The Church is not your Daddy

February 16, 2013 § 84 Comments

Christ, to be sure, gave His Church no proper mission in the political, economic or social order. The purpose which He set before her is a religious one. – [Gaudium et Spes, Second Vatican Council]

A common sentiment I encounter, especially from Protestants, is that they object to the institutional Church because the institutional Church doesn’t put enough energy into telling men how to think and what to do in excruciating detail. I’ve encountered this gripe often when discussing the kind of sometimes-useful pop-sociology and psychology frequently called “Game”.

And shouldn’t the churches be way out in front on this, instead of playing catchup to some dude from Dallas and a mid-level government bureaucrat living in D.C.? – [Commenter Deti]

I would suggest (and have suggested) that outrage over the fact that the Church doesn’t solve every man’s problems with women for him is rather like outrage over the fact that your auto mechanic never helps you do your taxes. The Church doesn’t exist to fill every hole in your life and teach you everything you want or need to know about everything. Her purpose is religious: She isn’t your Daddy, and if your Daddy fell down on the job of teaching you what you need to know, or if you were tragically deprived of a Daddy, the Church is – sadly, perhaps, but no less truly – not able to replace him. That isn’t what the Church is for, and it isn’t where the Church has its charism (its special competence and charter as an institution, roughly speaking).

My guess is that in many cases the sentiment that the Church should be every man’s personal Dr. Phil arises from Protestant positivism[1]: from the intellectual commitments which undergird the solas, particularly the epistemically founded sola scriptura and sola fide. The epistemic solas require the Lollard’s commitment to fully autonomous textual completeness: the Scriptures are thought to be complete purely in and of themselves (sola), without reference to any authoritative outside sources of knowledge such as tradition and the institutional Church.

Now it isn’t my purpose here to argue against sola scriptura. In my experience that is rather pointless: either you get it that positivism is fundamentally irrational and therefore necessarily false, or you don’t.

But the notion that everything you need to know to work out your salvation is in this book – that you need this autonomous thing and this autonomous thing alone – leads to the more general disposition that all the answers you need to solve a particular problem ought to be found in this one place. If morality requires me to tend to the sick, then the Church is falling down on the job if it isn’t telling me everything I need to know about tending to the sick.

But in reality the Church has no special charism which makes it more competent than I am when it comes to the germ theory of disease or the pharmacological actions of various chemicals. This doesn’t mean that She has no special competence in the moral framing of how we are to care for the sick. But it is a category mistake to be outraged that I can’t study molecular biology at the Vatican.

___________

[1] It is perhaps worth noting that many in-the-pews Catholics and even Catholic intellectuals also suffer from positivist modes of thought, since it is in the air that we breath.

§ 84 Responses to The Church is not your Daddy

  • langobard says:

    I think it’s easy to see why some think the Church should be advocating their preferred solutions for gender problems in modern culture; because every day one sees the Church, namely bishops individually or in conferences, involved in all sorts of advocacy for its currently preferred social policies: against torture, for mass immigration, for gun control, for women’s rights, etc. Recently the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family gave a conference where he exhorted governments with laws criminalizing sodomy to remove those laws.

    http://www.uscatholic.org/news/201302/defend-traditional-family-rights-others-archbishop-says-26850

    Is your position that the Church should reduce its current level of commentary and activism on political issues, for example? Before the Church does so, it’s difficult to criticize laypeople for just following the lead.

  • Zippy says:

    langobard:
    Is your position that the Church should reduce its current level of commentary and activism on political issues, for example?

    Some yes, some no. Torture, for example, is a specific grave and intrinsic evil (like, say, abortion and sodomy). Preaching that it is always morally wrong is directly part of the Church’s competence.

    Moral matters do reflect on social matters, and it isn’t always perfectly clear precisely where the Church’s charism stops and the opinions of churchmen qua private theologians takes over. The further you get from the fundamentals of faith and morals – which is the Church’s special charism – the more things become a mixture of doctrine, domain expertise outside of the Church’s charism, and prudential judgements.

    My sense is that priests and bishops aren’t especially immune to the spirit of the times. But no man should let disagreement with a particular Bishop over immigration policy keep him away from the Sacraments.

  • Zippy says:

    (By the way the quote leading the post is from an ecumenical council, and certainly trumps any opinion you might hear from any priest or bishop).

  • langobard says:

    I agree that it is not totally clear where the line is, though it seems to me to be in reality fairly tightly drawn around a sphere of faith and morals that has remained unchanged in all eras from the apostolic to the contemporary. Putting the line even slightly out into the sphere of social action or policy seems to be an invitation to be scandalized, as the Church has frankly changed or reversed positions on usury, slavery, torture, religious liberty, capital punishment, etc. in the past and will almost certainly do so again in the future.

    I also agree with your last point, but practice might differ from theory. The last specific excommunications by a bishop of the United States were against three laypeople who held a public demonstration against the desegregation of Louisiana Catholic schools under Archbishop Rummel. As a Catholic I suppose I must believe that those were valid and effective excommunications. But I admit the idea makes me uneasy.

  • langobard says:

    *Peaceful public demonstration to clarify.

    Also it is interesting you note that teaching is from an ecumenical council document. That is something to mull on, thanks.

  • Zippy says:

    langobard:
    Putting the line even slightly out into the sphere of social action or policy seems to be an invitation to be scandalized, …

    Agreed. If some people are being scandalized away from the Church by the sectarian activism of bishops, those bishops will ultimately answer for it. (I thank God every day that I have no position of authority in the Church: the temptations must be horrendous).

    …as the Church has frankly changed or reversed positions on usury, slavery, torture, religious liberty, capital punishment, etc. in the past and will almost certainly do so again in the future.

    From my POV you may be scrambling two different things together: the scope of the Church’s charism (matters of faith and morals), which is the subject of the post, and development of doctrine within the subject area of the Church’s charism, which isn’t.

    Mind you, whenever I do due diligence on claims of a development of doctrine I usually find less there than meets the eye.

    The idea that there has been a reversal on usury is I think flatly false: you will find no Magisterial reversal on usury doctrine anywhere. I’ve looked for one, long and hard, and if you can find one you have better resources than I do. You will find plenty of confusion over what usury actually is among laypeople and clergy, but that doesn’t say anything about doctrine.

    I haven’t done due diligence on slavery, though I actually think that wishy-washiness on chattel slavery as praxis is part of why the cultural line didn’t hold on usury, to all of our detriment.

    Anyway, scope and development are really different subjects; and in the post I am addressing scope.

