How liars come to believe their own lies

April 21, 2016 § 69 Comments

At Cane Caldo’s blog commenter Bruce writes:

There’s another dynamic here. Pro-lifers strongly identify with their role of saving individual babies. I think they believe they can save more babies by going easy [on women] and changing their hearts.

Agreed. It isn’t just a one-off situation of hostage taking: it is an ongoing process of hostage-taking with no end in sight, and if the hostage takers are not appeased then more hostages are going to die.

This leads some ‘hostage negotiators’ (pro lifers) initially into lying to the hostage takers about their real views and their long-term intentions. In reality the hostage-taking murderesses ought to get the gallows or at least the asylum; but if we actually say that then we will lose more hostages right now and in the next round of hostage taking.

So the pro life movement feels like it has to lie, and feels justified in doing so.

After a while though the hostage negotiators start to believe their own BS, out of habit and because they do not want to think of themselves as liars.

And that is how everyone ends up in favor of legal abortion, including the mainstream pro-life movement.

UPDATE/NOTE: It should perhaps be emphasized that this dynamic applies to some pro-lifers.  Other pro-lifers are just feminists, with all that that implies.  The dead babies are ultimately just a price paid for female emancipation, and while we’d like to stop the baby-killing we aren’t willing to call feminism into question in order to do so.

§ 69 Responses to How liars come to believe their own lies

  • donnie says:

    Do you think this same principal applies to otherwise faithful Catholics who defend heterodox “pastoral” approaches?

    For example, an otherwise orthodox Catholic defending the practice of admitting public adulterers to the Sacrament of the Eucharist because they believe there is a better chance of saving that persons soul by taking a more lax approach to Church teaching?

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    Certainly, especially when taking the long view over the course of generations.

    I have argued that something like that has already taken place in the case of usury, for example, over the last 150-200 years or so.

  • donnie says:

    Zippy:

    Thanks, very interesting. Though as you note in the link, oftentimes it was (and probably would still be today had the practice been continued) very impractical to require a usurer to make a full accounting of all the money he obtained through usurious means. One could easily make the case, as you suggest, that the Pope was acting in a way that would allow for repentant usurers to receive Sacramental Absolution, not in a way that would allow unrepentant sinners to be readmitted to the Sacraments.

    Compare that to our current Pontiff who, based on his latest apostolic exhortation, seems to genuinely believe that the doctrines and practices of the Church must be relaxed in certain instances so that unrepentant sinners are not driven away by the perceived harshness of the Church’s perennial teaching. He is not trying to ensure that the truly repentant receive Sacramental Absolution. He appears instead to believe that priests can save more souls by going easy on unrepentant sinners and allowing exposure to the Sacraments to change their hearts over time.

    Do you think, then, the same reasoning applies? That the Holy Father, along with the priests and bishops who ascent to his line of thinking, are liars who have come to believe their own lies?

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    Do you think, then, the same reasoning applies? That the Holy Father, along with the priests and bishops who ascent to his line of thinking, are liars who have come to believe their own lies?

    I think that what happens is subtler than that, because we are not necessarily talking about individual persons but social realities which transcend individual persons and transform over generations. IIRC (though I could easily be misattributing) in Thomas Kuhn’s famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions he noted that it isn’t that old scientists become persuaded by new paradigms: it is that old scientists die off.

    Something similar happens here, I think. It isn’t (or isn’t only) that individuals in the movement become persuaded by the movement’s public lies or downplaying of the truth. It is that the movement itself, as a social reality which transcends individuals, becomes dominated by belief that the lies “it” has been telling for ‘tactical’ reasons are true.

    I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of (e.g.) Cardinal Kasper or Pope Francis. But objectively speaking that doesn’t really change anything. Their sincerity is between them and God anyway, and (thank God) isn’t any of my business.

  • Zippy says:

    It may be worth noting that if the case of usury was a case of reasonable pastoral accommodation, the result has nonetheless been disastrous. Almost nobody today even knows what usury is and is not. It isn’t just that usury is no longer condemned in any serious way: it isn’t even understood by all but a very few.

    If that is what happens with reasonable pastoral accommodation, what is likely to happen with more lax forms of pastoral accommodation?

  • donnie says:

    So what you are saying then is that, objectively speaking, the notion that it is unjust to punish a woman who procures an abortion is a lie. Likewise the notion that it is merciful to admit unrepentant sinners to the Sacraments is also a lie. Therefore, whether those in the pro-life movement sincerely believe that the lie is true is irrelevant. Likewise, whether Pope Francis sincerely believes his respective lie is true is also irrelevant. A lie is a lie, regardless of how sincere anyone believes in it.

    With regard to Pope Francis, though, does it concern you that the Holy Father has now published a magisterial document that, regardless of Pope Francis’s own personal sincerity, advances a pernicious lie? And is our best hope to reverse course really just to sit and wait for the “old scientists” like Cardinal Kasper and Pope Francis to die off?

