the Catholic Church is erroneous and misleading. I also like to add that since the beginning of Church history, there have always been scandals that date back to the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostle. The first is Judas betrayal of Jesus Christ, Peter denial of Jesus three times, and his Apostles except (John) abandoning him at the foot of the cross. Just as Tim Staple says, “You do not leave the Jesus Christ for Judas.” In other words, you cannot blame the action of a few priest (4% of the clergy according to John Jay College Report were found to have committed sex abuse). The overwhelming majority of priests and religious are faithful to the Church.
Based on your statement, I think you need to be “re-catechized” about Catholic Church teachings. You claimed to think you know what the Church teaches but your comments indicate that you don’t know them at all. I will quote some citation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other reliable Catholic resources (Catholic Answers).
THE CHURCH TEACHING ON HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS:
The Church affirms that all Christian practice chastity. She expects the homosexual persons to do the same. The tendency of same sex attraction is not a sin but the act upon homosexual intercourse is always a grave sin. Read these quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
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,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.“142 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.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
THE CHURCH TEACHING ON JUST WAR:
The Church has never condoned war or any conflict. Due to our nature, war between nations will always happen. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI condemned the Iraq War and the conflict in Israel.
2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.105
2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.
However, “as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.“106
2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.
The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.
Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.107
2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way.108
2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. “The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties.“109
2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.
2314 “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.“110 A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes.
2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;111 it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.
2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.
2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war:
Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
The CHURCH TEACHING ON THE POOR
The Church teaching of the poor is very clear. If the priests or bishop in the Latin Church are not living the teachings according to Catechism of the Catholic Church, they are wrong and need to be re-educated.
VI. LOVE FOR THE POOR
2443 God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; “you received without pay, give without pay.“232 It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones.233 When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s presence.234
2444 “The Church’s love for the poor . . . is a part of her constant tradition.” This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor.235 Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to “be able to give to those in need.“236 It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty.237
2445 Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use:
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.238
2446 St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.“239 “The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity”:240
When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.241
2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.242 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.
243 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:244
He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise.245 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.246 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?247
2448 “In its various forms - material deprivation, unjust oppression, physical and psychological illness and death - human misery is the obvious sign of the inherited condition of frailty and need for salvation in which man finds himself as a consequence of original sin. This misery elicited the compassion of Christ the Savior, who willingly took it upon himself and identified himself with the least of his brethren. Hence, those who are oppressed by poverty are the object of a preferential love on the part of the Church which, since her origin and in spite of the failings of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defense, and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere.“248
2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.‘“249 Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.“250 In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals . . .,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren:251
When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, St. Rose of Lima said to her: “When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.252
A Catholic author, a woman made an article concerning the problem with feminism. She writes,
For years I’ve taught biblical submission to women—and to men. Even writing this seems like exposing a bad secret. Yet, I go on because resolving the meaning of submission and authority brought this Protestant minister’s family into the Catholic Church.
The idea of wives’ submission came to me, granddaughter of a Baptist preacher, wife of a Baptist and, later, Presbyterian minister, as a thunderbolt from the blue. I was struck by the power of the Bible’s admonition—that is, without a cloud of such a concept in sight I was struck by the power of the Bible’s admonition, “Wives, be submissive to your husbands as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22).
I had read these words as flat syllables, without an ounce of meaning, for as long as I could remember, but on this particular day they were emphatically presented as something I could no longer ignore. Before this, I had accepted marriage as something like a football game. My husband and I were two teams who tried to gain yardage from each other or score goals by getting past each other’s defenses. Sometimes the competition was amiable, sometimes it was vengeful, but there was always competition with the gaining or giving of ground.
The very thought that I should be on his team was revolutionary. All the assumptions about our relationship were up for review and reform.
It was, after all, his team. That’s the biblical view of the marriage covenant, even though our modern age sees marriage as a loosely joined, two-headed, bi-named conglomerate, much different from the single entity Jesus described. My first understanding of being a team player needed much modification. I had the mistaken notion that the one who headed the team and called the plays was more important and more worthy than the one who took orders and carried them out.