    The last specific excommunications by a bishop of the United States were against three laypeople who held a public demonstration against the desegregation of Louisiana Catholic schools under Archbishop Rummel.

    I couldn’t form an opinion without knowing a lot more than I know now about the specific case. “Anti-racism” these days is usually just code for liberalism, implying that disagreement with liberal policies is racist. But there is a legitimate moral category “racism” which refers to treating people of other races as less than fully human. If the laypeople excommunicated were causing public scandal with real racism that would be different from merely opposing integration on prudential grounds.

    Of course even if they were excommunicated unjustly by a Bishop abusing his power, it would hardly be the first time.

  • Vanessa says:

    Yes, it’s not your daddy. It’s also not your science text, all cavemen riding dinosaurs to the contrary.

    The last specific excommunications by a bishop of the United States were against three laypeople who held a public demonstration against the desegregation of Louisiana Catholic schools under Archbishop Rummel.

    Interesting.

    That is, if anything, evidence of the fact that the RCC shouldn’t constantly butt into political matters or use excommunication to support their favorite social movements. Remember the Australian nun who was excommunicated in an 1820s sex-abuse scandal and then reinstated (oops — our bad) and eventually canonized?

    But we can’t, on the one hand, admonish the RCC for social-political inaction, without simultaneously recognizing that any action might eventually be found to be foolhardy.

  • “Game” is an interesting case in that a good deal of it is devoted to LTR’s and marriage. Marriage is a sacrament which is very much within the Church’s mission.

    I’ve heard the old chestnut “What does this elderly celibate have to tell ME about my marriage?” countless times. I’m not sure what I expect the Church to do besides witness the sacrament, but I do know I don’t want priests or bishops giving counter productive advice. Like positivism, feminism is in the air we breathe. The non-FSSP Catholic priests I know shy away from preaching about the notions of wifely submission and the indissoluability of marriage as much as our separated brethren’s pastors.

  • Zippy says:

    Moral parameters are certainly within the Church’s purview. But I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that Game, the ‘science’ of sexual attraction, is a toolbox of amoral tools based on what women find sexually attractive in men. To the extent that Game doesn’t involve deliberate deception or pursuing evil ends (its label seems to imply that it does involve those things, but stipulating that it doesn’t) — that is, to the extent that it is applied psychology of sexual attraction and male-female social dynamics — it seems it would fall well outside of the Church’s charism.

    So to the extent Game is to be morally condemned it would be the Church’s prerogative to condemn it. To the extent it is what its Christian proponents claim that it is, it falls outside of the Church’s charism.

  • There is plenty, well within the Church’s charism and within the boundaries of natural, that the Church should be more vocal about: The heirarchical relation between spouses is one of these. If you get that much, you’ve got the better part of “game”.

  • Zippy says:

    Vanessa:
    But we can’t, on the one hand, admonish the RCC for social-political inaction, without simultaneously recognizing that any action might eventually be found to be foolhardy.

    Bingo. If we want an activist Church – beyond basic and direct Caritas in caring for the sick, poor, etc – then we have to realize that we are asking the Church to step outside of its fundamental competencies as guarded by the Holy Spirit. So we should expect the same kinds of results as we would get from any other group of doubtless well-meaning but otherwise ordinary men living in the particular Age in which we find ourselves.

  • Dalrock says:

    I would suggest (and have suggested) that outrage over the fact that the Church doesn’t solve every man’s problems with women for him is rather like outrage over the fact that your auto mechanic never helps you do your taxes.

    I think this is a straw man version of the real issue. The Church (Prot and RCC) has responded to feminism and the destruction of biblical marriage with a combination of disinterest, denial, and outright enthusiasm. A legion of social problems stem from this, and among them are the relations between the sexes and lack of fathers.

    No, the Church isn’t our Daddy, but the Church’s complicity in the destruction of marriage has resulted in hundreds of millions of children without Daddies, with ever greater numbers to follow.

  • Zippy says:

    Dalrock:
    The Church (Prot and RCC) has responded to feminism and the destruction of biblical marriage with a combination of disinterest, denial, and outright enthusiasm.

    That depends on what you mean by “the Church”. If you mean Everyman who happens to be Christian, sure.

    Furthermore, you are assuming that it is the job of the Church – as opposed to Everyman – to confront and turn back political revolution. It isn’t.

    The Church is not our Daddy, and it isn’t our Charles Martel either. It is our job as lay Christian men to turn back the Revolution; not the Church’s job.

  • Dalrock says:

    To the extent that Game doesn’t involve deliberate deception or pursuing evil ends (its label seems to imply that it does involve those things, but stipulating that it doesn’t)

    The source of the term to my knowledge comes from black slang, meaning prowess or talent. A man with athletic prowess is said to “have game”, and (again as I understand it) this was adapted to refer to a man’s talent with attracting women.

  • Zippy says:

    Dalrock:
    meaning prowess or talent

    Good to know. It “sounds like” gaming the system or whatever; but with that etymology no dishonestly is implied, merely skill.

  • Dalrock says:

    I did some searching and urban dictionary seems to agree with my definition. But word origins are not always cut and dried, so others may have a very different explanation for the term. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=got%20game

    That depends on what you mean by “the Church”. If you mean Everyman who happens to be Christian, sure.

    Furthermore, you are assuming that it is the job of the Church – as opposed to Everyman – to confront and turn back political revolution. It isn’t.

    I strongly disagree. The Church has a great deal of responsibility regarding marriage. Marriage isn’t just a secular institution, which is why most weddings still occur in churches. Your argument would be much stronger if the Church wasn’t in the marriage (Prot & RCC), remarriage (Prot), and annulment (RCC) businesses. But even then, the Bible includes specific instruction on the roles and obligations of husbands and wives. This is being ignored or downplayed by nearly all Christian leaders because they don’t want to offend the feminists in the pews.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    My guess is that in many cases the sentiment that the Church should be every man’s personal Dr. Phil arises from Protestant positivism[1]: from the intellectual commitments which undergird the solas, particularly the epistemically founded sola scriptura and sola fide. The epistemic solas require the Lollard’s commitment to fully autonomous textual completeness: the Scriptures are thought to be complete purely in and of themselves (sola), without reference to any authoritative outside sources of knowledge such as tradition and the institutional Church.

    I’m sure I don’t understand this statement because I see it exactly backwards from what you have written. If I take this as true, then I ought to expect the church (books, traditions, and institutions) to be more than capable of helping me with my taxes.

    What am I missing?