  • Mike T says:

    Other pro-lifers are just feminists, with all that that implies. The dead babies are ultimately just a price paid for female emancipation, and while we’d like to stop the baby-killing we aren’t willing to call feminism into question in order to do so

    Roosh made a similar point about the feminist nature of many “anti-feminists.” In a great many cases, the opposition to the left comes from the fact that the vanguard of the left is so far in left field that the mainstream left cannot accept them and thus thinks itself “conservative” by that fact.

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:
    At best it would be premature for me to pronounce opinions on a book-length document I haven’t read and may never read.

  • Mild two cents on “divorced” people. I’m not sure what’s happening, but there is a case to be made that some divorced men and women have done nothing wrong. In the world of no fault divorce it is possible for an individual to be divorced who consented to no part of the process. That’s why I put “divorce” in quotes.

    Whether they can be remarried is a separate issue, but does anyone know how this scenario is pastorally handled now? I haven’t found much clarity on this topic.

  • Zippy says:

    greenmantlehoyos:

    Anyone who is divorced is automatically stopped at the turnstiles. And if he jumps the turnstiles the bouncers will rough him up.

    (Just kidding).

    Someone with more detailed knowledge than mine may have more to say, but as far as I know being a legitimate victim of unilateral no-fault divorce carries no penalties whatsoever. Divorce is a civil proceeding which pertains to the laws of the Prince – disposition of property and the like. It has literally nothing to do with the validity of marriage, etc.

  • donnie says:

    At best it would be premature for me to pronounce opinions on a book-length document I haven’t read and may never read.

    Fair enough. I suppose I ought to do likewise having only read parts. But having read the parts that I have, it seems to me that this latest magisterial document stands firmly in conflict with the perennial teaching and practice of the Church. Naturally I find this most troubling.

    Divorce is a civil proceeding which pertains to the laws of the Prince – disposition of property and the like. It has literally nothing to do with the validity of marriage, etc.

    If this is correct, would it not be true then that a man and his bride could be validly wed Sacramentally, before God, but choose not to bind themselves together in civil marriage?

  • Jill says:

    A big worm in the brain that helps create this excrement is the one that says babies are bad. Babies are those bad things that men to do women. We as a society really, really despise procreation. You can see it from both the left and right in a myriad of ways, from pastors who counsel engaged couples about using birth control, to the celebrations over historically low teen pregnancy rates, to the way married couples working on their 3rd or 4th child are subject to snark and hostility. We hate biology. We hate humanity, really. It becomes natural for even pro-lifers to fall on the side of women who have abortions, as women are the biological “losers.” If she terminates a pregnancy, it may be wrong according to our concept of “thou shalt not murder,” but it is understandable given the nature of babies.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    I consider myself a “softie” on what must be done to a woman who gets/allows an abortion of her child–don’t punish her criminally, but do deny her the Eucharist until she seeks confession.

    However, this way is harsh when looked upon rightly. The unrepentant mother avoids the prison only to end up in the lake of burning sulfur.

    What’s up to the Church, and us, is to actually take our own beliefs on sin and salvation seriously.

  • Mike T says:

    However, this way is harsh when looked upon rightly. The unrepentant mother avoids the prison only to end up in the lake of burning sulfur.

    No, it leads them into a false sense of security because it removes the law as a teacher. Who is more likely to repent right now? The murderer facing the gallows in 24-48 hours after conviction or the murderer who is allowed to die of old age? That is the fundamental flaw with not using the death penalty as the go-to punishment for murder.

  • @donnie

    Which part of the document contradicts the previous magisterium?

    @Aethelfrith

    Should all murderers be exempt from secular punishment, or just those whose victims are unborn children?

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    If this is correct, would it not be true then that a man and his bride could be validly wed Sacramentally, before God, but choose not to bind themselves together in civil marriage?

    Briefly, as I understand it:

    Marriage between baptized Christians is a sacrament[1]. Because it is a sacrament it must have proper matter and proper form.

    The matter of the sacrament is the contract itself: mutual free explicit agreement between the consenting parties to the essentials of marriage. The idea that the contract and the sacrament are separable is a condemned heresy. Without proper matter (mutual free consent to marriage as the Church understands marriage), there is no marriage.

    The form of the sacrament is governed by Church law. Without proper form – or lawful dispensation from proper form – there is no marriage.

    Church law at a given time, in a given place, or under given conditions may or may not require a civil marriage or conformity to civil law as part of proper form. I’m pretty sure it does require civil marriage right now generally speaking, under the current code of canon law; but you’d have to check with someone better informed than I to be sure, or to get a handle on the nuances of the law.

    Believe it or not, Protestants are expressly dispensed from proper form under the current code of canon law; so protestant marriages are valid and sacramental unless they are missing some other essential feature of Christian marriage. I don’t know if this includes dispensation from compliance with civil law.

