Why is there a resurgence of infidelity among Catholic leaders?
By Dr. Jeff Mirus
Earlier this week, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus stressed the need to “discern” the meaning of Christ’s teachings rather than simply accept the way Catholic doctrine states these truths. This triggered an email from an obviously same-sex attracted reader who ecstatically thanked God that someone “besides the Pope” was finally willing to express the truth about the teachings of the Church: “They must be discerned!”
The email was so wild that I thought it might be a joke. In response I asked if he were joking, and explained that no amount of “discernment” can change the meaning that the Church has always ascribed to Our Lord’s words. I also cautioned against making up our own religion, reminding him that if religion is not revealed, it too easily becomes a human fantasy.
In response, this correspondent told me to stop being irrational and instead learn something about Scriptural exegesis. Then, apparently having exhausted his argument, he proceeded to call me a number of names. Presumably he thought that was the logical way to approach someone if you believed you had reason on your side.
The remarks of Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal in an interview with a Swiss journalist were, of course, a significant scandal. Among other things, he said that to understand Christ’s condemnation of adultery, “there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said.” Asserting that this discernment is guided by the Holy Spirit, he acknowledged that a discerning soul could arrive at conclusions that legitimately contradict what the Church has taught. In other words, Fr. Abascal demonstrated his total commitment to theological Modernism, which holds that human culture determines what the truth is for us in every age.
The practical result of this is that the Church’s moral teachings, rooted so firmly in Scripture, Tradition and the natural law, can be reinterpreted in each age, to ensure that they mean exactly what we want them to mean, neither more nor less.
The workings of a faithless theology
This is the horror of Alice in Wonderland—that is, the horror of Scriptural exegesis in the modern period—something my correspondent very clearly knew nothing about (except as a slogan). For sixty years and more, the bulk of academic theology, especially moral theology, has been in the hands of professors who regard academic expertise as a superior substitute for faith. Far too much of our theology for a very long time has been served up by non-believers, whether members of the Catholic Theological Society or not. They use trumped up rationalist methods of interpretation to prove that the Sacred text means exactly what they have predetermined that it ought to mean. Accordingly, no hard saying ever means what we used to think it did.
Everyone understands by now that the most prominent weaknesses in our dominant culture are sexual weaknesses. Because college students find themselves with a particularly strong need to justify sinful sexual behavior, a great many students in mainstream Catholic colleges and universities eagerly absorb the message of their professors, choosing to agree that academic authority has proven traditional sexual morality wrong, and so has set them free. But the arguments these wayward theologians use are rarely critiqued. In most Catholic schools (and elsewhere), students do not learn how to do theology and/or exegesis. They learn to embrace the myth that modern scholarship has proven the Church wrong and themselves right.
Read more: www.catholicculture.org