    I would suggest (and have suggested) that outrage over the fact that the Church doesn’t solve every man’s problems with women for him is rather like outrage over the fact that your auto mechanic never helps you do your taxes.

    It all depends on what we’re talking about, when we talk of Game. It’s very muddled, but to be fair to those who are inclusive of marriage, relations, and attraction in their Game views:

    You need to inform your readers that your mechanic in fact offers a whole host of tax-filing information. A third or more of the literature and classes given by the mechanic are on tax code, the benefits of paying your taxes, which deductions are right for you, etc. Also, you should point out that the mechanics particular automotive theory is best expressed and practiced as good taxation policies. You further need to inform your readers that this mechanic is actually the only legitimate IRS for its patrons.

    And, one time–way back–the mechanic claims to have been there when taxes were invented.

    @Vanessa

    Yes, it’s not your daddy. It’s also not your science text, all cavemen riding dinosaurs to the contrary.

    It’s the ones who take it as a historical document that you have to look out for. They don’t make a statement on riding dinosaurs, but those folks do seem to think a day means one day, and forty days means forty days, and three days means three days.

    Let’s not start taking these non-scientific histories as authoritative. We might have an outbreak of religion on our hands.

  • Zippy says:

    Dalrock:
    I strongly disagree. The Church has a great deal of responsibility regarding marriage. Marriage isn’t just a secular institution, which is why most weddings still occur in churches.

    Now you are rebutting an argument I didn’t make. The frequent complaint is that the Church doesn’t teach female psychology, what women find attractive in a man, how to maintain a relationship — you know, the stuff the bureaucrat from DC and the dude from Dallas teach.

    I’m not arguing that the Church has no role at all in marriage. Far from it. It has a role in the sacrament itself and in teaching the moral norms that apply.

    On annulments, there is a huge problem there but I haven’t resolved its parameters to my own satisfaction. If sunshinemary is right and most Protestants go into marriage with the understanding that it is dissoluble in a case of adultery it follows that most Protestants “marry” with defective consent and are not sacramentally married in fact. And given that Catholic-in-the-pews attitudes aren’t that different from Protestant, it follows that most ostensible Christian marriages are in fact invalid. This is one possibility I raised many years ago, but I have more reading to do before I can reach a definite opinion of my own.

    [Edit: I should clarify that sunshinemary herself does not share the belief that marriage is dissoluble, meaning that remarriage is licit, in cases of adultery. She just said that she believes most Protestants do think that. Linking is a pain on my phone, but the discussion is in the same thread that I linked to in the OP. — Z]

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:
    Maybe a better analogy is griping that your math professor isn’t helping you do your taxes.

  • Vanessa says:

    The Church (Prot and RCC) has responded to feminism and the destruction of biblical marriage with a combination of disinterest, denial, and outright enthusiasm.

    This is incorrect, at least for the RCC. Numerous Popes have been issuing encyclicals on the subject from the beginning, and the pro-family and pro-life movements have been spearheaded by the RCC. There’s a reason why the RCC is the feminist bogeyman, after all.

  • Zippy says:

    We were just recently discussing how awful and chauvinistic the Church is because unwed mothers still aren’t permitted, in at least some Catholic schools, to teach first grade; and in some cases they even sue over it.

    There is some truth in Bonald’s (IIRC) point that Johnny-come-lately manosphere complaints that Catholic trads aren’t doing enough to resist feminism come off as a little precious, like chicken-hawk Monday morning quarterbacks criticizing the conduct of a generations long war the critics just discovered yesterday. On the other hand I think it isn’t too productive to divide natural allies, and sometimes the new guy on the battlefield does see things that the grizzled vets have missed. Ego on either side doesn’t really advance what we all want, which is to fortify traditional marriage and retake the ground that has been lost.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Dalrock wrote:

    I strongly disagree. The Church has a great deal of responsibility regarding marriage. Marriage isn’t just a secular institution, which is why most weddings still occur in churches.

    Zippy replied:

    Now you are rebutting an argument I didn’t make. The frequent complaint is that the Church doesn’t teach female psychology, what women find attractive in a man, how to maintain a relationship — you know, the stuff the bureaucrat from DC and the dude from Dallas teach.

    The frequent complaint that I hear is that the church in fact has been teaching men all about female psychology, what women find attractive in a man, and how to maintain a relationship, but what they have been teaching for the past forty years has been complete crap. I see a lot in the Bible that gives us insight into inter-gender relationships and conflict as well as good information about how to structure a healthy marriage. Sadly, all that good information gets lost between the words on the page and what actually comes out of the pastors’ mouths.

    Perhaps it would help if they just stuck to reading the Bible, stopped censoring the politically-incorrect parts that set the hens to bawking, and quit teaching nonsense about relationships.

    Cane

    Let’s not start taking these non-scientific histories as authoritative.

    Goodness, Cane, you don’t mean to imply that people are considering taking these things as commands they must believe and obey, do you? From what I can observe around me, they’re merely meant to be nice suggestions. You know, like when Jesus tells Martha not to do so much. I am just *hoping* Pastor will teach on that tomorrow, because if there is one thing that is wrong with women in the church nowadays, it’s that they are doing too much.

  • Dalrock says:

    A better analogy would be turbo tax; it walks you through the process of filing but doesn’t teach you the intricacies of tax law. But you don’t need to learn tax law if you follow the instructions. As the old spaghetti sauce tag line goes, it’s in there! By the same token if you follow NT instructions on the roles of marriage, no understanding of Game is required (for married men at least). Likewise, if the instruction to marry as a bulwark against temptation for sexual sin was taken seriously, while it would put a massive cramp in modern Christians’ sense of girlpower it would also remove the need for unmarried men to learn Game as well.

  • Zippy says:

    sunshinemary:
    The frequent complaint that I hear is that the church in fact has been teaching men all about female psychology, what women find attractive in a man, and how to maintain a relationship, but what they have been teaching for the past forty years has been complete crap.

    This is where the difference between Catholic and Protestant ecclesiology comes in though. The people who have been doing that have been individual Christians acting on their own authority, not the Church.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Zippy wrote:

    If sunshinemary is right and most Protestants go into marriage with the understanding that it is dissoluble in a case of adultery it follows that most Protestants “marry” with defective consent and are not sacramentally married in fact.

    Let’s clarify: It is not I who has suggested that people should divorce a spouse who has committed adultery (and I walk my talk on that issue); however, it is the case that virtually all Protestants believe that both divorce and remarriage are permitted in cases of adultery and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse.