    [1] If either party is not baptized it is still possible for them to marry naturally. Natural marriages and sacramental marriages are distinct; and every marriage is either one or the other, never both. Natural marriage is not always indissoluble; however, only the Church has the authority to dissolve natural marriages, and then only under very special circumstances (e.g. when a pagan with multiple natural wives converts to Christianity). I might have bits of the moral theology of natural marriage wrong — it isn’t an area in which I have taken a particular interest or done due diligence.

  • Zippy says:

    Aethefrith:

    However, this way is harsh when looked upon rightly. The unrepentant mother avoids the prison only to end up in the lake of burning sulfur.

    Right. Much of what passes for ‘mercy’ these days is just vicious cowardly dishonest cruelty with the label ‘mercy’ slapped on it.

  • Under current canon law (CCEO 781) marriages among Protestants are governed by the laws of their ecclesial communities, or to the law that their ecclesial communities defer to if they don’t have one of their own (this is usually the civil law). The only requirement imposed by the Church is that their marriage be “public”, which means that it takes place in a manner that’s externally provable.

    Note that this is a new state of affairs, this having only been law since 1990. Prior to 1983, marriages between Protestants were governed by the Church’s laws on marriage, other than the law on proper form. It’s not clear (to me anyway) what the law was between 1983 and 1990.

  • Also regarding civil law, canon law prohibits a marriage that is prohibited by civil law from occurring without permission of the ordinary, though if one were to occur in violation of this, it would still be valid.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Mike T,

    My only contention with your point is that if we must apply the death penalty to all grave sins, we must do so to every gossip, usurer, sodomite and lukewarm churchgoer.

    Denial of the medicine of immortality to the sinner is a terribly severe punishment whether you believe in it or not.

  • Hrodgar says:

    Re: Aethelfrith

    I don’t think that follows.

    Now, I wouldn’t in principle (though possibly in practice under many circumstances; in any case, that is not a call I am likely to have to make) be opposed to a death penalty for sodomy, or usury, or even particularly grievous instances of gossip (sufficiently bad slanders or divulging sufficiently important secrets might warrant it, for instance). How a mere man could discern “lukewarmness” with sufficient accuracy to reliably execute just secular punishment is beyond me, but let that pass.

    But is possible for the death penalty to be suitable for some grave sins but not others, or even the more or less the same grave sin in some circumstances but not others. Hanging a murderer does not necessarily require me on pain of hypocrisy or inconsistency to hang an adulterer, or even every murderer. And in fairness to MikeT, he was not arguing that EVERY murderer should be executed, but that execution should be the default, or “go-to,” punishment, a position well supported by Tradition.

    And in any case, especially when opportunity is provided for the criminal to have access to the Sacraments before hand, the death penalty is MORE merciful, not less, than no punishment at all, which is what you recommended. To admonish the sinner is, after all, one of the Works of Mercy.

  • No one has proposed the death penalty for all grave sins.

    And *desiring* the damnation of others is itself a grave sin.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    We need to avoid confusing crime with sin. The State imposes punishments on crimes and has nothing to do with sins.

    The idea that
    ” they believe there is a better chance of saving that persons soul by taking a more lax approach to Church teaching?”
    is, in my opinion, entirely mistaken and productive of great errors.

    We simply can not talk about “chances” or “probability” in talking about salvation. We have not any information beyond that it is better to be baptized and in communion with the Roman Church.

  • PB says:

    Regarding the civil v. canonical marriage question, the extradornary form of marriage is sometimes employed precisely because a civil marriage is impossible, even if a priest is physically available. In the United States, illegal immigrants cannot get a marriage license and it is illegal for a priest to celebrate a marriage without registering the marriage with the state. So instead a priest will instruct a couple in the extraordinary form of marriage, which follows the ordinary form of marriage minus the assistens (the priest or deacon). The couple then informs the priest that they have married each other and their marriage is recorded in the church.

  • Mike T says:

    My only contention with your point is that if we must apply the death penalty to all grave sins, we must do so to every gossip, usurer, sodomite and lukewarm churchgoer.

    We’re obligated to do no such thing because abortion is a form of murder and there is an ancient and well-attested standard for dealing with murder. To arrive at the “softie” position on abortion, you have to deny the essence of what abortion is because the only logical conclusion if abortion is murder is that abortion should be punished as some form of it.

    Your argument, by the way, is a variation of the common evangelical response “sin is sin is sin” when someone says one sin is worse than another. And as I always say to other Protestants, if that is true then it is easier for fallen man to say “murder is no worse than telling a small lie” than “telling a small lie is as bad as murder” because it is our nature to equivocate and downplay like that.

  • Mike T says:

    But is possible for the death penalty to be suitable for some grave sins but not others, or even the more or less the same grave sin in some circumstances but not others. Hanging a murderer does not necessarily require me on pain of hypocrisy or inconsistency to hang an adulterer, or even every murderer. And in fairness to MikeT, he was not arguing that EVERY murderer should be executed, but that execution should be the default, or “go-to,” punishment, a position well supported by Tradition.

