Monday, June 30, 2008

"Intrinsic Evil" Is Not Worse Than "Regular" Evil

I have noticed in comments on this blog and places like "Relevant" Radio, that many people have a bias which states: "Intrinsic evil is worse than regular evil." "If you only have a choice between intrinsic evil and another evil, choose the other evil." "Vote for pro-life candidates because abortion is an intrinsic evil and war could be okay sometimes."

I must admit that I am not a big believer in intrinsic evils. I think there are actions that appear to have no situation in which they could be permissible, but like Thomas Aquinas, I do not believe in intrinsic evils, per se, where the circumstances are never considered.

In any case, I think there is a gross misunderstanding of intrinsic evil as it is understood by many Catholics. ALL INTRINSIC EVIL MEANS IS THAT ONE NEED NOT CONSIDER THE SITUATION. IT IS NOT MORE WRONG THAN A REGULAR EVIL WHERE YOU CONSIDER THE SITUATION.

A case in point: Masturbation is an intrinsic evil by Church standards. It's wrong in all circumstances. The scourging an innocent man (such as Jesus) is not an intrinsic evil, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a moral theologian (who believes masturbation is sinful) who would say the former is a worse act because it is an intrinsic evil.

Something that is intrinsically evil could be worse than a "normal" sinful act, but the fact that it is "intrinsically" evil should not be used as the reason for it being worse. It's just bad theology.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mass Attendence Down 22% In 5 Years

As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning, Mass attendance has dropped from 212,300 to 165,100 over the last five years. That's a drop of over 22% over the time that Archbishop Dolan has been here. Do I think Dolan is the cause? Probably not. Your average Catholic in the pews likes Dolan, but not because of his theological views; they like him because he seems down to earth and has a gregarious personality.

Is this Weakland's fault? I don't see how. He hasn't been Archbishop for six years. Maybe the sexual abuse crisis is part of the reason. Or maybe part of the reason is "orthodoxy fatigue." By orthodoxy fatigue, I mean that I think many Catholics have become sick of the communion wars, and the church's continued harsh line on contraceptives, gays, women priests, etc. I think many Catholics are sick of a church that seems to value the arguments against women & married priests and the like as more important that keeping their parishes open and the preaching of the Gospel message. More than 60 parishes have merged or closed in Milwaukee since in the late 1990's. I think this issue is bigger than "should we blame Dolan or Weakland?"

An orthodoxy fatigue was also the reason for the Pietist movement in the late 17th century. People were sick of the wars (literally) in the name of orthodoxy and began to value individual spirituality over orthodoxy. That sounds pretty similar to the sentiment of many Catholics and ex-Catholics today.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vatican Gives St. Pius More Love...

According to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos
, Benedict would like every Catholic parish in the world to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. It's hard to say whether Hoyos, who is President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, is being accurate, or bending the truth because of this love of the Latin Mass. It is his job to reach out to the likes of the St. Pius X Society that have problems not only with the vernacular liturgy, but also with the Catholic Church's new found ecumenism after Vatican II. In any case, until the Pope himself says something, it's possible that Hoyos may be getting a little overzealous in his job and misinterpreting "available" to every parish that wants it to "should be" in every parish period.

In truth, I have no problem with the Latin Mass being celebrated where a parish wants it to be celebrated, I just wish the Vatican and Benedict would have the same respect for those Catholics who want to celebrate a more inclusive Mass that does not insult the laity and treat them like children. Maybe we could call it Mass 2K or the Holy Inclusive Liturgy.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Proof is in the Sandwich

I guess that there is a Bill Maher movie coming out later this year on religion. It looks like it may raise some good questions about religion. I assume that Maher's face on the sandwich is suppose to signify the "Virgin" Mary being found in water stains in underpasses. Here is the trailer.

A Faithful Catholic

Cardinal Martini Calls for Women and Married Priests

As reported on Rentapriest, Cardinal Carlo Martini, who has been considered pope material in the past, has just published a new book in Germany, Jerusalemer Nachtgespr├Ąche (Nocturnal Talks in Jerusalem).

In his book, Martini asks that the Church reconsider the ordination of women and married men (I guess he didn't get John Paul's memo, see earlier post). He is very critical of a priesthood which demands celibacy for all. He views this as a charism not also always associated with the call to the priesthood. He also believes that the prohibition against condoms as set down in Humanae Vitae should be repealed and that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with condoms. He also speaks of his friendship with gay couples and how it has never occurred to him to condemn them.

Martini sound to me to be the perfect Cardinal, but maybe that's just me.

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Communion Game

Here is perfect example of why the "Communion Game" of "Your beliefs are not good enough" is unacceptable. I've never heard of Douglas Kmiec before this morning, but according to, he has been refused communion by a priest for endorsing Barak Obama.

The Pepperdine law professor was an architect for the Reagan Administration's stance against abortion. In fact, he's well known "pro-lifer" who's been rather involved in the "pro-life" movement. The Mass where he was denied communion preceded a meeting of a California business group where he was the featured speaker. The priest took the opportunity to admonish him at the homily and then deny him communion.

This is simply the logical extension of this communion game where prelates decide that a certain Catholic's beliefs are not good enough to come to come to the Lord's table. Is our measuring stick for who can receive communion God's infinite grace or a certain clergy person's personal beliefs?