    [Yes, I put that in the comment as an edit, since I noticed that my original comment might imply something false about your stated beliefs; but by all means amplify it to make sure that your position is clear. –Z]

  • sunshinemary says:

    Zippy, didn’t you and David Collard just hash that out yesterday at my place? I didn’t follow it carefully since I’m no longer Catholic.

    [We didn’t reach a conclusion upon which we both agreed. –Z]

  • Morticia says:

    Actually, The Church is your Mommy.

    I think I sorta, kinda, almost disagree with what you are saying here. But I have no idea why or how or what flavor my disagreement is. Hows that for clarity? I’ll come back in a couple of months when I figure it out.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    I am beside myself. First Athol Kay, and now…

    By the same token if you follow NT instructions on the roles of marriage, no understanding of Game is required (for married men at least). Likewise, if the instruction to marry as a bulwark against temptation for sexual sin was taken seriously, while it would put a massive cramp in modern Christians’ sense of girlpower it would also remove the need for unmarried men to learn Game as well.

    Wow! Permit me a beta moment…ahem…

    Did I just win ” DID I JUST WIN???

    Game: Roissy, Roosh, and 1,036,344,572 noobs
    Cane: Dalrock (and AK)

    Somebody pinch me.

    @SSM

    You’re picking up what I’m putting down.

    @ZC

    There is some truth in Bonald’s (IIRC) point that Johnny-come-lately manosphere complaints that Catholic trads aren’t doing enough to resist feminism come off as a little precious, like chicken-hawk Monday morning quarterbacks criticizing the conduct of a generations long war the critics just discovered yesterday. On the other hand I think it isn’t too productive to divide natural allies, and sometimes the new guy on the battlefield does see things that the grizzled vets have missed. Ego on either side doesn’t really advance what we all want, which is to fortify traditional marriage and retake the ground that has been lost.

    Were you not payed the wages you have been promised? Many Catholics were called, but a few Protestants have been chosen as well.

  • Zippy says:

    Dalrock:
    As the old spaghetti sauce tag line goes, it’s in there!

    Well, now you’ve gone and bridged the bulk of the disagreement that makes for interesting discussion.

    But perhaps just to be contrary I’d suggest that knowing more about the psychology of one’s mate, beyond simply following the moral prescriptions of Biblical (I would call it “traditional Christian”) marriage, can bring additional good into the marriage. Traditional marriage more or less describes boundaries of what not to do: don’t be unfaithful, don’t be quarrelsome, don’t be unloving, don’t invert the natural hierarchy of male leader and female follower, etc. And that is far more than most people have today.

    But there is no theoretical upper limit to how much better still one can be toward one’s beloved:

    On the other hand, the fact that only the negative commandments oblige always and under all circumstances does not mean that in the moral life prohibitions are more important than the obligation to do good indicated by the positive commandments. The reason is this: the commandment of love of God and neighbour does not have in its dynamic any higher limit, but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken.

    Furthermore, as just a caution, even if both spouses follow the narrow path that is still no guarantee of happiness. All sorts of things can happen, particularly on the health front, which can make even the most Biblical of marriages into a trial.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Zippy:

    This is where the difference between Catholic and Protestant ecclesiology comes in though. The people who have been doing that have been individual Christians acting on their own authority, not the Church.

    A question – several male commenters at my place have noted that their wives have gotten involved in various Catholic ladies’ societies where there is teaching going on. I am not familiar with this, but perhaps you know what they are talking about? Anyway, apparently doctrinal issues are discussed there among the ladies, with one commenter noting that his wife will no longer engage in marital relations with him and has justified doing so by something she learned at this society. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d go dig through the comment threads and find his actual words, but maybe you can clarify. Do these societies exist within the Catholic church and do they teach on relationships?

  • Zippy says:

    sunshinemary:
    Do these societies exist within the Catholic church and do they teach on relationships?

    Those kinds of things have no doctrinal, ecclesiological, or authoritative standing in the Church whatsoever. They are just laypeople getting together, praying, and discussing stuff.

  • Zippy says:

    Cane:
    Were you not payed the wages you have been promised?

    And more: I have absolutely no complaints, brother.

  • Morticia says:

    Sunshinemary- What tends to happen is women find out that they are not suppose to have contraceptive sex and so if their husbands insist upon it then they believe they are committing a mortal sin by consenting to it.

  • Zippy says:

    Morticia:
    What tends to happen is women find out that they are not suppose to have contraceptive sex and so if their husbands insist upon it then they believe they are committing a mortal sin by consenting to it.

    Ah, now that is a different scenario, if he is asking her to do something intrinsically evil. See this thread.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Somebody pinch me.

    Well, I’ve wanted to kick you a few times, but..

    In all seriousness, I think Dalrock has always maintained that all that is necessary is to follow the Bible, but it’s just that most people don’t. And it takes both spouses following the Bible; if just the husband is, and the wife is in rebellion, Game (I suppose) is seen as a possible means to deal with that. I think that is what Dalrock has always said, if I’m not mistaken.

  • sunshinemary says:

    @ Zippy and Morticia
    OK, thank you for the clarification.

  • Morticia says:

    Okay…here is part of my objection.

    The Church is your Daddy in the sense that it informs you of the rules, so that you can obey the rules and avoid sin.

    I’ve frequently wondered if I am sinning by voting for the wrong person. Or if I am sinning by voting at all.

    I’ve wondered if I am sinning by not disciplining my children correctly, or if I am not reacting correctly to my husbands behavior, or whether my shoes are too sexy.

    I need the Church to tell me when I am sinning, and what I need forgiveness for. In a lot of areas the Church is mute, and that results in a tendency towards scrupulosity.

    Thats part of it..theres more..but thats a start.

  • Zippy says:

    Morticia:
    In a lot of areas the Church is mute, and that results in a tendency towards scrupulosity.

    In other people it results in a tendency toward laxity. And in any case this notion that there is (or should be) some repository of everything you could possibly need to know is precisely the positivism I refer to in the OP. The thing that you ask for – the Ultimate Specification of Everything You Might Need To Know – is literally not possible.

    It actually isn’t even rational. The world doesn’t work that way. Language doesn’t work that way. Every specification in a language is necessarily incomplete: it has to draw upon sources outside of itself in order to have meaning[1].

    One of the peculiar doctrines of the Church pertaining to positivist modes of thought is that the silence of the Holy See does not imply the approval of the Holy See.

    [1] There may arguably be pathologically simple exceptions to this rule in certain mathematical languages.

  • Morticia says:

    Then how does someone avoid sin, if it isn’t by someone specifically telling them what the sins are?