    Precisely. Aethelfrith is probably missing context from a few other threads. Many murderers don’t deserve execution. A spouse who catches their spouse in flagrante and snaps should not be executed. A negligent manslaughter case should not necessarily involve execution (though it should at some levels of negligence). Other examples abound based on particular circumstances. Abortion, being a form of murder, is no different.

  • Zippy says:

    The way the discussion has gone is giving the anti-punishment side too much credit.

    (It is hard not to do this, because the anti-punishment position – that, simultaneously, women are fully adult moral agents, abortion is murder, and women should not be punished for procuring abortion – is so insane).

    As Dalrock pointed out, the conflict is over whether procuring abortion should be punished by law at all, in any way whatsoever.

    His example is that we would happily give the woman who double-parks in front of the abortion clinic a parking ticket and expect her to pay it, even if she had no idea that what she did was against the law. But we (other than the fringe nutcase ‘pro-punishment’ types who live outside the padded walls) won’t even consider so much as fining her for murdering her unborn child. Trump’s suggestion otherwise deserved unanimous derision from a united front of pro-lifers and pro-choicers.

  • Zippy says:

    It is entirely possible that Trump did this on purpose, including a premeditated backpedal. (On what other issue has he backpedaled?)

    He is good at inducing people who are in his way to discredit themselves, and anyone who is genuinely anti-abortion is in his way politically. Cruz, the Republican establishment, and the mainstream pro-life movement have been revealed as a parade of unprincipled clowns. Abortion is unlikely to come up again in the presidential race because the soft underbelly has been exposed.

    What you are seeing is a close up of the Hegelian Mambo in action. All of a sudden literally everyone – including the mainstream pro life movement – is pro abortion, that is, is against legal punishment of any sort for procuring abortion.

    The so-called ‘pro life’ movement is distinguished only inasmuch as it thinks that commercial abortion should be prohibited, and commercial providers punished. But earthy-crunchy homegrown self-administered organic witch-woman abortion should remain permissible within the law.

  • PB, you’re going to need to justify that statement. Per canon law (canon 1116) only necessity of having an absent minister can make such a marriage valid. Absent such necessity, marriage without proper form requires a dispensation of the ordinary for validity.

    Of course, since it is illegal for illegal immigrants to marry, their marriages require permission of the ordinary for licity anyway.

  • donnie says:

    @ArkansasReactionary

    Which part of the document contradicts the previous magisterium?

    Much of the criticism that has been aimed at the Holy Father’s latest apostolic exhortation has focused on several key controversial passages that have set off major alarm bells in the minds of faithful Catholics. With a simple Google search you can find many Catholic writers who have laid out their case as to why they believe the document is in direct contradiction to the Church’s perennial teaching. Likewise, there have been at least as many Catholic writers who have penned responses arguing that the text of the document does not actually, taken by itself and read charitably, contradict the Church’s perennial teaching.

    Framing the debate this way is, in my opinion, a mistake. Both sides easily become trapped in a frame of textual positivism that prevents them from reaching the heart of the matter. While these writers tediously try to interpret the Holy Father’s ambiguous and verbose text line by line, paragraph by paragraph, they never stop to consider that both the intent and effect of this magisterial document is not limited to the words on the page.

    And it is first and foremost the intent and effect of this document that will be used (indeed, it is already being used) to contradict the Church’s prior magisterium.

  • Mike T says:

    In the United States, illegal immigrants cannot get a marriage license and it is illegal for a priest to celebrate a marriage without registering the marriage with the state.

    I am not a Catholic, but in such cases I don’t think the church should be willing to participate at all. The reason why they cannot marry is that they are violating a just and reasonable law and to get the marriage license they’d have to comply with the law. They refuse to abide by the law and for no reason other than their economic interest. The ordinary response from clergy should be that if they want to get married, then they should travel back home or to a jurisdiction that does not have that requirement.

  • donnie says:

    Zippy:

    Thanks for the explanation regarding marriage. It would seem to me then that there is actually a strong case to be made in many western countries that couples seeking Sacramental marriage should not be required to seek civil marriage as well. After all, civil marriage in much of the west these days is an abomination. A Catholic couple should not be required to scandalize themselves by joining into and thus legitimizing such a degraded and immoral institution as modern civil “marriage.”

  • Zippy says:

    donnie:

    We’ve discussed that quite a bit. I guess this post was kind of a roundup. As usual around here the comment threads are probably more valuable than my solo editorializing.

    In the comments of this later post I debate the subject with a lawyer who apparently was peripherally involved in some work trying to set up these ‘not civil marriage’ marriages.

  • Gabe Ruth says:

    I hate to bring up the distant past, but since you linked to it and I’d never seen it before, can we talk about Kathleen Quinlan?

    You have made the point many times that dissident residents of Sodom should be wary of trusting their guts on moral issues because of the climate of moral inversion dominant today, and that remains good advice. I think the best thing about your writing is your ability to re-connect poorly formed modern consciences with the truth of church teachings. But that series of posts about Quinlan was wrong, and I really don’t think that’s my malformed conscience talking.