This confusion caused no end of trouble. Perhaps, at first, this abasement was good for my soul, but it had unpleasant effects not only on me but on my husband. He too believed that to rule was the best of all worlds. His anger, vented against the opposing team when we were challengers, was in retrospect somewhat justified, but now, when we were on the same team, he still felt that being the commander and having power over people really meant he was entitled to be angry when his expectations weren’t met.
Before, when I fielded my own team, I at least had prestige and wielded power, but now I felt like a nobody. For a while I rather enjoyed the meek stance—it was like a romantic novel—but this wore thin quickly. To bolster myself, I returned to the passages that taught wifely submission, and all looked right because God was the reason for obedience. Jesus’ mother was the example, the one who never looked for any recognition, who always pointed to her Son (John 2:5), and who accepted totally: “Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I prayed to be like that—a fateful prayer, for wanting to model her had some astounding effects.
Yet submission in itself is not the whole answer to a godly husband-and-wife relationship. We have all seen the distortions among good men and women. That is the reason, I believe, that Pope John Paul II, in Mulieris Dignitatem, has downplayed the biblical role of submission for women and emphasized mutual submission. “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21).
At the root of the distortions lies the authority problem. Though the married sometimes despair of it being solved anytime soon, it actually has been solved, and the solution lies within reach of every reasonable, praying Christian couple. But the resolution in marriage recasts our understanding of authority and obedience all along the line. In our case, it destroyed our happy existence as Protestants.
The last-written prophetic book of the Old Testament is Malachi. Like many of the prophetic voices, his is full of dire warnings about God’s anger against his unfaithful people: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with curse” (Mal. 3:24). One can echo the King of Siam’s cry, “Puzzlement! It is a puzzlement!”
Malachi’s words speak of a problem that remained unsolved at his writing, the very one the Bible opens with. In Genesis’ first three chapters, the fatal flaw of Earth’s children is revealed. It is the authority problem. From the darkest recesses of time, authority had been delegated to the fathers who so often exercised it heedless of the hearts of those they ordered, and from the first, those under obedience to the fathers rebelled. Rebellion on the one hand, authoritarianism on the other—how can this authority problem be solved?
Malachi foresaw a “day of the Lord” that will achieve a final resolution. It will either be solved then, hints Malachi, or the whole world will remain under a curse. Nowhere do we see the problem more apparent than in the worldly reaction to the inherent authority of Catholic Church.
The problem began in the early moments of man’s placement in the Garden of Delight. An unspoiled, obedient creation, including its crowning fixture, man, stood beautifully before the Creator expressing exactly what had been in the his awesome heart and mind. Man was made in the image of his Creator to share the Creator’s spiritual attributes. As with anything created, he could only be complete if in conformity with the plan under which he was made—in our fallen language, this is called “obedience” or “submission.”
A poison permeates those words in our fallen milieu. Because of sin they have been responsible for immeasurable wretchedness, it’s true, yet we know how wonderful life will be if we faithfully live out God’s plan—and how wholly miserable life will be if we do not. Obedience is a blessing and disobedience a curse. Submission to the plan looks like bliss, and rebellion against the plan looks like hell. If the creature in his freedom chooses not to heed his Creator, then the creature must live with all the authority problem brings upon him.
In Genesis this is told in a colorful story that has at least two facets, the first (Genesis 1) a close-up view, the second (Genesis 2) an overview. Because the perfect world with its perfect creature, man, was perfectly happy, there was no chance of disobedience—none. Why would one disobey when all one’s being experienced bliss?
It took an intruder with upside-down values to bring even a question into this realm. He already had chosen a deviant path to his own lordship. He would transfer this same mindset in order to lord it over these creatures. That is how the authority problem started.