  • Zippy says:

    Morticia:
    A large question worthy of a shelf full of books as an answer. But at the very least a post or two of its own, if the winds blow in that direction.

    The somewhat flippant answer is “cultivate virtue”.

    But notice that even when the rules are clear you need to bring outside information into your decisions. The Church tells you not to murder, but it doesn’t tell you that arsenic is poison. The Church tells you that abortion is murder, but it doesn’t tell you that suction aspiration and salpingostomy (an ectopic pregnancy treatment) are abortion.

    We are rational beings, and it is a consequence of the kind of beings we are and the kind of world that we live in that we have to think for ourselves. There is no escaping it. There is no rote computer program we can follow in order to deterministically reach the beatific vision.

  • sunshinemary says:

    whether my shoes are too sexy.

    Oh my, I just can’t relate to that at all. Shoes? No, not my thing. Ahem.

    Then how does someone avoid sin, if it isn’t by someone specifically telling them what the sins are?

    I’m going to whisper this, okay Morticia, so that none of the other Catholics in the room can here me. Ready? whisper on/ You can read the Bible; all that stuff about sins is in there. The Bible is, like, all you really need. /whisper off

    OK, I’m leaving before Zippy kicks me out. 🙂

  • Morticia says:

    Fair enough. I’ll take that as “if the Church isn’t clear then ask your priest..and if he is wrong then pray for mercy.”

  • Morticia says:

    Sunshinemary – The Bible tells me a lot..but it doesn’t tell me who to vote for or whether participating in women’s suffrage at all is a participation in evil. Also, it is surprisingly silent on the issue of calf-high heeled boots.

  • Zippy says:

    Morticia:
    Yes, and try always to do everything out of love.

    In the OP I link to a seven year old post of mine on what one must do to be saved:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2005/05/11/salvation-by-what/

  • Morticia says:

    Thanks.

    I think I get what you are saying. Is this what the Bible means when it says “Love covers a multitude of sins”?

    That we can’t always know the exact right thing to do, but if done from a place of love our imperfections will not condemn us?

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @SSM

    In all seriousness, I think Dalrock has always maintained that all that is necessary is to follow the Bible, but it’s just that most people don’t. And it takes both spouses following the Bible; if just the husband is, and the wife is in rebellion, Game (I suppose) is seen as a possible means to deal with that. I think that is what Dalrock has always said, if I’m not mistaken.

    In August 2012, Dalrock wrote “Why Christians Need Game”. I argued vociferously against in the comments, and he invited me to write a rebuttal. I called it “Cypher’s Problem”. It was a mess because it was missing about 10,000 words. My contention was that all that was needed was to bear in mind–that is: keep in sight…that is: follow–the picture of marriage given in scripture, and these things will take care of themselves. I’ve been hammering since then “read your Bible, pray thoroughly, and go to church”–and getting largely hammered or ignored for it. Moreso by others of the Manosphere than Dalrock himself; who has been more than gracious to me.

    Today, though, he wrote the case that no Christian man–married or unmarried–needs Game. I ended Cypher’s Problem by asking:

    “Let’s assume that I have Game wrong, and that it can be separated from the PUA culture, and its tricks. Let’s assume it’s simply about breaking through the Feminist frame, understanding hypergamy, and adopting a masculine frame. Considering that the Christian man is called to marriage alone for sexual release, and that the world is full of sluts (there aren’t nearly enough virgins to go around), how is Game anything but a round-about method of telling Christian men to Man-Up and Marry These Sluts?”

    Which, unless I am reading some very plain words very wrong: is what is being admitted by Dalrock and you. Once they marry, we get right back to following the NT instructions as Dalrock says. In other words: we could have skipped the Game step and gone straight to scripture, and Christians don’t need Game.

    Yes, you have to learn how to wield it, but regardless the Gamedian Knot is undone with a Sword.

  • Dalrock says:

    @Cane Caldo
    In August 2012, Dalrock wrote “Why Christians Need Game”. I argued vociferously against in the comments, and he invited me to write a rebuttal. I called it “Cypher’s Problem”.

    Correct. But SSM is also correct. My position above doesn’t differ from my position in “Why Christians Need Game”:

    The short answer is yes. The Bible should be all you need.

    The problem is Christians have decided not to follow the Bible on the question of marriage in specific, and men and women in general.

  • In regard to annulments, I once said to a priest who had done tribunal work, “Given the exponential increase in annulments in the last forty years, has something gone wrong with the tribunal process? Or are there really that many Catholics living in objectively invalid marriages?” Without hesitation he replied, “Both.”

  • joycalyn says:

    ZC: Forgive my ignorance, but can you deny or verify if I’ve got the basic idea of positivism? Scientific positivism – the only knowable truth is empirical; Biblical positivism – the only knowable truth is the words of Scripture?

    I’m teaching a class on origins to 14-year-old students and I’ve asked them to consider whether the standard creationist approach to the question of origins has any similarities to the Darwinist approach. I think it might and that positivism may be the culprit, but I’m not sure since this is the first time I’ve heard the term. (I hope this isn’t too off topic – it seemed related in my brain.)

    Thank you for linking to the discussion about salvation. It brings a bit of clarity to an extremely frustrating question I have about how knowledge can be the basis of salvation. I mean, the question itself isn’t frustrating – the answers I get quite definitely are.

  • Zippy says:

    jocalyn:

    As a gloss yes, but it can be a bit more subtle than that, and has to do with the relationship between consistency and completeness. Basically, in any language capable of expressing interesting truths (like English or Koine Greek for example) you can have one or the other but not both simultaneously.

    Slightly less abstractly, any statement to the effect that “Everything there is to know about [real thing X] is specified in this finite text T” is necessarily false.

    The word does have multiple cognate meanings. For example it is sometimes used as a characterization of verificationism (the position that statements which cannot be verified by procedure X – say the scientific method – are meaningless). It is sometimes used to refer to false “solutions” to what is called the demarcation problem – how to define the difference between scientific claims and unscientific claims – such as Popperian falsificationism, which proposes that scientific statements are falsifiable whereas unscientific claims are unfalsifiable. These seem “up your alley” as it were, and might make for good Google search terms.

    All of these concepts are problematic – they can be shown to be wrong – and they are sometimes referred to under the umbrella “positivism”. I’ve also discussed legal positivism here, which is the doctrine that a judge must apply the positive law, whatever it says, without importing what legal positivists disparagingly refer to as “private opinions” and I refer to as basic rationality into their decisions qua judge.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Cane Caldo wrote:

    I’ve been hammering since then “read your Bible, pray thoroughly, and go to church”–and getting largely hammered or ignored for it…Which, unless I am reading some very plain words very wrong: is what is being admitted by Dalrock and you. Once they marry, we get right back to following the NT instructions as Dalrock says. In other words: we could have skipped the Game step and gone straight to scripture, and Christians don’t need Game.