    We don’t know the financial circumstances of the school or the diocese, or the teacher for that matter, but as a normative matter an employer severing ties with a single pregnant woman should not be the primary response, let alone an explicitly Christian employer. It’s a tough situation and Ms. Quinlan’s choices bear sole responsibility for creating it, but some effort should have been made to provide for her until she could find a new job. Maybe the affiliated church could have requested donations, or asked a parishioner to find her a place to work. And if none of these avenues yielded sufficient help, they should have kept her on anyway, negative influence on young children or not (to be honest I think it’s unrealistic to imagine 1st graders are capable of appreciating the scandal, let alone being damaged by it; older children in the school probably could be though).

    Regarding Erin Manning, I grant that aspects of her response were flawed: the snark about the supposed pharisaic and insincere attitude of Catholic schools and the claim that the problem is one of discrimination. But as it happens, she was right about the material claim here, that the school giving her the boot was a stunningly uncharitable response unworthy of a Christian organization.

  • GJ says:

    donnie:

    And is our best hope to reverse course really just to sit and wait for the “old scientists” like Cardinal Kasper and Pope Francis to die off?

    You will need ‘younger scientists’ with different ideas.

    Mike T:

    Roosh made a similar point about the feminist nature of many “anti-feminists.” In a great many cases, the opposition to the left comes from the fact that the vanguard of the left is so far in left field that the mainstream left cannot accept them and thus thinks itself “conservative” by that fact.

    Ironically Roosh himself is such an “anti-feminist”.

  • Mike T says:

    Ironically Roosh himself is such an “anti-feminist”.

    Roosh struggles with nihilism based on some of the things I’ve read. Roosh is actually much more cognizant of the truth than most conservatives, however being a nihilist he can’t really bring himself to really act on it that much.

  • Zippy says:

    Gabe Ruth:

    People who don’t have to make things work are always lecturing the people who do have to make things work how to allocate resources, set policies, etc. For this I have very little sympathy or patience.

    All diocese’ do have charitable outreach for pregnant women – outreach which if anything should carry with it some moral strings attached, but which almost universally does not. Those charitable resources are as available to Kathleen Quinlan as to anyone else.

    None of us know the details. I wasn’t in on the private conversations, nor was Erin Manning, nor were you.

    But the reaction absent those details of condemning the diocese for not either (1) inventing and paying her for a make-work back office job for which there was no budget or (2) keeping her in front of the little kids she was supposed to teach as her unwed pregnancy inevitably became visible and scandalous, is just frankly despicable.

  • […] other moral arguments. A favorite argument of the Reactionary Right these days is that the woman who procures an abortion ought to receive legal consequences if abortion is made illegal, and I am not arguing that they are wrong. But what is their own moral […]

  • Gabe Ruth says:

    Despicable? If you say so, brother. But it seems to me (and my possibly malformed conscience) that the sinful example of discarding the fallen woman is just as harmful as her example is, probably more so for 1st graders. And that doesn’t even take into account the social reaction that these kids will see regarding the actions of their school. It goes without saying that their teacher will be seen as a victim by the outside world, and it is quite likely that they will be exposed to that narrative and have their consciences deformed accordingly. But say they kept her on. If the school is doing their job, none of the students will have any doubt about what their faith demands of them regarding sexual morality, but they have a model for charity.

    If the welfare state had existed in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, would Dives not have gone to Hell?

    https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/dives-in-hell/

    It is my belief that the Body of Christ has to start taking back turf from the state, and doing this will involve taking a more active role in the material well being of its members. Choosing to cast a pregnant woman into a desperate situation “for the sake of the children” is an own goal in many different ways.

  • Zippy says:

    Gabe Ruth:

    That is a nice story you are telling to justify publicly passing judgement on the actual school officials who had to actually make a decision in actual context.

  • Wood says:

    Gabe Ruth:

    I went to parochial school in the 90’s in a town with one stoplight and a Piggly Wiggly, and our school’s handbook stated that any female student or teacher who became pregnant (no mention of the guy, BTW) or any students who married were to be dismissed immediately. I remember wondering about this and even being concerned about it from a very young age (I mentioned the size of my town because the pregnant girl was in all likelihood someone I had known since birth and that I could recite from memory their phone number). I wasn’t in first grade, but I also wasn’t yet in middle school – kids pick up on these things regardless. I asked my mom about the rule regarding the girl who became pregnant getting kicked out of school. Why were we punishing her (and incidentally not the guy)? Without missing a beat she told me that it wasn’t the school’s prerogative to punish her. But IT WAS the school’s prerogative to protect the kids. In this situation, the plight the girl found herself in was secondary. Her point was that she didn’t want “that kind of influence” on her daughters (incidentally, the same answer she gave about married kids in school). And by “influence” she didn’t mean handing out Planned Parenthood pamphlets. She meant something more subtle and unnoticed. Those parents would have given the young pregnant girl the shirt off their back, but there was no way in hell my mom was going to have her daughters hear about sonogram pictures and baby names at that age and under those circumstances. The parents feared the good intentions towards the pregnant girl – despite coming from a good place – would ultimately serve to normalize immoral behavior. I realize this teacher was not going to bring sonogram pictures to show-and-tell to her first grade class, but I can assure you we kids would have known quite a thing or two about the situations around that pregnancy.

