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Whatever happened to Discrimination?

Whatever happened to discrimination? When I was growing up, which really wasn’t all that long ago, we were pretty good at it. People were either fat or thin, tall or short, male or female, pregnant or not pregnant, dead or alive, and Catholic or non-Catholic. 

The truth is, it’s still that way.  We do not live in Schrödinger’s box with a cat and a flask of acid, though sometimes one wonders if that would be preferable.  

In June 2022 I joined Twitter, and through it discovered the ultimate oxymoron: “Catholics for Choice”.  I thought this must be some kind of joke that no one would ever take seriously, but then I came across this article in The Guardian called “Pro-choice Catholics fight to seize the narrative from the religious right”.  What next? Pro-alcohol Muslims? Pro-Pork Jews?

Catholicism teaches that “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognised as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life” (CCC2270).

Catholics are either Catholic or not.  No one has to be a Catholic, but to identify as one you actually have to believe Catholicism is true.

To identify as a pro-choice Catholic just doesn’t work. These positions are logically incoherent and mutually exclusive.  In reality we inevitably bump up against the fact that one thing precludes another.  If I can’t sing, I can’t be an opera singer.  If I’m blind, I can’t be a pilot. If I engage in only homosexual acts, I can’t have a baby.  

But as we slip deeper into an unreality brought about by increasingly intelligent but artificial ways of getting what we want, people struggle to discriminate between that which the natural law reveals as true and that which is false. 

The appeal that Catholics for Choice make to conscience, equality and inclusion is all just an example of the foot stamping that we see around us.  Thinking has been replaced by feeling. The idea of conscience has been so perverted as to amount to nothing more than having the right to do whatever we feel like. But this is not what is meant by conscience.  

Where we might once have turned to our Bishops for clarity, we rarely find any as, even they, shirk from words like sin, truth, hell and judgement, in favour of compassion, love, mercy and inclusion. But why? It’s not just possible to speak of both mercy and justice, sin and forgiveness, heaven and hell, but necessary.  

The Bishop for Life (Bishop Sherrington), when commenting on the Carla Foster case, failed, as Mark Lambert said, “to engage with the secular argument that has led to a position where most Christians fail to understand the seriousness of abortion and what it is doing to our society”.

This is one of many opportunities missed by our Bishops to feed the sheep who are otherwise desperately chewing on barbed wire in the hope it will nourish them.

The Carla Foster case is a desperate one, and Christians rightly have compassion for everyone involved.  But the facts of the case remain and require a truly merciful response.  Mercy, as Aquinas teaches in Summa Theologica, is a virtue (a mean between two extremes).  Only when feelings are governed by reason is there genuine mercy.  

Writer and philosopher Ed Feser puts it like this: “The problem with putting feelings in the driver’s seat where reason should be is that the virtue of Mercy becomes a vice of sentimentality. We need feelings to give us rough and ready everyday guidance, but they are only ever a highly fallible assistant to reason, and like all things human, can become distorted.  Genuine mercy does more than merely call for repentance and penance, but it does not do less.  It helps the sinner to accept the inevitability of the suffering that results, rather than pretending that it is avoidable, or simply changing the subject. The acceptance of suffering is necessary to perfecting us.”

We have become a nation of wimps, offering our kids the choice to eat jelly and ice-cream if they don’t like dinner. 

Whitney, God rest her soul, had it right when she sang “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”.

But we are not teaching them well, so what happens when these unhealthy wimps are the ones leading the way? We get groups like Catholics for Choice and Ordain Women who feed us with ever greater helpings of jelly and ice-cream. 

At a time when the attacks come from inside the city walls our Bishops need to reiterate the constant teaching of the Church with clarity, lest people lose their way. When the destination is heaven and not Butlins, the implications of a wrong turn are more serious than missing out on an evening with Stephen Mulhern.

We must be helped to discriminate between those Christians whose destination is reality and those who self-identify, play dress up and seek to accompany others into an artificial metaverse.  

One of the things that we might consider teaching our children is that discrimination, when used to mean judging between reality and artificiality, authenticity and inauthenticity, coherence and incoherence need not be pejorative.  We might also gently suggest that such discrimination will challenge the prejudices hammered into us by a culture uprooted from its Judaeo-Christian heritage.

The danger of doing so is that they may start to pay attention to such putative villains as mothers and fathers, white heterosexual men, committed Christians and (dare I say it) the rich, because as Archbishop Fulton Sheen wisely observed, “we must welcome truth even if it reproaches and inconveniences us – even if it appears in the place where we thought it could not be found”.

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"The idea of conscience has been so perverted as to amount to nothing more than having the right to do whatever we feel like."

My favorite line.

" mercy and justice, sin and forgiveness, heaven and hell"

There are things that are left to be in TENSION. One ceases to have much meaning without the other. If heaven was all there was then hell wouldn't be. This is he reality after the fall. It is the reality we see atm.

It isn't that they want no more justice, sin or hell but that they want to change the meaning of all of it. Generally, aligned against those who oppose them.

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Contestando a

Thank you 🙏

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It's called logic. One cannot be and not be at the same time.

"In the beginning was the Word". Or in Greek the Logos. Our Bishops have forgotten this preferring to go along with the zeitgeist. God is not love, He is the Logos from which love comes.

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Katherine, absolutely spot on, a brilliant piece of truth snd writing. Thank you.

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Very kind Joyce, thank you 🙏

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Yes, we are either Catholic or not Catholic. In the same vein I dislike the terms Conservative vs Liberal Catholic. They are political terms. The truth taught by Christ and preserved over 2000 years remains the same. It is not a democracy ... despite the attempts of Luther to make it so.

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Well said! We are witnessing what might be described as ‘artificial discrimination’ ..

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Oooo I like that 😊

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