    Perhaps you should write another guest post. How about for me? I know how much you enjoy chatting with the ladies. 🙂

    But kidding aside, of course I agree, and have always agreed with you, that the Bible is all that is needed *if only* both husband and wife will follow it.

    A small problem: many, many pastors are teaching falsely on important issues from the Bible. I have heard mutual submission between husbands and wives taught from the very pulpit. This is part of the reason people are confused. Perhaps people’s itching ears do not want to hear sound doctrine, but it should still be taught nevertheless.

    But it’s odd that the more I look at what is really being taught in Game, the more I think I have never really understood it to begin with and ought not to have yip-yapped about it in the first place. Someone emailed me a video of a guy named Owen who runs something called Real Social Dynamics bootcamps (you can google it and find the videos), and after watching it, all I could say, “Eww, gross.” I guess maybe a woman might sleep with a man who behaved that way but I cannot suss how she could ever respect him.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @ZC

    Slightly less abstractly, any statement to the effect that “Everything there is to know about [real thing X] is specified in this finite text T” is necessarily false.

    True, but If you want to find the towns north of you, but whenever it seems like the sun is rising in the west you should wisely assume that you’re facing the wrong direction.

    @SSM

    I do enjoy chatting with the ladies, but what does that have to do with them?

    RSD is a particularly silly pile of trash, from what I’ve seen.

  • Morticia says:

    I think I figured out my second objection, but it is going to sound a bit sloppy.

    If the Church is the model of our domestic Churches, doesn’t that mean that the way it runs has a lot to teach us about the proper running of the household?

    Shouldn’t how we run our homes mimic how our “Church home” cares for its people?

    Aren’t our Priestly Fathers taking paternal care of our souls..guiding us much the way a biological father does?

  • Zippy says:

    “Has a lot to teach us” doesn’t mean that it is reasonable to expect the Church to fill in where fathers have either dropped the ball or have been absent (often enough against their will).

    If the Church can literally fill every role of a father then fathers are literally superfluous. Nobody needs a father: they just need the Church.

    Blaming our math professor when we screw up our tax returns is generally unreasonable. It isn’t the Church’s job to teach a man what does and doesn’t make a woman desperate to have his baby.

  • Morticia says:

    I laughed at the last sentence.

  • Peter Blood says:

    I wish you wouldn’t abbreviate sunshinemary as SSM. Negative connotation there.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @PB

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. All my past negative connotations of SSM have been unabbreviated.

    Furthermore: She uses it on her own blog.

  • Vanessa says:

    All my past negative connotations of SSM have been unabbreviated.

    LOL That was clever.

  • joycalyn says:

    Thank you, Zippy, for expanding on the idea and for the search terms. I’ll have to think hard about the consistency vs completeness relationship. I think I have a glimmer, but certainly nothing close to understanding. But then, that’s why I read your blog – so I can learn.

  • […] take-away from a side conversation between Dalrock and Cane Caldo on Zippy Catholic’s post The Church is not your daddy, and I agreed with them. However, I think it still behooves a Christian man to have a working […]

  • hurting says:

    Dalrock wrote:

    The Church (Prot and RCC) has responded to feminism and the destruction of biblical marriage with a combination of disinterest, denial, and outright enthusiasm.

    Vanessa replied:

    This is incorrect, at least for the RCC. Numerous Popes have been issuing encyclicals on the subject from the beginning, and the pro-family and pro-life movements have been spearheaded by the RCC. There’s a reason why the RCC is the feminist bogeyman, after all.

    Yes, the Popes have generally been pretty supportive of the institution of marriage but they have been pretty effectively undermined by the U.S. bishops who seem hell-bent for leather to annul essentially every marriage that comes before their tribunals regardless of the admonishments from the Pope himself or the evidence in the form of overturned declarations of nullity by the Roman Rota.

    The explosion of annulments in the U.S. since Vatican II is prima facie evidence that the U.S. RCC has lost its way regading marriage, the obligations of which were understood for centuries to be within the grasp of teenagers. Yet the bishops would have us believe that there has been some magical discovery in the social sciences that has magically unlocked the key to understanding and proving, often many years after the fact, grievous defects in a person’s ability to undertake marriage. Vasoli pretty well demolished the apologists’ arguments in his book on the subject.

    I, and I suspect many of my fellow Catholics either with some meaningful firsthand experience of the RCC prior to Vatican II or raised by parents who had such, do not expect the Church to practice any psychology whatsoever. What we do expect is that it will enforce its own canon law (for example that related to the separation of the spouses) and not make deals with the devil that always turn out to harm our first principles (like supporting state intervention in the provision of goods and services for the poor that rightly falls under the purview of the private sector, namely the Church and her people pursuant to the concept of subsidiarity).

    [Added formatting for cited comments. — Z]

  • Zippy says:

    hurting:
    Yet the bishops would have us believe that there has been some magical discovery in the social sciences that has magically unlocked the key to understanding and proving, often many years after the fact, grievous defects in a person’s ability to undertake marriage.

    What I’m still pretty uncertain about myself, and mentioned above, is that it really does seem likely that a large percentage of people really do enter into marriage with defective consent. If permanence isn’t intended on the wedding day when the vows are made – and that means permanence no matter what, no outs for adultery or murder or incarceration or drug abuse or incest or rape or anything else – then the marriage is invalid.

    Either way it is a horrific situation. But I frankly wouldn’t be surprised to find out that (say) 80% or more of Catholic marriages are in fact invalid, because divorce and remarriage was always considered an option – even if only in some extreme case of abuse, adultery, incarceration for a major crime, or what have you – by at least one of the spouses. If the reservation (“If he ever murders our children I will divorce him and marry someone else”, say) was in her mind as an explicit intention on or before the wedding day, the marriage is invalid.

    If Communion-receiving Catholic-in-the-pews attitudes about contraception are 80% or more heretical – and they definitely are – then why would it be surprising to have a similarly large percentage of heretics at the altar? If 80% will receive communion either out of ignorance of Church teaching or willful rejection of it, how many attempt marriage defectively?

    It just has to be a large number.

    Vasoli pretty well demolished the apologists’ arguments in his book on the subject.

    His book on annulments is required reading, to be sure.