    I think your comments are coming from a good place and are well-intentioned. By I frankly admire the courage of that old school’s handbook (which I’m sure has been sued out of existence). To me “taking back the turf” means exactly the kind of actions and clarity and courage that was shown by the school in your discussion with Zippy.

  • Zippy says:

    IIRC the Kathleen Quinlan story was picked up by the media when she sued the diocese because she felt entitled to the job she lost.

    Everything I know about it was published in the media. Of course any boots-on-the-ground inside information could change my view.

    As far as public information goes, what the school did was brave and counter cultural. They could expect to be painted as judgmental bad guys and the usual suspects have acted like the mindless ideological puppets we’ve all come to expect them to be. It is always easy to play an ever-escalating game of “look how merciful I am being toward the sinners to whom I am intimately exposing your children”; but the school chose otherwise.

    What I find despicable is the reflexive way so many supposed Catholics assumed the worst about the school and dumped all over them publicly in a holier-than-thou-by-proxy contest.

    If you have inside information I do not, then fine. But based on the information that is public this school did a brave and countercultural thing and deserves our support. And if you (the generic “you”) can’t bring yourself to voice public support, at least have the dignity to keep your pie hole shut about a particular situation you know nothing about.

    Not to put too fine a point on it.

  • Zippy, I’ve been reading your pronouncements on proper civil punishment for women who have abortions. You appear to be presuming that all women who have procured abortions are 100% complicit. They are not.

    And be it known, I would outlaw contraceptives and no-fault divorce if I could, which would greatly reduce the prevalence of many scenarios I am going to outline below.

    In a lot of cases, women foolishly believe that because they have received a prescription for The Pill, they can be just about 100% certain that they will not have to deal with the natural result of having a lot of sex, which is a baby, regardless of e.g. their poor compliance or having stopped b/c of rather nasty side effects. Advertisements for various contraceptives absolutely peddle this sort of lie, and promote this sort of magical thinking.

    First, victims of incest. These are often hauled off to the abortionist against their protests and wishes. Even when one bears no love for the child developing in her womb, she knows it is prima facie evidence of the crime committed against her, and so desires to bring it to term. When she is hauled off to the abortionist, he becomes an accessory after the fact, by disposing of that evidence. (This is also my argument against the “cases of incest” exemption that pro-abortion people are so fond of trotting out.)

    Second, minors whose parents (or family patriarchs/ matriarchs) cannot bear the shame of that precious little girl bearing an illegitimate child. Again, they are often hauled off against their will.

    Third, those women who shack up or otherwise sleep with various cads, narcissists, and sociopaths. Such men are certainly willing to use cajolery and lies to ensure they cannot ever be tapped for child support, and at times not above using threats to the same end. These threats include but are not limited to detraction, slander, libel, assault, battery, more serious injury, seeking to have the mother’s parental rights over other children threatened or terminated, and death.

    At least one poor woman made the mistake of presuming that because Planned Parenthood provided her with gynecological and contraceptive services, that they would provide her with obstetrical services as well, or at least advice. When she told the receptionist she was pregnant, she was handed a consent form and told, “Sign here, please.” Within minutes, before she had grasped what was being done, she was given a sedative and on a gurney and headed for the surgical suite, with the usual outcome. Genuine informed consent is not particularly important to a lot of abortionists, as the examples above will suggest.

    Abortion is sold and protected and promoted with an unending deluge of lies. Are the women who are deceived by those lies fully culpable? What about those who are coerced?

    The position of the “no punishment” brigade appears to take it as given that for many women, culpability is reduced or even eliminated, and there is no practical way to reasonably establish when it has not.

    I am okay with there being a prescribed legal punishment for the woman who procures an abortion, and trusting prosecutorial and judicial discretion limiting its actual application. I am not okay with ex post facto punishment.

    As for divorce and the Sacraments — it is not divorce which is the bar. It is remarriage by divorced people.

  • Zippy says:

    Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin:

    You appear to be presuming that all [perpetrators] who [commit crimes] are 100% complicit.

    Incorrect. I am simply resisting the contention that there is something super special about abortion and women which implies that we should presume, in a context of abortion being against the law (the situation about which Donald Trump was asked), that the women who procure them are innocent or must categorically be presumed innocent (for either ‘practical’ or principled reasons).

    I am resisting the logical contradiction of simultaneously asserting that (1) women are fully adult moral agents, (2) abortion is murder, and (3) in general women should never be legally punished in any way whatsoever for procuring abortions.

    I am not okay with ex post facto punishment.