Now a new lord was in charge, one who considered lordship both means and end. The belief that authority means prestige and power and is to be gained at all costs over as many lackeys as possible was imposed on those poor creatures who now were his subjects. The perverted one claimed as much pseudo-authority as he could muster. He had a certain power of aping creation. When asked about aberrant people, Jesus said, “The weeds are the sons of the evil one and the enemy who sows them is the devil” (Matt. 13:38-39). This Enemy, who led man to believe he could be like God, planted envy of authority—of authoring—in man because envy was the enemy’s own prime motivation.
In creating man, the triune God imaged himself. John Paul II writes of Genesis 1:24 in the encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem: “The plural which the Creator uses here in speaking of himself already in some way suggests the Trinitarian mystery, the presence of the Trinity in the work of the creation of man?” Ultimate origin lies with the Father. The creed tells us “the Son proceeds from the Father” and that the Son is the “only begotten” of the Father. Human language has limitations; human words cannot express fully divine mysteries. These words are not taken to mean what they may seem to mean, that the Father existed before the Son or that the Son came into being secondarily. The truth is that the Son coexists with the Father—and always has. There never was a “time” when the Son was not yet the Father was.
The Genesis stories describe a relationship paralleling that between the Father and the Son. The first Genesis story asserts that male and female are created together in the image of the triune God. The second describes them as having an interrelationship, female to male, paralleling the relationship the Son has to the Father. Two equals have polar and non- exchangeable, but wholly equal roles.
The Father’s role of authority or authoring is imaged in the male physiology and psyche. Men are given a kind of authoring and an attendant authority. The female responds to this authoring, and within her womb is formed the fruit of their union. In this she is like the Son, who is matrix of all creation. The Father creates everything through the Son. It was to share the ultimate of joys with man, male and female, that God shared his own triune nature.
Misery came into creation with the values of the Enemy. The extent to which the values of this usurper are unquestioned is an indication of his control over this world. Authority nowadays means prestige and power; a submissive response to authority means slavery and denigration—that is the standard reasoning.
How can one teach Christian authority and Christian submission in marriage and not end up with a man who domineers and a woman who cowers? A frightened woman seldom realizes how frightened she is, nor does she realize that she is appeasing on the one hand and manipulating on the other in order to get her way. The rebellious are just as bound by the authority problem as the falsely submissive—actually, both are forms of rebellion. Both the rebel and the subservient are reactors, neither living in Christian freedom.
Satan rules when men exercise authority as prestige and power, when they demand (and receive out of fear) control of the relationship. Misapplying their headship and behaving high handedly, they go through life angry. They expect their wills to be carried out, allowing no discussion, and they cannot accept small deviations from their plans. On the other hand, a passive/aggressive woman—and there are many because of the very nature of human submission and authority—can drive a man to the brink. As he misunderstands authority, she misunderstands submission.
The problems here are so aggravating, the root causes so deep, there is only one hope. The cure must be the acceptance of the power of Jesus to forgive sins and the conscious living in the Holy Spirit. These two root graces are given in baptism and confirmation, and they are nourished by the Eucharist. Only under grace can new attitudes toward obedience and rule be learned.
Here is the Day of the Lord, which Malachi prophesied would turn the hearts of authority figures lovingly to those submissive to it and the hearts of those under authority lovingly to those who have the role of ordering. Teaching the roles of Christian husband and wife depends wholly on the supernatural grace of the Holy Spirit to bring people to repentance and then to enlightenment and restoration.
There are other proffered “solutions” to the chaffing miseries of the authority problem in marriage. Feminism is one. Feminism’s disdains hierarchy and views authority in terms of power, just as the lord of this world views it. The feminist (usually unknowingly) accepts the Satanic evaluation of the role of authority and the role of servant. The feminist solution—the equal sharing of the role and power of authority and the shunning of servant roles—holds not a shred of hope because the enemy still controls.
God’s word gives no opportunity for a change of roles, but much for a change of heart. The Bible holds steadfastly to the order of male and female established in the beginning. It is not Paul who “reverts” to Jewish law by holding women to obedience, something Jesus freed them from, according to feminist writers. It is Jesus himself who stands behind Paul’s insistence in 1 Corinthians 11 that women are under their husbands’ headship. We know this two ways.
First, Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so the words are not his alone, but the Word of God. He is aware of that as he writes them, and he claims full apostolic authority for his teaching (1 Cor. 14:34-37).
Second, Paul tells us that he is passing on a tradition given him by Christ: “I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received” (1 Cor. 15:3) Paul speaks of a tradition that he received directly from Christ and is delivering to his readers. This is a formal wording about the handling of sacred tradition, like the messenger asking you to sign for the package.
Paul transmits the tradition taught by Christ. This must also be the tradition carried on in the church established by Christ, the Catholic Church. In a day when all other forms of Christianity seem to be losing this essential and basic truth, its retention by Catholicism can be seen as a sign of the infallibility of the teaching office of the Church.
But man and woman, appropriating the roles of submission and authority as equals within marriage and experiencing the fruits of right order in the family, put the hierarchy of the Church into bold relief. The morphology of man and woman points to the male priesthood and the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as model for all Christians.
How, as a matter of practical apologetics, do we teach this proper sense of authority and submission to those who are ready to receive instruction? The man, who images the First Person of the Trinity, will, of course, learn his role mainly from meditating on the role of the First Person.
Just as God the Father exercises authorship of the whole created order and does so only with the good of the created in mind, so will the Christian man look to that model in his own fatherhood, whether physical or spiritual. The father provides, protects, and furthers the well-being of all life dependent upon him. He orders his human family for its well-being; his governance is just, his heart is turned towards those he heads, and he serves them wholeheartedly.
The man has another role. He must learn submission himself, for he, even in the exercise of a delegated authority, is under authority. He owes obedience to those who have the care of his soul, the priests and bishops who have a prior and primary authority, and to others above him, such as his own father and his employer. His stance toward God is like his wife’s stance toward him, obedient and submissive. C.S. Lewis wrote in That Hideous Strength that “the masculine none of us can escape. What is above and beyond all things is so masculine that we are all feminine in relation to it.”
The woman likewise has a model within the Trinity. She looks to the Second Person of the Trinity. It is the principle that emanates from him that explains her being. She is the respondent to the initiative and authority of the man, just as the Son is the respondent to the Father.
It is not just the human Jesus who only speaks what he hears the Father say, or only does what he sees the Father doing—it is also the Second Person of the Trinity, who is sent by the Father and never sends the Father. It is he who, “not counting equality with God a thing to be g.asped at, emptied himself and took the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:5-7). The woman’s heart will be turned with trust and joy toward headship, and with her the whole laity will relearn the stance of obedience to godly authority.
This Second Person in the human flesh of Jesus had two roles on Earth. To the Father he displayed the attitudes asked of all men and women who accept him as Lord (turning away from the lord of this world). To mankind he displayed the loving concern of God the Father. On the one hand we hear him speak manifesting authority as Godhead exercises it, “He speaks not as the scribes, but as one having authority” (Matt. 7:29) On the other, we see how we are to respond to God with the same trust and obedience as Jesus.
Just as the Persons within the Trinity share common attributes but exercise them from different poles, so man and woman share common attributes but exercise them differently. A woman exercises a delegated authority over her sons—Scripture affirms it (Luke 2:51; Col. 3:20; Eph. 6:1-3). Yet, authority is more to be said of him and obedience more to be said of her. Since his role too is a service role, their relationship is one of mutual submission (Eph. 5:21).
All this is hard to explain and hard to accept for moderns reared in secular environment. The puzzlement will vanish in meditation on the Trinity. Malachi’s cryptogram about authority and obedience has been solved by the Day of the Lord Jesus. It is the relationship of the divine Persons that man and woman are created to image on this Earth, for their good and their Maker’s glory, and it is the Catholic Church that alone holds this model as its ideal for the meaning of the sexes and for the ordering of family life.” (-Authority in the Family, Nancy Ross)