  • Desiderius says:

    “not make deals with the devil that always turn out to harm our first principles (like supporting state intervention in the provision of goods and services for the poor that rightly falls under the purview of the private sector, namely the Church and her people pursuant to the concept of subsidiarity).”

    Supporting is indeed a problem, but it often goes beyond support to the point of utter abdication. The care of the poor, and in some cases even the cure of souls, has been outsourced to the state.

    Due to long-standing political allegiances arising out of anti-Catholic discrimination on the part of the now defunct WASP ruling caste, this problem is especially acute for American Catholics. Of course it has nearly eaten the mainline churches of that ruling caste alive.

  • buckyinky says:

    Either way it is a horrific situation. But I frankly wouldn’t be surprised to find out that (say) 80% or more of Catholic marriages are in fact invalid, because divorce and remarriage was always considered an option – even if only in some extreme case of abuse, adultery, incarceration for a major crime, or what have you – by at least one of the spouses. If the reservation (“If he ever murders our children I will divorce him and marry someone else”, say) was in her mind as an explicit intention on or before the wedding day, the marriage is invalid.

    I venture that these extreme cases don’t even occur to most couples leading up to and on their wedding day – these thoughts are furthest from their minds, and they don’t contemplate the indissolubility of the marriage bond even through hypothetical extreme cases because they don’t consider these things even a possibility. They see themselves making a promise till death do them part from the other, because the other (at least as known to them to this point) is one that they are able to see themselves spending the rest of their lives with. If they envisioned these extreme cases occurring in the future, they would not enter into the marriage in the first place. It’s possible that the failure to contemplate this can impede a valid sacrament.

    But what of those, then, who perhaps on their wedding day did not commit to the other in such a way that they considered the bond indissoluble, but then came to understand later in the marriage (or “marriage”?) that the marriage bond is in fact indissoluble, and they commit themselves to this belief with the one to whom they committed imperfectly previously? Were they not married until such time as their understanding of the commitment required by true marriage was attained? If so, how could the Church discern such things in order to rule justly on annulment? How could the Church know at what point it was that the parties’ understanding was complete enough to make it a valid sacrament? For that matter, how could the parties themselves even perceive well enough to discern the point in time when their own understanding of marriage was perfect enough?

    The psychologizing that is involved here is mind-boggling, and it seems unlikely at least, that the Church was meant to have to take part in it. What seems to me more likely is that there is more of an ex opere operato-ness attached to the public promise together with the marriage bed, somewhat similar to the efficacy of the Eucharist in spite of the imperfect understanding of the priest confecting it. What earthly priest fully understands the mysteries involved with his priestly action such that he can say that he wills it with full knowledge of all that he is willing? Even so, the sacrament is conferred despite his imperfect understanding. I see it as similar in the case of marriage: what bride or groom fully understands all that is taken upon herself or himself at the altar? Nevertheless here the sacrament of indissolubility is conferred also.

    The only other option, as I see it, is that marriage becomes meaningless because it is subject to the whimsical psyche of man.

  • buckyinky says:

    BTW, I haven’t read the Vasoli book yet, but reading about it here has given me the impetus to do so. Does he address the impossible psychologizing that goes along with intent/will-driven annulments? It appears the U.S. hierarchy has jumped into these matters with aplomb.

  • Zippy says:

    That’s a great breakdown of psychology-of-consent buckyinky, and pretty convincing. But it is still impossible to know who actually has contemplated terms for divorce and remarriage (e.g adultery) and explicitly considers them in effect when vows are exchanged. Among Protestants for whom an explicit adultery exception is bread and butter marriage theology this could especially be a problem.

    Still, you’ve given me an interesting direction to go in thinking about the problem and exploring its parameters that I probably should have thought of myself. The early sacramental crises are probably a good place to go for a genuinely sensus fidei answer.

  • Morticia says:

    I have a friend who is a canon lawyer and she is pretty convinced about 90% of marriages are invalid.

    But the psychoanalzying Buckinsky mentions is something I have thought about as well, as I try to psychoanalyze my own marriage and vows. My husband can testify that I have interrogated him more than once to make sure he is sure he was sure.

    I”m not even entirely sure I was sure..as a love-struck impetuous 19 year old.

  • hurting says:

    Zippy,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response to my post.

    As to the idea that a great percentage of putatively Catholic marriages are invalid due to defective consent, I’m not buying it. First of all, a lot of the examples offered (“she held out that she’d divorce if he ever cheated on her”) are really examples of simulation.

    Defective consent is the de facto “get out of jail free” card.

    I suppose I’d be more convinced if the explosion in annulments in the U.S., and therefore the world, was not just that – an explosion from a couple of hundred to tens of thousands. The very simple answer is that the goalposts were moved so as to move in concert with the zeitgeist of the ’60’s. There was no magical diagnosis that came to light back then (Vasoli covers this in the book), just a willingness to apply the annulment as therapy, souls be damned.

    Morticia,

    I have spoken with a canon lawyer for the purpose of obtaining independent representation the event my wife seeks an annulment (I have my doubts about the zeal of the typical defender of the bon assigned by a tribunal). He, I think, would quibble with your canon lawyer friend as to the percentage of marriages that are truly invaild by the standards that were maintained for nearly 2,000 years of church history. Could 90% of marriages be found invalid in today’s U.S. tribunal system? Certainly if you apply the obviously laxer standards that must be in place today.

  • Zippy says:

    hurting:

    Keeping in mind that I am far from having a settled opinion on the matter, I do think Vasoli and you may be giving short shrift to the fact that the basic cultural understanding of what marriage means and what was expected of married couples changed during that time. Church doctrine is that consent is what makes the marriage, period:

    According to the laws, let the consent alone suffice for those whose union is in question; and if, by chance, this consent alone is lacking in the marriage, everything else is in vain, even if solemnized by intercourse itself, as attested to by the great Doctor John Chrysostom, who said: “What makes a marriage is not intercourse, but the will.” — Pope Nicholas I, Ad consulta vestra, November 13, 866 AD (quoted in Denzinger)

    and

    If conditions contrary to the nature of marriage are inserted, for example, if one says to the other: “I contract marriage with you if you avoid the generation of children”, or “until I find another more worthy of reputation or riches”, or “if you hand yourself over to adultery for profit”, the matrimonial contract, however favorable it may be, is deprived of effect; although other conditions added to the marriage, if they are disgraceful or impossible, should be considered as not added because of the favor of marriage in the eyes of the law. — Pope Gregory IX, Si condiciones, between 1227 and 1234 AD (quoted in Denzinger)

    Now, I’ll certainly grant that no magical psychiatric tools have been invented which allow moderns to better distinguish what precisely a person understood himself to consent to when he stood at the altar. But I am perfectly willing to believe that when large numbers of modern people contract marriage they don’t mean what people meant 100 years ago.