    That is a straw man, as are genuine cases of coercion, etc. Nobody has suggested ex post facto laws or the like.

    This kerfuffle started when Donald Trump stated that if abortion were successfully outlawed, women who procure them when they are illegal should be subject to “some form of punishment”. (That he has since backpedaled is irrelevant. It was this extremely mild and perfectly reasonable statement that united pro-lifers and pro-choicers in condemning Trump).

    The mere suggestion that any women at all who procure abortions, in a context in which abortion has been criminalized, should be punished for doing so in any way whatsoever, managed to unite the entire spectrum of mainstream pro-abortion and “pro-life” leaders and pundits.

    Everyone is pro abortion now. The differences are just details.

  • Mike T says:

    Blaming contraception for abortion is generally about as stupid as blaming gluttony or eating disorders for the trend of dehydrating to death old or disabled people. Sure, it’s connected on some level but then human endeavors and behavior are all interconnected at some degree of separation. It just distracts from the more obvious and grave issue.

    In a lot of cases, women foolishly believe that because they have received a prescription for The Pill, they can be just about 100% certain that they will not have to deal with the natural result of having a lot of sex, which is a baby

    Yes, they foolishly believe that despite the fact that doctors tell them to their face how and when the odds will work against them. Despite the fact that the left is quite literally obsessed with educating young people on the proper use of contraception, the pitfalls of each type, etc. You are basically saying that because a large chunk of the population is only susceptible to rhetoric and thus cannot be easily educated with facts, that they are morally less liable for the abortion they get in that case.

  • Mike T says:

    On a related note, remember what I said in the other thread that someone would come along and say “Aha! Contraception! A man is still at fault?”…

  • PB says:

    AR: You are right my comment was misleading. The extradornary form exists for times and places in which no minister is available, and the civil law may create such a situation as is it does with illegal immigrants in the US.

  • Mike T says:

    Put another way, a young woman who actually believes that contraception is foolproof as you suggest, despite the best efforts of the entire political spectrum working overtime to convince her otherwise is about as stupid as a young person who refuses to believe that there is no correlation between smoking and various health issues. There is probably a huge overlap between these people and the demographic that sees long term meth use and still thinks “oh what the hell, give me the pill.”

  • PB says:

    Mike: If the illegals aren’t married they are far more likely to stay here and cohabitate then go back to Mexico to get married. Better for their souls and their children if they are married. Our immigration laws should not be enforced by denial of a sacrament.

  • Marissa says:

    ‘It is always easy to play an ever-escalating game of “look how merciful I am being toward the sinners to whom I am intimately exposing your children”’

    Hah, reminds me of how the church hierarchy treats the homosexual rapist priests in our midst.

  • Zippy says:

    PB:
    Agreed. Denial of sacraments for breaking civil law is a very bad idea. But I don’t expect protestants to understand that — they don’t adequately grasp sacraments in the first place.

    As for the connection between contraception and abortion, it is really rather straightforward. But I understand at a certain level why apologists for contraception would want to gouge out their eyes to avoid seeing the connection.

  • Zippy says:

    Marissa:

    That is exactly the kind of thing that is taking place.

    It provides cheap self-affirmation to practice ‘mercy’ with the lives and souls of other peoples’ children.

  • Marissa says:

    “If the illegals aren’t married they are far more likely to stay here and cohabitate then go back to Mexico to get married. Better for their souls and their children if they are married. Our immigration laws should not be enforced by denial of a sacrament.”

    What about age of consent laws? Should they not be enforced? What about someone who’s on the run for a hit and run? Should a criminal fugitive not have laws enforced against him? The state has every right to prevent marriages between criminals and it shouldn’t matter that people are willing to risk not only their temporal security to man’s laws but even their spiritual security to God’s laws for a bit of sex.

  • Mike T says:

    PB,

    I am not particularly concerned about the welfare of the aliens who defy our immigration laws. Unlike the Pope, among many things, I am not so economically illiterate that I fail to notice the impact of those “poor and huddled masses” on the wages of my poor countrymen, to say nothing of the crime and cultural decline that follows with them forming their own micro colonies within our borders.

  • PB:

    Illegal immigrants in the US aren’t in the situation of having no clergy available. That the clergy would (correctly) refuse to doesn’t equate to it being impossible to approach them.

  • Step2 says:

    The mere suggestion that any women at all who procure abortions, in a context in which abortion has been criminalized, should be punished for doing so in any way whatsoever, managed to unite the entire spectrum of mainstream pro-abortion and “pro-life” leaders and pundits.

    Not so fast. While the context in which the curiously-hued vulgarian gave his answer was fairly muddled there was a strong implication he wanted punishment solely against the woman for the abortion itself; not for a lesser related charge like solicitation which could be equitably enforced against either the woman or the man, and Trump rejected the possibility of the man having any responsibility because reasons.