    So I’m not quite ready to brush off the possibility of widespread defective consent.

  • hurting says:

    Buckyinky,

    I’d second Zippy’s assessment that Vasoli covers defective consent very well. Indeed, I’d say that it’s the key piece to the book because it’s the key problem with the American tribunals.

    Insofar as defective form cases are essentailly handled administratively and are much more amenable to forensic treatment (e.g., a person’s prior marriage, for example, can be thoroughly proven by way of incontrovertible evidence), these do not present that much of a threat either in theory or in practice.

    The overwhelming majority of petitions in the U.S. are based on defective consent (Canon 1095), and the real travesty is the degree to which the ensuing annulments on granted on the basis of allegations of inability to consent. Recall that for most of the Church’s history the ability to comprehend the obligations of marriage was deemed to be within the grasp of teenagers. Now the U.S. tribunals would have us believe that there are legions of married persons out there who, despite leading otherwise successful lives and raising children, were incapable of understanding the gravity of the task at hand; further, those same tribunals would further have us believe that they possess the tools to infer such incapacity many years after its alleged manifestation. In short the whole thing simply defies credulity.

    It is obvious for all with eyes to see that annulments have been used as pastoral measures to bring sheep back into the fold. What has happened in the last 50 years has indeed cheapened the sacrament immeasurably so as to drive them away.

  • hurting says:

    Zippy,

    I think you and I are in agreement that the Church’s doctrine as to what constitutes a valid marriage is not dependent on the larger culture, no?

    As to why people may/may not mean what they say at the altar over time, I would submit that the U.S. tribunals and the clergy have at best inadvertantly undermined the sacrament. I’ve seen clergy essentially admit publically that the pastoral application of annulments hold sway with them despite repeated admonishments from no less than the Pope himself.

  • Zippy says:

    hurting:
    We definitely agree on the problem of Tribunals Gone Wild. If anything my view is that it might be even worse than just that.

  • hurting says:

    buckyinky says:
    February 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

    The Church protected itself against the vagaries of knowing exactly when by giving the marriage the benefit of the doubt (“marriage enjoys the favor of the law”). I would submit that the standard for proving invalidity is/should be far higher than even our U.S. criminal courts.

  • hurting says:

    Desiderius says:
    February 22, 2013 at 8:40 am
    “not make deals with the devil that always turn out to harm our first principles (like supporting state intervention in the provision of goods and services for the poor that rightly falls under the purview of the private sector, namely the Church and her people pursuant to the concept of subsidiarity).”

    Supporting is indeed a problem, but it often goes beyond support to the point of utter abdication. The care of the poor, and in some cases even the cure of souls, has been outsourced to the state.

    Due to long-standing political allegiances arising out of anti-Catholic discrimination on the part of the now defunct WASP ruling caste, this problem is especially acute for American Catholics. Of course it has nearly eaten the mainline churches of that ruling caste alive.

    Thank you for clarifying my point. It sickens me to hear all levels of the clergy bang teh drum for ‘charity’ from the state. There is no such thing whatsover. Every cent the state spends on social services comes at the point of a gun – period.

    It’s not just impractical or inefficient for the populace to use the voting booth to extract wealth from some citicens to give to others in the name of charity, it is immoral.

  • tz2026 says:

    Marriage is a sacrament and grace is supposed to have power. If it were the sacrament of holy orders only really orthodox Jesuits would be validly ordained. I’m glad the sacrament of Reconciliation doesn’t depend on perfect contrition on my part. If marriage is so easily invalidated, then most marriages through history were probably invalid. “Intend what the church intends”, even through the fog of infatuation v.s. “be able to answer complex theological and philosophical questions and have psychological tests” – what did the church do before Freud and Jung?

    If even one of the spouses while saying the words had bad intent – not even counting an actual defect – “I’m just saying the words, I intend that a marriage not happen”, it would not create a sacramental marriage. That is a very clear intent. Few go into marriage with the intent (as opposed to the fear that) it can be temporary.

    Also, in Fulton Sheen’s “Three to get Married”, he noted even pagans and unbelievers are covered by something going back to Genesis.

    Almost no protestant marriages would be valid if the expansive standard of near if not complete perfection in intent is required.

    I don’t think it is almost like the mirror of a mortal sin where full will and knowledge is required.

  • Zippy says:

    tz2026:
    I’m glad the sacrament of Reconciliation doesn’t depend on perfect contrition on my part.

    Me too. But what of the penitent who knows Church teaching on (say) contraception, disagrees with the Church that contraception is immoral, and prescinds from confessing it, saying nothing of the matter at all? What of the person who knows of the deontological conflict and just plays along anyway, for whichever of many possible reasons?

    As I understand things that completely invalidates the confession. (This understanding might be wrong).

    So the question becomes, how many situations like that (and perhaps other sacrament-invalidating matters of internal forum) take place at the matrimonial altar now, in recent decades, versus a century ago?

    I’d be shocked if the number had not changed dramatically in the direction of invalidity, post sexual revolution.

    I agree with Vasoli and hurting that the ‘pastoral’ lever of incapacity to consent is specious nonsense. I take a very jaundiced eye toward the de-facto “too dumb to consent” view: basically if anything the person didn’t anticipate happens, he was by definition incapable of consent on the wedding day. What a load of hooey!

    But that is completely orthogonal to the concern I am raising here.

  • […] monogamists to jump to the next stone in the path via remarriage.  However, Catholic lawyers have discovered that perhaps as often as 90% of the time people who thought they got married really didn’t.  […]

  • […] by the moniker Zippy. It is not in my power to fix society, to make churches preach masculinity (as if that were the Church’s job as opposed to fathers’ job), […]

  • […] in fatherhood cannot be filled in by the Church, and they cannot be replaced by the “wisdom” of sexual perverts.  Note the word […]

  • […] verbal discourse: as a kind of intellectual or apologetical classroom for teaching Christianity (and other things besides) on a big chalkboard.  Christianity is viewed as salvation science, and the purpose of the Church […]

  • […] positions aren’t that far apart, as divorce and annulments are taken incredibly lightly, and very few cases of Catholic divorce turn out to actually involve a marriage after […]

  • […] then linked to Zippy’s post on the subject. I would like to make a couple of points […]

  • […] In the long run though I think that discrediting ultramontanism by practicing it is probably a good thing. […]

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