    “And on that note (about chivalry) I think it is important to point out that a man acts nobly toward all women, even the basest whore, since women are that mysterious cradle of creation to which by nature we owe provision and defense.” – Zippy Catholic

  • PB says:

    Marissa: You are right that the state has the right to deny a civil marraige to some people. That does not mean that the church cannot recognize a legitimate sacramental marraige even if it isn’t a civil marraige.

    Mike T: I am no open borders apologist, and many clergyman would probably condemn me for “nativism.” However, I am not at all tempted to say that illegal presence in a country should prevent someone from receiving the sacraments. Even if illegally immigrating were a mortal sin (and I’m pretty damn sure it isn’t) that by itself wouldn’t be an impediment to marriage though it would be to the reception of communion. The Church is not responsible for civil law enforcement but for the care of souls.

  • PB says:

    I don’t mean for my last comment to cause a digression about the moral gravity of illegal immigration. Suffice it to say, we should care about the spiritual welfare of everyone.

  • Zippy says:

    Step2:

    … there was a strong implication he wanted punishment solely against the woman for the abortion itself; not for a lesser related charge like solicitation which could be equitably enforced against either the woman or the man, and Trump rejected the possibility of the man having any responsibility because reasons.

    I haven’t seen any evidence of that, and I did look before I started posting. If pro-lifers were reacting to some mysterious back room discussion to which only they are privvy, it would have been helpful for them to actually quote that to which they were responding.

    As far as quote mining me goes, it would be more interesting if you could come up with somewhere where I suggested that women should be allowed to get away with deliberate murder because chivalry.

  • Gabe Ruth says:

    Wood, thanks for the charitable reading, and Zippy, thanks for the honest assessment. If I am wrong, I am wrong because I over-value comfort and economic security and under-value correct moral action. In fact I am fairly certain that is the case. However, I’m not certain that this means I’m wrong about the handling of Miss Quinlan’s case.

    If we lived in a society where it is likely that the “parents would have given the young pregnant girl the shirt off their back”, I’d have no problem at all with Quinlan’s termination (nor would I have a problem if she wasn’t pregnant, but had been caught en flagrante delicto). But in this world, social bonds have become very thin and flimsy things, and I believe the Church is the only hope of pushing back the other way.

    I acknowledge that the school’s decision took some brass ones, and the ideal case would be the woman’s removal from teaching and being supported by charity until she could get a new position. Given that the average parish could not afford to take on that burden and hiring a woman whose fitness to work will be diminishing significantly in the near future (yes, I am aware that is a burden I am asking the school to bear as well), firing her seems wrong to me. Obviously her subsequent legal action makes it harder to sympathize with her. To say she (and her twins) should have been shown mercy is to say she has done wrong and has no right to the job.

  • Zippy says:

    Gabe Ruth:

    … yes, I am aware that is a burden I am asking the school to bear as well…

    I don’t think you are. I don’t think it is actually possible for you to be sufficiently aware. Are you on their finance council?

    My own time on a parish finance council strongly reinforced the old adage that opinions are like as***les: everyone (especially the people who don’t have to actually make things work ) has one, and they all stink.

  • Wood says:

    Gabe Ruth,

    Having spent a big fat chunk of my life involved with parochial education, I think your suggestion is, despite good intentions, naive.

    What is more merciful? To say to a teacher, “No more teaching for you, sweetie. Over here in the back office where the harlots type” or “being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately”?

  • Zippy says:

    It was private too, until she made a big stink out of it and filed a lawsuit.

  • PB says:

    Arkansas Reactionary: Canon 1116 refers to a situation in which a priest or deacon cannot be approached “without grave inconvenience.” For the purposes of assisting in a marraige a priest cannot be approached without grave inconvience because the priest cannot legally assist in the marraige. The judicial vicar of my diocese (who is no liberal squish) told me that under that canon illegal immigrants are married without an assistens.

  • Clovis says:

    Truth is not found in compromise

  • PB:

    Whether the priest can legally assist or not, there is no grave inconvience in approaching him.

    And again, the Church itself prohibits priests from assisting in civilly illegal marriages without permission from the ordinary. It’s farcical and absurd to assert that the Church’s own laws constitute a grave inconvience exempting from them. It’s not a matter of denying people sacraments for violating civil law, it’s a matter of civilly illegal marriages being prohibited even under canon law.

    And what someone on the internet claims to have been told, is not a valid source.

  • PB says:

    You are right that it requires the consent of the ordinary. The practice can vary by diocese. Once that consent is given then the Church’s own law is not a problem but the state presents an inconvience. I aknowledge that some guy on the Internet (especially me) is not a great authority on canon law. I can tell you what I was told and you may reasonably reject that as a source. Fr Gurtner, the judicial vicar is certainly not infallible on matters of law himself, but his explanation makes sense to me.

  • If the ordinary consents to the situation, then it doesn’t matter whether there’s a necessity or not. The ordinary can allow marriage to be contracted before witnesses only.

    With that clarification (that this depends on the ordinary consenting), I don’t think there’s a substantive disagreement here.

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